Every once in a while I read a book so old its almost like reading it for the first time. These are lovely experiences--I realize that I almost never have to go to the bookstore to find something new to read unless I really, really want to. With all the reading material I've accumulated in my apartment, it would take a solid year or two for me to get through it all. This shouldn't be encouraging, but oddly enough it is: since I don't have as much time for pleasure reading as I would like, it pretty much ensures that I've always got something new to look forward to if I don't mind getting covered in dust to find it.
Earlier this week I dug Robert Jordan's
The Great Hunt
out of my bookcase. It is the second book in his phenomenal series
The Wheel of Time
: quintessential fantasy story about an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. Each book is almost Tolkien-esque in its scope, and there are about 10 of them so far. What's even better is that the series isn't even finished yet! Jordan's writing is fluid and gorgeous, but what I especially like is that every single one of his characters, without exception, is incredibly human. Very often in fantasies of this proportion--and maybe just fantasy in general--the more peripheral characters seem one-sided. But not this time. Jordan creates his world down to the smallest detail, even having a glossary of all the terms he's used in the back of the book. Following in Tolkein's formidable footsteps, he has even made up his own language. It almost seems like a history more than anything else, in the sense that he has created a complete and believable world that you can lose yourself in; and that is amazing.
The Great Hunt
is centered around the Horn of Valere, an ancient object meant to call dead heroes back to life to fight at the final epic confrontation between the forces of good and evil. The Horn is found and then stolen in this particular volume; and of course the narrative chronicals what happens during the aftermath. It is quite a beautifully written tale. I could say how it ends, of course, but I won't. There would be no point in reading it then, and Mr. Jordan does a much better job with this story than I ever could.
Now I want to read the entire series over again. I hope you do too, once you've read this book. Of course, it might be better to start from the first one, called
The Eye of the World
, but who says you can't skip around if you would like? I do it all the time. Whatever order you choose to read these books in, they are worth it. I promise.