Friday, January 11, 2013

Flashback Friday: The Gathering Storm

Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, looms. And mankind is not ready.

The final volume of the Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light, was partially written by Robert Jordan before his untimely passing in 2007. Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn books, was chosen by Jordan’s editor---his wife, Harriet McDougal---to complete the final book. The scope and size of the volume was such that it could not be contained in a single book, and so Tor proudly presents The Gathering Storm as the first of three novels that will make up A Memory of Light.This will complete the struggle against the Shadow, closing a journey begun almost twenty years ago and marking the conclusion of the Wheel of Time, the preeminent fantasy epic of our era.

In this epic novel, Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle. As he attempts to halt the Seanchan encroachment northward---wishing he could form at least a temporary truce with the invaders---his allies watch in terror the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.

Egwene al’Vere, the Amyrlin Seat of the rebel Aes Sedai, is a captive of the White Tower and subject to the whims of their tyrannical leader. As days tick toward the Seanchan attack she knows is imminent, Egwene works to hold together the disparate factions of Aes Sedai while providing leadership in the face of increasing uncertainty and despair. Her fight will prove the mettle of the Aes Sedai, and her conflict will decide the future of the White Tower---and possibly the world itself.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Quoted from Goodreads


Wow, that was a really long introduction.  Still, now you have the background on this book, and can probably guess why I'm reviewing it. Amanda did a great job introducing the Wheel of Time series, and since my entire week's been consumed by it, I thought I'd dedicate Flashback Friday to Brandon Sanderson.  

Yes, Robert Jordan died.  Even before his death I worried because it was obvious (in my opinion) he would never finish the series.  While I love New Spring, I kind of wanted to scream when it came out instead of the next book. Then Brandon Sanderson took over with a lot of notes left by Robert Jordan and help from his wife/editor Harriet. I had read Elantris and enjoyed it, but I was still nervous.

I shouldn't have been.

Yes, the writing is a bit different, and there were a few characters that may have seemed a little off, but for the most part I think Brandon Sanderson did an amazing job of continuing the work Robert Jordan started.  I can't imagine with the hundreds (literally) of plot lines left open, how daunting it would have been to try and close them.  And never forget the fans.  He had the burden of continuing one of the best fantasy series ever, and I think he really pulled through. 

I felt like, for the first time in several books, that the plot was moving forward again.  Some of RJ's later books go so bogged down in the characters and petty conflicts, the plot hardly moved.  Supposedly he was going to finish things up in one more volume, but I'm betting it would have taken at least six, maybe seven.

This book, to me, was Egwene's glory moment.  This is where I feel her character really shined, where she became the person she had the promise of becoming. I also liked Faile for the first time.  Partly because of that beautiful thing she did right at the beginning, but I feel like Brandon Sanderson softened her character just a little bit, allowing us to actually see why Perrin loved her.

Before Brandon Sanderson, this series was starting to frustrate me.  Don't get me wrong, the first six  or seven books were still among my favorites ever, but then things bogged down, plots kept opening up without old ones being resolved, and I didn't see the end in sight.  Now I do.  This book is, for me, a stunning 4.5 stars.  It started things moving again, while still giving me time with characters and a story that I love.

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