Markus's Reviews > The Great Hunt

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
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bookshelves: 2014, fantasy, wheel-of-time

“And it shall come to pass that what man made shall be shattered, and the Shadow shall lie across the Pattern of Age, and the Dark One shall once more lay his hand upon the world of man. Women shall weep and men quail as the nations of the earth are rent like rotting cloth. Neither shall anything stand nor abide...
Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow, born once more as he was born before and shall be born again, time without end. The Dragon shall be Reborn, and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth. In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people, and he shall break the world again by his coming, tearing apart all ties that bind. Like the unfettered dawn shall he blind us, and burns us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation."

The Great Hunt begins right where The Eye of the World left off, with our heroes still sheltering within the walls of Fal Dara. But soon enough, the fragile peace is shattered. The Amyrlin Seat arrives from Tar Valon, with dozens of Aes Sedai by her side. The Horn of Valere is mysteriously stolen from within the keep itself, along with the terrible dagger from Shadar Logoth. And from the borderlands in the far north, a new journey begins to recover what was stolen.

Already in the first few pages of the prologue, the reader is made aware of the dangers that lurk in the shadows. The darkfriends are everywhere. Nobles from all across the nations secretly serve the Great Lord of the Dark. Even the Children of the Light have been infiltrated by the servants of the Shadow. And in the halls of Tar Valon roams the Black Ajah; an eight Ajah and a secret fraternity containing those of the Aes Sedai who have given themselves to the Dark One.

While the battle rages on between light and shadow, new forces emerge on the horizon to make their impact on the world. In the east, groups of Aielmen come out of the Spine of the World in search of the Dragon Reborn. On the western shores, the Seanchan, claiming to be the descendants of Artur Hawkwing's armies, arrive from beyond the Aryth ocean to conquer the world once more. And in Cairhien, Daes dae'mar, the Great Game, is being played by the noble houses with increasing brutality and ruthlessness, and the threat of civil war is becoming more and more real.

"It is never over, al'Thor."

The characters are what really shape this book, for good or ill, and one of the most interesting characters from the world of the Wheel of Time is Padan Fain. From being a seemingly mad darkfriend in the dungeons of Fal Dara, he is sprung from his prison when the Horn is stolen, and after going along with the group of Trollocs and darkfriends for a while, he assumes leadership of it by nailing a Myrddraal to a village wall. From that point on, Fain becomes a villainous mastermind.

The matter of the main characters is sadly enough a totally different one. On the positive side, Mat and Perrin seem to be improving by each passing chapter. Egwene is as she was in the first book: a dull, uninteresting character with not much of a personality at all. And Nynaeve continues to astound me with her uncontrollable temper and her completely unfounded hatred towards Moiraine.

Nevertheless, there is only one reason why this book got only four stars from me, and that reason even has a name: Rand al'Thor. I know some of you who read this will not agree with what I'm saying, but so far Rand is just the worst main character I've ever read about. He refuses to acknowledge the truth of anything, he shuns and apparently even despises those who would help him and accuses them of trying to use him, and he's blind towards being manipulated by mostly everyone else. Nynaeve can be quite irritating occasionally, but Rand constantly left me wanting to throw the book in a wall somewhere.

Fortunately there are more than enough interesting supporting characters to read about: Geofram Bornhald, such a rarity as a benevolent Whitecloak commander; the beautiful and mysterious lady Selene, encountered by Rand and Loial in a different world; Bayle Domon, Verin Sedai and many more.

The Great Hunt is in most aspects a better book than The Eye of the World. The writing is flawless, and both the storyline and the setting is perhaps even more interesting in the second volume than in the first. I considered giving this book five stars like I gave that one, but in the end I came to the conclusion that Rand al'Thor alone was by far enough reason to remove one star (at points when reading I was wondering if this was a three-star read), and other main characters were not good enough for a five-star rating either. In the end though, the book was entertaining enough with a great ending, and it managed to build the suspense leading to the next volume in the series.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Wheel of Time reviews:
#1 The Eye of the World
#2 The Great Hunt
#3 The Dragon Reborn
#4 The Shadow Rising
#5 The Fires of Heaven
#6 Lord of Chaos
#7 A Crown of Swords
#8 The Path of Daggers
#9 Winter's Heart
#10 Crossroads of Twilight
#11 Knife of Dreams
#12 The Gathering Storm
#13 Towers of Midnight
#14 A Memory of Light
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Reading Progress

