52 Books a Year: #44 - The Gathering Storm

Posted by Brian Wed, 23 Dec 2009 22:21:00 GMT

The Gathering Storm
By Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

5/5

Note: I am not going to talk much about the plot of the book in this review. There are already already a large selection of fan sites that go into laborious detail about the Wheel of Time series if that is what you are looking for.

The Gathering Storm is the 12th book in the Wheel of Time and the first one following the death of Robert Jordan. His wife Harriet selected Brandon Sanderson to finish the last three books of the series from Jordan’s writings, notes, and dictations. Sanderson made a conscious decision to not attempt to ape the writing style of Jordan, a decision that that served him well here.

Criticisms of the Wheel of Time are numerous and many are well-deserved. Jordan originally planned a six book series, but it had ballooned to eleven by his death. His characterization’s of relationships between the sexes tended to be very simple-minded and he repeated character mannerisms to death. He had no idea or desire to succinctly explain a scene and he spawned off so many superfluous plot threads that the reader often needs to consult fan sites just to keep up with who the hell he was talking about and how important they were.

With that being said the series has a lot going for it though. Jordan created a fantastic world where a man had committed the original sin and were thus marginalized in many positions of power. The magic system of the world was fantastic and the concept of the Pattern as a tapestry weaving history is more fully developed than in many other series that have tried similar ideas.

Sanderson stepped into this mess and did an admirable job with The Gathering Storm. The pace is fast. Superfluous plot threads and stamped out and no news ones are created, streamlining the story on the central characters. The main plot threads are advanced quickly to set the stage for the final battle. The dialogue isn’t fantastic and the voices of some characters have noticeable changes, but the richness of the surrounding world make these minor inconveniences. Overall, Sanderson has done a masterful job of taming the beast that Jordan left him with.

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