Friday, November 20, 2009 | |

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson

The Gathering Storm is the first of the final three books of The Wheel of Time. If you're a fan of fantasy, or have ever looked at a bookstore fantasy shelf, you've probably seen at least one of these books. They're incredibly popular, with numerous websites set up entirely to discuss the books. They've inspired many a would-be writer to step up to the keyboard and get their own great adventure out there, and they've generally been well received. With the passing of Robert Jordan (real name James Oliver Rigney) in 2007 the torch was passed to Brandon Sanderson to finish was Mr. Rigney started back in 1990. Though there was initially only one planned final book, after writing and looking at what they had it was decided that it would take at least three books to complete the series and tie up all the loose ends. The Gathering Storm is the first of three final volumes, which all together will be called A Memory of Light.

Due to the length of the series, I think I'll simply stick with my critique of the plot, pacing, etc. of the novel rather than try to give you a synopsis of the series.

First, I absolutely LOVED the pacing of this 12th book. Now, there are two schools of thought on this. Either Brandon Sanderson naturally writes with a quicker pace than Jordan (aka more stuff happens) OR Jordan always had a faster pace in mind for the final volumes. Either way, fans of the series (myself definitely included) seem to have enjoyed this book a great deal simply because "stuff happens." Lots of stuff, things that have been hinted at for years now are finally coming to fruition, and as a reader that's a beautiful thing to see.

My minor gripes about the twelfth book include the fact that Mat Cauthon doesn't seem completely like Mat Cauthon. Don't get me wrong, I'm actually just fine with Brandon Sanderson's depiction of Mat, but it bears mentioning that he's just not quite the same as in previous books. Again, could have been a planned thing by Mr. Jordan, but I doubt it.

Overall, I absolutely LOVED this book. Things are coming together very nicely for a fantastic ending, and since I was already a big fan of Brandon Sanderson, I'm very excited that he's the author that will deliver that ending for us. He's a hell of a writer, and a workhorse when it comes to completing books, so we've really got something to look forward to twice more before Robert Jordan's great work is complete.

Final Score: 9.5/10 Brandon Sanderson took on an incredibly daunting task, and delivered 95% believable characters, 100% wonderful pacing, and a fantastic beginning of the end in one of my favorite series of all time.


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