The Gathering Storm


First of all, I would like to thank Brandon Sanderson, Team Jordan, and the folks at Tor Books for giving me the opportunity to get an early read of the most eagerly anticipated fantasy title of the year. After speaking out against A Memory of Light being split into three volumes, I didn't expect that. And as a big WoT fan, well I relished the chance to read it before most people out there, even though I couldn't post my review until the release date.

The first thing I wish to address is Brandon Sanderson's writing. Like many others, when it was announced that Sanderson had been selected by Harriet McDougal and Tom Doherty to complete The Wheel of Time, I doubted that he was a great fit for the role. Based on his novels, I felt that his and Jordan's styles were worlds apart. Sanderson said himself that he cannot replace Robert Jordan. Yet he intends to remain true to the author's vision. And reading The Gathering Storm, one can't help but see that it's nothing short of Brandon Sanderson's best effort. Which begs the question: Will that be enough? I'm afraid that you'll have to find out for yourself. There are legions of WoT crackpot fans out there who would love the book even if it had been written by the legless wonder Robert Stanek. Others, may not enjoy it as much. In any event, expectations are so high that there is no way Sanderson can possibly satisfy everyone.

Sanderson explains that he didn't try to imitate Jordan's style. Instead, he attempted to adapt his writing style to be appropriate to The Wheel of Time. In some instances, this works beautifully. In others, sadly, it doesn't quite work, and one gets the distinct impression that the character is being played by a new actor. The narrative voice is irrevocably changed, and there's no helping that. Whether we like it or not, no one could write these books the way Robert Jordan would have. Fortunately, he left extensive notes, scenes, and outlines. Hence, even though Jordan is not writing it, Sanderson's words recount the exact same tale Robert Jordan wanted to tell.

And although Sanderson's style doesn't always work well with certain scenes and characters, you can see that the author is doing everything he can to remain true to Jordan's vision. Though I doubted his ability to complete this gargantuan task, I now have faith in Brandon Sanderson. I bemoan the fact that some scenes will never be as good as Jordan would have written them, but at least we know that Sanderson's artistic integrity won't permit him to produce something akin to the latest Dune novels. Whereas Frank Herbert is undoubtedly turning in his grave when he sees the travesty that Dune has become, I have a feeling that Jordan would give Sanderson the thumbs-up.

Overall, The Gathering Storm reminded me of Winter's Heart the most. There are some cool and very important scenes similar to the cleansing of saidin. Yet in order to get to the good stuff, one is required to sift through a lot of extraneous plotlines that don't always have that much of an impact or influence on the principal story arcs of the series. Which, as was the case with The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, and Crossroads of Twilight, was what many readers found offputting.

Geographically speaking, the novel is all over the place. The action occurs in Bandar Eban, Ebou Dar, Tear, the Blight, and several other locations.

The pace of the book is decidedly uneven. Sluggish in certain portions of the novel, yet extremely rushed in other sequences. I was a bit dismayed by the fact that the narrative focus can remain on what I consider secondary plotlines for pages and even chapters, and then rush through scenes that we've been waiting for for well over a decade. More than one showdown with the Forsaken suffers from that sad state of affairs. And such face-offs, though long-awaited, leave you feeling as much satisfaction as Rand's battle with Sammael in Shadar Logoth in A Crown of Swords. Another consequential storyline which suffers from the same treatment would have to be the fate of the male a'dam. Known as a Domination Band, its importance has been hinted at since it was first glimpsed in Tanchico. The build-up surrounding this particular plotline has spanned several WoT volumes. And yet, as was the case with the Bowl of the Winds' resolution, the culmination is reached and over with before you know it.

There is a momentum shift in the final third of the book, when Sanderson finally kicks it into high gear. But the first two-thirds of The Gathering Storm suffer from broken rhythm. I felt that there were a number of missed opportunities and a few scenes were impaired by faulty execution.

