Andrew's Reviews > The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan
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's review
Oct 18, 2010

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Read in October, 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.
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