Book Review: The Gathering Storm by Jordan and Sanderson (4 stars)

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

4 out of 5 stars

Read in November 2009

Re-Read in March 2013

While I’ve read, and liked, nearly everything published (non-YA) by Sanderson, I started reading The Gathering Storm with a chip on my shoulder. And the Prologue disappointed me a bit. It just didn’t feel right. The more I read, however, the better I felt. By the end of the novel, I honestly couldn’t tell you what parts were authored by Jordan and which were authored by Sanderson.

Since this is the twelfth book of the Wheel of Time series, I’m going to avoid any kind of plot synopsis and spoilers. I will say the story moved forward significantly in this volume. I am very pleased with the ending, not so much that it stands alone, but that it was a logical place to stop in the story arc(s).

I felt the lion’s share of the novel dealt with Egwene’s story arc. I enjoyed and savored all of those chapters, especially the one encapsulating the return of Verin. I am also very satisfied with the progress made on Elaida’s story arc.

Rand was the hardest character to read and relate to, as expected. Most of his character development is internal, brooding and dark. The weather forecasts his state of mind quite well.

Surprisingly, Mat’s story appealed to me. Usually, I have to force myself to read chapters relating to Mat, as he’s always been my least favorite character in the cast.

Perrin gets only a couple of chapters. Aviendha gets more and makes quite a leap during her last appearance in this novel. I really wanted to see more from her story arc, but I can wait, patiently or not.

Cadsuane blundered signficantly about midway through the novel, so that provided a bit of drama. Nynaeve learned, instinctively, weaves never before tried since the Age of Legends (assumedly) and essentially became Rand’s backup Aes Sedai adviser.

I recommend this to all Wheel of Time fans, even if you gave up back around volume seven or eight. Sanderson is the right choice to take us to and through the Last Battle.

March 2013 musings:  I re-read this as part of a months-long group read of the entire Wheel of Time series that began in April 2012.  I resolved to add the ebook edition to my library each month and I purchased the first nine volumes in the series.  I wanted to take better advantage of my commute time (over two hours every weekday) and my evening walk-the-dog time (between 30-60 minutes most days), so I switched to audiobooks on the tenth book.  At first, I thought the male reader narrated a bit fast, but by the time I reach The Gathering Storm, I couldn’t imagine anyone else reading the male and female points of view.  I love knowing how to properly pronounce the unique phrases and proper names.

The End … Finally

I came home to a pleasant surprise Monday evening (January 7, 2012), delivered by my friendly postal employee.  I received my signed first edition hardcover copy of A Memory of Light one day early, the day before the official release:

First Edition Hardcover Received 1/7/2013
First Edition Hardcover Received 1/7/2013
First Edition Hardcover signed by Brandon received 1/7/2013
First Edition Hardcover signed by Brandon received 1/7/2013

As you can see in the photo above, Brandon aptly personalized my copy with the phrase ‘The End.’  I started reading this series twenty-three years ago and I nearly gave up hope, when Robert Jordan passed away, of ever reading the long prophesied Last Battle.  Soon, all my questions will be answered (or so I hope).

I stayed up two hours past my normal bed time to read the prologue and the first six chapters.  I’ve read another six chapters since then and will read a couple more before falling asleep tonight.  I predict that by Sunday, I’ll be posting a review here of my thoughts on the longest, sprawliest epic fantasy series I’ve ever read and whether A Memory of Light was worth the wait (and the hype).

Final Prologue Released Early

Tor announced today the early release of the final Prologue in the Wheel of Time series.

Click on the cover at left for more details on where to obtain your copy of By Grace and Banners Fallen.  Spoiler warning, though, as they comments on that Tor article are full to brimming with them.

I bought my copy over lunch and will read it this evening on my Nook Color.

If you’re looking for a friendly place to join a re-read (or inaugural perusal) of the Wheel of Time series, pop on over to the Fantasy Book Club Series group at GoodReads where we are currently in the middle of Lord of Chaos.

The Time Is Right For A Re-Read of WoT

What’s a WoT? (or so you might be asking yourself). A WoT is an acronym for The Wheel of Time series.

I love being born in the Year of the Dragon (Chinese calendar).   It’s just cool.  And this year, I can also enjoy an entire year of another type of dragon, the Dragon Reborn in Rand Al’Thor by re-reading the entire Wheel of Time series, in anticipation of the final volume’s publication next January.

But I won’t be doing this alone.  Oh, no!  And as if re-reading these massive epic fantasy tomes wasn’t enough, I volunteered to lead the discussion at the GoodReads Fantasy Book Club Series group, who will commence reading WoT beginning in April 2012.  Looks like I need to get cracking before the end of March to stay ahead of the Wheel!

And I feel like shouting “Tor-Rah! Tor-Rah! Tor-Rah!” with all the great news coming from the publisher of the Wheel of Time series in just the past few days:

So if you’ve been looking for an excuse to revisit Rand, Perrin, Mat, Nyneave and Egwene or, if you want to meet them for the first time, join me and a thousand of my GoodReads friends as we start the Wheel of Time turning with The Eye of the World, continuing inexorably on to the Last Battle in A Memory of Light. 

Cover Art forthcoming from Michael Whelan