The characterization is probably the aspect which leaves the most to be desired. I've always believed that Brandon Sanderson would manage to get many of the characters right, but that he would have a hard time with others. Before I elaborate on this, you should know that The Gathering Storm focuses on two characters in particular: Rand and Egwene. If, like me, you are not that fond of Egwene, this may cause a problem.



I felt that Sanderson had absolutely no problem with Rand al'Thor. Though the narrative voice has changed, Rand doesn't feel much different. The same thing goes for Nynaeve (even though at times she seems a bit more immature than before), Cadsuane (who is even more annoying, if that's possible), the assorted Wise Ones, and Min. Indeed, Sanderson steps in without missing a beat. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Aviendha, Rhuarc, Semirhage, and Moridin. The shift is palpable where those characters are concerned.

At the very beginning, it felt as though Egwene was being played by a new actress, but Sanderson quickly regains control of the character. The same cannot be said about Elaida, Siuan, and most Aes Sedai. For women who have been basically ruling the world from 3000 years, collectively they appear to have become rather dense in this novel. Just as it often appears that the three ta'veren don't even have one set of balls between them, it's does seem that brains are hard to come by in the White Tower and the rebels' camp these days. On the other hand, Sanderson did a great job with Tuon and the Seanchan. I doubt Jordan could have done it any better. Another character he seems to have gotten perfectly is Perrin. And another one whose POV worked rather well was Gawyn, whose storyline has been drifting since the battle of Dumai's Wells.

To my ever-lasting chagrin, however, Sanderson pretty much killed Mat, by far my favorite character in the series. He simply tries too hard to be funny, and it doesn't work at all. It doesn't help that Mat's appearances serve absolutely no purpose, for the most part. He appears only in a few chapters, and these bring close to nothing to the tale, other than demonstrating yet again that the Dark One's touch is unraveling the Pattern. We don't see much of Perrin, either, which is weird given that both are ta'veren. No sign of Lan and Elayne at all, which is odd given their respective importance. But I guess that splitting A Memory of Light into three installments will do that. . .

All in all, Sanderson's characterization is brilliant in some instances and somewhat clumsy in others. In a way, this could be construed as nitpicking. The author is following Jordan's blueprint, so the overall plot is as Jordan intended. It just feels weird when long-time characters talk or act so differently. Some fans will find that offputting, while others will just move forward without regard for these things, the way they did through the uneventful Crossroads of Twilight.

Although The Gathering Storm doesn't move the plot forward as much as I expected, there is plenty of things that should satisfy WoT fans. Rand's confrontations with the Forsaken, his attempt to sue for peace with the Seanchan, the hunt for the Black Ajah, the Aes Sedai schism, revelations concerning Verin's secret plans, and more! And yet, as I mentioned earlier, in order to get to the juicy stuff, one is forced to wade through a lot of extraneous plotlines which break the rhythm of the novel.

Sanderson needs to create a better momentum, for too often the culmination and resolution of storylines fail to live up to the build-up. Essentially, this robs those important scenes of the impact they so deserve. He must also be careful with the more emotional scenes. There is one incredibly important scene in which Rand is reunited with someone he hasn't seen in a long time. But that scene turns out to be a monumental failure to launch, with absolutely no emotional impact. And at times, I felt that Sanderson has a tendency to take the easy route, especially with Egwene and Cadsuane's plotlines. Too often does everything falls right into place too easily, which seems contrived and stretches the limits of realism and credibility.

My biggest complaint would have to be that when one reaches the end of The Gathering Storm, you simply don't get the feeling that you are any closer to Tarmon Gai'don than we were at the end of Knife of Dreams. Splitting A Memory of Light into three installment would affect the plot, that goes without saying, but I was expecting more in terms of moving the story forward toward the Last Battle. The pace picks up late in the book, true, but I felt that the first 500 pages or so contained more filler than killer material. Eleven previous WoT volumes were enough of a build-up, methinks, and I thought that The Gathering Storm would at least allow us to witness the beginning of Tarmon Gai'don. Splitting A Memory of Light into two volumes would likely have allowed Team Jordan to do that. . .

