The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan
Rand al’Thor and his companions set out to retrieve a powerful magical artifact from The Dark One’s Shadowspawn.
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. But he 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 Rand to uncover and master magical capabilities he never imagined he possessed.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The second instalment is described as following on directly from the first but some time has obviously passed. The story starts with Rand and company reasonably settled in Fal Dara and Rand having enough instruction from Lan to become at least a competent swordsman. Overall with all the characters there is a feeling that they have all grown up a bit since the last time we saw them.
***SPOILERS AHEAD*** A lot happens in this book. The main focus is Rand coming to terms with his destiny, accepting that he can channel and that he is the Dragon Reborn. How he goes from denial and rejecting this to giving in to the forces of the Pattern and finally accepting his fate is really well done with a powerful ending that sets the scene for the next book.
Another important strand gives us our first insights into Aes Sedai society and politics both within Tar Valon and outside, how the different Ajahs work together while still striving to be in control. This is just a first glimpse of what is to come. We also get first impressions of the process whereby girls in training pass through the different stages and the trials this involves.
Finally we meet The Seanchan. They seem like the real wild card with nobody in the Westlands knowing anything about them or that they even existed. They come with strange customs, armour and beasts and with a determination to reclaim the world of Artur Hawkwing for the Seanchan Empire. Part of this strategy is to capture and enslave all women who can channel thereby threatening the entire social structure of the Westlands just as it appears The Last Battle is approaching.
Overall this book widens the scope of the story tremendously with many new strands introduced. When I first read this series the first book intrigued me but it was this one that really hooked me and returning to it now I can see why.