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The Wheel of Time #12

The Gathering Storm

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The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

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, and now Stormlight Archive, among others, was chosen by Jordan's editor--his wife, Harriet McDougal--to complete the final volume, later expanded to three books.

In this epic novel, Robert Jordan's international bestselling series begins its dramatic conclusion. 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.

783 pages, Hardcover

First published November 7, 2009

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About the author

Robert Jordan

405 books14.3k followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Robert Jordan was the pen name of James Oliver Rigney, Jr., under which he was best known as the author of the bestselling The Wheel of Time fantasy series. He also wrote under the names Reagan O'Neal and Jackson O'Reilly.

Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He served two tours in Vietnam (from 1968 to 1970) with the United States Army as a helicopter gunner. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. After returning from Vietnam he attended The Citadel where he received an undergraduate degree in physics. After graduating he was employed by the United States Navy as a nuclear engineer. He began writing in 1977. He was a history buff and enjoyed hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting.

He described himself as a "High Church" Episcopalian and received communion more than once a week. He lived with his wife Harriet McDougal, who works as a book editor (currently with Tor Books; she was also Jordan's editor) in a house built in 1797.

Responding to queries on the similarity of some of the concepts in his Wheel of Time books with Freemasonry concepts, Jordan admitted that he was a Freemason. However, "like his father and grandfather," he preferred not to advertise, possibly because of the negative propaganda against Freemasonry. In his own words, "no man in this country should feel in danger because of his beliefs."

On March 23, 2006, Jordan disclosed in a statement that he had been diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, and that with treatment, his median life expectancy was four years, though he said he intended to beat the statistics. He later posted on his Dragonmount blog to encourage his fans not to worry about him and that he intended to have a long and fully creative life.

He began chemotherapy treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in early April 2006. Jordan was enrolled in a study using the drug Revlimid just approved for multiple myeloma but not yet tested on primary amyloidosis.

Jordan died at approximately 2:45 p.m. EDT on September 16, 2007, and a funeral service was held for him on Wednesday, September 19, 2007. Jordan was cremated and his ashes buried in the churchyard of St. James Church in Goose Creek, outside Charleston.

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Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
843 reviews1,686 followers
February 9, 2019
Sanderson took the reins in his hands and he did a great job of pushing things forward.

Egwene, Rand, and Matrim were the prominent characters in this book but this is clearly Egwene's story and how she mend the White Tower.

She has come a long way from a teenager to being one of most power Aes Sedai. I was not a fan of her prior to this book but she won me over in this. There were so many instances when I heard people say that Egwene was their favorite character for what she did for the White Tower. I was thoroughly disappointed in her, then came book 11 and she started redeeming herself in my eyes. In this book she had my attention from the very start and I was in her awe by the end. Her behavior in White Tower was exact opposite of what I expected of her. Egwene of earlier books would have used One Power and settled the scores as soon as she was captured but no this mature Egwene did not put any resistance, she kept bearing all the hardships silently showing others how strong she was and what it means to be an Aes Sedai. The path she chose to unite the White Tower was quite unique and slowly she earned the respect of her fellow Aes Sedais.

Unlike Egwene, Rand toughen himself up for the coming final battle. I don't blame the poor guy for thinking that he's not good enough to face the Dark One. After all, one misstep on Rand's part and the world would be doomed. It also didn't help that his enemies picked Min to torture him. It was a great decision on his part to make himself emotionless as once his enemies got whiff of how he feel about his loved ones, they would attack him through them. But his decision to go darker was painful to read as it hurts the people whom he didn't want to hurt.

With this book we also saw change in author. After the last few books this was a good change, perhaps it is because we are near the end and Sanderson has to tie all the loose ends now. I didn't see many loose plots in this book. Everything is slowly moving towards the one final battle.

This book proved that it was worth it to read this long series.
Profile Image for Books with Brittany.
644 reviews3,029 followers
August 7, 2021
4.75 ⭐️
Not sure how much emotions influenced my rating, but anything less feels wrong 🤷🏼‍♀️🙈
Profile Image for Richard.
14 reviews7 followers
December 15, 2009
I first picked up the Wheel of Time series fifteen years ago while a freshman in college. I remember being totally caught up in the series, consumed by the characters and taken in by the world. I looked forward to every page, couldn't decide on my favorite character and couldn't wait for the next book. That changed as the series went on. Wandering plotlines, characters that became so unlikeable that I loathed when they appeared for more than a chapter at a time, and so much of the plot taken up with unimportant throwaway characters that I felt like I needed a separate book just to keep up with all of the characters. I remember clearly the moment I decided I was done with the series, after an entire book searching for the bowl of winds, only to reach the end of the book and with bowl in hand, the characters... do nothing. It was another half a book before the artifact was finally used. So it wasn't until Robert Jordan died that I went back and picked up the last few books that I hadn't read, in anticipation of Brandon Sanderson's writing the final novel. I was pleased to find that the books resolved some of the issues as they went on, even though, as I picked up the 'last' of the Wheel of Time books I learned it would be the last of three.

The Gathering Storm renewed my love of the Wheel of Time. Sanderson's writing pays homage to Jordan just enough that the book doesn't seem disjointed, but it so many ways it is much better. Rare are the chapters where we follow a character through the minutia of walking from one place to another without the plot moving forward. Chapters told from the point of view of characters not central to the plot were revealing and concise. The plot moves forward at a satisfying pace and resolves many of the plotlines that we have been waiting years for. Even more satisfying is that the characters become likeable again. Even Rand by the end, is one step closer to being a sympathetic character. I totally recommend the Gathering Storm as a book that will renew the faith of Jordan readers like me, who became disenchanted over the years. I'm looking forward to the final two books of the 'A Memory of Light' and in the meantime I will be introducing myself to Sanderson's other books.
Profile Image for Markus.
469 reviews1,511 followers
February 23, 2016
“Ravens and crows. Rats Mists and clouds. Insects and corruption. Strange events and odd occurrences. The ordinary twisted and strange. Wonders!

The dead are beginning to walk and some see them. Others do not, but more and more, we all fear the night.

These have been our days. They rain upon us beneath a dead sky, crushing us with their fury, until as one we beg: "Let it begin!"

-Journal of the Unknown Scholar, entry for The Feast of Freia, 1000 NE”

Tarmon Gai’don is looming. War, death and madness have become part of day-to-day life in the Westlands as the final struggle with the Shadow is at hand…

The Gathering Storm is the first of the three books written after the Creator’s passing. Brandon Sanderson does not disappoint, especially because his influence is practically invisible. There are differences, of course. But apart from the minor change in writing style, this is still very much Robert Jordan. Light be praised.

Storylines are finally moving towards an end. A couple of major revelations are dropped. And Egwene al’Vere is the obvious star of the show. Who would have thought?

“The end is near," Moridin said. "The Wheel has groaned its final rotation, the clock has lost its spring, the serpent heaves its final gasps.”


Wheel of Time reviews:
#1 The Eye of the World
#2 The Great Hunt
#3 The Dragon Reborn
#4 The Shadow Rising
#5 The Fires of Heaven
#6 Lord of Chaos
#7 A Crown of Swords
#8 The Path of Daggers
#9 Winter's Heart
#10 Crossroads of Twilight
#11 Knife of Dreams
#12 The Gathering Storm
#13 Towers of Midnight
#14 A Memory of Light
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.5k followers
March 4, 2021
The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12), Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson

The Gathering Storm is a fantasy novel by American writers Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, the twelfth book in the series The Wheel of Time. It was incomplete when Jordan died on September 16, 2007, from cardiac amyloidosis. His widow Harriet McDougal and his publisher Tom Doherty chose Sanderson to continue the book.

The series' story line has been leading up to the "Last Battle" (Tarmon Gai'don)—a fight between the forces of Light and Shadow.

According to prophecy in the series the primary protagonist Rand al'Thor, as the Dragon Reborn, will "fight the [battle]", and must be present for the forces of Light to have a chance at winning and stopping the being known as the Dark One, the primary antagonist, from escaping his prison.

The Gathering Storm follows many plot threads but focuses on two characters, Rand al'Thor and Egwene al'Vere.

While it follows al'Thor's attempts to unite and rally the world's forces for the Last Battle, it also addresses his struggle with his sanity, caused by the corruption of his mind from the use of the male half of the One Power.

The unification of the White Tower, the headquarters of the female users of the One Power known as Aes Sedai, is addressed from al'Vere's perspective, as well as the exposure of the Black Ajah, a secretive and opposing faction within the story.

