As a long-time fan of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, the decision by Mr. Jordan’s wife to have the series completed by another author was met with some level of trepidation. Robert Jordan has been considered by many to be one of the modern-day leading authors of science fantasy, and his Wheel of Time series has no peer when it comes to storyline complexity and character development. So, what author could possibly hope to match his writing style?
The announcement that Brandon Sanderson had accepted the offer to complete the Wheel of Time prompted me to study this author. This was how I learned about the Mistborn Trilogy, and lead to my first reading of Mistborn: The Final Empire. I was not disappointed by Sanderson’s writing style.
The Gathering Storm was originally intended to be written as the final book in The Wheel of Time Series. However, upon reviewing Jordan’s notes, Mr. Sanderson determined that the series could not be completed in a single book. So, it was broken up into a trilogy.
I should start off by saying that Sanderson’s does not try to copy Jordan’s writing style. There are distinct differences in the “wordiness” of the two authors, with Sanderson being a bit less “flourishing” overall. Having said that, the two authors writing styles mesh very well throughout the book. According to interviews, every bit of Jordan’s text and notes that were available were used in this writing.
The great thing about this book is how many loose ends are wrapped up for the readers. Over the course of the series, Jordan had developed so many secondary and tertiary plot lines that it seemed impossible to me, as a reader, that these could be closed in a cohesive manner. However, Sanderson does an excellent job of bringing together in a coherent format, as we begin to see many of the prophesies fulfilled, albeit in somewhat surprising ways.
The two most developed characters in this book are Rand and Egwene. With the majority of the focus on these two individuals, we begin to see Egwene gain an understanding of the torment that Rand has suffered, which makes her a better leader, and we see Rand descend into the depths of darkness. In many ways, we get to see Rand as a man, rather than the hero of prophesy. He is truly a tragic character.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. Although it occasionally gets a bit rushed, as prophesies are being fulfilled en route to the last battle, its very nice to see the storyline begin coming to a close. The Gathering Storm does exactly what longtime readers of the Wheel of Time would expect. It starts the process of brining the story to a close.