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audiobooks Fantasy

The Great Hunt (Book/Audiobook Review) by Robert Jordan

If you guys read my chat about The Wheel of Time, book 1, The Eye of the World you know that I found it slow to get going and both under/over whelming in general, but ultimately worth the reading experience.  

I stuck with the #WoTAlong2021 and absolutely flew through book two, The Great Hunt.  The pacing was better, it was more interesting in general, and Robert Jordan spent more time giving the main characters personalities and making them into people I care about! I’m so glad I stuck with the read-along!

I have so many theories that I want to talk about, but the problem is spoilers.  Because THIS IS SPOILER FREE, I will mostly write this review to tell anyone that if you read The Eye of the World and are not sure about the series, GIVE IT ONE MORE BOOK!

Bookish Quick Facts:

  • Title: The Great Hunt
  • Series: The Wheel of Time, #2
  • Author: Robert Jordan
  • Publisher & Release: Tor Books, November 1990
  • Pages: 705 (MMPB edition)
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I think fantasy fans should at least try the series

Here is the synopsis, with spoilers blocked out:

Robert Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time®, continues as Rand al’Thor and his companions set out to retrieve a powerful magical artifact from The Dark One’s Shadowspawn in The Great Hunt.

For centuries, gleemen have told the tales of The Great Hunt of the Horn. So many tales about each of the Hunters, and so many Hunters to tell of…

Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages.

And it is stolen.

In pursuit of the thieves, Rand al’Thor is determined to keep the Horn out of the grasp of The Dark One. [[*Someone –  cough spoiler hidden*]] has also learned that he is The Dragon Reborn—the Champion of Light destined to stand against the Shadow time and again. It is a duty and a destiny that requires [[this person]] to uncover and master magical capabilities he never imagined he possessed.

The world magic is explained in more detail, the male vs female halves of the magic and we also learn a lot more about the Aes Sedai, the magic wielders.  I really liked meeting the Amyrlin Seat and learning that she is a real person, as well as how deep some of the treachery runs within the White Tower.

Another high point was watching Rand, Egwene, and Nynaeve all learn about their inherent magics.  The girl power in book two was real, and Nynaeve won me over.  Min and Elayne become real people as well and there are huge spoilers as far as who Rand will marry later on, which I kind of appreciated.

There is a lot more world building too – both macro and micro.  It doesn’t come in huge info dumps this time though, but much more spread out, so I think generally it was a much more readable novel.  The pacing was just SO much more even and I cared about all of the chapters.

RJ showed a bit of a darker side to his writing as well here, as evidenced by Egwene’s time with the damane, the seanchan, and everything about “the strangers”.  An interesting subplot and I’m sure it’ll come up again before the series is done.

Other cool things were meeting other ogiers, and EVERYTHING ABOUT THE END!! Everything!  I felt like I was riding right along with Hawkwing, cheering for Perrin carrying the battle standard, and watching the battle in the sky along with the townspeople.  Perrin probably had the quietest role in the book, but came through in a HUGE way when a brave face was needed.  Somehow I think he’s going to end up staying a quiet hero in the series.

A note on the audiobook: I had an exceptionally difficult time understanding Michael Kramer in book one, but this time it was much clearer.  Either he got feedback and enunciated a little more or they managed to increase the quality of the recording, but it was 100% much better. Kate Reading is phenomenal with the women’s chapters too.  Total running time is approx 25 hours, and I listened to the edition released in 2011 by Books On Tape.

Next month we will read Book Three, The Dragon Reborn, and I can’t wait!

Categories
Fantasy

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

For YEARS now I have been so intimidated to start this huge, epic series of long books.  Especially with Bookstagram and the pressure to turn out many reviews of new books, it is a huge commitment to take on a series of books with 700-800+ pages each of tiny print.  It is interesting to note that when the book was first re released, it was split into two smaller books with larger print, and apparently marketed towards young adults.  (I ended up with a later edition MMPB with small print LOL). I don’t really think it’s a YA read, but the main characters ARE teens, and its fairly appropriate.

That said, I found a buddy read that is taking on one book per month and discussing it on discord as we go, so I said… WHY NOT! and jumped in.

Bookish Quick Facts:

  • Title: The Eye of the World
  • Series: The Wheel of Time, #1
  • Author: Robert Jordan
  • Publisher & Release: Tor Books, January 1990
  • Length: 814 pgs *mmpb versions with prologue and glossary included*
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 I think fantasy fans should give it a try, but there are many quest series with swords and sorcery out there

Here is the synopsis from GoodReads:

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

I…I can’t even begin to do a more coherent summary.  Five villagers, a sorceress, a warden, and a bard, end up on this insane quest to provide protection to the young man the dark, formerly defeated entity is seeking.  That said, “the Wheel spins as the Wheel wills”, and they end up on an epic adventure with plenty of danger, close calls, coming of ages, magic, mysteries, lore to be discovered, and countless other things.

I think, looking back, that without writing a five page essay, it’s impossible to talk about EotW … And I am appreciating the book a lot more.

The Worldbuilding: is amazing.  It goes beyond scenery and weather, beyond local customs and food, descriptions of architecture and magic, to the legends that shaped the world. So much of the lore is based on the repetition of ages and cycles and stories, and Jordan just gives us so many ancient legends that are both interesting AND relevant to the present day characters.  His descriptions, although long winded at times, fully paint the scenes and characters.

That said, it is a very plot driven book, which I love.  

The Characters: are MANY. It took me forever to get them all straight in my head, and it took a while to kind of determine who was going to be important or not.  I think the cast is way too large but the important characters do have very unique points of view in their chapters, told in third person present tense.  All I will say in summary is that the more time I spent with the characters, the more I liked them, but it took 3/4 of the book before I started to care.  Some are funny, some serious, some annoying, all very brave, and carrying the blood of legendary old lines

The Magic: makes sense.  It is explained in detail as the book goes on, with females bearing the load of magic.  It used to be equal, until the male sorcerers went crazy and broke the world.  Now the women have different affinities, but men who can channel the One Power are seen as dangerous, since their magic is still corrupted.  The book offers plenty of exciting magic, offensive and defensive, cool tricks, and plenty more.

EotW vs LotR: the comparisons made by many people  between The Eye of the World and Lord of the Rings are many, and totally obvious .., I mean RJ literally ripped off certain scenes. Ex: a dark rider almost spotting the protagonist hiding in a shrubbery, looking around slowly – and he barely changes certain names, ideas, possessive objects driving their holders crazy… It’s so obvious that I think it’s totally intentional in book one, although RJ also inserts his own world building and endgame into the story

Overall: it wasn’t until I sat down and tried to write a review, that I realized how insanely complex and incredible the book is.  I do think it’s one of many LotR-esque epic high fantasy novels out there, and the slow burn, lore based fantasy won’t be for everyone, but I do highly recommend giving it a try.  

 

Cover art by Darrel K. Sweet, who illustrated all but the final cover of the series
lovely inner artwork
The cover of the first installment when the books were split! Look at Rand and Egwene!