While the stories of other main characters such as Perrin Aybara and Mat Cauthon are briefly touched upon, they have little bearing on the main plot line. Some main characters such as Elayne Trakand and Lan Mandragoran do not appear at all, but are referred to.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و پنجم ماه مارس سال 2020میلادی

عنوان: سری چرخ زمان کتاب دوازدهم: گرد آمدن طوفان؛ نویسنده: رابرت جردن؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

چرخ زمان رمتنهایی از نوع «خیال‌پردازی حماسی (اپیک)» هستند که توسط نویسنده «آمریکایی»، «جیمز الیور ریگنی جونیور» با تخلص «رابرت جوردن» نگاشته شده ‌اند؛ «چرخ زمان» قرار بود یک مجموعه ی شش جلدی باشد، اما «جردن» آن را به دوازده کتاب و سپس به چهارده کتاب و یک پیش درآمد، افزایش داد؛ «جوردن» در سال 1984میلادی آغاز به نگارش نخستین کتاب از این سری با نام «چشم جهان» نمودند، که آن را در ماه ژانویه سال 1990میلادی منتشر کردند؛ «جردن» پیش از پایان یافتن جلد دوازدهم از سری در سال 2007میلادی، به علت بیماری قلبی در گذشتند؛ و در همان سال، همسر ایشان پس از خوانش «زاده مه، اثر برندن سندرسون»؛ ایشان را برای پایان دادن کتاب برگزیدند؛ «سندرسون» با خوانش یادداشت‌های «جردن»، به این نتیجه رسیدند که یک جلد برای اتمام کار کتاب کافی نیست، و به همسر «جردن» پیشنهاد دادند که در سه جلد کتاب را به پایان برسانند، که مورد موافقت همسر «جردن» قرار گرفت و این گونه چرخ زمان در نهایت چهارده جلدی شد؛ در این سری از اسطوره‌ ها و مکاتب گوناگونی همانند بوداییسم، هندوئیسم، فرهنگ اروپایی، مفاهیم متافیزیکی تعادل و ثنویت، احترام به طبیعت که در فلسفه تائوئیسم یافت می‌شود، اسطوره ‌شناسی آسیایی و اسلامی استفاده شده ‌است؛ به علاوه در این رمان، اسم واقعی اهریمن، شیطان عنوان شده که یک کلمه عربی است و در بیان کلام اسلامی به عنوان نام شیطان استفاده می‌شود؛ همچنین بخشی از آن از کتاب جنگ و صلح (1869میلادی) به قلم «لئو تولستوی« الهام گرفته شده ‌است

کتابهای این سری: «بهار نو (2004میلادی) (به عنوان پیش‌درآمد و بیست سال پیش از رخدادهای نخستین رمان)»؛ کتاب نخست: «چشم جهان (1990میلادی)»؛ کتاب دوم: «شکار بزرگ (1990میلادی)»؛ کتاب سوم: «تجلی اژدها (1991میلادی)»؛ کتاب چهارم: «قیام سایه‌ها (1992میلادی)»؛ کتاب پنجم: «شعله‌های بهشت (1993میلادی)»؛ کتاب ششم: «ارباب آشفتگی (1995میلادی)»؛ کت��ب هفتم: «تاج شمشیرها (1996میلادی)»؛ کتاب هشتم: «گذرگاه خنجرها (1998میلادی)»؛ کتاب نهم: «قلب زمستان (2000میلادی)»؛ کتاب دهم: «چهارراه شامگاهی (2003میلادی)»؛ کتاب یازدهم: «چاقوی رؤیا (2005میلادی)»؛ کتاب دوازدهم: «گرد آمدن طوفان (2009میلادی)»؛ کتاب سیزدهم: «برج‌های نیمه شب (2010)»؛ کتاب چهاردهم: «یادآوری از روشنایی (2012میلادی)»؛

بازگویی داستان سری، از سه‌ هزار سال پس از «شکاندن جهان» روی می‌دهد، که به «عصر افسانه‌ ها» (که روزگاری بسیار پیشرفته بود) پایان داد؛ در روایتها، فناوری و ساختارهای اجتماعی جهان، به اروپای «رنسانس» شباهت دارند، با این تفاوت که کفهٔ عدالت اجتماعی، به سود زنان، سنگین‌تر شده است، و برخی جوامع، زن‌سالار هستند؛ در طی رویدادهای بازگویی داستان رویدادهایی همانند انقلاب صنعتی در برخی از ملل داستان، روی می‌دهد

صحنهٔ اصلی رویدادهای سری، بخش غربی قاره ‌ای عظیم است، که نام آن در متون اصیل، ذکر نشده‌ است، ولی «رابرت جردن» در گفتگوهایش از آن با عنوان «وست‌لندز» یاد کرده ‌اند؛ در «وست‌لندز»، که از شرق، با رشته ‌کوهی محاط است، چندین پادشاهی و دولت-شهر هست؛ در شرق این رشته ‌کوه، بیابانی موسوم به «برهوت آئیل» قرار دارد، که ساکنین آن را، قبیله ‌ها و جوامع جنگجوی «آئیل» تشکیل می‌دهند، که در سکونت‌گاه‌هایی کوچک زندگی می‌کنند؛ در شرق برهوت «آئیل»، کشور بزرگ و منزوی «شارا» قرار دارد، که با رشته ‌کوهی بزرگوار و منطقه ‌ای غیرقابل ‌عبور از «برهوت آئیل» جدا می‌شود؛ سراسر محدودهٔ شمالی این سه منطقه (وست‌لندز، برهوت آئیل، و شارا) را «پژمردگی کبیر» فرا گرفته ‌است، که بیابانی آلوده، و شیطانی است؛ در غرب «وست‌لندز» و آنسوی اقیانوسِ «مونرال»، قارهٔ «شان‌چن» قرار دارد، که عرض غرب به شرقش از قارهٔ دیگر کمتر است، ولی از قطب شمال، تا قطب جنوب کشیده شده ‌است؛ قارهٔ «شان‌چن»، با آبراهه ‌ای به دو قسمت شمالی و جنوبی، تقسیم شده ‌است؛ این آبراهه، اقیانوس «مونرال» را، به اقیانوس «آریت» متصل می‌کند؛ در شمالی‌ترین بخش قسمت شمالی «شان‌چن»، «پژمردگی صغیر» واقع شده ‌است، که با «پژمردگی کبیر» طول جغرافیایی یکسانی دارد؛ در آغاز داستان «چرخ زمان»، ساکنان «وست‌لندز»، از وجود «شان‌چن» بی‌خبر هستند؛ دنیای «چرخ زمان رابرت جردن» در نیم‌کرهٔ جنوبی قاره‌ ای کوچک موسوم به «سرزمین دیوانگان» قرار دارد، ولی در سری اصلی از آن سخنی نرفته ‌است

روایت سری در پایان «عصر سوم» روی می‌دهد؛ «عصر سوم» با «شکاندن جهان» آغاز می‌شود، که پایان ‌بخش «عصر افسانه‌ ها» بود؛ «عصر افسانه‌ ها» در پی «عصر نخست» می‌آید؛ «عصر نخست» به‌ صورت ضمنی، بر جهان کنونی دلالت دارد، و نام برخی از شخصیت‌های اسطوره ‌ای آن، در خلال مجموعه آمده ‌است، که «السبت، ملکهٔ همگان (اشاره به الیزابت دوم)» و «ماترز درمانگر (اشاره به مادر ترزا)» از آن دسته هستند؛

در عصر سوم در «وست‌لندز» رویداد تاریخی بزرگ روی داد: نخست «جنگ‌های ترالک»، که در آن هزار سال پس از «شکاندن جهان» موجوداتی، از پژمردگی «جهان انسانی» را تقریبا نابود می‌کنند، و دوم ظهور «آرتور هاوک‌وینگ» که هزار سال، پس از جنگ‌های «ترالک» «وست‌لندز» را فتح و متحد کرد، ولی وارثی نداشت و «جنگ‌های صدساله» پس از مرگ او، بر سر تقسیم قلمروش درگرفت؛ در پی هر یک از این دو رویداد، تقسیم‌های سیاسی، و ساختار ملل «وست‌لندز»، به‌ کلی دیگر شد؛ زبان کهن (که در عصر افسانه‌ ها رایج بود) در زمان روایت مجموعه زبانی مرده است، و تنها برخی پژوهندگان و اشراف‌زادگان با آن سخن میگویند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 13/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Choko.
1,166 reviews2,568 followers
December 15, 2016
*** 5++++ ***

Another buddy read with the Fantasy Addicts at BB&B! May the Wheel keep on turning!!!

