Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle. As he attempts to halt the Seanchan encroachment northward - wishing he could form at least a temporary truce with the invaders - his allies watch in terror the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.
Egwene al'Vere, the Amyrlin Seat of the rebel Aes Sedai, is a captive of the White Tower and subject to the whims of their tyrannical leader. As days tick toward the Seanchan attack she knows is imminent, Egwene works to hold together the disparate factions of Aes Sedai while providing leadership in the face of increasing uncertainty and despair. Her fight will prove the mettle of the Aes Sedai, and her conflict will decide the future of the White Tower - and possibly the world itself.
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
Listen to more books in The Wheel of Time series.
©2009 The Bandersnatch Group, Inc.; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
"The Wheel of Time...is a fantasy tale seldom equaled and still less often surpassed in English." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"Jordan has a powerful vision of good and evil - but what strikes me as most pleasurable...is all the fascinating people moving through a rich and interesting world." (Orson Scott Card on The Wheel of Time)
Usually I wouldn't write a review before I had finished a book, but I just can't help myself... I'm sure that you hard core WoT fans out there won't need any further encouragement to purchase this one, but for anyone who does... Get it, now! :-) Seriously, it's good. Perhaps I'm just not as perceptive as I ought to be, but I've not yet noticed much difference from the quality that I'd expect of a book in this amazing series. So far, I think that Brandon Sanderson has stayed true to the characters that RJ created, and I think his style just works for this series. Needless to say, I am thoroughly enjoying this audiobook so far. I've already noticed quite a few plot lines moving forward and am learning answers to questions that I've really been waiting to find out about. I'd like to thank Mr. Sanderson for his wonderful work in continuing this series, Robert Jordan for caring enough about his fans to leave behind enough content for Brandon to work with, and of course, his wife Harriet for making a great choice of whom to continue his work. Very respectfully, Dominique.
This installment of the "Wheel of Time" is excellent and possibly the best of the series to date. It is fast paced and full of excitement. Several of the major sub plots are resolved. The book ends at what feels to be a good place to split the story into another book. Reading this I was glad Brandon Sanderson did not try to compress the rest of the story into one book. This Book was much more gripping than the last several installments of the series. I believe this is due to several factors including that the end of the story is approaching and its time to start resolving issues. Also Brandon Sanderson appears to be a very good writer, though he was lucky in where he was able to pick up the story. Though the last several installments were less satisfying than we could wish I do believe they were necessary to get us to this point and that Robert Jordan would have made this installment just as satisfying if from a slightly different perspective.
With all that said I Thank Brandon Sanderson for doing a wonderful job and ask him to try to do as well on the last two installments. I know this will be more difficult because he has less pre written material to work with. So I wish him good luck.
If you would have told me this was written by a different author other then Robert Jordan, I would have called you a liar. This is how the Jordan of old used to write. It's only later on in the series is when he really started go get wrapped up in meaningless crap, and made it a chore to finish a book. The only difference I could really tell were things that I thought were improvements. Gone are the annoying storyline builds ups, only to have the reader jump to a different character at the crescendo. It was so refreshing to not have to wait another 300 pages to find out how a storyline progressed. This ain't 1960's television anymore, we don't need cheesy cliffhangers to make sure we keep reading.
At no point did I ever feel like I wanted to place a gun into my mouth to end my misery from slogging through a couple of chapters on etiquette or local customs.
Sanderson touched on all the favorites, Rand, Egwene and company, Matt, Perrin, all the major Aes Sedai and Aiel. Perrin was probably the least written about it in this story, but it really didn't bother me, as he had bigger parts in the last few books. Matt is always a blast and gets into some crazy situations in this book that just made me laugh. Sanderson does such a good job putting Matt's perspective on situations that it's always just so comical, "Why does this always happen to me!"
Rand is probably the biggest triumph of this story. The writing gets more complicated as his delves deeper and deeper into what it means to be the Dragon Reborn and all the emotions that come with that.
Kate and Michael are the only voices I can ever picture reading Jordan, as they do a perfect job. At times I forget that Kate is reading the male parts because she does such a great job capturing the character's essence.
I released a huge sigh of release after I read this book. The glory that is WoT is back, and is on track for it's continued greatness. The ending of this finished perfectly.
Thank you Brandon a most excellent job.
The Wheel of Time has been brought back to life. The life that was in the first few books.(1-4)
I really enjoyed reading this book. (Well listening to it.) Could not put it down.
Each character got some air time and it was not too long winded coverage that I felt was in the later books.
Plenty of action happening in this.
It is also great to see that same narrators
used in the story. Very well read it brings much life to the story.
Again Brandon, A Big Thank You.
I look forward to the next book soon.
Many people were worried about the continuation of this epic series after the tragic loss of Robert Jordan in September of 2007.
Fear no more!
