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on March 5, 2017
Part of the series
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on November 1, 2009
Like many fans of the series I was saddened by the passing of Robert Jordan and the hardship for his family in 2007 and that he himself will never get to finish the story that he spent so much of his life working on. But he said before he died that he wanted the fans to be taken care of and his wife and editor Harriet found fantasy writer and Wheel of Time fan Brandon Sanderson to finish the series last three books.

If I was to pick one word to describe this book it would be 'dark'. Now what I mean by that is alot of not so good things are happening in the world to our characters, particularly Rand. The book focus primary on Rand trying to unit the world for the Last Battle and Egwene trying to unit the White Tower with chapters on some of the other plots here and there. The gloom and doom factors of the Dark One touch on the world are ever more apparent and there's a sense of urgency in all characters that they need to hurry up and prepare for what is coming.
All in all the book one of my favorites in the series and finishes with a powerful and moving scene that is one of the best in the series that leaves you salivating for the next installment.

As for the methodology of Sanderson's writing in the book, I felt he got the voices and mindsets of the charters for the most part. I didn't find myself reading the chapters thinking 'oh this part was definitely written by Sanderson' or 'that isn't something that this character would say', I simple got caught up in the story and enjoyed reading it. This might be different if you have read books by both authors, but for me the change was rather seamless. The one exception I might make to this is Mat's chapters. Now I really enjoyed reading his parts, and it may be because Mat was being used as comic relief in an otherwise dark book or because Sanderson is a big Mat fan but his chapters just seemed a little off. It didn't really take away from enjoying the book however, and that's the really important thing.

Sanderson did a A+ job in the very difficult task of adapting his writing style to Robert Jordan's and I'm look forward to reading Towers of Midnight when it's released in fall 2010.
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on November 17, 2009
Perhaps I am selfish but I was devastated when I heard that Robert Jordan had passed away with the series incomplete. I knew that he was creating several notes regarding the plot line, and had penned some work he intended for the final book, but I was still leery of a ghost writer picking up the mantle and completing the series.

I had never heard of Brandon Sanderson before and I worried about how the final book would turn out. I bought the Gathering Storm book with a little trepidation and wary excitement. The first chapter worried me there was a lot of descriptions of the landscape and very little character dialog. But after the first chapter I felt the book really took off. I personally couldn't tell the difference between Robert Jordan's writing and Brandon Sanderson's writing except for perhaps the personality of Mat.

The plot was exciting, each chapter left me wanting for more, and I received great satisfaction with how the book ended. I'm very pleased that Brandon did not try to condense the finale of this story into a single book, and that there would be 2 more books to give the series the ending it deserves.

I think Brandon did a superb job with this book. He has been working under the tremendous pressure of fan expectations and produced a book that matches some of the finest books in the series. I'm very eager to read the next book and recommend that any fan that walked away from the series should come back and take another look.

It's been a long wait but I highly recommend this book.
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on October 28, 2009
Just finished the book and am anxious for the next. Sanderson has fully taken up the mantle left by Jordan and crafted an masterful addition to this epic series. There are certainly instances where one may notice a different writing style or different nuances used, but that it is to be expected - after all this is a different writer. The most important thing to me, however, was how easily I recognized the continuation of Jordan's finely woven threads of storytelling, and believed to the depths of my soul that the very characters interwoven in them were the very same characters I've learned to love and loathe from the previous volumes. Where Sanderson may differ from Jordan in describing a scene, he has flawlessly adapted Jordan's style of character speech, thought and action. He has even matched the manic pace to the tale that Jordan began ramping up in the previous novel. It is a very smooth transition and Jordan's work has been very well served indeed.
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I honestly thought the Wheel of Time series would never end -- first because Robert Jordan stretched his series out to the snapping point, and then because he died with the series unfinished.

But the plot outlines and vast pile of untied plot threads ended up falling to author Brandon Sanderson, who has to somehow lash them all together into a suitably grand finale. The first third of that finale, "The Gathering Storm," is a surprisingly fresh read after several books of Jordan spinning his wheels -- it's still rather slow and scattered in focus, but Sanderson manages to capture the feel of Jordan's prose and characters, while cutting out much of the deadwood.

Tarmon Gai'don is approaching -- as the Dark One's power grows, bizarre unnatural things are plaguing the land (stones turning to wax, giant storms). As the White Tower's hierarchy fractures, Egwene continues her efforts to bring down Elaida's tyrannical rule. Meanwhile, Rand is emoing it up as he faces his terrible destiny (including almost-certain death), and continues to hear the voice of his loopy preincarnation in his head. What's more, he's got the Forsaken Semirhage, whom Cadsuane is trying to interrogate.