"..."“Pessimism, she is a fond friend of yours, yes?" -
That's uncalled for. I barely know her. Mere acquaintances, at best.”..."

WOW!!! Brandon Sanderson did Robert Jordan proud!!! What a ride! What an amazing series!!! The complexity of plot and characters are not comparable to anything else I have ever read in my entire life! It would be impossible for me to even delve into what happens in this book... How do you summarize the whole of everything that goes on around you at all times? Impossible! There was joy, there was pain, there was anger, grief, and there was hope! And Sanderson's stile of writing, although not the same as Jordan's, fits perfectly with the feel of the series, mostly in the ability to lace even the toughest situations with some humor and make us look on the bright side of the problem! Wow!!! Did I say WOW???!!!!

"..."“The Wheel has turned, for better or worse. And it will keep on turning, as lights die and forests dim, storms call and skies break. Turn it will. The Wheel is not hope, and the Wheel does not care, the Wheel simply is. But so long as it turns, folk may hope, folk may care. For with light that fades, another will eventually grow, and each storm that rages must eventually die. As long as the Wheel turns. As”..."

To all fans of Epic Fantasy, you guys have to give the series a try! It is soooo worth it!

"..."“The end is near," Moridin said. "The Wheel has groaned its final rotation, the clock has lost its spring, the serpent heaves its final gasps.”..."

Wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find inspiration in the books you read!!!
Profile Image for Gavin.
849 reviews384 followers
December 27, 2016
I guess the big question that counts when considering this 12th volume of the WoT is how did I feel about the switch from Robert Jordan to Brandon Sanderson? I was more OK with the change than I anticipated. I'm a big Brandon Sanderson fan but I had definitely been dreading the moment when he took over writing WoT. Mostly just because I like consistency and WoT books always had such a familiar and distinct feel to them. Some things were definitely different, but I think the most important thing of all was that Sanderson managed to capture the spirit of the story and managed to maintain that special "WoT feel". Sanderson's WoT was worse than Jordan's WoT in some ways but, surprisingly, better in others. The trade off worked out about level for me.

The big plus Sanderson brought to the 12th WoT instalment was a dramatically improved pacing. There was no dull spots and no chapters that felt like filler or where if felt the characters were just treading water. Every chapter was engaging and interesting and a few of the more action packed and emotionally charged chapters were among the best WoT moments in the whole series.

One of the most noticeable differences between Sanderson and Jordan was the tone and type of the humour. Jordan always favoured subtly and hilarious mishaps while Sanderson favours a more direct style which meant the humor came more in the form of witty banter. I'm not sure which type of favour I favour in general but did find the change in style in the context of this series to be a touch jarring at times.

I also felt like Sanderson had a slightly different interpretation of some of the WoT characters than Jordan himself had. I know, not a big surprise considering we as fans all likely have a billion different interpretations of the characters from what Jordan himself intended! Still, I did find the change a little jarring. It was most noticeable in Mat, Nynaeve, and Elaida. Talmanes was also a bit different but Sanderson had more wiggle room there as Talmanes was only a minor secondary character in Jordan's books while in this one he was basically promoted to Mat's main sidekick. Mat and Elaida regularly acted "out of character" in my eyes while Nynaeve also had a few moments that felt wrong for her.

The story itself in this 12th WoT book was actually pretty good. It was fast paced and quite engaging from start to finish. We got to see excellent progress in a number of the long term ongoing story arcs. The main focus of the story was on Rand and Egwene. Rand sought his alliance with the Seanchan, had more encounters with the Forsaken, tried to get his army ready for the Last Battle, and battled a lot of his own inner demons and increasing madness. Egwene sought to unify the Aes Sedai and deal with the Black Ajah. Both story arcs were pretty exciting. Mat and Perrin had a few moments of their own, especially early on, and their parts were entertaining enough. Elayne never appeared at all and was basically on the bench for this instalment.

As always the main cast was helped out by some enjoyable back up from a few of the secondary POV characters. The pick of the bunch in this book was Tuon, Cadsuane, and Tylee.

All in all this was a great read and a worthy addition to the fantastic WoT series.

Rating: 4.5 stars. I was tempted to give it the full 5 stars as it really was that sort of quality by I'm hacking off half a star because of some moments that really annoyed me.

Audio Note: We might have had a change of author, but thankfully we retained our fantastic WoT narration pairing of Micheal Krammer and Kate Reading. They are as good as it gets!

Profile Image for Alex Nieves.
168 reviews620 followers
August 20, 2021
Definitely one of my favorite of the series easily. Wow this was such a great Wheel of Time entry and I find it a bit hard to believe I only have 2 books left. So much happens in this book, so many great character moments and hands down one of the best, if not the best book for Egwene and Rand's character arcs. I do think that Sanderson absolutely helped with the pacing of the book, but this series would be nothing without Robert Jordan. I'm incredibly excited to read these final books.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,544 reviews2,931 followers
July 15, 2015
So this is book 12 of the Wheel of Time series and this is the first one which is written after Jordan's death by Brandon Sanderson. I am not going to lie, Sanderson is the reason I began reading the WoT series (because I wanted to read everything by him) but along the way Jordan sucked me in, developed this stunning world of visionary, resentful, powerful and dangerous characters, and created a massively fun story. Some of the books are better than others. I liked most of the ones so far (although book 6 remains my favourite at the moment) and yet, getting to the Sanderson books still makes me feel so good. Not because I forced my way through the series or hated it, I didn't, but because I knew that I began 2 or so years ago with the series because I wanted to get to the Sanderson books, and now I have done so (and so far it's wonderful!)

Book 12 is the beginning of the end. Whilst Knife of Dreams (book 11) was the start of Jordan's attempt to bring the strings back together book 12 is the beginning of the questions being answered and the characters forming up and resolving their problems/plotlines in order to be ready for the inevitable Last Battle.

In terms of how Sanderson compares to Jordan as a writer I think he does a great job of not disrespecting the story which Jordan set up so well. He says in the introduction to the book that he never wanted to lie and try to emulate Jordan and have none of his personality come through, but equally he wanted it to be true to Jordan's wishes for the story and he wanted it to come out right in the end. Sanderson being a long-term fan of the series is also obviously a big help to him because he knew these characters and he knew who they were before he began writing them, and he does a fab job of emulating them and continuing their storylines in a way that makes them believable still.

In terms of the plot this book is undeniably much better paced than some of the previous ones by Jordan himself. Whilst Jordan's books tend to be a steady and slow build with the halfway point being the turning point where the action really begins, Sanderson has a knack for instantly starting out with something that will not only interest you, but will also capture and hold your attention for the duration of the book. I flew through this book a lot quicker than any of the last few books in the series. I wanted, at all times when I was busy, to have the audiobook going or the physical book in hand. It was fun, it was fab, it was full of answers and resolutions which we've been longing for, and ultimately needing. The series has, in my opinion, benefited massively from Sanderson taking over, and that's no discredit whatsoever to Jordan, as he set everything up and planned everything out meticulously, but Sanderson is better at engaging you quicker.

On the whole, I won't go into any details about what really happens in this book but just know that this is the second best of the series so far (with the first one being book 6 by Jordan himself) and that it really is a throughly good read. I would say that this has filled me with so much excitement for the final two books now, and I eagerly await seeing where they will take not only me, as the reader, but the characters that we follow in the story. I want to know who will win, how will they win, and what is going to happen in the end to the world of the Wheel of Time. There's so much originality which for a time became a little stale, but now I have nothing but anticipation for book 13 and 14.

A wonderful 5* read with so many improvements to the character's storylines and the way they're progressing. Can't wait for book 13 very soon :)
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,574 reviews1,462 followers
February 6, 2017
4.75 Someone Else is Driving the Car Stars

“The end is near," … "The Wheel has groaned its final rotation, the clock has lost its spring, the serpent heaves its final gasps.”

This is the first book that was written after Robert Jordan’s death by Brandon Sanderson. I got so emotional when I read the opening words in the Foreword.
I have not tried to imitate Mr. Jordan’s style. Instead, I’ve adapted my style to be appropriate to The Wheel of Time. My main goal was to stay true to the souls of the characters. The plot is, in large part, Robert Jordan’s, though many of the words are mine…
But this is a big project, and it will take time to complete. I beg your patience as we spend these next few years perfecting this story. We hold in our hands the ending of the greatest fantasy epic of our time, and I intend to see it done right. I intend to remain true to Mr. Jordan’s wishes and notes. My artistic integrity, and love for the books, will not let me do anything less. In the end, I let the words herein stand as the best argument for what we are doing. This is not my book. It is Robert Jordan’s book, and to a lesser extent, it is your book.