All of our beloved characters are still there and RJ's vision is clearly still the driving force behind these books. Brandon Sanderson does an outstanding job taking our characters and adapting his style to give us a compelling read.
You can sense Brandon's voice more in some characters than others but that is not a criticism. He actually brings more depth to them while maintaining exactly who they are and who we love.
Michael Kramer & Kate Reading again deliver in this book and I'm pleased to know that they'll also be completing the series with:
Book 13 - Towers of Midnight
Book 14 - A Memory of Light.
You will love this book! Enjoy!
Where Jordan often utterly failed at times Sanderson manages to not only succeed but exceed expectations. Jordan often wrote pages, even whole chapters that had no substance to moving the story forward, particularly evident "Crossroads of Twilight". Sanderson however, gives us Jordan's riveting story and extraordinary detail, with much less skimable dreck.
This book covers Egwene's storyline to a remarkable apex, Rand's madness, and who Verin really is. Perrin, Elayne, and Mat's storylines are barely touched. We are left with wanting much in the next two books, but this book leaves us with a feeling of accomplishment and no cliffhanger.
This is Kate's best reading of this series. She pours herself into Egwene's storyline and it really comes alive.
Book 1 thru 11 our Hero got darker and moodier frankly a bore. Sanderson breathed new life into Rand giving us someone to cheer for instead of simply waiting for the next chapter about Matt
I came to the Wheel Of Time series very late in the game, only to witness the heartbreaking loss of Robert Jordan. I must admit I was very skeptical of Mr Sanderson coming in to finish the job (visions of the Dune series haunting me) but he far exceeded my expectations.
Maybe it's blasphemous to say this -- but I think Sanderson's style is, in some places, superior to Jordan. It is very obvious (even without listening to the short interview included herein) that he adores the series and put all his creative passion into doing it justice.
Ignore the previous review about the ending. Utter foolishness. It's been known for a long time that it would be at least two books as the outline was far too long. Even Jordan quipped that he would finish even if the book was 1200 pages, which is simply not realistic from a publishing point of view.
I eagerly look forward to the next installment of Sanderson's vision.
After learning that Brandon Sanderson was going to be finishing the WoT series, I downloaded two of his books, and didn't enjoy them at all. The ideas were great, and the magic was great, but I really disliked his "voice", the way his characters acted and interacted; to me, it sounded like very forced comedic scenes interspersed with long, convoluted planning sessions.
That said, I am a HUGE Robert Jordan fan, and really need this series to end, so I went ahead and downloaded TGS about five minutes after it came available on the 27th, and started listening immediately.
I'm exceptionally pleased to report that I really enjoyed this book. Everyone important is in it, if only for a chapter or two, and for the most part, Brandon Sanderson has adapted his style to fit into Robert Jordan's world a little better.
That said, you can absolutely hear his voice, particularly in the sections of the book which feature Matt Cauthon. I found those sections a tiny bit offputting, but I think maybe that comes from personal bias rather than any actual fault in Brandon's treatment of those sections.
I felt that some of story arcs were actually improved in this book; RJ used to hop around a lot more, splitting a plotline in halves or thirds and then shuffling other things into it, creating mini-cliffhangers. In this book, it seems that we stay with some of the main arcs for much longer, often to their ultimate conclusion, and I found that to be very, very satisfying.
I'm looking forward to the next two installments.
"A Fine Return to the Wheel of Time"
I quit the Wheel of Time in 2004 after "Crossroads of Twilight". The frustration at the slow pace and long gaps between books was too much for me, I decided not to continue with WoT until the series was complete. Ten years later it's finally done and after a refresher with Leigh Butler's re-read of the first 11 books on the Tor.com website (and lots of referencing on the WoT Wiki) I got up to speed and re-read "Crossroads of Twilight" and then"Knife of Dreams". The horrendous pacing issues reminded me of why I gave up reading these but I was still eager to see what Brandon Sanderson had done with the story so persevered, and I'm very pleased indeed.
Sanderson did say that he would not copy Jordan's style but that he would use a style appropriate to the Wheel of Time, which he has done admirably well and he has captured the feel of the Wheel of Time perfectly. What is immediately apparent however, is much tighter writing and a seriously improved pace; a lot less time spent on describing every boot buckle and bit of lace, far less finger wagging, shawl adjusting and braid tugging. Whole chapters moving the plot forward and some great character development. Joy!
The Gathering Storm concentrates mainly on the story arcs of Rand and Egwene, balancing hopelessness with hope. Rand's descent into darkness and madness is depressing, agonizing and nearly hopeless as he reaches the lowest point of his struggle. Balancing that is Egwene's struggle to reunite the White Tower, however where we agonize about Rand, we are fuelled with Egwene's passion and fire, her fight for the White Tower leaves us full of hope and we see what a truly awesome character Egwene is becoming. The plot drives forward to both Rand's and Egwene's determining moments, which is immensely satisfying. We also see more of Matt, who has some awesome moments of his own, however Perrin's arc still remains very ho-hum, though I believe he finally comes into his own in the next installment.