Though it suffers from a few shortcomings, I enjoyed The Gathering Storm. It was more or less what I expected, to be honest. And Sanderson surprised me a number of times. He surpassed himself and exceeded expectations in certain aspects of the novel, yet his writing style proved to be inadequate in other areas. But overall, the positive outweighs the negative. And in the end, The Gathering Storm should satisfy the majority of WoT fans out there. It may not be The Shadow Rising or Lord of Chaos, but it marks the beginning of the end of the biggest fantasy epic of our time. So let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time!

Roll on Towers of Midnight!

The final verdict: 7.75/10

For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

42 commentaires:

Todd said...

Thanks for the great review Pat!

Roland said...

Heh, interesting. Personally, I believe Jordan could never write the ending this series deserves. So I take this "alas, Sanderson is not on the level of the grand master" thing with a pinch of salt ;)

atsiko said...

You can blame Sanderson for the character issues, but not the plotlines. I've never been terribly impressed with Jordan's plots. I can say they are serviceable. I made it through the whole series, after all.

Pacing again is a Jordan issue.

I do think Sanderson has a less serious style than Jordan. Which I like, but of course it won't be a perfect fit for Jordan's average fan.

I don't think it's fair to suggest Sanderson just couldn't cut it. You could have every author in the world try this, and none of them could write it like Jordan. They might be better(I consider Sanderson better, though not perfect), they might be worse, they might just be different... but never the same.

Oh well, that's what happens when an author dies. And the ridiculous amount of hype hasn't helped. Jordan was never more than readable. Even if he *had* written this, there'd still be complaining.

Anonymous said...

well as far as aes sedai acting like morons i've noticed this happening for quite a while and since rereading the books recently the last couple of books has tons of aes sedai acting like "woolheads". I always thought that was rather weird considering they had been running the show for the past thousands years but i don't think you can really blame that on Brandon.

Blackhearted Blaggard said...

Your insistence on providing numerical scores, as well as the rather narrow range in which those scores fall, always make me laugh. But I think this sounds like a very fair review. Obviously some people are going to see things very different from you, and that's to be expected considering the many different POV's in the world. You've admitted your skepticism about Sanderson's writing, which may have colored your perspective, but I think it's better to say that people already fans of Sanderson's writing will be more easily convinced of his assimilation of Jordan's voice, while people who were not fans will be harder to convince.

I don't find it odd that so many characters were left out, since the book was split into three, and besides it's been a tradition in WoT all the way back to the Dragon Reborn, when Rand was almost completely left out. It's almost expected at this point.

I imagine in the end the book will do 3 things: energize the rabid fanbase; pique the interests of the more casual readers so that they will be prompted to continue the series (that many were lukewarm about) though it won't wow them; and be utterly ineffective against those who have already dropped the WoT.

Anyway, thanks for the review. It will be really interesting to see how this places out on the blogosphere.

Stephen said...

My brain cut out the "pretty much" part so I read, "To my everlasting chagrin, Brandon Sanderson killed Mat." Thank God I can't read.

Roland said...

Btw, if Jordan hadn't started practically SPAMMING new storylines in the last three or four books, instead of closing the already existing, Brandon would have it MUCH easier and he wouldn't be forced to plod through pointless characters that are completely irrelevant to the story.

Btw, Pat, have you actually read any of Sanderson's works? I mean, I have to agree with atsaiko that he is a better author than Jordan, and especially than the LATER Jordan. I mean, I find it hard to believe that anyone other than deluded fanboys could actually even call the last two WoT books "literature"...

redrox said...

Brandon's David Eddings-style humor has always been a problem.

That being said, I predict that the anticlimactic and slow parts will eventually be pegged as Jordon's. Concise and melodramatic (in a good
way) is more Sanderson's M.O.

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Blodeuedd said...

Now I am scare, what if I will hate it!! :(
I sure hope I wont, but the thing is these past novels I have gotten tired that it does not move forward and the only thing good was Jordans writing

Ryan said...

after all your talk of a rating system I could've called 7,75 from you for this all the way from Ebu Dari. How predictable can one get.

