The Great Hunt

 The Rambling Introduction

Despite some crazy long days (and nights) working, I did manage to pick up book two of The Wheel of Time and give it a good read.  Managed only about 1/4 of it during the week, but made a big dent on Thursday night, and then pretty much finished it Friday and into Saturday.  I still have an appetite to read them all – we’ll see how strong that is after the expected food poisoning around book 7 – and I’ll keep reviewing them.

The Review

Book two of The Wheel of Time picks up literally where book one left off. We are with Rand and the others in Fal Dara, near the Borderlands after the battle at the end of The Eye of the World. From here, things progress at a reasonable clip, and Jordanisms aside, are pretty interesting and engaging until about a third of the way into the story. Then however, it becomes hard going.

I found it hard because the characters are inevitably split up, which happened in book one as well, but it’s not handled as smoothly in the early parts of The Great Hunt. In The Eye of the World there was always an obvious goal for the whole group – get to Tar Vallon. It drove all their decisions (right up until it changes, for reasons I’ll leave to those who’ve not read the first one). In The Great Hunt though, the reasons are less well defined in some ways. Or they are well defined, but less interesting, I’m not entirely sure which. Despite the obvious risks that Jordan introduces if the goals aren’t achieved, it’s just not quite enough to flow properly.

Along with that, a new character is added, and her presence irritates me because I never like significant personalised deception as a plot device. That’s odd I admit, but I just never enjoy it. I don’t mind the deception of politics or war, and non-personalised deception, but when I know there’s some deception going on, and can see a character being fooled by it, I struggle.

However, once beyond the middle of the book, the plot tightens up again, the pace improves and it’s a much more enjoyable rush to the finish than it feels like it might be in the middle.

There are some moving moments in the book, and some really touching scenes as well. If you like honour and justice there’s plenty of that to go around too. We follow all the characters from the first book, we learn more about them, and most of them grow, we meet a few more legends, and for the first time (I think) we get point-of-view pieces for Moiraine.

Also, Verin makes an appearance, and I love her.

The book features my favourite scene so far, out of both the first and second books, where Lan takes Rand under his wing and teaches him a little Borderlands pomp and ceremony to bolster him against the Aes Sedai.

Of all the major characters that transfer from book one, Egwene and Nynaeve make the most progress in terms of character development, they also suffer more than the other characters (along with a friend or two that started as possibly minor characters in book one). Rand, Mat and Perrin do make some progress, but it’s more subtle overall. Moiraine and Lan even show a little bit of development here as well, which is good considering how static they are during the first book. The end though, as so often in Jordan’s novels drives all of the characters forward in a big leap, and changes them for ever.

The Great Hunt isn’t quite as polished as The Eye of the World, and the annoying habits that Jordan brings get in the way more than they did in the first one, but it’s still worth a read, it’s still entertaining, and it’s still unique.

The Retrospective

I try and avoid actual plot spoilers in this section, but I do reveal some of my frustrations with the overall series to date, so you may want to read carefully if you’ve never read the books.

I don’t remember anywhere near as much of this book as I did the first one.  I remembered most of the basics, how it started and roughly how it ended, but the detail eluded me until I was in it, which was a surprise.  In some ways it was good, I saw a lot more than I did the first few times I read it, and in other ways it was frustrating because I knew something was going to happen, but couldn’t remember when.

I’ve already alluded to the most frustrating bit for me plot-wise in the review section, which is basically the introduction of Selene.  Because I know who she is and how that plays out, I found it harder to cope with than normal.  Also, I sometimes think that Jordan assumed his readers were as stupid as his characters.  If you have to make it that obvious that someone is lying or behaving oddly, but not let your characters notice it, then you need to think about it and give your readers more respect.

So overall, not as memorable as the first one, and I think it suffers from ‘middle of a trilogy’ syndrome.

The Angry Spoilers

There are spoilers here, for the book and possibly for the series.  Stop reading if, somehow, you’ve never read these books before.

Seriously, spoilers.

Jordan allows his main flaw (in my view) to really show through during parts of The Great Hunt.  At times, his characters behave as though they have no common sense or are plain stupid.  However, we know that’s not true.  We know his characters can be clever, and intelligent and observant, so when they step out of character and act dumb for plot reasons, it’s really quite infuriating.

I’ll give you a specific example.  In book one, we witness the descent of Mat into madness thanks to carrying the dagger.  Egwene and Rand, among others, see this and know it to be true.  Egwene isn’t stupid.  Yet Egwene upon visiting Fain regularly, a man she knows to be a darkfriend and who Morgaine has described as dangerous, comments on but otherwise ignores the fact that the guards around Fain are becoming more surly, more rude every day.

At no point does she connect to the two things together.  At no point does Rand make the connection when it’s described to him.  Yeh yeh, I get it, they were both under stress, but it’s out of character to not even question it (unless there’s some great mystery yet to be revealed to me).

Equally, Ingtar’s behaviour descends towards the same kind of crazed intensity in the search for the Horn, and yet Rand pays it no attention.  Rand, a man who knows he’s going to go crazy, who has watched Mat do it basically twice, ignores Ingtar’s increasing switch from ‘we will find the horn’ to ‘I MUST HAVE THE HORN FOR MYSELF’.

It grates on me.

Moving on.

