The Gathering Storm

“It was not the best way to approach problems. People were much more complex than a set of rules or numbers.” Brandon Sanderson, The Gathering Storm

Being away with no computer of my own, I spent most of yesterday reading the remainder of Brandon Sanderson’s The Gathering Storm. The book ties up as many plots as is possible to cram within 760 pages without turning incoherent and this change of pace from earlier volumes like Crossroads of Twilight makes it quite enjoyable! Among major characters, only Elayne Trakand does not make it into the book, which sees a lot of minor and some major enigmas explained (like Verin’s ambivalence throughout the whole series, through one of the most climactic pages of the whole series). I cannot distinguish the differences between Jordan’s and Sanderson’s styles well-enough to comment on it, but the new book does fit in the series, presumably because the skeleton was sketched by Robert Jordan before his death. (It seems to me however that The Gathering Storm contains more points of views than Jordan’s volumes. For instance, Tuon grows more depth thanks to those.)

“I don’t know the numbers but he claimed it would be days’ worth of work. And he said that his estimates were probably too optimistic.” Brandon Sanderson,, The Gathering Storm

The most successful subplot in The Gathering Storm certainly is the resolution of the White Tower split and the recognition of Egwene as their leader by both sides. This was predictable, of course, but the way the political maneuvering is presented is quite convincing (except maybe for the way Elaida is deposited). Rand’s part is only slightly less successful but the description of his progression towards madness and his estrangement from Min are both gripping. His move towards a grey zone between good and evil where the destruction of The Dark One starts justifying anything is quite successfully told and while it infuses unease in the reader’s connection with Rand, it also gives him much more depth. The meeting with Rand’s father and the final chapter where he shakes off some of this madness are major stepping stones  in the story. Tuon’s resistance to Rand’s pull also comes as a surprising twist in the overall plot and, while it creates an opening for yet other sub-stories, like the Seanchan’s attack on Tar Valon, it overall makes sense that the two major players cannot agree to be led by one of them. Mat’s meandering through Murandy is definitely a minor story and a lot of details are repetitive of earlier volumes, while Perrin’s indecision takes a while to vanish. The most incomprehensible part is Lan’s, who seems to be taking months to march to his death… The complete disappearance of the Whitecloacks from the political and military scenes is unexplained, as is the absence of Morgase who could as well be dead.

2 Responses to “The Gathering Storm”

  1. […] hope I will enjoy this one-before-last book as much as The Gathering Storm. Although Sanderson’s style is not particularly lively, he is nicely bringing the series to […]

  2. mince… mince… je l’ai pas encore!!!

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