We all would have liked Robert Jordan to be the one who finished his story, but Brandon Sanderson has done a very good job with the task of bringing Mr. Jordan's vision to a conclusion. Sanderson's style is close enough to Jordan's that one can listen without being distracted by obvious differences. He expresses the characters' distinct personalities, thought processes, and even senses of humor in a way that seems consistent with the way they were presented in earlier books. Since we can't have Robert Jordan himself, I feel we have the next best thing to bring closure to the most expansive story ever written.
The combination of Robert Jordons notes and Brandon Sandersons' writing has created an outstanding book. It returns the series to where it was in the first five books. This book was a real page turner, I can't wait for the next addition to the final book.
I was also worried about a new writer on WOT but this book has put all of that aside. This book hooked me in almost from the beginning, at night instead of watching TV in bed I had my Ipod on and listen to Kate and Michael reading to me til the wee hours of the morning. I am now on pins and needles waiting for the next book to listen to. Any clue when that will be?
Like most fans of the series, I was a little nervous that my favorite book series was going to be finished by some one other than the original author, and I couldn't help but ready myself to listen for differences as I first hit play. Once the way through the prologue was over and the meat of the story grabbed hold of me though, Sanderson's pacing and skill at weaving a tale that he obviously loves kept me from doing anything but being pulled back into the lives of the characters.
As the last book started to do, The Gathering Storm is refocusing on the main characters and cutting out a lot of the side stories that expanded the world. You can feel the tension building as the last battle draws closer and the characters know that there is still so much left to do, and the very end of the book makes you groan even as you listen to it because you know it will be another year before you can find out where it goes. And you will want to know.
My only real complaint is in some of the writing for Mat. He was always a little bit comical, but still felt like a real person who wasn't trying to be a fool. When the story was from his perspective you could tell that he usually wasn't. It felt like Sanderson played up the comical side in Mat a bit too much, to the point where it drew me out of the story a few times and had me thinking that the character I've read for years wouldn't have said/thought/did that. It was a shame, because after Rand got more and more settled into his role as the Dragon Reborn and had less written about him in the later books, Mat really stepped into the spotlight for me. Still, it's not so bad that it's worth knocking a star off. The story is still fantastic and it has me salivating to hear how the rest ends.
If not the best, then one of the best books in the series. It read very "Jordanesque" without the minutia of detail on what people were wearing as in earlier episodes.
Let me get this out of the way first. I didn't notice Brandon Sanderson at all and that's a good thing.
The narrators are among my favorites and their stellar work continues flawlessly.
Can't wait for the next one. Jordan said it would be a big book, he was not kidding.
I've been a fan (though, not a fanatic) of this series for some fifteen years now, getting into the series sometime after the first three books were in print. It's been an interesting ride, to say the least. I had vowed to myself that I wasn't going to go through the investment of time to reread any of the series until it was complete. This latest book has forced me to reconsider that position. Sanderson does an admirable job of bringing Jordan's world back to life. He suffers from many of the foibles in Jordan's style that tend to make his novels into fluffy monsters of novels (excessive descriptions, almost every character, no matter how minor or briefly on stage, gets a name and likely some kind of history, etc). But, for the first time in a while, this book really puts the series back in motion and it finally feels like it is drawing to a conclusion. The action around the main characters is intense and there are majors changes that happen over the course of this book. I've been with these characters for a long time now and I'd missed hearing from them for so long. I think the finale is in good hands and, while it will be hard to say goodbye, I look forward to seeing how this grand tale will end.
Now, this is the first time I've "read" a WoT novel as an audiobook. I do think that Jordan/Sanderson's excessive descriptions and details work better in a spoken presentation like this. I think the two readers did an excellent job bringing the characters alive and giving the presentation the weight it deserves. I do think Mr. Kramer needs a better recording setup, however. It often sounds like I'm listening to him through a tube, with some odd background echo. It wasn't enough to compromise my understanding, and I probably wouldn't have picked up on it so much if it were for Ms. Reading's audio quality being so much better. Still, this is an excellent story and presentation and deserves the full five stars.
I have always enjoyed the Wheel of Time books. This book is the product of a wonderfull colaboration. The ideas and direction which Robert Jordan constructed. Then we have Brandon Sanderson who does not have to work so hard on the overall book as Mr Jordan has laid the ground work. Mr Sanderson puts his skills into refining the prose into a more polished literary jewel. This was a very enjoyable listen.
I was somewhat skeptical when I found out Robert Jordan's WOT series would be finished by someone else, but I've already listened to The Gathering Storm twice in the past 2 weeks and feel that Brandon Sanderson has succeeded in creating a seamless transition. I am eagerly awaiting the final two books.