I have returned to Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series and have just started Book 3: The Dragon Reborn. It was Amazon’s TV adaptation that got me back into reading The Wheel of Time. After hearing such a divided reaction to the streaming series, I wanted to return to the source and see what was upsetting a lot of long-term fans of the books. I tried The Eye of the World years ago but never finished it. It just didn’t grab me and I wrote it off as Tolkien fan fiction. I know, I know, it was a rather hasty and foolish decision which I’ve now remedied.
I listened to audiobooks of The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt earlier this year. I enjoyed them both, especially the second book. It felt like Robert Jordan had found his voice and stepped out from behind Tolkien’s shadow. The Great Hunt’s story was also a lot more exciting than the first book’s in my opinion. But I can appreciate the slower-paced set up of The Eye of the World now. I can also understand what many book fans were upset about. The showrunners have changed a lot of the lore, aged up the characters, made some head-scratching casting choices, created new characters and changed some major plot points. Why couldn’t they just adapt the books as they were written?
Disclaimer: I started reading The Eye of the World in spring last year, but I didn’t enjoy it and I gave up about halfway through. I found it a very generic fantasy story which felt too much like poorly done Tolkien fan fiction. I also thought the pacing was very slow and parts of it were boring. So, I didn’t continue with the series. (Don’t attack me just yet, keep reading below.)
Then at the end of 2021, I started watching the Amazon Studios Wheel of Time TV Series adaptation and got pulled into the story. I know this adaptation has been getting a lot of criticism, especially by fans of the books, but I thought it was well made. I haven’t watched the final episode yet. I paused my viewing because I picked up a copy of Book 2: The GreatHunt. I wanted to give the books another chance. This time I got drawn into the story and enjoyed the second book much more than the first. I’ll watch the final episode soon then give my thoughts on the whole season. (I’ve been enjoying fellow blogger H.P.’s coverage on his blog.)
For me, The Great Hunt was a 3-star read. A Wakizashi 3-star rating means it was good and I enjoyed it; a solid story which was well written but didn’t blow me away. I’m not going to describe the plot, instead I will highlight what I enjoyed about the story. (*This may include some mild spoilers.)