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Review Revisited: Robert Jordan – The Great Hunt

November 14, 2014

Re-read. The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (1990)
The Wheel of Time, Book 2

Read my review of book:
1. The Eye of the World
12. The Gathering Storm
13. The Towers of Midnight
14. A Memory of Light

Read By: Michael Kramer & Kate Reading
Length: 26h 34m (705 pages)

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Originally Read: 10 October 2004
Re-read Started: 02 October 2014
Re-read Finished: 16 October 2014

Where did it come from? The library (the audiobook, anyways; I have a paper copy too but wanted to re-listen).
Why do I have it? I’ve been meaning to re-read the whole series since the final one came out last year, and now seemed like as good a time as any!

This should be called: “The
Great Chase-The-Bad-Guys-Across-
A-Whole-Continent”

Summary (spoilers ahoy!): This book begins with all of the characters in Fal Dara in Shienar, preparing for a visit from the Amyrlin Seat. Padan Fain escapes from the dungeons, steals the Horn of Valere, and leaves a Dark Prophecy on the wall. Egwene and Nynaeve leave with the Aes Sedai to go to Tar Valon, where they begin their training. Rand, Mat, Perrin, Loial, and a group of Shienaran soldiers follow Fain and the Horn first to Cairhein (Rand, Loial, and Hurin by means of a portal stone where they meet Lanfear in disguise), and then to Falme on Toman Head, the first town to have fallen to the Seanchan invasion. Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, and Min are lured out of the White Tower by Liandrin, a Red Ajah, and travel with her to Falme via the Ways, where they are handed over to the Seanchan, and Egwene is leashed with an a’dam. The boys sneak into town, and reclaim the Horn of Valere and Mat’s dagger. Nynaeve, Elayne, and Min manage to free Egwene, but they all seemed to be pinned in a battle between the Seanchan and the approaching Whitecloak army. Mat blows the Horn of Valere, and the Heroes of the Horn come and drive back the Seanchan, while Rand battles Ishamael in the sky over the town, effectively announcing that he is the Dragon Reborn.

Original Review (after a previous re-read in 2006): The first half (or so) of this book drags on and on for me, all of the time spent chasing the horn across Shienar, through the Portal Stones world, and around Cairhien gets pretty darn boring. However, once everyone makes it to Toman Head, the pace picks up and the last few hundred pages fly by – there’s action, there’s intrigue, and everything is moving by so quickly but still with so much impact. Like all of the books in this series, there are details introduced here that that aren’t picked up as important until two, three, five books later, and even on a third re-read of the series I’m picking up new threads and plots and subtleties I missed the first and second times. I’m also reminded of why Perrin used to be one of my favorite characters – before he got all “save my wife” this and “FaileFaileFaile” that, he was a really interesting character with a lot of subtleties to his personality that got fleshed out into caricatures in later books. Overall, the slow first half makes this one the worst of the first six books in the series, but there’s still a lot going on to keep attention and interest.

Thoughts on a Re-read: Okay, I didn’t have nearly as negative a reaction to the first half of this book this time around. I agree that it’s still probably the weakest out of the first six books, but it definitely didn’t drag this time around – or at least, not much. The parts in the Portal Stone world are still my least-favorite part — potentially because it’s our first taste of Rand being chauvinistic to the point of dim-wittedness: she’s pretty so she can’t possibly be evil, and even if she is almost certainly lying and manipulating, we’ve got to go out of our way to help her because she’s a woman. (I don’t know that I picked up that Selene was Lanfear my first time through – I don’t know that we know enough of who Lanfear is the first time through – but it should be clear to anyone whose brain is not pickled by testosterone that she is up to no good.) I liked the part in Cairhien much more this time as well, and it contains one of the scenes that has stuck in my head since the first time I read the book – Rand et al. sneaking around the Illuminator’s guildhouse in the dark.

It was also interesting re-reading this with a fresh idea of who the darkfriends are — some obvious ones that get revealed in this book, but others that don’t get revealed until much later, all gave an interesting perspective on a number of key events in this book. I also remembered exactly what scene it was that made Perrin my favorite: towards the end, when Rand’s been seen fighting in the sky at Falme, and it’s clear that he’s the Dragon Reborn, Perrin’s first response is not to gawp or to make a snarky selfish comment (*ahem*Mat*), but rather to go out and take his axe and chop down a sapling so that the dragon banner can have a pole. He’s so awesome! I just have to remember that beyond the next book, which is where Faile shows up and ruins everything until the second to last book.

Although, with all that, probably the reason why this book didn’t seem to drag very much this time is because I totally tore through it at lightning speed. It’s so engrossing, and so enjoyable to be back in the world that brought me fully into fantasy fandom in the first place. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Many of them, over at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: The man who called himself Bors, at least in this place, sneered at the low murmuring that rolled around the vaulted chamber like the soft gabble of geese.

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