The second book once again reveals a bunch of stuff, the plot moves forward a great deal (eventually).  We learn about ter’angreal, we learn about a bunch more cities, the Seanchan, loads of channellers every-fucking where, the Aiel make a show, other worlds, other possibilities, portal stones, and a whole bunch of other things.  Not as much as book one though, never as much as book one.  The flood of stuff has slowed ever so slightly to only a strong torrent.  As the books progress it will eventually turn into a wasteland of nothing new happening (in my memory).

One final thing, and I’ll expand on this in the book 3 rant.  If you search the web for ‘Wheel of Time Feminism’ or ‘Wheel of Time misogyny’, you’ll get a million hits.  There’s a theme here, with Jordan, of men and women failing to work together.  It sneaks everywhere in his writing, and he’s either trying to introduce themes and concepts and make us think, or he’s got the oddest world view ever about how men and women operate.  We’ll keep an eye on how that progresses.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Robert Jordan
  • Series: The Wheel of Time (2)
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Our Week in Books – Week 14, 2013

TraceyTracey

I had a week off from work this week, lots of reading time I thought – it would appear not, not sure what I did all week but did not read anywhere near as much as I expected!

I started the week with book two in the key trilogy by Nora Roberts – Key of Knowledge. This is probably my favourite series by this author, it has a paranormal basis with of course a solid romance running through. I love the characters and am looking forward to reading the final book in this trilogy even if it is very far fetched. If you are thinking about reading it start with the first one – Key of light. 4.5 stars.

I then decided to read some books on my Kindle which have been building up. I started with Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid by Maureen Driscoll and really enjoyed it. A very romantic story with strong characters – the heroine is working as an unofficial surgeon in a small village, shunned by people she once thought of as friends after a major scandal (for the 19th Century anyway!). The hero is part of a large ton family – the Kellingtons, the great thing is there are books about all the family members – yay! It did not always seem appropriate to the period in either language or deeds but I still enjoyed it – 4 stars

I then moved on to The Dying Game by Beverley Barton. I always enjoy her books, the plots are so good and keep you guessing all the way. Those of you who enjoy a good romantic suspense should give her books a try, she has a lot! 4.5 stars

My next book is currently in progress – Blood Born by Linda Howard and Linda Jones, very good so far – comments to follow next week.

Unfortunately I am now back at work – something else to interfere with my reading time!

GreteGrete

Well I failed miserably on the reading front this week, as I have been doing spring cleaning and getting some of the clutter out of the house. There have also been several PC games I have been waiting for, so in the last few weeks have finished the new Tombraider, Bioshock Infinite and Dead Space 3, all highly recommended!

I have read some more of The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan but am taking another break to start Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan.  It’s great so far, excellent beginning and there should be a review up this week!

That’s all from me for now… must try harder!! 😉


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.

Our Week In Books – Week 13, 2013

TraceyTracey

This week I found myself unable to let go of the Cynsters quite yet, so started with another couple of books which I enjoyed immensely.  The Perfect Lover and The Ideal Bride both get 4 stars from me.

I then decided to move on from the Cynsters but stayed with the historical romance genre and picked up The Devil’s Web by Mary Balogh. Usually I absolutely love Ms. Balogh’s books, but for some reason I found myself not liking the protagonists very much and as a result my enjoyment of the book was affected. I felt James was totally self-centred and selfish rather than as tortured as I think he was meant to come across, and Madeleine was just not likeable. The story however was okay and I would give it 2.5 stars. It was a much darker romance than I am used to so if you are not really into the hearts and flowers type romances, you may enjoy this one more. There were some very intense and emotional scenes especially towards the end when they accept their love for each other.

A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan was my next pick, a solid romance designed to make you feel warm and fuzzy (which of course it did). Sarah Morgan is probably my favourite Mills and Boon author, I always feel happy after reading her books even though she usually manages to make me cry at some point, and this book was no exception! 4 stars.

Then what should pop through my door except Lover at Last – well no prizes for guessing what my next book was.  I very quickly finished it and loved it, this series is showing no sign of fading. Watch out for a joint review later this week.

Until next time!

P1030285Grete

Yes, it’s time I finally joined in on this weekly blog post and while I’m not the demon speed reader Tracey is, I have been getting through some of the books I have badly wanted to.  My week has also been weirdly spaced out with my husband being on holiday although he has been enjoying some quality time with the xbox which has left me free to read.  I do confess I was caught up in some games too so it’s not ALL been reading *blush*.

With the final book of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) being released at the start of the year, I really wanted to catch up on the last four or five books, finish the series and find out how it all ended.  My memory for books just isn’t what it used to be so that means it’s re-read time!  I finished Book One, The Eye of the World, and was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I remember it being good but as I first read it in 1992 and a lifetime ago I wondered if it would stand up to today’s fantasy.  I will do a review for it soon as older books need love too.

A Graphic Novel came next – Dragon Age: Those Who Speak by David Gaider, Alexander Freed and Chad Hardin.  This is the collected sequel to Dragon Age: The Silent Grove and continues the story of Alistair, Isabella and Varric.  Just as good as the first one and a solid 4 stars.

Lover At Last by J.R. Ward arrived and I was so excited to read it!  I have been waiting for Blay and Qhuinn’s story for ages and it did not disappoint.  I couldn’t put it down and loved it SO much!  As Tracey said, our joint review will be up this week 🙂

I’m now reading The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, Book Two of The Wheel of Time and it is pretty good so far.

That’s it from me, see you next week!


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.