Review: The Great Hunt
Thursday, July 14, 2022

The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time, #2)The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I definitely enjoyed this story more than the first installment in the series, The Eye of the World. I think the writing was smoother and the threads fit together a little more naturally. These books are designed to be read in order, so a lot of the plot and character growth that happens in this book is directly dependent on the events and reveals of book one.

Let's start with the characters. Rand continues to be the central protagonist, though he is not always the most important character. This is definitely a large cast story, which it kind of has to be to get that epic quality one would expect from this type of book. I liked Rand better in this story. While he started off annoying (pushing his friends away to save them), and he still made plenty of mistakes, I feel like he solidified as a character in this book. He no longer felt like an empty shell narrating events as they happened around him. Even when he made bad choices, at least he was actually choosing things.

Perrin and Mat took a back seat during this adventure. While both were present, neither showed any significant growth, although Perrin did come to accept his wolf-speak talent a bit more. Egwene continues to be my least favorite character. Although she was somewhat less annoying in this book she continues to come across as conceited and self-righteous. Nynaeve on the other hand seems to have evened out into a more relatable character that I can really root for. She's strong and proud, but not arrogant. There were lots of side characters that added flavor to the story. Moiraine and Lan were notably absent save a bit at the beginning and a scene at the end, but they were replaced by Verin, a sister Aes Sedai whom I quite enjoyed learning more about. This book also introduced multiple new adversaries to the world, including the strangers from across the sea and a familiar darkfriend who's been turned into something more.

As for the world, this story expands on what was built in book one, introducing more societies and revealing more of the hidden past. We get to visit one of the ogier steading, where more of Loial's culture and character arc are exposed. We visit a modern city consumed by political intrigue. And we're even shown a glimpse of a parallel dimension where characters live out the many iterations of their possible lives. I love the rich flavor of this world, and I'm excited to see more of it.

My biggest complaint about this book would probably be the over-the-top character of Selene. I guess maybe we're supposed to assume she cast some kind of spell on Rand and his companions, because I honestly can't imagine any other explanation for them ignoring all the red flags that went up as soon as she entered the scene. Sure she's beautiful and cultured, but I'd like to think even a hormonal young man like Rand wouldn't be taken in so completely by a pretty face when she was so very clearly manipulating him.

I'm curious to see where the next book leads since Rand can no longer hide from who he is. I'm also looking forward to diving deeper into some of these side characters, as I think that will be necessary to bring this sprawling of a story together.

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