The Great Hunt is the action-packed second book in Robert Jordan’s acclaimed Wheel of Time fantasy series. Picking up shortly after the events of the first novel, The Eye of the World, this book plunges readers right back into the mystical and dangerous world of Rand al’Thor and his friends. In this installment, Rand discovers he is the Dragon Reborn, a prophesied hero destined to either save or destroy the world. But Rand isn’t ready to accept such a weighty responsibility or the magical powers he now wields. All he wants is to be a normal young man, but it seems the Pattern – the cosmic force that weaves the lives and destinies of all – has other plans for him.
|Title||The Great Hunt|
|Publication Date||November 15, 1990|
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As The Great Hunt opens, Rand and his compatriots Mat and Perrin are recovering from their harrowing adventures in The Eye of the World. But they don’t get to rest for long. Before Rand knows it, he finds himself the target of the Amyrlin Seat herself, the powerful leader of the Aes Sedai sisterhood of magic-wielding women. The Amyrlin Sedai insists that Rand travels to the White Tower to be trained and controlled. But Rand resists, unwilling to submit to the Aes Sedai’s machinations and desperate to escape the fate laid out for him.
To evade the White Tower’s grasp, Rand and his friends flee their home village on a dangerous quest to find the fabled Horn of Valere, an artifact with the power to raise long-dead heroes to fight in the Last Battle against the Dark One. This sets up a compelling fantasy road trip, with Rand and company pursuing the Horn while also being pursued by a host of nefarious characters and sinister forces. Jordan’s world-building skills are on full display as the group encounters a variety of intriguing cultures, landscapes, and magical phenomena. They must face treacherous mountain passes, boundless lifeless deserts, ancient cursed ruins, and more. Along the way, they make some new allies but also plenty of new and deadly enemies, including members of the shadowy Darkfriend society who worship the Dark One.
The most memorable new character met along the journey is the cocky, mysterious Seanchan warrior woman Min, who has the ability to see people’s futures. Min joins Rand’s quest and a sweet romance blooms between them. But with Min’s ominous viewings about Rand, their relationship seems doomed. Other relationships in Rand’s life also grow and change dramatically, including his friendships with Mat and Perrin, who are both coming to terms with their own newfound powers and responsibility. The bonds of camaraderie between the three ta’veren (or individuals fate itself seems to spin around) remain strong, but are tested mightily.
Jordan toggles between multiple plot threads and POV characters with ease, maintaining suspense and intrigue on every front. Though each storyline could stand alone, they artfully interweave for a satisfying narrative payoff. The evil Padan Fain resurfaces to vex Rand, hurtling events toward an explosive climax. And the devious Forsaken and their minions cause no end of trouble while pursuing Rand for their own nefarious purposes. Other subplots trace the exploits of the mighty warrior Lan as well as the conniving Political schemer Elaida.
Through it all, Jordan’s prose is lively and cinematic. He writes action scenes that leap off the page, with copious details about swords clashing, spells sizzling, bows twanging, and more. The magic system, centered around the One Power that certain characters can channel and wield, continues to unfold as more and more fantastical elements are introduced. With various factions maneuvering for influence and the Shadow stirring, apocalyptic stakes loom ahead.
For me, The Great Hunt improves upon the already strong first book. Events move at a rapid clip, with scarcely a dull moment. I blew through over 600 absorbing pages in record time, compelled to keep reading late into the night. While familiar fantasy tropes are present – a prophesied hero, an ancient evil, mystical artifacts, magical academy – Jordan infuses them with unique flair. Throughout, thought-provoking themes related to duty, destiny, prophecy, corruption, madness, and more add philosophical depth.
In my opinion, this is epic fantasy storytelling at its finest. Robert Jordan has crafted a fully realized imaginary world teeming with deep history and complex politics, where danger and wonder lurk around every corner. The Great Hunt cements this series as one of the all-time fantasy greats. I’m completely hooked and can’t wait to continue the adventures in the next book, The Dragon Reborn.
So if you’re looking for an immersive fantasy saga to sweep you up in an incredible tale of magic and adventure, look no further than The Wheel of Time. The Great Hunt is a must-read for any fan of the genre. Just be prepared to lose plenty of sleep as you race through this riveting book!