December 18, 2013 – Shelved
June 2, 2014 – Started Reading
June 5, 2014 –
page 120
17.02% "Minimal reading time and Goodreads activity for me in the coming weekend due to some travelling. But I'll come back stronger next week!"
June 10, 2014 –
page 200
28.37% ""You say what you bloody want to, but you watch how you flaming say it, or I’ll bloody skin you myself, and burn the goat-kissing hide, you sheep-gutted milk-drinker.”"
June 14, 2014 –
page 308
43.69% "I don't know what to say. I'm actually struggling to continue reading this now, and occasionally it's hard to avoid throwing the book in the wall. The series itself is still captivating, but the main characters from Emond's Field are absolutely terrible. So far, at least three of them would be in the "top" ten if I should make a 'least favourite fictional characters ever' list. They need to improve now."
June 16, 2014 –
page 406
June 17, 2014 –
page 484
68.65% "After ranting a lot about how terrible the main characters are, I would like to compliment Jordan on how brilliant a character he has designed in Padan Fain."
June 17, 2014 –
page 513
June 20, 2014 –
page 642
June 20, 2014 – Finished Reading
June 21, 2014 –
page 705
100.0% "And the lady Selene proves herself to be exactly who I suspected she was from the moment I first read about her.\n \n Provides me with a considerable amount of satisfaction, even though it seemed quite obvious :)"

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more (last edited Jun 21, 2014 05:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more I bloody hate the Whitecloaks. Yeah, I'll give you that Bornhold, Sr. isn't bad, but that lunatic that Perrin thinks smells of fanaticism and Bornhold, Jr. NOT to mention, "the man who called himself Bors." Has he shown up yet? I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with Rand. I can't really be objective, b/c with the exception of Mat (who I hated in the beginning), I can only see the characters as I know them after 13 books. BUT. Rand has never been my favorite of the Big 3.

(view spoiler)

But hang on, little tomato. LOTS-o-fun things happen in book 3 ;)

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I think you'll like what goes down in book 3. Rand's PoV was one of the most interesting in it.

I didn't like this one as much as The Eye of The World either, for some reason I found it much, much slower. The ending was great, though.

Markus Jessica: Ohhhh yes, the Whitecloaks are quite dreadful. And while all kinds of fanatics are usually terrible people, 'terrible' would not even begin to describe Child Byar and his behaviour towards those he suspects to be darkfriends.
As for "the man who called himself Bors", he has only appeared once: in the prologue. I thought he seemed okay there, but I haven't really seen enough of him to say anything about him.

Rabindranauth: I completely agree with you there. Let's hope I can agree about book 3 as well :)

Gianluca Don't forget that Rand is just a young sheepherder who had never left his village up until a few months ago, and now he not only found out that he's a male channeler (so doomed to go mad and die horribly) but he also has Aes Sedai telling him that he's actually The Dragon Reborn, Light's champion against the Shadow, the man fated to give his life to both destroy and save the world. How can the guy not refuse to acknowledge his destiny?
But this is still the second book, and the characters are literally just starting to develop their own personality. And I think Rand is the one who changes the most throughout the series.

Markus Gianluca wrote: "Don't forget that Rand is just a young sheepherder who had never left his village up until a few months ago, and now he not only found out that he's a male channeler (so doomed to go mad and die ho..."

I hadn't forgotten. That's exactly what I tried to tell myself a couple of times when reading, but I didn't make Rand seem like a better character. And while I agree that he has reasons for acting like a childish, unreasonable, arrogant idiot, that still means he does act like that. Most people have reasons for being the way they are, and if someone constantly behaves like a jerk, having a reason is no excuse.

But I'm optimistic, of course. I liked Rand well enough in the first book, and that can happen again if he improves immensely as a character. In this book though, on a scale from 1 to 100, I wouldn't hesitate to give Rand a 1.

message 6: by Komal (new)

Komal Wonderfully written review, Markus.

Markus Thank you, Komal!

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