Simon said...

As a long term fan of the series I'm looking forward to reading it, the later books are borderline dreadful so any improvement on that is a step in the right direction. Thanks for the review Pat always good to get others opinions.

Strange that all some people can comment on is the rating system, c'est la vie.

PeterWilliam said...

I'll go with Simon on the rating system. Fortunately, through my limited exposure to Pat, I know it's not going to bother him at all. Otherwise, it was great to read reviews of The Gathering Storm from Pat, Ken and Larry on release day. Only fitting.

Dream Girlzzz said...

Don't know why some people are bitching about this review. I'm actually relieved because at first I thought that the book was bad. But the review made me optimistic.

I've read 4 Sanderson books and I knew there was some WoT stuff he couldn't possibly pull off. Those who think the guy is better writer than RJ are crazy. This is ludicrous! But he is a good enough writer, and I'm glad Pat feels that he does a good job.

A book similar to WH I can live with. And wading through extraneous plotlines, that's what we WoT fans have been doing for the last 4 books or so!

Sure, Sanderson got some stuff wrong, but that was to be expected. Now I can't wait for Amazon to deliver my copy of TGS!

Ed S. said...

Frankly I've seen people being wheeled in for brain surgery showing more enthusiasm for what they're facing than what you're showing after having read this book.

Chris C said...

I also find Sanderson a better author than Jordan, but I may still miss the latter's style when the time comes.

As someone else said, Aes Sedai have been acting stupid for a long while. In fact, their mystique crumbles pretty fast once we get to meet a lot of them (the comparison with the powerful, knowledgeable and aloof Moiraine of tEotW is odd).

machinery said...

all I can say is that if sanderson intends to close all storyline and plotlines and not leave even one open (as RJ said he would) then splitting the book into 2 or 3 books is reasonable.
perhaps even neccessary.
anyway my biggest hope is that I can enjoy the book as I enjoyed the books when I was younger.
i'm not 33, and the sense of greatness I has of the books when I was 19 is far behind me.

I still hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

Meh. I've always felt that as far their prose and plot construction, both were below-average writers. Which is not to speak ill of Robert Jordan - may he rest in peace - his world-building, sense for the dramatic, and fatherly love for his characters always impressed me, at least until I quit the series at book six. Thank the gods I did that - I don't think I've been missing much.

Call me overly-critical, but fantasy and other "Paperback Genres" have the tendency to attract budding authors who believe they are more qualified to write books than they actually are. This is continually lowering the bar in fantasy literature. Am I impressed by the success of writers like Sanderson, Meyer, Weeks, and so forth? Yes... but, I don't believe they do much to contribute to the genre. Then again, if people enjoy their works and they are making money, maybe it's not so bad a thing.

Personally, though, because I love this genre (as well as science fiction) so much, I'd rather see it elevated than watered down, and it seems very few authors writing today are actually trying to do that.

- Adam

renasko said...

Ohhhh....

'The final verdict: 7.75/10'

Another stellar verdict. Sticking with the 7's is the way to go, pat. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Ha!

Jigadoon said...

I clicked to the comments section to say one particular thing - and then found that a few others beat me to it. But, anyway, I agree that it's a little harsh to blame Sanderson for pacing issues. He was handed a whole mess of extraneous plotlines that bogged down so much of the middle part of this series. The series is great and frankly why I read as much as I do, but Mr. Jordan had plenty of issues as an author, self-indulgence chief among them. I won't hold it against Sanderson because he has to spend time cleaning some of those up.

atsiko said...

@Anon

Comparing Sanderson to Meyer is crazy. He's way better. Comparing Paolini to Meyer is more like it. They are pretty much equivalents in their genres. Sanderson's not perfect, but compared to Meyer and Paolini... sheesh. That's a bit harsh.


Who exactly do you see as a "good" author?

Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe it was a bad move on my part putting them in the same ball park. No doubt Stephanie Meyer is the bottom of the barrel and it probably is a pretty serious insult to any published author to be grouped in the same category as her.