But when Semirhage breaks free and an attempted truce falls apart, Rand's unstable behavior begins to grow worse: he's becoming more violent and drawing on more of the One Power, with catastrophic results. When the Seanchan attack the White Tower, Egwene must draw together the fragmented Aes Sedai -- and deal with the Black Ajah -- to repel them. And the Dragon Reborn must discover his true self and the path to his destiny, or be lost to his own bitterness and rage.

I don't envy Brandon Sanderson his Herculean writing task in finishing the Wheel of Time series -- wrapping up countless subplots and dangling plot threads, dealing with a vast array of characters, and bringing a shelf-collapsing fantasy epic to a suitably glorious end. In only three books. Hard work. So it's a testament to his skill that he not only manages to pull it off, but that "The Gathering Storm" surpasses several of Jordan's last books.

In particular, "The Gathering Storm" is the beginning of the end. While the final battle against the Dark One is still far off, Sanderson piles on the atmosphere of a brewing thunderstorm on the horizon, not only for the main characters but across the entire world. It certainly fits the title well.

He also tailors his writing style to closely mimic Jordans -- detail-heavy, densely descriptive and rather slow-paced. The difference is that he cuts out a lot of the odd tics (Nynaeve actually tries not to tug her much-yanked braid!) and excessive details, causing the complex plot to feel sleeker and more streamlined. The first couple chapters are roughly-written and scattered, but once the political and magical conflicts come into play, the plot really kicks off -- blazes of magic, political conflict, and battles and fights.

And thankfully, Sanderson also begins the de-emoing of Rand Al'thor -- Rand spends most of the book wangsting, exploding and worrying about his possible insanity (especially since he hears a crazy crying guy in his head). Sanderson builds up all this emotional turmoil to a turning point and turns Rand in an unexpected direction, which promises to make the next two books even more engaging. He also smoothly handles the other major characters, including Min, Nynaeve, the assorted Forsaken -- but he's at his best with the steely-willed Egwene.

"The Gathering Storm" is truly the beginning of the Wheel of Time's end -- plot threads are being tied off and characters are preparing for the final battle. Brandon Sanderson is just what the book-doctor ordered for this series.
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on November 23, 2009
It has been a long time coming and frankly worth the wait. I'm sure we were all saddened regarding the death of a beloved author, but thankfully he loved the world he created so much that he was able to leave something behind for his great works to be completed. I have been a fan for years picking up the first book at school out of curiosity and intrest based on the summary and interesting art cover. I have read the book in three days with little to no sleep seeing as how I do not have the time to read like I did when I was younger.
I enjoyed the read just as I did all of the other wonderful books of Robert Jordan's and can only hope that the other two will be just as good. The ending left me feeling full of hope and excited for the next book.
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on January 8, 2011
I really liked this book, but sometimes I wondered how long it was going to be dragged out. I am glad to see that we can finally see the end is in sight (though it will be two novels from now; that's still quite a bit of story to tell).

I am nearly finished this book, and it has been a very good read. And Brandon Sanderson did a great job with using the same style of writing as Robert Jordan. And the references to past storylines was fantastic (i.e., helps put things together better). Kudos to Mr. Sanderson for doing a great job and I cannot wait until the next volume is released in paperback.

This series is definitely recommended if you like 600-1,000 page books with multiple plots. It hasn't always been the best, but once you got past some of the boring parts (such as the Shaido Aiel), things really picked up.
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on December 29, 2014
This really is the first part of one book, Memory of Light." And it is exceptional. Having new blood take over writing duties following Jordan's outline brought a fresh passion to the series that had been missing from earlier titles. The chapters have direction and intensity, the conflicts are at the first degree and the characters are pressed to their fullest limits. If you had given up on the series due to the pacing, rest assured that the intensity of the first few books is back and continues to the end of the final prologue in the final book. In fact these last few books make the slower books, 8 through 11 much better, given the context of series and the flow of one complete story.
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on March 28, 2011
The last couple of books struggled a little and I was reluctant to wade into this one at first. To my surprise Sanderson actually revived some of the style and excitement of Robert Jordan's early books and got me hooked on this series again. The story is complicated; and the multiple threads challenging at times; but you can actually see the links to the past and characters and story lines weaving together. I admit I had to stop after about 200 pages and sketch out family trees and story lines to make sure I was not lost - but after that it actually really held my interest again. My next read will be the next book in the series.
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on November 22, 2009
In many ways this feels like any other Wheel of Time book, thanks to Robert Jordan's detailed plans and Brandon Sanderson's love of the series. I noticed some different word choices, and found more humour in Mat's scenes than I've found before. "Try the pies" is likely to become a running joke in my house.

The plot threads wove together well, some coming to at least short-term resolution and others keeping us waiting for the next books. I was surprised and satisfied by the return of Verin Sedai.

Buy it now, don't wait for the paperback (and I'm a paperback fan).
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