Sunday, November 15, 2009

Books: The Gathering Storm

Three and a half years ago, I pessimistically posted that the Wheel of Time would never be completed. To my pleasure, though Robert Jordan passed away they selected another author to complete the series. Since the announcement, I've read four Brandon Sanderson books and found that I generally enjoy his writing style. While not my favorite author (that'd be Steven Erikson with Patrick Rothfuss a close second), Brandon also has benefit of being an extremely prolific writer.

At the end of October the first of the final three books was released. Despite being on spending lockdown, I couldn't resist a new Robert Jordan book and Linzy was even able to get me a signed copy from Uncle Hugo's which is pretty cool.

I raced through the 766 pages in about a week which was far faster then I read normal books. This was mostly due to spending a lot more time reading then I normally do, but the book's fast pace kept you wanting to read more. There were at least two evenings when I went to bed much later then normal, because I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.

I really enjoyed the book, at least partially because stuff happened. The plot moved along, some things finally got resolved and it generally felt like we were hurdling towards completion. While Knife of Dreams (the previous book) was good from that perspective as well, the previous several books had gotten mired down in details and felt like you read 800 pages where nothing moved forward.

One of my favorite things about Robert Jordan's books is the worldbuilding that has been done over the the twelve books, and the deep characters that have developed. I thought that the book still felt like a Robert Jordan book, which I take to mean that Brandon Sanderson did a very good job of staying true to the characters and world and history of the books and I couldn't really identify sections that were written by Robert Jordan versus Brandon Sanderson (though I didn't really look).

I can't think of too much negative to say about the book, except a common complaint that because of the breadth of the plot in Robert Jordan's books in a given book there are inevitably characters and plotlines that get little or no attention. For example, Taim and the black tower hardly even get a mention. I understand why this must be, but it is still always disappointing.

The good news there is that according to Brandon Sanderson's blog, Towers of Midnight is already 70% complete, which gives us a good chance of the next book being out in a year.

All in all I really enjoyed The Gathering Storm. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Robert Jordan's world and books. Despite being a combined effort of two authors, The Gathering Storm still felt like a true Robert Jordan book. And really, that probably says everything you need to know about the book. Even to a fan who has read most of the Wheel of Time books at least twice, it felt like a Robert Jordan book. If you like his books, you'll like Gathering Storm. If you don't, then why are you still reading this?

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