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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm
by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
783 pages

Book 12 of The Wheel of Time series
by Robert Jordan



Important Notes:
  • The first part of this review is spoiler free. The spoiler section is at the very end and is clearly labeled.
  • For details on Sanderson's book signing that I helped out with, scroll down to just before the spoiler section.


*** About the Book ***

The Wheel of Time (WoT) series revolves around the clash between good and evil, the conflicting forces of prophecy, fate, and free will, and the very human reactions of the characters to the larger forces around them. At it's heart, the series is about around a young man who prophecy says will destroy the world in order to save it; but that prophecy doesn't say he will win in the end, only that he will fight.


*** About the Authors ***

Robert Jordan, often referred to as the JRR Tolkien of our time, published the THE EYE OF THE WORLD in 1990. This was the first installment in the epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time (WoT), and additional books followed every one to two years afterward. In 2006, while working on the 12th book in the series, Jordan was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder that required chemotherapy to treat. That treatment was unsuccessful and Jordan passed away in 2007. He left behind thousands upon thousands of pages of notes about the WoT series, included dictated notes on how the series was to end. After his death, his widow (who was also his editor) chose up-and-coming fantasy author and long-time WoT fan Brandon Sanderson to complete the series. Sanderson's plan was to adapt his writing style to fit the WoT, and also to complete the series in three final books.


*** My Thoughts ***

In the time leading up to the release of this book I was both excited and leery. I've been reading this series since the mid-90s ... could Sanderson really complete it in a satisfying way? Would I be able to tell the difference between what Sanderson wrote and what Jordan wrote? And most importantly, would the book be any good?! I'm both relieved and excited to say that the book was completely fantastic - I should not have been worried!

It took me just over a week to read this book, and that is only because I didn't want to rush through it. There were times I'd put it down after only one chapter because I wanted to savor what I was reading and not have it end too soon. The next book is scheduled for release in Nov. 2010 and I don't know how I'm going to wait that long ...

If you are a fan of fantasy I highly recommend this series to you. The books are best read one after the other, so go pick up THE EYE OF THE WORLD and get reading - you won't regret it! If reading this massive series is a bit daunting, the audio books are completely fantastic and a great way to get through the books at a faster pace - I highly recommend those as well.

I passed my copy on to my sister who will then pass it to our dad. He's the one that got us reading this series way back when. Once I get it back it will sit on my shelf until next fall when I will reread it just before the next book comes out - yay!


*** Meeting the Author ***

If you are a regular reader of my blog you probably already saw me gush over the fact that I was chosen to help out at Sanderson's signing event at my local bookstore. I wrote a recap of the event which was posted at Dragonmount.com. It includes lots of pictures and videos, but I'll give you a sample of a few of them here. To view the rest - and hear about my amazing evening - please check out the recap post at Dragonmount.

Harriet McDougal, Brandon Sanderson, and Storm Leaders Mike, Matt, me, and Susan

Here are videos of the event beginning with a reading by Harriet McDougal (Jordan's widow), continuing with Sanderson's Q&A, and concluding with the goofiness in the line waiting to get books signed. The video is set up as a playlist so it will continue running until all the videos are concluded.




That's all for now, other than the spoilers I mentioned earlier. To avoid the spoilers, stop reading at this point.






*** Spoiler-ish Thoughts ***


Fair warning: Do not read this section if you do not want any plot spoilers!!! Proceed at your own risk ... and ONLY if you have read this book already!!!

Consider yourself warned ...
  • I was a bit leery while reading the prequel and the first chapter. I couldn't quite get into the story, and I was afraid that the entire book would feel that way. But chapter two was much better and hooked me for good. The writing seemed to improved steadily from that point on.
  • I've heard complaints about the way Mat's character was written. I agree that he didn't sound quite like himself, but I found him to be hilarious regardless. Yes, his humor should be a bit more subtle, but it really wasn't bad.
  • The Rand/Semirhage/Min thing = woah
  • Egwene in the tower battling the Seanchan - I actually teared up at the sheer awesomeness of it all. You GO girl!
  • I loved seeing Hurin again, but that poor guy got a raw deal.
  • The whole Verin plotline was The.Most.Awesome.Thing.Ever. I've loved her from the beginning and her plot ... well ... all I can say is that that her plotline is AWESOME.
I completely loved this book and would prefer to drop everything and read it again right now. Alas, I'll have to wait for a little while at least ...

*** end spoilers *****




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11 comments:

Meghan said...

How awesome! I've decided to wait a while for this book so I can do a big re-read for the end of the series, but I read the last line of your spoiler section and it makes me very happy that you loved it!

Marco said...

Heh, I'm still envious of you Storm Leaders. I also don't know how long I will be able to let the book cool off on my shelf before re-reading it. I teared up with the Min/Rand/Semi thing...

Heather J. said...

Meghan - I'd start on it after the next book comes on in Nov. '10 - that way you can be ready for the release of the final book in Nov. 11. :) You're gonna LOVE it!!!

Marco - I really do wish I could re-read it right now, but I'm so far behind on books I've promised for review that I just can't do it. :( The Storm Leader experience was fantastic though - you'd have done a great job at it.

Dreamybee said...

I'm so glad this book didn't disappoint! That's also really cool that you were able to participate in the author signing-what fun!

Suey said...

Seriously, I'm going to read them all before the next release! :)

Early 90's.. now I know why I didn't read them then... that was my low reading point because little kids seemed to take over my life. Brandon himself was probably a pretty little kid back then too I bet.

Aarti said...

Just came across your blog through your guest post on Historical Tapestry. I'm so glad I did :-) It's lovely! I've never read any of the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series, but clearly... they are a Big Deal.

Heather J. said...

Dreamybee - I'm so relieved that it was good!

Suey - Ok lady, I'm holding you to that. :) And yes, Brandon WAS a kid himself back then. He's a year older than me, so that means we'd have been in middle school ...

Aarti - Welcome! I'm so glad you're here. Yes, these books are a huge deal to those of us who have been fans for 20+ years - it was so exciting to be involved!

josbookshelf said...

Thanks for this post. Since now I know this series will finally end, I am going to pick up all these books again. Read 5 books way back in the 90's but abandoned them when I the continuations came in too slowly.

Beth F said...

I read the first one (a prequel?) in audio in 2008 and then I got distracted. I think I'll make an effort to read this next year. I remember really liking the one that I read.

Beth F said...

I forgot to say how EXCITING that you got to attend this event! I know you were really, really looking forward to it.

Heather J. said...

josbookshelf - I totally know how you feel. After being "stuck" in this series for so many years, I made it a rule not to start reading a series until it is (almost) complete. :)

Beth F - You should DEFINITELY read this series, but I'll warn you that it will take a while. It is SO worth it though! And I had such a wonderful time at the event - it was fantastic.

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