Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

The Gathering Storm is the 12th book in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time fantasy series. Like most fantasy series, reading order is important and even more so for this one. If you haven’t read any previous books, you will be lost in the prologue, or at least completely unaware of the significance of any of the actions taken. As an example, someone (an insane fanatic) who I had been waiting and wanting to be knocked off for several books finally meets his end in the first few pages . A reader unfamiliar with the series might get the impression that this ‘innocent’ man had been double-crossed and was slaughtered with the rest of his followers by some unsavory people.

Rand Al’Thor is a shepard in a little hamlet up near the Mountains of Myst, along with his best friends, Perrin Aybara, an apprentice blacksmith, and Matrim Cauthon, a prankster, with too many sisters at home. The fate of the Pattern and all creation rests on the shoulders of these three young men. Moiraine Damodred arrives in the little town of Edmond’s Field just ahead of the evil sent to destroy them to prevent them from succeeding.

I have been waiting for The Gathering Storm to come out for several years and in the middle of that wait Robert Jordan died. He had left us a promise that there would be only one more book to finish. Brandon Sanderson was chosen to complete the series and give the fans some closure by taking Jordan’s copious notes and tying the story together. As it turns out The Gathering Storm is actually the first third of the ‘last book’. Unlike books 6-9, this one is packed with activity, several of the numerous threads have come to an end and we can see that the end IS near.

In my opinion, Brandon Sanderson has done an excellent job picking up Jordan’s torch. As good a job as Jordan was doing, I think Sanderson’s writing is even better.  I am sure that fans of the Wheel of Time have either read or plan to read this installment in the near future. For those that have not tried it or tried it and got bored in the middle: give it a try! Start at the beginning (most fantasy fans enjoy the first 2-3 books then get bored), read until it seems to become to slow or monotonous then go to http://www.encyclopaedia-wot.org/. Read the synopsis of books 9-10, then start reading the books again. This is definitely an epic saga.

Caleb is a software engineer and amature woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Tor Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.