The Great Hunt picks up where we left off at the end of The Eye of the World and keeps the pedal to the metal almost all the whole way through. The world veers away from Tolkienism (is that a word?) and feels fresh and original. Our heroes are on another epic chase across the land, and the world just gets bigger and bigger as we go. I almost couldn't stop myself from tearing into Book Three long enough to write this.
As more of his companions come around to learning and accepting what he is (even as he stubbornly refuses it himself), Rand is slowly growing to be a much more likeable character for me. I never disliked him, exactly, but thus far the rest of the group have proven far more interesting, and Rand is only ever where he is because of everyone else. His thought process, as much as we see of it, is almost always frustrating, either because he is missing some crucial information, or he's just being an idiot.
Of course, it will all work out alright for him either way because if there is one single main character in this story, it's Rand al'Thor. Knowing that only makes the frustration worse, because somehow, someway, the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, so even the worst decisions turn out alright in the end. We do see Rand start to prove himself as a swordsman, and there's just enough time spent practicing the forms Lan taught him beforehand that it's believable. Twice marked by the heron, now!
- I'm a little surprised Mat is still around, though I am glad he's alive and kicking. Now that he's blown the Horn, we can be sure he'll make it to the end, but something about the first book had me feeling like his death was an upcoming plot driver. He's an emotional roller coaster, that one!
- Not enough wolves in this one. Perrin needs to make peace with who he is, because who he is, is a goddamn badass. And, I want to see Elyas again.
- Nynaeve is certainly coming into her own, though this ongoing attitude toward Moiraine is exhausting. I suppose it helps her focus her strength for now, but this vendetta has got to go. I can't wait to see how powerful she becomes with more training!
- I mean, we all knew Selene wasn't a good guy, right? So far though, Lanfear isn't doing so much to instill fear as to reiterate that yes, all the men in this book are heterosexual, and the author expects that you, dear reader, are as well.
- The sul'dam and their damane are absolutely terrifying for most of the time we spend with them, but then Nynaeve is all, hold my beer, and very quickly it becomes, sul'dam who?
What else can I say, but on to the next? I don't know if I'll end up reading all fourteen of these in a row, but it doesn't feel like I can stop now!