Read in November 2009
Re-Read in March 2013
While I’ve read, and liked, nearly everything published (non-YA) by Sanderson, I started reading The Gathering Storm with a chip on my shoulder. And the Prologue disappointed me a bit. It just didn’t feel right. The more I read, however, the better I felt. By the end of the novel, I honestly couldn’t tell you what parts were authored by Jordan and which were authored by Sanderson.
Since this is the twelfth book of the Wheel of Time series, I’m going to avoid any kind of plot synopsis and spoilers. I will say the story moved forward significantly in this volume. I am very pleased with the ending, not so much that it stands alone, but that it was a logical place to stop in the story arc(s).
I felt the lion’s share of the novel dealt with Egwene’s story arc. I enjoyed and savored all of those chapters, especially the one encapsulating the return of Verin. I am also very satisfied with the progress made on Elaida’s story arc.
Rand was the hardest character to read and relate to, as expected. Most of his character development is internal, brooding and dark. The weather forecasts his state of mind quite well.
Surprisingly, Mat’s story appealed to me. Usually, I have to force myself to read chapters relating to Mat, as he’s always been my least favorite character in the cast.
Perrin gets only a couple of chapters. Aviendha gets more and makes quite a leap during her last appearance in this novel. I really wanted to see more from her story arc, but I can wait, patiently or not.
Cadsuane blundered signficantly about midway through the novel, so that provided a bit of drama. Nynaeve learned, instinctively, weaves never before tried since the Age of Legends (assumedly) and essentially became Rand’s backup Aes Sedai adviser.
I recommend this to all Wheel of Time fans, even if you gave up back around volume seven or eight. Sanderson is the right choice to take us to and through the Last Battle.
March 2013 musings: I re-read this as part of a months-long group read of the entire Wheel of Time series that began in April 2012. I resolved to add the ebook edition to my library each month and I purchased the first nine volumes in the series. I wanted to take better advantage of my commute time (over two hours every weekday) and my evening walk-the-dog time (between 30-60 minutes most days), so I switched to audiobooks on the tenth book. At first, I thought the male reader narrated a bit fast, but by the time I reach The Gathering Storm, I couldn’t imagine anyone else reading the male and female points of view. I love knowing how to properly pronounce the unique phrases and proper names.