When I embarked on this journey to finish the Wheel of Time, beginning at the start because of those slippery details, I wasn’t sure what compelled me to pick the series back up. I confess it was a near thing, far closer than I have suggested in my reviews to date. Book 9 left me with a lot of hope, but I haven’t mentioned that my husband had already read book 10 and reported that it was practically a useless volume. I think I wonder, perhaps, that pushing through all of this to the end was a psychological thing — you tend to wan to like those things you spend time or money on. And lord knows with books this long, I spent a lot of time on this, and I wanted to like it. I also keenly felt its promise and potential.
Yet most of the recent volumes weren’t all that great. They were tedious. Yes, tedious is the right word. For all they could be, they weren’t a thrill to read, as fantasy should be. They spun their wheels and they felt tired.
When I learned that a new author had taken hold of the final volumes in this book it actually made me LESS inclined to read them. Could it possibly be the same? No. Of course it couldn’t. I know that, as a writer, no matter how detailed the plot outlines that the story comes alive through the words themselves.
Coming alive is precisely what happened to the story in this book. It was like taking off a pair of dark sunglasses to suddenly see the world in bright light. It was almost more real, more vivid, and more energetic.
I’m not sure what happened. As a writer, I find myself wondering if the concept had become stale for Jordan, and if he had simply been writing it for too long. Sanderson proclaimed himself a great fan of the series in the forward, and I wonder if, when he picked up the reigns, he was able to bring vitality and freshness.
This could all be terribly unfair. These three final books in the series do represent a climax, so maybe the series was building this way anyway. Maybe. Book 11 was definitely better than most of those which came before but…
Vivid. Alive. Especially the characters, and I put a great stock in characters.
Rand broke in this book. He was going that way for a long time, but he snapped. He lost it. The prophecy said he might destroy the world. It may never know how close it came to total destruction, but I do, and what’s more — I believe it. The struggle was so alive.
Egweyne’s efforts in the white tower were particularly wonderful as well.
I go into the final two books with a lot mor ehope than I had before.
Title: The Gathering Storm
Authors: Brandson Sanderson and Robert Jordan
Published October 27, 2009