I’m just going to give props to Sanderson for taking over such a massive epic fantasy. It couldn’t have been easy and yet I think that he did a fantastic job with this book. Yes there are some differences in the writing styles and a few of the characters change a smidge more than expected but overall it is amazing how well he did.

The Best Parts:

♔ - The better pacing of the story. I don’t know if this is because we are coming to an end and so all the foundations that RJ set down and the arcs he built up are finally starting to tie together or if Sanderson’s style of writing has led to it but the pacing of this huge book is fantastic. I’ve been reading this series for a year now just a few chapters a day and this was the first time that it was actually really hard to put the book down after 2-3 chapters.

♕ - Verrin just WOW. Look I’ve gone back and forth on Verrin and her goals in this series. Which team is she playing for? What is that woman up to? Can we trust her or is this just another Aes Sedea Plot? Do I like her, do I hate her??? Well I’m just going to say that whatever I was thinking what was actually ture was SO MUCH BETTER.

♖ - I’m going to give huge props to Egwene. She is really proving to be a very competent Amerlyn and I’m really interested in what she is going to do after this book. She could be the greatest Amerlyn in history if she keeps this up.

♗ - Min is always one of my favorite characters and I really like to believe that she and Rand are the true soulmate match and he is just going to sperm donor it up for Elayne and Avienda they are a cuter couple together than with Rand. I think this book shows just how much Min gets Rand and how she is the one that is going to support him through this huge undertaking. But Rand in most of this book was bleak and we find out why.
“I continue to wonder,' he said, glancing down at Min, 'why you all assume that I am too dense to see what you find so obvious. Yes, Nynaeve. Yes, this hardness will destroy me. I know.' ...
You all claim that I have grown too hard, that I will inevitably shatter and break if I continue on. But you assume that there needs to be something left of me to continue on. ...
That's the key, Nynaeve. I see it now. I will not live through this, and so I don't need to worry about what might happen to me after the Last Battle. I don't need to hold back, don't need to salvage anything of this beaten up soul of mine.”

♘ - The meeting with the Seanchen. Look I didn’t think that it would go well but Rand meeting Tuon….well I’ve been waiting for it for so long and now it has happened and I’m not sure where all the chips are going to fall. I semi-see both sides BUT the Seanchen collar and subjugate those who have the one power and I don’t see that being something that Rand will ever tolerate.

♙ - I loved all the different crazy happening with pockets of power. It is just amazing all the different ways the dark one is touching the land and how it is affecting different people in different places. The Town that Matt went to for instance well that is a huge disturbance and a very cool idea.

♚ - Last but not least Terminator Rand is dead. Look he has been pretty moody and bleak for the last few books and I get why but it was so nice to finally FINALLY have some resolution with that voice in his head. I’m glad that we got that out of the way. It has been an emotion trip with Lews Therin in Rand’s head but we definitely got some great resolution on that story arc and I’m really happy with it.

The Worst Parts: (they aren’t really bad they are just different)

BS did a great job with this but there are going to be a few things that are different that you notice.

1 – Robert Jordan’s humor was more situational and Brandon Sanderson’s is more banter/wit type. I liked this change since I appreciate the banter/wit more than situational comedy. Still it is noticeably different especially in Mat’s character and Telmanus. Not really good or bad just different.

2 – I think that RJ’s villains are a bit more subtle and Sanderson’s are more in your face. Elida is a prime example. She was a bit cruel before but in this she was flat out cray-cray

3- The flow of the story is a bit different. I like the change up and faster speed of things but you can definitely tell that someone else is driving the car now.


This world/story have been amazing and I’m really glad we are wrapping everything up and going into the last battle. It is time and I do think looking at the last 2 books I read that it was probably worth some of the slow meandering of books 8-10 to get to 11-14. But I’ll know better if that is true at the very end.
Profile Image for Jonathan Terrington.
593 reviews558 followers
February 7, 2013

This twelfth volume of The Wheel of Time is one of the most famous of recent times. Simply because it was, at the time it was promised, expected to be the final volume of the (then) ongoing series. It was also the first volume written by Brandon Sanderson (then known simply for Mistborn: The Final Empire) with the aid of many, many notes left by Robert Jordan. When I picked up The Eye of the World three or so years ago I knew that this twelfth volume of The Wheel of Time (due at the end of that year) was by a different author. I had no inkling of how I should feel about that as on the whole I dislike novels by other authors. Yet a friend had recommended the series strongly to me so I decided to read it and I personally very much enjoyed the story all the way up to this twelfth volume. Then when I read The Gathering Storm I was impressed by how skilfully put together the story was and consider it to be one of the finest in the entire series.

Brandon Sanderson, as an author, has several strengths which combat Jordan's weaknesses nicely in this novel. One friend recently posed that there are two types of writers. There are those who are natural storytellers, more concerned with the plot ideas and details. Then there are the technicians, those who focus more on prose and literary qualities over stories. Now, they stated, most authors are combinations of both by nature, yet they seem to have one aspect more strongly over the other. I would say that, while Sanderson is a writer with ideas and natural storytelling ability, that he is a stronger technical writer than Jordan.

When I say that Sanderson is a stronger technical writer I'd like to consider it from this perspective. Do you believe, if their roles were reversed, that Jordan would be able to as effectively write Sanderson's stories? I personally theorise that Jordan would find it more difficult to adapt to Sanderson's style. Brandon Sanderson in this novel has done something that is ridiculously near impossible in copying Jordan's style and telling the story as Jordan wanted (more or less). Yes, there are flaws every so often when as a reader you realise that an expression or idea dropped by Sanderson does not quite fit into the logical confines of Robert Jordan's world yet for the most part he does a perfect job of capturing Jordan's writing style and the voices of the characters he fills this world with. If you disagree try writing a short story in the style of your favourite author and you will see how hard it can be to emulate writing.

In calling Sanderson a stronger technical writer I would also like to point out that Sanderson typically uses a less 'wordy' style than Jordan. That is not to say that Sanderson is not lengthy when he writes, indeed some of his sentences occasionally prove a touch awkward and he himself readily admits that he is not the greatest author of all time. However, that said Sanderson has an economy of language that works, it seems to me that he understands his limits and the theories of writing to a strong degree. On the other hand I feel that Jordan at times writes in a style that is overly long and above what he should aim for. I personal feel that Sanderson's sense of economy adds pace and energy to this novel in addition to the strength of Jordan's worldbuilding. I also felt that Sanderson added degrees of humour and warmth which I haven't felt from the other books in the series.

Now, I do not intend this to be a sign of disrespect for Robert Jordan. Indeed I think it would have been great if he had been able to finish the story himself. Yet Sanderson has clearly added something to this book that, for good or for bad, makes it a better and stronger story.
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
576 reviews777 followers
July 8, 2021
“This storm would not pass overhead then vanish. It had to be confronted.”

I know, I know, Mr Sanderson comes in and I should be paying attention. Instead, I read in a mad craze up to chapter 36 because this is what the readers do when you name it “Death of Tuon”. Only then did I pause. For a moment, at least.

Reading The Gathering Storm felt a bit like meeting long lost friends who asked “How are you?” usually replied “Ah, nothing interesting you know,” and this time they said: “oh may! But we have a story for you!”

The Gathering Storm is the first of the last three volumes in the series and the first co-written by Brandon Sanderson. I can say that Sanderson’s co-authorship served the story rather positively. As a reader, I can only imagine how difficult it is for a writer to take over someone else’s vision, let alone a world such as the Wheel of Time, which can certainly be described as Robert Jordan’s opus magnum.

It is difficult to say what percentage of the book is Mr Sanderson’s original work, in which places his words permeate Mr Jordan’s sentences (it is of course an advantage that nothing sticks out too much), but there definitely are moments where the writer brought a fresh new perspective - for better or worse.

In general, I got the impression that all the potential has been put together and used well. Aside from adapting his writing style, which Mr Sanderson did in such a delicate way that sometimes one can forget that he had any direct involvement in the writing process, the most palpable change is the significant acceleration of the action.

The biggest difference is the introduction of many POVs into single chapters. I think that to a large extent this simple trick can be credited with accelerated action as the pace quickens when we jump from one character to another. The situations so well known from the previous volumes of the cycle, when for several dozen or even several hundred pages we had to trudge along with one and the same hero who for the most part would be doing nothing substantial, have no place here.