And I'm sorry, I'm not going to pluck away at the strings of my own personal taste, I do enjoy the occasional pulpy, meritless fantasy romp myself on occasion and my intent in writing that previous post wasn't to belittle people who enjoy the shallower "retreads" of fantasy fiction so much as vent a little frustration that so often those seem to be ALL writers in this genre are offering.

Whereas, for example, in regular fiction, you have many more attempts at originality, even though most of them are pretty bad. At least that much is refreshing, though.

- Adam

Roland said...

We had a discussion about this a week ago. "Regular" fiction has the tendency to "adopt" everyone who critics think is too good to be put into a "genre" niche. John Crowley writes pure fantasy, but since he is a professor in Yale and a profound stylist etc. he somehow turns out to write mainstream literature. Same with Orwell, Atwood etc. etc.

Then again, you sound like someone who doesn't really have a clear idea about the stuff you talk about. Have you actually READ Meyer? I assure you, she is far above "the bottom" as you describe it. True, her books are aimed at teens and depend on "cheap tricks", but they are not half bad considering.

And I personally have tremendous respect for authors like Sanderson, Gemmel or Cook who manage to write fantasy with purely entertaining purpose, and yet do it with style that is way above your average Salvatore/Brooks/Eddings/Feist/Weis & Hickman hack...

All of which boils down to "be careful with labels, especially when you don't know what you're talking about. Labels tend to bite".

Richard said...

I have always known it, but you just confirmed it. Matt. Every author have a special character. One that they shine on. One that nobody else would be able to write quite as well as they. Matt is such a character. Tyrion comes to mind as another character than nobody else but the author would render in all its glory. They are characters that borrow too much from the "personal" side of the author for another to "get". And no, Matt is not my fav, it is actually Perrin (and I am glad for your thumbs up for Perrin Pat!). But Matt was probably RJ fav. One that he had been building up in the last books for more. As Tyrion, Brandon's own Lightsong, and so many others "don't-look-like-much--goofy-type--not-the-main-character-but-important" Matt is just too hard to do properly. He has to be sharp as hell, and all the serios players know it, but he has to be flipant enough that we would understand when others ignore and laugh at the idea of Matt doing anything that counts.

Those characters usually come from a especial place in the authors mind and nobody but themselves would write them quite as they should be.

Richard said...

I have always known it, but you just confirmed it. Matt. Every author have a special character. One that they shine on. One that nobody else would be able to write quite as well as they. Matt is such a character. Tyrion comes to mind as another character than nobody else but the author would render in all its glory. They are characters that borrow too much from the "personal" side of the author for another to "get". And no, Matt is not my fav, it is actually Perrin (and I am glad for your thumbs up for Perrin Pat!). But Matt was probably RJ fav. One that he had been building up in the last books for more. As Tyrion, Brandon's own Lightsong, and so many others "don't-look-like-much--goofy-type--not-the-main-character-but-important" Matt is just too hard to do properly. He has to be sharp as hell, and all the serios players know it, but he has to be flipant enough that we would understand when others ignore and laugh at the idea of Matt doing anything that counts.

Those characters usually come from a especial place in the authors mind and nobody but themselves would write them quite as they should be.

Dave said...

I just finished it and Ide say the review is pretty accurate. I did enjoy the book but at times characters felt a little different. Still it didn't distract me that much once I got into the book.

Cecrow said...

It seems to be racking up quite a few positive reviews at Amazon; although, for all I know, every book in the series starts out doing that ...

Anonymous said...

