Book Reviews: The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Overall Rating: 4 stars (Really Liked It!)
Anyone who is interested in the Wheel of Time has probably done their own research on Brandon Sanderson, but let me wrap up some of the facts here; Brandon didn’t ask for this. He is a die-hard of the books, and grew up reading them like you and I. He was already published, starting a promising career of his own, when the opportunity to finish the books was offered by Robert Jordan’s wife, Harriet McDougal.
Brandon has a very meek and humble outlook regarding his role in finishing the series. Don’t let this fool you, though; he is the very best man for the job besides Jordan himself. Firstly, he’s die-hard fan, he is able to tackle this with the love and dedication only a fan could bring. He will make sure to do justice to the characters we are already so attached to. Secondly, Brandon is a fantastic writer of Epic Fantasy in his own right. So far he’s brought us Elantris, the Mistborn Trilogy, Warbreaker, and the first book in a 10-part series called The Way of Kings. (Outside the Epic Fantasy realm, he’s also written a funny Middle-Grade series called Alcatraz.)
Now, back to the Wheel of Time Review. Brandon has Jordan’s notes, a great head for writing, and a desire to get it all right, but one of the things I like best about his take on the Wheel of Time is that he doesn’t try to imitate Robert Jordan. When you pick up the books, you can tell that the bard has changed, but the tale is the same. The world and characters have the same feel. You aren’t getting some guy trying to be Robert Jordan. You’re getting the Wheel of Time.
If you read the Knife of Dreams, you might get that sense that we’re finally in Act 3 – the part of the story where everything ramps up further toward the climax. Both books are, in a word, fantastic. It’s really exciting to see the story building toward its end.
The Gathering Storm focuses mostly on Rand in his struggle for sanity and to unite the world for the Last Battle, and Egwene as Amyrlin and captive of the White Tower. It’s SO hard to discuss the rest of the book without spoiling, but I’ll say that Egwene’s story is riveting, and the conclusion is VERY satisfying.
Towers of Midnight continues with Rand and Egwene but spreads more often into the viewpoints of Perrin, Mat, and Elayne. There are a smattering of chapters from other viewpoints, such as Nynaeve, Avhienda, and Elayne’s brothers. Gawyn came as a surprisingly likeable character for me; I was never sure exactly how to see him before, but his youthful ignorance is somewhat endearing.
Rand’s story, in particular, was incredibly touching; I listened to the story while scanning the Utah desert for fossils and I’m not afraid to admit that during parts of this, I had to hide from my coworkers on the other sides of large hills as I wept openly. Okay, now maybe I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but I tell you – it’s THAT good.
Age: Marketed to Adults
Language: Nope, unless you count world-appropriate expressions such as “Light!” or “Blood and Bloody Ashes!”
Sex: Mentioned. Nothing really sticks out to me beyond that.