Admittedly, Mr Sanderson made it, although there are some glitches, especially for a reader like me, who read the whole in one go and so is able to clearly feel the changes. I am not even talking about the style but about the fact that some of the protagonists have become something more, and others something less. While Egwene is surprisingly likable in this instalment (a nice change, but still her ego is formidable), the biggest downside is Mat Cauthon, whose only connection to Robert Jordan’s Mat Cauthon is the name and random paraphernalia. Clearly, Mr Sanderson has not grasped the subtle psychological complexities of this key character and so his Mat appears to be a lucky village fool who simply irritates. The entire Mat episode is short and weak. Tuon is not impressive either, but there is little of her anyway, so it didn’t bother me that much.

Paradoxically, the fact that Mr Sanderson is not able to grasp and fixate on the bond between Rand and his harem is a plus. While before it seemed that this connection will be instrumental in what is to happen, here this polymeric gig fragments into inconsequentiality. There are even scenes when Rand and Aviendha can meet one another… and nothing happens. (I have more emotional encounters with my cleaner!). The absence of Elayne is another added value in this volume.

Mr Sanderson neatly tightens and in certain cases even closes some of the arcs. Some characters that for unknown reasons lost their importance (mainly Tom Merillin) or completely disappeared, return to their rightful place. Several protagonists undergo a profound change and an increasing number of problems they face are solved. In this volume, we have a lot of Rand who is going through dark places (It will be better because it can’t get any worse), but perhaps the most interesting things happen at the Aes Sedai headquarters. A great motif with a double agent! Broke my heart.

Nonetheless, sometimes I had the feeling that Mr Jordan would weave some more complex tales, or develop those background stories more. I know, I have been complaining about diluting the tale, but now that these elements are not here, I really missed them at times. All those staring duels, smoothing skirts, brushing the sword hilts, threats involving ears being thoroughly boxed - where are those?! In an outstanding high fantasy, all those props should be a background for people and their passions. Here, we just get down to business, props be damned. But I understand that perhaps there was no way around it.

Also in the series:

1. The Eye of the World ★★★★☆
2. The Great Hunt ★★★★☆
3. The Dragon Reborn ★★★★☆
4. The Shadow Rising ★★★★☆
5. The Fires of Heaven ★★★★☆
6. Lord of Chaos ★★★☆☆
7. A Crown of Swords ★★★☆☆
8. The Path of Daggers ★★★☆☆
9. Winter's Heart ★☆☆☆☆
10. Crossroads of Twilight ★★☆☆☆
11. Knife of Dreams ★★★★☆
13. Towers of Midnight ★★★☆☆
14. A Memory of Light ★★★☆☆
176 reviews183 followers
June 14, 2019
Lots of traveling this month, which means a lot of reading. I do things in phases. My reading phase, which comes in bursts of month long intervals 2-3 times a year, always kicks in whenever I have to travel. Looking for something to read last weekend, after spending an entire hour browsing my TBR and my Kindle collection, I just ended up saying fuck it, I'm gonna read some Wheel of Time. Again.
I just can't explain it. I just keep going back to it, and I have no idea why. It has grown on me in a way probably not even Harry Potter managed to do.
When I first read it three years back, I enjoyed the fuck out of it. When I started my re-read in September last year thanks to the TV show announcement, exactly two years after I finished my first read, I expected myself to read just the first book along with my book club (It was a group read along), and move on. What happened, I can't explain. I got pulled in, despite wanting not to. The second read somehow seemed even more enjoyable. The anticipation of wanting to know what would happen gave way to the anticipation of key scenes my emo ass already knowing would happen. Picking up on things that I had missed out on earlier, going deeper into the characters, yada yada, you know the drill. Approximately 10 months later, here I am, with just two books left to finish the whole journey a second time.
So, let's get to this book. Holy fuck, what an installment. If I gave this 5 stars in my first read, I'd give this 6 this time around. What happens with me is that when I pick up a series, and then I come back to it, I remember the initial parts much more clearer than those which come towards the end. Or maybe, I had just hurried my read the first time around, and missed out on SO MUCH. Sanderson takes over, and a lot of things, both good and bad can be said about that, and I don't really wanna go into the specifics of that. The writing is flawless, there are subtle changes in some key characters, mostly for the good, and most importantly this book provides an ending to a lot of eternally ongoing overly long character arcs, and perfectly sets up for the final act. Rand's epiphany, or whatever you want to call it, on Dragonmount has to be one of my favorite scenes in the entire series, too. Love it.
Cautiously optimistic about the TV adaptation, hopefully they do it right. And if they do, we are looking at WoT becoming mainstream, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, more people to talk with about this gem of an epic that needs to appreciated more, on the other hand, the ever nagging feeling of losing something precious to you, or the charm of it at least. I honestly don't know, and I could write a whole blog post about it. But until then, guess I'll just keep reading WoT.
Profile Image for Constantine.
783 reviews119 followers
May 13, 2021
Rating: Excellent

Genre: Epic Fantasy

This book is full of adrenaline and rush! I absolutely loved how Sanderson handled the progress of the story and the character development. I feel this is at the same level of awesomeness as my last most favorite book in the series, Lord of Chaos, book six. Lots of things happen and I will try not to reveal everything so the story won’t be spoiled to those of you who have not read the book yet.

The Gathering Storm is the twelfth book in The Wheel of Time series. This is the first book in the series that is written by Brandon Sanderson. From what I understand is that before passing away Robert Jordan wanted to write a single book that will end and wrap up the series but that single book would have been a huge book to be printed hence Sanderson has divided it into three books instead.

“How do you fight someone smarter than yourself?" Rand whispered. "The answer is simple. You make her think that you are sitting down across the table from her, ready to play her game. Then you punch her in the face as hard as you can.”
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What to expect:
- Elayne, Lan, Brigitte, and several other characters do not make an appearance in this book. I did not miss them. Not because I don’t love or enjoy these characters but because I feel the author wanted to focus on the other characters and their stories. And he made those stories very interesting and gripping making you hardly think about the other characters that are missing.

- Egwene is the star of this book for me. Her storyline, struggle, her rise, and all the Tar Valon events from start to end were mind-blowing. It was truly amazing. I found myself saying wow several times while reading her part. It was everything I wanted from her story.

- Rand changes a lot, the events that happen around him make the boy feel frustrated more than ever. He gets rid of two of the forsaken but that comes with a big price. His relationship with Min and Cadsuane changes. His meeting with his father Tam was somehow a heartbreaking moment. Then his last scene on the Dragonmount is chilling and predicts more vast changes in the coming books!

- One of the important Aes Sedais confesses to Egwene that she is from the Black Ajah and provides her with all the names she gathered and information about the sisters who are Darkfriend. I really liked her character. Sad to see her gone.

- Mat’s side story was fun too but I feel the most entertaining part was his story in that crazy village where at night people change to something else! That was truly creepy and atmospheric.

“We can’t go back, Mat. The Wheel has turned, for better or worse. And it will keep on turning, as lights die and forests dim, storms call and skies break. Turn it will. The Wheel is not hope, and the Wheel does not care, the Wheel simply is. But so long as it turns, folk may hope, folk may care. For with light that fades, another will eventually grow, and each storm that rages must eventually die. As long as the Wheel turns.”
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The Gathering Storm is filled with more events than the ones I have mentioned but it is always hard to reveal more without spoiling. I feel this volume lives up to the high standards of the series and highly improved on the last few books which in my humble opinion lacked this kind of rush. I LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT. Start to end!
Profile Image for Trish.
1,847 reviews3,363 followers
September 6, 2022
„To arm the world with knowledge.“ - Verrin Sedai

Well, butter my butt and call me a cookie, if that isn‘t my new favorite installment of the series! OK, still sharing the #1 spot with volume 4, but still! And to think that this wasn‘t written by Robert Jordan! (Yes, that is a lot of exclamation marks, but I promise you they are all necessary and apt.)

Pockets of evil keep erupting, changing rooms in the White Tower, making tents attack and strangle the people living in them, weaponizing time loops ().
Rand has to meet with Tuon again, Egwene has to finally get Elaida deposed, Gawyn is unfortunately still around and being stupid (see my first status update), Mat is trying to move his army into position but is hindered by the Dark One‘s power, Perrin STILL needs to get his head out of his ass.

This sounds as if we were still more or less where we were in the previous volume, but we really definitely aren‘t.
Amongst other things, Rand is attacked. Again. Getting mind-raped. Again. That part actually made me cry. Not for him or Min, but because I know EXACTLY how it feels when your own body no longer follows your own commands - you still being present psychologically but not in power physically. And to think that that was NOT the worst that happened to him here …

Then there was the new punishment for Egwene and her realization that she might have to actually give up the White Tower because she couldn‘t wait much longer. Her argument about the illegal way the Aes Sedai had not only deposed Siuan, but killed her Warder as well! All the events surrounding her had me at the edge of my seat - only for me to solidly fall off that same seat when )!

