|Image courtesy Wikipedia.org
The best part of The Great Hunt is that it seems to have overcome almost everything I disliked about The Eye of the World. The female characters have more depth, and the story is told less from a strictly male perspective. The action is a lot more exciting, since Jordan was unencumbered with having to establish the foundational mythology of the book’s world. (Obviously, the first novel in a series has to provide a lot of context, but subsequent novels need not move so slowly and provide so much background information.)
The result is a fantasy novel that focuses on the action. My favorite aspect of this novel was the “political” intrigue in the book. That is, I found the various competing interests of the groups in the book to be more compelling and exciting as they unfolded than even the sword fights and thrilling chases. There is not a lot to dislike about the novel.
If I’m nitpicking, I do have a few criticisms to make. At this point in the story, the principle character, Rand, is among the least likable people in the book. I don’t like his attitude, I don’t like the way he treats other people, I don’t like how gullible he is, and I don’t like that the hero of a story is constantly wracked by fear and self-doubt. If any other character in the story were like this, it would be fine — but the hero?
Another criticism mirrors a problem with the first novel in the series. While the female characters are much more interesting in this book, they still feel like “character-types” rather than real people. You’ve got the sweet one, the older sister type, the sexy one, the spunky one... like the Spice Girls.
My final criticism is that there doesn’t seem to be a moral to this story. It’s just a series of exciting events unfolding, with no greater thought about how we readers might apply these ideas to our own lives.
Still, though, it’s a great book.