The Gathering Storm has rekindled my original love for these characters, with whom I had seriously fallen out with over time and brought back that sense of excitement I felt while reading those first books way back in the 90's. Sanderson was without doubt the best choice to bring The Wheel of Time back on track and I can't wait to begin with "The Towers of Midnight"
With regards to the narration, the American pronunciations did take a while to get used to and the narrators, while not brilliant, are adequate. If we had the likes of Rupert Degas narrating, this would have been awesome. However, they do an ok job and are not a hindrance to the listening experience. I have got used to them enough that I am happy to continue listening to the next books.
"What's to say?"
If you're looking at Book 12, you're already hooked. If you've read the books and want to know whether it's worth listening to the audios then YES. For me, it meant I could engage with the story in a completely new way. I was able to continue with the humdrum routines while plugged into the world of Rand, Perrin, Mat, Egwene, Nyneave...
The books are heavy - it's really hard hoovering while holding one!
From listening to the interview with Brandon Sanderson which is included with books 12-14 (assuming 14 as not out until April, I understand), it is apparent that before the Lengend Robert Jordan passed away, he had written much (as much as 2100+ pages) on the final installment of this wonderful saga. So how much does Brandon put into this? The fact that it is actually difficult to figure out is, in my mind, a testament to Sanderson's ability, and I believe he deserves accolade for his work here and with book 13 at least. If you are out there, Brandon, high-five!
This book really takes the saga to new levels, as Rand struggles with Lews Therin for posession of his body and mind. The shining, personal battle at the end of the book, marks the beginning of Tarmon Gai'don, and as we progress through book 13, the pace really picks up. Not to take away from this book, however, as the storylines meld and Perrin Aybara, Goldeneyes, Lord of the Two Rivers really pulls his character to new levels, reaching to lofty heights, as he must, to stand beside Rand at the last battle. Having read this book once (I read each before listening), and listened to 3 times now, I will listen once more before book 14 is released. If you were to only read 3 books in the series, I would say 11, 12 and 13 are the ones you should choose, though of course that's just nonsense as you need context! ;) Listen to them all! Brilliant with a capital B.
As a side note, I am reading George RR Martin on the side, and I am finding it very exciting, having already watched the first book in series format on TV, A Game of Thrones. Like finishing with a girlfriend or boyfriend who was like no other, and you compare everyone in the future to them... that is how I am with every book since Wheel of Time. Does Game of Thrones compare to this? Surely, in many ways, not least of which excellent POV handling. And Kate Redding and Michael Kramer as male or female POVs on the audio works better than any other audiobook!!
"An excellent continuation of a fantastic saga"
The author has done a truly wonderful job of continuing Robert Jordans story. Like the other reviewers I found it difficult to notice any difference in the tone of the saga.
This is the first book in this series that I have listened to on audiobook and I really have to give credit to the narrators. Far too often i've been left cold by readers who failed to convey the emotions of the characters but these readers left me in no doubt as to what the characters were feeling.
First class job.
Long awaited and enjoyed from begining to end. Brandon Sanderson has done a fantastic job.
"Brilliant storytelling as ever"
It took me a while to get over the pronunciation of names and objects I had already given voices to in my head while reading the earlier parts of this epic in book form. However, once this happened, I was enthralled by the storytelling and really enjoyed the way the two narrators worked together. I didn't want it to end and waiting a year for the next installment is going to be hard!
"Well done Brandon Sanderson"
I have listened to so many of your books and loved every one so I was so exited at the prospect of you completing the series.
Seemless and brilliant.
I absolutely LOVED Book 12, dare I say it...best one yet. I listened hard at the beginning for differences between this and the previous books because Brandon Sanderson was involved, but I soon stopped and became more involved with the story than with any other book in the series.
Two minor gripes, but only because I noticed, number one - 'off of' was used several times, I hadn't noticed that in previous books, ugh, it's jarring. Second gripe - Kate Reading couldn't decide whether to say 'doman-ee' or 'doman-ay'. Perhaps I have missed something and she was saying the words correctly but hmm, after so many books, she wasn't consistent.
Bar those two things, I am very pleased and impressed, great job all round. Fantastic!
"The standout book of the series."
I felt this was the best book of the series. Maybe it was the anticipation of Sanderson taking over and wondering if it wouldn't really work with the previous books that meant that I was overjoyed when I realised that its completely seemless.
Of course the final book is great because you get the ending but this one fits in really well and stood out in my mind.
I think this book is as well writen as the rest of the series.
Only thing I didn't like in this book is that the timeline changes between the caracters.
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