Meanwhile, Tuon tried to walk the razor‘s edge of not offending the Dragon Reborn while keeping her own power and fulfilling the prophecy as she knows it (very interesting interpretations of the same thing). I could almost feel for her.

Not to mention Aviendah‘s new way. That was actually HILARIOUS. *sighs* I really needed a good laugh considering all the other dark things happening in this volume. Such a nice way for her character to grow, too.

There were also „d‘aw“ moments. Mostly, Lord Bryne and Siaun. It was a long time coming and sooo rewarding.

One of my highlights, characterization-wise, was the talk Lord Bryne had with Gawyn (I keep misspelling the name but see if I care) about how Elayne‘s mother was no longer the right person to sit the Lion Throne. Too bad he doesn‘t know that she isn‘t actually dead either, but at least he set Gawyn‘s head straight. Or tried. That guy is THICK. It also nicely emphasized how different people can see the same person or event in a completely different light.

More happened in here. So much more. Like the attack on the White Tower (no, not by the rebel Aes Sedai). But I want to focus on something else in this review:

Some might know, some might not, but Robert Jordan died before he finished this book. In fact, he only had a timeline and notes about events but hadn‘t started the actual book. The author had originally intended for this to be the final volume, too. After his death, the literary world was apparently in a turmoil with countless fans from around the world having been left with this unfinished EPIC story. And when I say epic, I mean much worse in scope than GRRM or Rothfuss‘s works.
And then?
Then the author‘s wife did something BOLD: she asked another author, a relatively unknown one back then, to finish the story. Brandon Sanderson.

I have to admit that I was apprehensive about this. Of course, I wanted to know what would happen and how it would all end, but I had no illusions about a totally different person writing the last couple of volumes. Because one of the necessary changes was that the original intent of this being the final volume could not be realized. Instead, the final part of the saga was split into 3 books (this and two others).
No, I didn‘t mind additional books - look at the page count! Dividing the last part of the story was definitely necessary!

However, a person‘s writing is always distinct. I couldn‘t imagine Sanderson managing to hit just the right tone. Lo and behold: he did! The only way I can explain it is MAGIC. I‘m serious. If you didn‘t know about the switch in authors, you wouldn‘t be able to spot it! If anything, one might have said that Jordan had found his stride or didn‘t hold himself back with slower events anymore. Yep, I just said it: this is better than a number of Jordan‘s original books in the series - whether due to the events themselves or because he is indeed a better writer, I don‘t know and shall not care.

This was magnificent in any way imaginable. It was detailed, the characters‘ voices were exactly as in the original books, the action was breathtaking. It‘s eerie, really, if you think about it. I‘m more than confident about the next two books now and can‘t wait to get to the conclusion (I don‘t want to imagine how the fans felt back in the day).
Profile Image for Maria Dimitrova.
743 reviews139 followers
December 20, 2016
Buddy Read with the Sanderson cult, umm I meant fans, over at BB&B.

Going into this I was equal parts excited, because I've heard good things about Sanderson, and apprehensive, because it's still a change and an unknown. Considering how much time it took me to get used to Robert Jordan's style, I was scared that I won't have enough time to acclimate to the new style. Thankfully my fears didn't realise. The book was amazing! I just couldn't put it down. And I think it's because of the changes Mr. Sanderson introduced. The main change was the pacing. The early WoT books had a hell of a lot pacing issues, there were moments when I wondered if this thing will ever end. TGS has perfect (for me at least) pacing and it let me breeze through the book in mere two weeks, when I usually need the whole month. My fellow buddy readers more familiar with Mr. Sanderson's works and style pointed out a few other differences, like the humour, but the only other difference I noticed was the more direct approach to certain situations which I had come to expect to be left vague or explained with a more subtle approach. And to be honest, I quite like these changes. There subtle enough that you might not notice them at all if you're not careful. So ultimately I'm very pleased with the way the series is handled. I doubt there's someone who could have done a better job, except RJ himself.

A lot happens in this book. Lots of storyarchs were brought to fruition. Things I have been dreading for books came to pass and the results left me at times angry, sad, frustrated, elated and once even sobbing outright. I've come to care about these characters so much that seeing their suffering, especially Rand's, who cares the fate of the world on his shoulders, is like a punch. A constricting hand around my heart. So much happened to all of our beloved characters - Perrin showed a willingness to step on the redemption path, Mat showed us that despite the mask he is a deeply caring man, if a bit callus and rude, Rand had to fight himself and his ever growing madness and depression, Nynaeve, steadfast Nynaeve, who cares so deeply for her friends and husband is given an impossible task when Rand descents deeper into the darkness, Egwene showed the world what a true Amylrin should be and many, many other things. Almost all of the main characters showed up at one time or another. The biggest exception being Elayne who is MIA for this instalment. However we got Gawyn who reappeared in a more significant manner this time around. Some of the scenes with him were deeply satisfying, mainly because I can't pick a single scene or chapter that I disliked or was bored with. However, there's a scene that's burned into my soul:
"The difference between you and Cadsuane is that you actually care about me. She only cares about my place in her plans. She wants me to be part of the Final battle. You want me to live. For that, you have my thanks. Dream on my behalf, Nynaeve. Dream for things I no longer can." -Rand al'Thor
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,846 followers
September 9, 2022
This book destroyed me.

Even with, what, a third read, it destroyed me. Knowing what would come and experiencing it yet again are two different things.

I could mention how I have been a long-time fan and remember waiting so many years between books, my sadness with RJ's death, my amazement and trepidation at learning that a then-unknown author would take up the reins and finish this most epic of stories, but I won't. It was very well done. Better than well done.

Instead, I'll just focus on the characters and the emerging story. I'm caught between my utter fascination between Egwene's story and Rand's. I couldn't tell which one destroyed me the most.

On the one hand, Egwene finally does what she had set out to do, in glorious fashion, and how it happens is one of the most satisfying sequences I've ever read, practically anywhere, in any literature. It takes time to tell a story properly, and her rise is one of the very best.

But then there's also Rand's story, his transformation into stone, steel, and quendiar. His utter despair, his transformation into a suicide bomber strapped to the pattern, to the wheel of time itself, is utterly heartbreaking. He just wants to fight the last battle and die. He's utterly traumatized by all that has happened and refuses to be caged in any kind of box ever, ever again. It's tragic and it made me howl. It's made all the worse because he's surrounded by so many people who would help him, be his conscience, or guide him back from the brink, or ANYTHING at all, and yet he is constrained by the prophesies, the memory of Eliadia's box, his own assumptions. He's utterly tragic, and after he gets caught again, he goes utter Darth Rand.

The fact that he and the pattern, itself, are so intricately twined, is what makes this so freaking horrible. All of it mirrors itself in the literature, and everyone suffers because of it.

I'm frankly amazed at how GOOD this is. Even now, or especially now, upon re-reads, how well it stands up and hurts even MORE than before.

And then there was the end of the book. I'm in utter shock. I was, before, and I am now, again.

Honorable mentions as to the other scenes which broke me: Verin. She is an utter Chad. The prime example of the best that the Aes Sedai can be. And if you know the other bit, you know. And I still stand by what I say. Of course, when it comes to Rand, too, being in a very similar circumstance, the implications are somewhat -- crazily -- dire. It puts a new perspective on just who are the true big-bads in the series. If any of the Forsaken can even come close to these internal character conflicts.

The implications all around are astounding and lend so much depth to these books, but this book in particular.

Yes, I'm squeeing. I don't think I can stop. And I don't think I shall.
Profile Image for Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*.
757 reviews120 followers
January 15, 2022
I will forego my usual rant about the original cover art. It's still bad. Just inside is a lovely touch: Jordan’s signature printed on the title page. That got me right in the feels.

Everyone knows this book's history: Jordan wrote eleven books in the series, then got a fatal diagnosis and died before completing another book. He left behind materials and his widow-editor asked Brandon Sanderson to finish the series. Brando Sando did a respectable job of this.

The problem for me is the preceding seven to eleven books. Books 5 through 11 in particular are terrible. Some of this I only fully grasped in retrospect; nostalgia and anticipation for certain major events blinded me for a time. The series has a lot of issues, but the most significant for me here is that Jordan clearly didn't know how to structure a series like this one. The pacing is horrific; no book in that sequence has a distinct plot arc; and multiple recurring annoyances pile up. Book 10 in particular broke me so badly that book 11, ostensibly the "slump-breaker", could do nothing to soothe my irritation at the entire series.

