I hope you’re making it through the doldrums of winter. Our winters (I live in eastern Canada on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) drag on and on (I’ve seen it snow in June) but I’m doing fine. The snow is melting (at least for today) and my back is getting a welcome rest from shoveling. More importantly winter gives me some time to catch up on reading (I’ll admit a lot of comics but some novels too) and the “Wheel of Time” series is one I’ve been trying to finish for years. All the books are out and I’ve got just two more to go. Here’s my thoughts on “The Gathering Storm” and some of my feelings on the series as a whole.
p.s. be sure to check out the re-release of my first novel “The Newfoundland Vampire” by the great people at Distinguished Press. It will be out March 27th, mark your calenders!
Ahh “Wheel of Time”, this is for a lot of geeks a fantasy classic, a truly epic tale that sadly outlived it’s own author (Robert Jordan) and was completed (with his widow’s guidance) by Brandon Sanderson. I’m not going to get into a long discussion about the series as a whole. I was late picking it up (book 7) and I’m such a slow reader that I’m still not finished despite the fact that the series has been over two years. Suffice it to say not matter how long it takes me I will finish reading the series and this book was one I completed a few weeks ago.
I just don’t have the patience I used to, as such I find a book of this length (over 1000 pages) very hard to get through. Don’t get me wrong this book has some amazing action scenes, some lovely quiet moments, good character development and advances the plot at a much better pace than some earlier ones (7-9 in particular) but still here it just gets bogged down in parts far too often for my liking. I love Rand and I enjoy Matt and Perrin (along with some other characters) but I think the authors do Matt and Perrin quite a disservice here.
I know that Perrin doesn’t like to kill but he KNOWS the last battle is coming and yet he is paralyzed and unable to act on almost anything in his life. He is a wolf brother (I think that’s the term) and his inability to embrace this (or speak truthfully to his wife) is incredibly frustrating and makes his parts rather dull. The same goes for Matt, all he seems to do anymore is complain about his wife to be, Tuon and women in general. He does have a good scene with town of people who go insane and can’t stay dead but overall I think both of the characters are wasted in this book.
The book does show a lot of different places in the world and is slowly drawing the main characters together. I also especially enjoyed how the Dark One has a much larger impact on the world at this point. Crops spoil, rooms shift, people die mysteriously, weird accidents, it all makes everyone aware that something bad is coming.
I also thought a lot of the time spent on Cadsuane Melaidhrin is wasted. She is rather dull and do very little until almost the end of book. The same goes for a lot of the happenings in the rebel camp and with early chapters with Egwene al’Vere in the tower, there’s just so much buildup that seems unneeded to me. The ending, however, is a little odd so I’ll say…
Okay so Rand thinks about killing a large portion of the Seanchan, doesn’t do it, then thinks about destroying the whole work and (of course) doesn’t do it. He does finally destroy the Choedan Kal and silence the voice (Lews Therin) in his head along with quelling his madness. All that’s fine and good but why does it work? Rand was driven mad (at least partially) by the tainted male half of the power. Even though he cleansed it my understanding was that it was too late for him. So his madness is cured because he can no longer channel unheard of amounts of the one power? I just don’t follow this reasoning. Sure it was a temptation and he was obsessed with the access key but I don’t think destroying it would suddenly make him all better.
I enjoyed this book but the length and several frustrating passages (and a weird ending) takes away from my overall thoughts on it. Also I like to see characters go to a dark place, I liked emotionless/more crazy/decisive Rand, though I guess one of his companions would have tried to stop him eventually. I think Sanderson is a worthy successor to Jordan and I am looking forward to the two last books. A friend of mind pointed out to me that almost all of the male characters are dismissive towards women and immature. As I read the book closely I do admit this comes through in several places. This may be due to the fact that WOT is aimed at a younger audience (thought they aren’t YA) who are primarily men. Well this has gotten long. So I give this 7.5 out of 10. I do recommend it to anyone who has read the Wheel of Time (though not readers under 12), though obviously if you’re starting with this book you’ll be quite lost. Wheel of Time is one of those series that will have moments and characters that stay with you and that ultimately makes the series a modern classic for me. Until next time, have a great week everyone!
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