TITLE: The Great Hunt
SERIES: The Wheel of Time, book 2
AUTHOR: Robert Jordan
FORMAT: Epub via Google Play Books
PAGES/LOCATIONS: 929 pages
GOODREADS’ AVG. RATING: 4.17 out of 5 stars; 129,977 ratings
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. For centuries, gleemen have told of The Great Hunt of the Horn. Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages.
And it is stolen.
DATES READ: January 20th-28th, 2015
I keep starting and stopping, deleting, then having to retype my words because I just don’t think my words can do justice to the thoughts I have about this book, let alone the series so far – granted I am only two books in. I am finding everything I could want in a fantasy epic and that is a wonderful feeling. The story of The Wheel of Time, the weaving of the pattern is a coming of age story – a story where the characters are forced to go outside their comfort zones in order to do what must be done. I saw a post in The Wheel of Time subreddit regarding specifically the first two books and beginning of the third, which raised the point that a lot of the problems our characters face could have been solved had all of the individuals involved taken the time to talk it out – to talk about the things that were happening to them, for example Perrin’s eyes turning yellow has yet to be explained to the whole group and only Egwene knows his secret. As I have come to know Rand and the others, I just couldn’t see all of them sitting down around a fire and discussing what is happening to each of them on an individual level. I think this is partially due to their own lack of understanding as to what is happening to them, add in fear of these changes, plus a deep-seeded idea that Aes Sedai aren’t to be trusted and you will find an understanding as to why none of them are willing to openly talk about the happenings in play. I think that as we progress further in the story we will find a lot of character growth in the group based upon how open they are willing to be with each other.
I find Rand to be an incredibly frustrating character because of his unwillingness to be open and honest, even with Mat and Perrin who he has known all of his life. He is stubborn, he is also consistently fighting against help that is offered to him for fear that it will somehow be used to control him. I understand that Rand doesn’t want to feel like a puppet on a string, but the expense of hurting yourself or your friends in order to remain free of perceived control of others seems reckless in this case. Rand is also infuriating because he tends to deny or resist anything which doesn’t fit in with his world views, practically outright denying anything that he doesn’t wish to be true. He has continually buried his head in the sand regarding these types of things, an example of this would be when he is faced with the fact or even remote possibility that Tam isn’t his father. Truthfully though, there is more to being a father than just a blood relation – just because Tam and Rand may not be blood doesn’t make Tam any less of a father to him and yet he is almost unwilling to accept this as enough.
One of my favorite themes so far through these first two books has been the ideas of destiny and fate – in this case it appears that there are certain events which are preordained, events that must happen, and there are others which occur based upon how the pattern shifts when choices are made. It is a very interesting approach to the ideas of destiny and fate which go somewhat against our normal ideas of the subjects. I can appreciate the idea that specific events are going to play out regardless, but it is the choices and decisions which are made in the mean time which help to shape the details of what is to occur.
The world building is amazing! I have especially enjoyed experiencing the training Egwene, Elayne, and Nynaeve have gone through in their paths to becoming Aes Sedai. It is fascinating just how almost normal their schooling seems with all of its rules and demands to excel. I was happy to find Min again, though a somewhat minor character I can appreciate her defining differences and am curious about her innate ability to read people, which apparently doesn’t stem from the One True Source hence why she isn’t studying to become an Aes Sedai (at least that is my understanding of it). That makes her ability much like Perrin’s and I am curious as to how they came to be and the impact they will have over the course of the series, it is obvious that everything which happens in this series happens for a reason. The Seanchan society is another world building point that I thought was well done. At first it is told in small pieces by a couple of minor characters to give us a vague idea of who they are and what they appear to stand for before actually experiencing their culture through the eyes of our main characters. I still don’t fully understand them, but I understand them enough to know that their vision is clouded and their methods cruel. I imagine they will continue to be a force against Rand and his friends.
TL;DR REVIEW: 5 out of 5 stars. I didn’t have the same difficulties reading this book as I did in the first. Rather, I felt as if I could have devoured this book even though my pace was somewhat slower – sadly that was more due to practicality than anything else. Overall, the storytelling was amazing and I am extremely pleased with the story so far and look forward to how it will continue in book 3, The Dragon Reborn!