I've read it all before so none of this should come as a surprise, but this is my first time doing a straight full-series read-through (I started January 2021 at a book per month, with one month off for mourning after book 11) and it has really put it all together for me. So, I'm coming into this, Bundo Sundo's first foray into continuing the epic in Jordan's honor, and although it was the best Wheel of Time book in well over a decade, it only served to highlight all the failures of the preceding books.

Let's be honest; is there any way that if Jordan had remained in good health, the series would have wrapped up in just three more books? Impossible, given the evidence of his last seven books and twelve years, which show no evidence that he knew how to plot or pace such events. Based on the fact he thought what he left behind could be done in just one final volume, I believe only the imminence of death provided any impetus to remotely wrap things up for the endgame. At this point, I am convinced that he received zero structural editing after the first few books. Why would his editor/wife, whose job this would typically be, make any demands for change? Each book kept selling like hotcakes, even well past their best-before date. Even with some percentage of drop-offs from those wise souls able to read the series critically and abandon ship before the end, there were still millions of book buyers ready to continue eating up each new volume, no matter how little the series progressed. I regret that I have low ability to bail on a series once I am several books in. For this current re-read, I'm still all in, because my mama didn't raise no part-timer. Plus, I've never had the experience of this series in a single run. I'm seeing it through, rage-reading to the end.

Thankfully for the rest of my re-read, this book finally moves the series forward, but this just irritates me more. There's no way to win; excellent plot progression here just reinforces how poor it was before. Significant character development and exploring motivations that hearken back to the series' early books, makes me say, "Why didn't Jordan do this so long ago?". It doesn't matter how good this one book might be; it doesn't correct the horrible failures of the past books. "At least it's moving forward now," is not a balm, because it should have been doing that a long, long time ago. Every malingering plot thread that got picked up, many from five or more books ago, simply begged why it was abandoned for so long that any potential interest was long lost. I am so mad at the series up until now, there was simply nothing Brashy Slashy could do to erase all of that ill will. Maybe, just maybe, I will feel a little better by the Last Battle.

In his foreword, Sanderson states that he did not try to emulate Jordan's style. He didn't; in many places, it doesn't sound like Jordan's prose, though it retained all the hallmarks of the series. I lack the vocabulary or level of analysis to describe the differences well, but my impression was that Sanderson's prose was generally a little simpler, with shorter sentences and less flowery description. One major and welcome difference was to shift stories with each chapter, as opposed to Jordan’s style of sticking with one subject for a clump of chapters. This gave the book a dynamism that its predecessors lacks.

Characters still communicate in sniffs and braid tugs, as they should. To change that now would be to change their essences. Dialogue was mostly similar to Jordan's; Sanderson got the characters' voices mostly right, with Mat being a notable exception. It's not that Mat was unrecognizable; he was just maybe more Mat-y than usual, too over the top. His extended rant about women in his first appearance went a little overboard, and attempts at using Mat for comedy were amusing but weird, in particular Mat's obsession with "elaborate aliases and backstories" for a town infiltration plan. Some scenes seemed invented out of whole cloth, and these struck me as straight Sanderson struggling, only sometimes, to match Jordan's feel, if not his prose. One in particular that stood out as awkward for me involved Cadsuane visiting an inn run by a very particular innkeeper; the scene was inconsequential, and just felt weird and out of place for the WoT setting, like Sanderson didn't get that texture quite right. This is fine, just a comment.

Unfortunately, Sanderson did emulate Jordan in continuing multiple annoyances. Passages that re-dump past events are necessary to an extent for many readers, especially given how many years this series ran for (and for the smart readers who never bothered to re-read when a new series entry came out), but Jordan did this so much before that it irked me each time. And then there's the style sheet rehashing...

Think of Chet Vanin. Without referring to the text, here's what I know about him: he's fat, he was the best horsethief around, and you'd never think he could ride a horse so well because he's so fat. How do I know all of this? Because all of these details were repeated every single time Vanin appeared in any of half a dozen books. Guess what information we get when he appears in this book.
"Vanin! Where on the Dark One's blistered backside are we?"

The fat former horsethief looked up.
Got it. We re-established who he is. Moving on,
Mat had never expected such an emotion from the overweight horsethief.
Oh for heaven's sake. Are we done expressing how fat and horsethiefy Vanin is?
They had advance scouts out, of course, but none of them were as good as Vanin. Despite his size, the man could sneak close enough to an enemy fortification to count the whiskers in the camp guards' beards.
Got that all out of your system? Great, now we can
Vanin always looked so ridiculous, perched like a melon atop the back of his horse, his feet sticking out to the sides. But the man could ride, there was no doubting that.

[deep breaths here it's okay we're okay] And of course Jordan couldn't let any character come back around without reminding the reader exactly how big or skinny they were. Like Verin Sedai, everyone's favorite mysterious Brown Ajah member. Do you remember whether she's plump? I do. She's plump. I have been told this many times. MANY. Let's check in on Verin here...
There, sitting on a short-legged white mare, was a pudgy woman with a grandmotherly air . . .
[Deep breaths again]. Let's move on. What else was annoying in Jordan's writing? Oh yeah, how about how every song played or sung in a tavern is stated to be known by different names in different places? We're not going back to that, are we?
One of the nearby tables had a dice game going. Looked like Cat's Paw—or, at least, that's what it had been called the night Mat had first been taught it. They called it Third Gem in Ebou Dar, and he'd heard it called Feathers Aloft in Cairhien.
Grr! Arrgh! At least Sanderson isn't going to repeat Jordan's often-lamented habit of specifying that any woman who crosses her arms does it "beneath her breasts", will he?
The tall Aes Sedai . . . maintained a stern expression, arms folded beneath her breasts, . . .
What the hell, man! I'm going to go ahead and copy-paste my own mid-book quote and comment on one of the rare occasions a male character crosses his arms, because frankly I was hilarious:
Mandevwin and Talmanes were just inside the tent, the former standing with folded arms, the latter settling himself on the floor.
But WHERE were his arms folded? How can I picture this scene if you don’t tell me if his arms were folded above, on, or below his nipples? WHAT DO FOLDED ARMS EVEN MEAN WITHOUT THIS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION??? If only he had breasts this could be made so much clearer.

So all of that and more kept me severely irritated for the bulk of this book. Really, Sanderson did a phenomal, loving job, adding a lot of depth to character motivations, linkages to long-ago (in reader time) events, and truly honoring the series. In fairness, the last 180 pages were some of the very best in the whole series, with only a couple of small lulls. I admit to tearing up at one two points. As it turns out, many of the best series moments from my memory were from this book. But it should never have taken Jordan dying and trying to force-finish the story to get to this level of satisfaction.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,552 reviews1,632 followers
April 1, 2018
I kind of don't even know where to begin with this review. I've started half a dozen paragraphs while sitting here, and then deleted them all. Like, who wants to be the jerk who thinks one of their favorite authors took up another author's life's work and then did it better? But . . . UGH, I do think that! I do.

I don't think it's any secret that I've had issues pretty much the whole way through the first eleven books of this series. But I've also enjoyed myself, particularly during books two through five, after Jordan stopped imitating Lord of the Rings and before he stopped moving his plot along in favor of endless details that didn't matter. But also, the whole way through, I've never really gotten it. For me, Jordan's writing was interesting in a sort of academic way, but I never felt it. (Except for annoyance. I felt that a bunch.) The characters were always at a remove for me, and they were always doing really dumb stuff and behaving in ways that seemed not great, and it was hard for me to distinguish between authorial intent with that stuff, and whether Jordan just wasn't pulling off what he wanted to pull off. Like, are these women characters all meant to be so belligerent and shrewish? Or is that something that just happened and we're supposed to like them and think they're awesome leaders? I could never be 100% sure. It just never clicked for me.

But a hundred pages in to this book, I was like, oh! Okay. This is what other people must have been feeling this whole time. I feel like I finally get why so many people love the Wheel of Time. It's like Sanderson took all of the awesomeness of Jordan's characters and his world and finally wrote it in a way that I could appreciate it. I mean, like, there was actual plot movement! And character development! And people being smart and doing awesome things! Except Rand, who was suuuuuch an a-hole the whole time, but at least that was on purpose.

