Before I get to my thoughts on the second ‘Wheel of Time’ book, first I got some news on my own book, ‘Lesser Evil’. I have mentioned before that there has been an audiobook in the works, and I wanted to give a bit more information on that. The producer of the audiobook is Richard Coombs, whose work you can see at his Twitter, @Goombasa. We’re looking to have the audiobook out in October, which, conveniently, should align closely with my current projected release of the sequel to Lesser Evil, ‘Die By The Sword.’ It will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, and those of you who already own a Kindle edition of the book will be able to pick up the audibook at a big discount.
Alright, on to Wheel of Time. So, after a ‘meh’ impression left by ‘The Eye of the World,’ I was really looking for the second book, ‘The Great Hunt’ to show me what it was that made this series the ‘must-read’ on everyone’s fantasy lists. And overall, there was a definitive improvement. Perhaps it was Moriane’s absence through the majority of the book that allowed us to see the characters think and act for themselves and not like a bunch of kids on a leash. Jordan’s longwindedness still makes the book…a difficult read at times. The paperback I have is close to 700 pages, and large sections of that are fairly uneventful. Dreams and more dreams (and yes, I get the dreams are important, and dangerous, but they are also confusing and rarely serve to advance the plot, at least thus far), Rand resisting his power and his destiny, the women coming to terms with the way things are handled in the White Tower. The high points are fairly high, but others are still a bit of a drudge. If nothing else, the climax of the story was pretty exciting, and that alone will keep me going through the next book.
The writing for the female characters was better at times, and worse at other times. Elayne and Min both met Rand exactly once, why were they so in love with him? I guess Min technically doesn’t, but predicts she will, but still, it was kind of weird watching this scene of three women in what is effectively wizarding academy being brought together as friends by virtue of “we all know this one boy, who is really cute.” And Nynaeve (and points to anyone who can tell me exactly how that is supposed to be pronounced) finds her toughest test is to give up a life with Lan, tougher than abandoning the people of her village to a terrible fate or facing off the with the Forsaken, and once again I am left wondering where the hell that infatuation came from and why it was so strong. That said, the points where the female characters weren’t defined by their crushes were pretty strong. I was incredibly impressed that they managed to rescue Egwene from her slave-control collar thing on their own; when their storyline and the guys’ ended up in the same location I was really expecting Rand would have to come to the rescue, and though he tried, the women had freed Egwene already.
Perrin remains my favorite of the main characters, I just wish he would accept his wolf-powers already and become a badass animal master. They are undeniably useful. I understand his fear of not wanting to lose himself, but come on, your companions include several Aes Sedai, a sniffer, an Ogier, a woman who can read the future (kind of), and the freaking Dragon Reborn. A guy with wolf-powers is among the least weird.
So the Horn summons dead heroes, but they’re only as effective as Rand is? Rand had to fight The Dark One (in the sky or something like that) and whenever he pressed forward, the heroes pushed back the Seachan, and whenever he was pressed back the Seachan surged. What a way to put all the pressure on Rand. Good things Lan’s few swordsmanship lessons were apparently enough for Rand to take on the Dark One himself.
It must suck to live in Cairhien, where everyone from servant to lord is part of ‘The Great Game.’ Hell, doesn’t even seem like a great vacation spot, Rand can’t spend a day there without everyone trying to figure out what he is up to. Of course, being Rand, he accidentally convinces everyone he is a master player and attracts the attention of the two most powerful people in the city. I think I could read an entire series of just Rand stumbling his way into success and meeting important people/royalty.
The ending was kind of sudden. After the climax, we get a short scene of Rand waking up and everyone had already left him. You’d think these girls who are all crazy about him would have refused to leave until he woke up and they could speak to him. But then again Moraine was there and she’s a tough person to refuse. Still felt like the book gave very little closure considering the events that just happened.
That’s all I got to say on it. I think I will have the third book done by next week, but I also have a hectic week ahead so I can’t make a guarantee. But I will post something, regardless.