Well I just finished the book and I have to say while I agree with you on some points, for the most part I disagree.
It is true that many of the characters don't read quite the same as they had when written by RJ, but I felt that Sanderson did a fairly good job with capturing the spirit of each character. I have to say that I completely disagree with your appraisal of the depiction of Mat in the Gathering Storm. I found Mat not only be entertaining in TGS but also in line with the character we had seen in the past. Not written as well as RJ wrote him, but good nonetheless. As for his short appearances in the book I thought it was quite obvious that he was ONLY in the book to facilitate the presence of the character that cannot appear in the next book (which will almost surely be devoted primarily to Mat and Perrin's stories.)
As for the pacing, while I agree that the book sped up as it neared the end, that seems PERFECTLY in line with any RJ book. Look at Eye of the World afterall. That book moves ridiculously fast in the last 200 pages.
I must admit that I am curious as too which parts of the story you felt with extraneous. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that I would classify as extraneous. In fact, I would say were anything removed from the book it would have taken away from the effect of the story.
I understand the feeling of scenes not living up to their expectations, but as much buildup as some of the storylines have had over the past couple of decades, I don't believe that ANYTHING could have lived up to the expectations that many had given them.
I have only read the book once, and I would like to go back in a month and re-read the book so I can see how I feel then, but for the moment I feel this was a very good book. I would feel more inclined to group it with Knife of Dreams in terms of quality and plot movement than with Winter's Heart which had one important event and relatively little else.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody else had the pages 225-256 replaced by a duplicate of 193-224!!!

Anonymous said...

After having just spent the last two days glued to the book, all i can say is...ugh. The book was most definitely written by somebody other than RJ. In my opinion the best part of the WOT series was how subtle everything was, you could read a paragraph and see one thing, and then re-read it and totally realize there was far more to it than you originally had seen. Also one of my other favorite parts of reading the WOT series was the comedy of the characters, how each main character had their own sense of humor. Mat (my, and the majority of other readers im sure, favorite character) is dead. He is a different character under Sanderson and i get the feeling he wont ever get him right. Of course this was Robert Jordans own style and you cant really expect any other author to fill in for him and get the same results, but it is still disappointing. So while the book was certainly entertaining and true to the plot of the series, it didnt feel like a WOT book. How the familiar characters spoke, how the Aes Sedai acted, and how dramatic everybody was...it just felt wrong.

On another point, i really dont see how this series could POSSIBLY last another two books. The next book could (and should) be the last quite easily. Rescue Moraine and start the Last Battle. Be done with it, the wheel of time series is finished, i'm just reading to see what happens now... :(

Carlo said...

Thanks for the review, though I am a little worried about your comments about Mat...he is my favourite character also (by a fair margin!

However you also said its Sanderson's best effort to date, and since I liked Elantris and Mistborn I expect I will enjoy this as well.

jeremy said...

i just wanted to say give sanderson some time. i think the second book will be better. give him time to find his own voice in someone elses story. everything i have heard makes me think he has been trying too hard to write as RJ.

Anonymous said...

As mentioned earlier, Mat is a bit off (not dead, persay), but I have hope that Sanderson will correct some of the forced humor and other odd quirks before Mat's major storyline in the next novel. I really didn't find anything dreadfully egregious with any of the other characters. Rhuarc had a couple peculiar interactions, and Nynaeve seemed to be REALLY Nynaeveish...if you know what I mean, but I thought Aviendha was fine, and Cadsuane as dreadfully self-righteous as usual. I've also been a fan of Egwene for a while now, and I seem to be in the minority on that.

I read purely for entertainment, and for a couple notable sections, it pretty much felt like a WoT novel. The pacing really didn't bother me at all, and I really don't know what could have been cut persay, except a few hundred words of description here and there. It's probably the 4th or 5th best novel in the series, and I thought the earlier novels were fantastic.

Looking forward to the Towers of Midnight.

brock said...

