Author: Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Length: 783 Pages
Release: October 2009
My Wheel of Time journey is drawing to a close. I now only have three novels in the series (including the prequel) before I finish. I've read the series a book a month since January 2016. This twelfth installment is the first of the novels completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death a few years ago. In all honesty, Sanderson is the reason I started the series. But I have appreciated Jordan's writing and the world he built.
Since this was the first Sanderson installment, I think the main thing that needs to be addressed is how it fits with the rest of the series. And it fits pretty well. It has some of Sanderson's style and touches in the humor and characterization, but he kept it very true to Jordan's story. How someone could come in after eleven books and finish it off is beyond me, the world and cast of characters can be daunting as only a reader.
The Gathering Storm ranks among my favorites of the series, but I don't necessarily think it was any better than my other favorite volumes. There are a few things that I think it improved (at least an improvement compared to the last few books, which were kind of dragging at times). Here there aren't any dull moments. The main plot and side stories that have been leading Rand and his Two Rivers friends toward the last battle move at a steady pace, with constant developments.
Many of the characters really grew on me throughout this story. Egwene, who was my least favorite character in the beginning, really started to have a different impact on me here. She has grown a lot and no longer seems as much the know-it-all that she was before. Mat is another of the characters that I was really impressed with. He was probably my favorite perspective to read from this time around (along with the few chapters we got inside Nynaeve's head).
Rand struggled a lot in this one. He is facing inner demons, the approach of the Last Battle, and it's often too much for him to take. He became somewhat more human in this one as he tried to harden himself completely.
The downside to this is really Perrin, who I used to love. Over the series he has really digressed. He did have a few good moments here, but I found myself disappointed every time one of his chapters came up. I wanted to be following someone else.
Siuan and Gareth Bryne are two of the highlights in The Gathering Storm. They really aren't in here much, but I adore their relationship and what they go through together. I found myself loving these moments.