Okay, but in all seriousness, I don't think anybody but people involved in the making of the book will ever know how much of this was Sanderson and how much was Jordan, all I know is that I really, really liked this book. Things that have been bothering me for so long were fixed or acknowledged or reframed. And Egwene has always been my favorite character, but here for the first time she gets to be the most awesome person, and also for the first time I found Aes Sedai stories interesting. Sanderson inherited a lot of plotlines (and problems) that needed to be tied up, and I think he handled all of them pretty well. And almost the whole time, it felt like I was reading WOT, and you could tell he was making a conscious decision to write like Jordan. (There was the occasional phrase that felt very Sandersonesque, but I didn't mind. There were A LOT of words in this book.) If Rand's storyline had ended any differently, this would be a different review, but finally, AT LONG LAST, Rand is realizing he's been doing this Dragon Reborn thing all wrong and that he has been a terrible leader. I would have appreciated less frustration leading up to it, but at least we got there in the end.

Super excited to read the last two books.

[4.5 stars]
Profile Image for Kyle Erickson.
330 reviews128 followers
October 18, 2022

6 books. 5,343 pages. Skipped. Didn't google. Didn't ask a friend anything. Read entirely in secret this month and loved every minute of it. This book is straight gasoline from beginning to end. There's a part near the very end that brought tears to my eyes. Every storyline was great and I enjoyed seeing how everyone was different (but also so...the same) since book 5. This has renewed my enthusiasm for Wheel of Time and I will finish the series before perhaps going back and reading some of the previous books that people say are really good.
Profile Image for Andrew.
121 reviews12 followers
October 18, 2010
Superior to the last half-dozen Jordan books, Sanderson does The Wheel of Time better than its original author.

Sanderson puts in so many things that Jordan alluded to for effect but never satisfactorily depicted: Aes Sedai politics, characters' scheming and ploys, Rand recalling all the women he killed.

Characters reminisce about their past and other characters Jordan neglected, and refer to how they have changed; their emotions are more real and tangible, and demonstrated through actions. Egwene's struggle to unite the White Tower was actually involving; Rand's fury at his loss of freedom becomes disturbing and yet touching; Ishamael spells out why he went over to the Dark One, and it makes sense. One of the ex-second-tier characters reveals a big secret and gives context to Jordan's inept portrayal of the squabbling and ineffectual Darkfriends.

Sanderson is a more diligent author, going back to refer to places and events that Jordan used and discarded. No doubt Sanderson is working for the legitimacy of his volume, but the added continuity brings out the epic nature of the series. In the more recent Wheel of Time books, Jordan lapsed into pointless politicking disconnected from earlier volumes. The fantasy aspect fell away, and there was no sense of progression towards an ending; the story was becoming a soap opera of endless one-off tasks.

A couple of Mat chapters deserve special mention: here Sanderson incorporates humour and horror that touched me far more than thousands of Robert Jordan's pages.

I don't know whether Jordan intended the direction Sanderson aims the series in raising the philosophical implications of prophecy, reincarnation and fate, but I'm really enjoying it.

The book still is slow, but by Wheel of Time standards, a lot happens and does so much more convincingly. If you are a fan of the series, and have stuck with it this far, you're in for a treat.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,114 reviews1,977 followers
March 23, 2015
Book number twelve in the series and I really think I liked it the best so far. What's not to like when my favourite characters are featured so much. Rand of course has been a favourite from the beginning but now I also find Mat to be interesting and very entertaining. Even Egwane redeems herself in this book and has some of the most exciting scenes all to herself. An awful lot happens in this particular volume and the story really feels as though it is progressing towards its ending. Brandon Sanderson's writing is easier to read than Robert Jordan's was in the earlier books and the pace overall seems better. Oh and Sanderson also knows how to finish a book with a brilliant ending. Go Rand!!! So only two massive tomes to go and I will have finished this excellent series. I think I must read them slowly as I will miss them when they are done.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
418 reviews453 followers
February 9, 2017
I like to think that this book is the first result of what it would have been like if Jordan and Sanderson co-authored this book together in real-time. It is filled with that same Robert Jordan touch, the WoT feel, the same epic story and wonderful characters, but now with the added injection of Sanderson’s style, his mastery of pacing. That just might be because these are the closing books and everything would have been racing towards the end anyway, but I do not think there is anyone who could have done Jordan saga better justice than Sanderson who is a huge fan himself.

The story flows from one chapter to the next with nary a drop in pace and I found myself finishing this one WAY before the finishing date of our BR as every chapter just gave me that “one more” ending.

Without further delay, highlights aka SPOILERS:
Profile Image for John Saveland.
205 reviews9 followers
March 26, 2022
The series is really picking up here — it has a slow start, but Sanderson’s writing makes this a much fresher read and the second half is pretty breakneck. Mat is again a favorite character (Sanderson might agree: his infuses a lot of comedy and action into his short scenes) but Rand himself becomes way more compelling here too.

I took a break after the first eleven were behind me; I just began to lose interest. The Gathering Storm is like a new start. If you started to flag on this series, hold tight. It’s worth making it to 12. Now I’m really excited for 13 and 14.
Profile Image for Carmine.
582 reviews56 followers
February 4, 2019
L'arrivo della tempesta

"Tu vuoi che io viva e, per questo, avrai sempre la mia riconoscenza. Sogna per me, Nynaeve. Sogna cose che io non posso più sognare."

"Ogni donna della Marrone cerca di produrre qualcosa di durevole. Ricerche o studi che siano significativi. Le altre ci accusano spesso di ignorare il mondo attorno a noi. Pensano che guardiamo solo all'indietro. Non è accurato. Se siamo distratte, è perché guardiamo avanti, verso coloro che verranno. E le informazioni, le conoscenze che raccogliamo...le lasciamo per loro. Le altre Ajah si preoccupano di migliorare l'oggi; noi desideriamo rendere migliore il domani."

"Perché dobbiamo fare questo di nuovo? Io ho già fallito. Lei è morta per mano mia. Perché dovete farmelo vivere ancora?
Potrebbe essere...forse è perché possiamo avere una seconda opportunità. Perché ogni volta che viviamo possiamo amare ancora..."

Se da una parte un'eroina fa dell'umiliazione fisica il punto di partenza per ripristinare dignità verso l'altro ed equità di giudizio senza scendere a compromessi, dall'altro lato si ha un derelitto che nei compromessi ha visto sfaldarsi il suo mondo senza nessuna possibilità di appello.
E cosa c'è di più pesante nel rendere conto a terzi del proprio operato, senza che venga almeno riconosciuta quella perdita interiore che neanche ti fa più riconoscere allo specchio?
Egwene e Rand trascinano il mondo verso Tarmon Ga'idon e promettono lacrime e sangue a chiunque, senza più curarsi del prezzo da pagare per sé e gli altri.
Forse uno dei tasselli di saga più belli, nobilitato da un finale struggente capace di riappacificare bene e male come due facce della stessa medaglia.
Profile Image for Brendan Ekin.
52 reviews6 followers
September 19, 2021
Wow! The Gathering Storm was fantastic! This is my favourite Wheel of Time book now. Brando Sando did a fantastic job. I was enthralled! This book had my attention from start to finish. This felt like a Robert Jordan book with Sando magic added to it.

I'm feeling excited about Wheel of Time again! Now I have two books to go. Onto Towers Of Midnight on the journey to Tarmon Gaidon!

Profile Image for Nikola Pavlovic.
256 reviews41 followers
August 25, 2017
Ohoho ha ha ha Dok nekome ne smrkne drugume ne svane. Meni je iskreno svanulo od kada ovaj serijal citam iz pera Brendona Sandersona. Hvala Dzordanu na idejama, mada ne znam ni sam koliki je procenat kljucnih stvari u ovom delu Tocka Vremena zaostavstina samog Roberta Dzordana. Info koji mi svi imamo jeste da je Dzordan na samrtnickoj postelji diktirao svojoj zeni sta sve treba da se odigra a ona je nakon njegove smrti nasla nekoga da to pretoci u roman/romane. A opet i da su sve ideje 100% njegove, Dzordanove, Sandersonova realizacija istih dize ovaj serijal u sam vrh epske fantastike. Stoga imalo je smisla muciti se kroz hiljade i hiljde strane koje sam do sada morao da procitam, dati desetom delu dve zvezdice i trpeti krvave Ais Sedai samo da bi se doslo do ovog velikog finala koje je podeljeno u tri toma. Ovaj prvi svakako zasluzuje pet zvezdica, prvih pet zvezdica za neku knjigu iz ovog serijala.
Profile Image for Derf H.
32 reviews42 followers
December 18, 2019
So ... Brandon Sanderson takes the Helm of the best season ever wrote. For me it was seamless, he’s kept the style and depth that kept me reading and re-reading this series. As a writer and fan of the books he’s accomplished something really unique in completing the series, how he put aside his own opinions I’ll never know, 5 🌟 and the best of the series!!!
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