i disagree with your review there are some things that needed to change like reestablishing characters that we have been reading about for that last 20 years needed to go i'll admit that some things were a little rushed but jordan had so much conflict going on and hardly anything was resolved i can't see how you could take the appropriate time to resolve all of it there would be 6 more books if you did and mr. sanderson probably would like to get back to his own writings and i don't think that the masses have the attention span for an 18 books i know i don't so i don't blame him for being rushed in some parts of the book i thought that he did an awesome job with the conflict of rands personality and emotional struggle and i felt relieved by the conclusion at the end i thought that egwnen story line was very good i do agree that i would like to have heard more about mat and perrin but i can see that he is setting it up for the next book so i didn't mind to be honest i would say that i think he did an amazing job with what he had to work with lets face it jordan was good at dealing out conflict but as far as fixing things he never really did anything quite honestly i was fed up with all this crap and no solution the characters mr sanderson focused on needed the attention rand is the savior and the way things were going he wasn't going to save any one now i feel like there is some hope i think as a fans we need to realize the amount of work that has and needs to be done to finish this project and give credit to brandon he did do a good job he's not robert jordan and i give him mad props for being himself and finishing the story

Tonya said...

Thanks for your review. I feel so out of it as I didn't even know that the book was being turned into 3 or that the first of them had come out! To be fair I was under the impression that it wasn't coming out until NEXT YEAR so I was really looking for it. I agree with others when I say that plot lines and pacing are a Jordan thing. The pacing is what made me almost give up on the series. I was so frustrated that it seemed to be pages and pages (and sometimes an entire book) of people doing nothing.

Kaydub12 said...

Thanks for the review. I will have to say that, based on previous writings and fantasy series, Brandon Sanderson was probably the best author for the job (seriously, do you think Eddings, Feist, Coe etc could have captured the essence of a WOT novel?) He had a blueprint to follow and a story to tell. I think he did what he needed to do as far as plotlines and story arcs. There were some portions of the book that I found less "Jordanesque" than others but overall, I will say Sanderson did a good job.

The only "issue" I have is that after spending time with 11 books spanning 20 years, you get a feel for the 3-dimensional characters (main as well as supporting ones) of Randland. So far, every character is plausible and staying true to the WOT evolution except for one.

Mat did NOT read like Mat. I thought it was just me at first but that just wasn't Mat. You don't even go too far back. Just re-read the Mat sections of KOD and then read the Mat sections in TGS and you will see that something was off. I hope that the writing teams review and get the Mat character right for the final 2 books or there will be many disapointed fans.

All in all, I think that as far as being book 12 out of a now 14 book series, it did what it needed to do as part of the 1st of a 2 book setup for the big grand finale book.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review.

I am not sure anyone can save the convoluted, completely flawed series that Jordan created.

I just hope that when all is said and done a good editor is hired to trim the mess down to 8 books. Pull out off the crossing arms under breasts, dresses, sniffing, etc should clear out at least 2 books.

As long as Sanderson kept Jordans weird fetishes to a minumum and their are no spankings, domestic violence and women raping men, it should be a good ending.

Oh, and maybe turning Matt, Perrin, and Rand into decent characters again. Especially Matt and Perrin.

Simon said...

I think you're being a tad harsh anon. I'm half way through the book and I'm enjoying it for what it is: a decent time killer not brilliant but better than most books near the end of a long series. Having said that the constant spankings and restraint used by Aes Sedai is verging on the ridiculous, I thought this was just an english obsession...

Student said...

Great review, my sentiments exactly especially about Mat, its a shame what he has been reduced due from a strategic mastermind with an unobtrusive and subtle humor to...well ya'll read it

Tighe said...

Sanderson did a better job than I expected. However, I did tire of the five "you can't just bully people" monologues that occurred throughout the different POV. I get the feeling that Sanderson was on the receiving end of playground violence.

alieninvader said...

I read books for characters, and since i've found most of the other primary characters contemptible or boring, i've only been really following the Matrim storyline.

I can honestly say, if sanderson hasn't killed Matrim outright, he's certainly removed a dimension or two of his character. I enjoyed mat's character, in every sense of the word. Sanderson turned him into the worst caricature of himself, a petulant rambling fool.

In all honesty, I was glad that Mat's role in the Gathering Storm was limited, it would not do to have this instantiation of his character any more official than it unfortunately is. As it stands, i can forget about how he is now, and just remember when he was an admirable figure. This mat should be tagged with an ooc flag.

Wireless Boy said...

great book. I really loved to read it and this review is straight and to the point. I need more of your stuff ;)

WB