The Great Hunt is the second book in the Wheel of Time series, which has a huge following across the globe. The book continues the story of Rand al’Thor and his friends from Two Rivers, with their destinies woven tightly into the fate of the world. The Great Hunt refers to the search for a mythical relic from the Age of Legends, known as the Horn of Valere. Whosoever blows the horn will summon to his aid the heroes of ages past from beyond the grave, led by Artur Hawkwing himself. The Horn, found by Rand and his companions in the previous volume, is stolen from the Shienaran keep by Darkfriends and Trollocs. Rand and a Shienaran Lord are given the task of retrieving it. To complicate things, the Aes Sedai have learned that Rand al’Thor can channel the Power, like the Aes Sedai, and that he is the Dragon Reborn, a mythical hero that is reborn in every age to fight Shaitan, the Lord of Lies, Balazamon. Also, foreign invaders known as the Seanchan, claiming to be the army of Artur Hawkwing, have landed, with monsterous steeds and leashed Aes Sedai at their command.
For me this book is stronger than the first in both plotting and originality, though it does borrow a little bit of the King Arthur mythos. Also, though I don’t know who came up with the idea first, the Leashed Aes Sedai, or damane as they are known, controled with pain through a bond with their leash-holder, the suldam, have a similar relationship as that of the Mordsith and their chosen, found in the Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth. Although the Wheel of Time for me are a better read, the leashed-relationship seems better defined and explored by Terry Goodkind.
The plot is a lot tighter than the original, with no part of it feeling convuluted or a drag to get through. The characters develop more into their roles, with Rand al’Thor playing the reluctant hero as well as any before him. As if things aren’t complicated enough for him, he seems to be a magnet for hot, powerful women, with even one of the Forsaken taking an interest in him.
There is much on offer here for fantasy readers and the rate of violence and romance is kept at a decent level so that it is suitable for everyone aged 10+ and deep enough for older readers to nod their heads at. Overall, a proper Goodread.