The Wheel will weave the Pattern around this young man as it wills, whatever our plans.
A couple of months have passed since the conclusion of The Eye of the World,and for the most part the world remains unaware that Rand al’Thor, village rustic and novice adventurer, is the prophesied Dragon Reborn. Feared as the breaker of the world as well as its savior, the Dragon’s return augers the approach of Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle with the Dark One.
Still hoping to escape his doomed destiny, Rand sets out on a new mission along with lifelong friends Mat and Perrin, this time as part of an expedition pursuing the stolen Horn of Valere, which is said to have the power to summon the heroes of ages past to battle. Along with the Horn, they seek Mat’s cursed dagger, which must be recovered before he can be cured of its deadly taint. Meanwhile, fellow villagers Egwene and Nynaeve journey to the White Tower to begin their training in the use of the One Power, only to find themselves caught by the scheming of the Black Ajah, Aes Sedai dedicated to the Dark One’s service.
And far to the west an army from across the sea has begun an invasion, claiming to be the returned armies of the ancient king, Artur Hawkwing.
· · ·
The Great Huntcontinues to set the stage for The Wheel of Time series while telling a story that, in many ways, reads like just another Tolkien knockoff … and sometimes not a particularly well-executed knockoff at that. As the characters blunder from one inevitable encounter to the next, whether they be infiltrating the ballrooms of noble society or traveling through “the worlds that might have been,” it kind if feels time like Jordan is getting impatient with his own story, like he is anxiously checking off a list of concepts, people, and places that need to be introduced in the course of the book. As with The Eye of the World, the magic still feels a bit undefined or haphazard, too; we’ve got everything from portal stones and alternate realities to another spectacular and inexplicable sword duel in the sky.
Among the better moments in the book, and there are several, the blowing of the Horn of Valere is by far the most satisfying. As the heroes of legend are summoned from beyond the grave, their names alone—Rogosh Eagle-eye, Gaidal Cain, “Golden-haired” Birgitte, and, of course, Artur Hawkwing—hint at the enormous world and mythology Jordan still has waiting in the wings. Realizing this, perhaps it’s no wonder that he has his characters rushing from place to place by whatever means imaginable or introducing as much of the world and its people as possible. In laying the foundation for such an ambitious series, there really is so much ground to cover.
While The Great Hunt is not the strongest fantasy novel, it is clear that Jordan has larger plans for the series, plans that are just getting set in motion.