Book Review – The Great Hunt

thegreathuntThe Great Hunt is the second novel of The Wheel of Time epic fantasy series by Robert Jordan.  I’ve previous reviewed book 1 of the series, The Eye of the World, and this book is a continuation of the story.

Coming off a rather predictable beginning to the series, I was hoping for something deeper and less predictable.  That’s exactly what I got.  The story continues where the first one left off, with Rand al’Thor struggling to come to terms with who he is, and a beginning of another journey for him and his friends.  This time, they’re to deliver the Horn of Valere, but of course, their plans don’t exactly happen the way they hoped.  While the first book was a fairly straightforward and simple story about a reluctant hero, this one is a much more complex and compelling story about a hero who hates what he is.  He hates it so much, he denies it to himself, his friends, and all others.  His friends Mat and Perrin have their own troubles they have to come to terms with, as well.  In the first book, they were great friends, but now they all have psychological issues to deal with, and things are no longer cheery for them.  Add in Egwene and Nynaeve with their new quest to become Aes Sedai, and more mysterious actions by Moiraine, and we have a story with multiple subplots.  One great thing is that we get to see what goes on in the lives of the Aes Sedai.  My, what a lovely dysfunctional family they seem to be.  Jordan did a great job with the story in this book, and developed the characters very well.

The world in this series continues to reveal itself, and I’m very intrigued about every part of it.  I love fantasy worlds, and this one seems so well done with many different kinds of people and cultures.  Tar Valon, the Aes Sedai city, was very interesting.  I want to see more of it.  Cairhien proved to be a paranoid city that I would not want to live in.  The Aiel made an appearance, which I was waiting for.  I’m wondering if we’ll see much of them in future installments.  But the coming of the Seanchan provides another enemy to focus on, not just for Rand, but also for the Aes Sedai.  We’ve got a rich variety of people and places.

Being a continuation of a series, there’s a big overall story, but each book needs to have a complete story itself.  The Great Hunt does well at having a good self-contained story, but also to be only one piece of the greater picture.  The final battle of this book was a surprise.  I wasn’t expecting that at all.  It’s going to be interesting to see how things go from here.

The Great Hunt was pretty good.  I think it was better than the first book.  Anyone who gave up halfway through The Eye of the World should try again, and then read this book.  I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised.  It’s worth it!

I’d give this a full 5 out of 5 stars.  Great read!