The Great Hunt is a masterpiece. The second installment to the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan boldly takes steps more unexpected in the fantasy genre. Testing new elements that deviate heavily from Eye of the World while maintaining a feel of greatness and staying rich with story.
This will be a spoiler free review of the book to the best of my ability. Certain plot points in the book need to be discussed leading to revealing character separation and so forth but the main outcomes I will keep hidden so you, the reader can enjoy the book yourself.
How The Great Hunt Starts
The book takes place immediately after the Eye of the World. The first book in the Wheel of Time franchise. I personally feel that when starting a series this large, minimal time leaps between books is important. It would be hard to be invested in a series that leaves out half the details despite having a massive series book count.
Rand, Perrin, Matt, Egwene and all the others from the previous book are all still up in Fal Dara. Rand is debating leaving the city and the party behind when the Aes Sedia come to the city. After some odd behavior by some of the main characters, an event transpired in the city leading to Rand, Perrin, and Matt leaving together with a group of soldiers and a sniffer to start “The Great Hunt” for the Horn of Valar. While this happens, Ewgene and Nynaeve set off to Tar Valon to learn to become Aes Sedia themselves.
The separation of these groups is a good strength of this book. The story tone is much different across the two parties and what they are experiencing. While both of the settings are very different from the Eye of the World showing how vast the world Robert Jordan actually created is.
The Great Hunt’s Magic System
The magic system in this book is heavily expanded upon with the journey of Rand and Nynaeve in particular telling the reader what this series form of the magic system is capable of. Both explore the system in vastly different ways.
This book also presents the fact that not everyone can be trusted in this series more than Eye of the World did. I was actually surprised at multiple points in the book upon events that transpire with the main characters and and after letting it sink in for awhile, each instance makes a lot of sense.
The Great Hunts Biggest Strengths
This book takes several different story modes, from a startup that every book has, to a chase, then to a more stealthy heist like feel. I feel that this went very well with the book and the flow was solid and constantly fast paced. Even more so than the first book in the series.
One of the biggest strengths of this book is the character progression and installation of new characters. I did not think a book would succeed in creating so many new important characters while still maintaining good character progression with others. One character in particular seemed rather forced to me, Rand meets Selene in rather odd circumstances and from the get go, she feels like a forced character. Her introduction is very jarring and not much more is learned about her. I am sure that there will be more on this character to come in the future. I got the feeling that there was intention by the author for this character to be introduced in this way. Only reading more of the series will really tell.
The Great Hunt’s Weaknesses
The weakest part of this book to me was tailing towards the end. The amount events transpiring all at once was a little too much to keep track of. I admit that I did lose the place of where some of the character groups were actually at in terms of location in or out of a city at the end of the book. It does end in an epic fashion though and really does well in separating this book and potentially the rest of the series into a completely new fantasy direction which was pleasantly surprising to me and excites me to read on in the series.
Reading this book I would say requires Eye of the World simply due to the characters from Eye of the World have processed in their character arcs and I am happy to report that Robert Jordan does not feel the need to bloat his books with rehashed details of character progression as of The Great Hunt.
Is The Great Hunt Worth Reading?
When it comes down to how this book compares to the rest of the series I honestly cannot say cause I am reading this series blind and reviewing them as I go along. I am sure to review before getting to far along into the following book in the series. This book ever so slightly under performs the Eye of the World to me. That is not to say this book is bad. That is just more praise for Eye of the World cause The Great Hunt is a fantastic book. It’s bold, it feels new and different and it raises the stakes of the series. Most importantly, The Great Hunt is a really good read and totally worth the time even in Eye of the World didn’t manage to hook you.
What are your thoughts on the book? How does it compare to Eye of the World? Let’s try and keep comment sections for this review empty of spoilers if we can. If you have not read the book and this interested you to starting up, you can get the book using our amazon affiliate link. It helps support the site and allows us to bring more reviews like this to you. I will see you all back for the review on the Third installment, “The Dragon Reborn”.