Archive for November, 2014

The Great Hunt

Posted: November 5, 2014 in Book Reviews


The Great Hunt: Book 2 of the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

682 pages

“The Wheel of time turns and ages comes to pass. What was, What will be, and what is may yet fall under the shadow.”

This volume of the story Starts out in Fal Dara where our heroes of the story pick up where they left off after the events of the The Eye of the World. Rand has been waiting for Ingtar, Matt, Perrin and the rest of the group to show up so he can give the Horn of Valere to him. While he is waiting he has been taking sword lessons from Lan, Moraines warder.

While he is waiting for things to happen and to give Matt’s knife back to him so he can be healed at the white tower, the Amyrlin seat shows up and he finds himself face to face with the leader of the Aes Sedai. He is terrified of what she will do to him, He does not want to be gentled (being stripped of the one power), while at the same time he vows to never use the one power and he fears it quite a bit. He also vows to rid himself of the Aes Sedai control of his life and fears she will try to manipulate him into being a false dragon. To Rand’s surprise he is let go and not gentled but told he can go as he pleases anywhere he wants.

Just as he is preparing to leave, the city is attacked by Trollocs, Mydrall and dark friends. The horn and Matt’s knife has been stolen and the great hunt for the horn begins. Padan Fain who was held captive has escaped with the horn and Rand must now Join his friends Matt and Perrin while Egwene, Min and Nyanaeve head back to Tar Valon to begin their training to be Aes Sedai.

Rand just cannot seem to avoid trouble with the one power and while on the hunt discovers the use of a Portal stone which transports him to a strange world that might have been along with the Ogier, Loial and Hurin the sniffer. While there they meet the mysterious woman Selene who helps them get back to the real world and helps him continue to hunt down the horn. They soon find themselves in Cairhein where Rand gets himself tied up in the great game of houses he has desperately tried to avoid.

While Perrin and Matt have stayed with the rest of the group hunting the stolen horn of Valere wondering where Rand, Loial and Hurin have dissappeared to, Egwene, Min, and Nynaeve begin their training in Tar Valon to become Aes Sedai.

The Seanchin have invaded and pose a great threat to the world. They have leashed Aes Sedai and have taken them captive. By doing so they gain control of their powers and force them to do their bidding. They are Damane or the Leashed ones. Sul Dam the one who holds the leash; Seanchin women who control the captive Aes Sedai

Soon enough the whole group meets up in Falme at Tomans Head where a climatic battle ensues and is the climax of this book in the series.

Through out the story Rand is struggling with his identity as the Dragon Reborn and continues to deny this vigorously despite being pulled further and further into the prophecy. He is afraid of Losing his friends and going mad from the effects of the one power. He hates that he is being manipulated by the Aes Sedai and is desperately struggling to free himself from there influence. Nothing seems to be going right for him as just when he thinks he can be free from his fate something pulls him back in. He fears using the Saidin the male half of the true source or one power as much as he fears becoming the Dragon Reborn.

The good

The struggles that the characters are going through really help to draw you into the story and further their character development. We start to see their weakness and strength as they development into their natural inborn powers and abilities. Good writing will always draw you in with powerful characters and Robert Jordan does that effectively with his characters. As we read through the story we can see how the events effect each one.

The book sets a good pace and has some really good story development as we see new threats emerge beyond just the Trollocs and Mydrall. Having the Seanchin show up and start to wreak havoc across the world was and is a great addition to this book. We know from reading this that the Seanchin story line is just beginning.

I love the elements that bring this world together. Every good magic system has to have a way to counter that magic. Magic that is invincible becomes pointless and 2 easy to defeat the bad guys. Having the Seanchin collar and control the Aes Sedai is a perfect touch to show that even the powerful Aes Sedai are not invincible. The Taint of the dark one on the male half of the true source shows that even Rand can be beaten and is not growing into an invincible foe. The characters are forced to deal with their challenges despite their powerful magic as they can be beaten.

The Bad

Half way through the book the horn was recovered by Rand. He simply stole it back. The problem here is that it was 2 easy. He just snuck up had a little fight and stole it back. Then a while later the Horn is stolen again and the chase begins again. He sneaks up and steals the horn back again. 2 easy. Basically what this book turned into was 2 different versions of the Great Hunt, both of which it was easy to simply take the horn and run. This book would have been better if the second recovery was the only recovery of the horn. Also both times a Portal stone was used to help recover the horn. Both times hardly anyone was guarding the horn when it was recovered. Both times a woman who knew about Portal stones had to show him how to use it. Essentially a retelling of the first story with slight changes and locations. This just simply did not do it for me. Felt like it was really unnecessary to go through the hunt a second time.

Min and Egwene captured by the Seanchin and held as damane. Great Idea but poor execution. This part of the story line lasted for all of 200 pages in a 682 page book. It Happened quickly and ended quickly. It was 2 easy to be taken, and freed with little to no build up or let down on this story arc. If Jordan had taken out one of the hunts for the horn and had written one of the hunts differently, he could have had this story arc executed much more effectively. This would have created significantly better opportunity for development and execution of the Egwene and Min Damane slavery story line.  This could have easily been a book unto itself.

I had some trouble understanding why certain characters were introduced to the story. Verin Sedai for example seemed to simply replace Moraine who dropped out of the picture. This could have made a good back story if we had any idea what she had been doing all this time. Moraine shows up at the end and Verin is nowhere to be found. Removing Verin and keeping Moraine in the picture would have been a much better options, or alternately reading more about her story and what she was doing while Verin was involved would have made for a much better story.

Selene the mysterious woman did not seem to have much purpose either. She simply showed up, then disappeared. What was her purpose if any at all? Was it just to show Rand the way to the portal stone? Who knows it was not very clear to me and she just did not seem to fit.

Overall it was a good read and expands the story well from what started in the The Eye of the World. However the execution just did not meet with expectations and will lose some points on that matter. I give this book a 5/10 book worms