Title: The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12)
Author: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
First published: 2009
Edition: audio (narrated by Michael Kramer & Kate Reading)
Rand al’Thor struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle, as his allies watch in terror the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.
Egwene al’Vere is a captive of the White Tower and subject to the whims of their tyrannical leader. She works to hold together the disparate factions of Aes Sedai, as the days tick toward the Seanchan attack she knows is imminent. 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.
I started this one two months ago, but I did not read that much for a couple of months. Because it was a re-read, I decided to listen to the audio book. I have to say that the audio book is not my favourite. The narration is not bad, but since these are characters I am very familiar with, the way the voices were read were really annoying to me personally. I thought I would get used to that, but unfortunately it bothered me throughout.
This is the first book that was finished by Brandon Sanderson from Jordan’s notes after his death and he did a fantastic job. I love all books in this series, even if some are slow as heck, but this is one of my favourites.
In terms of the story, this book is where the plot starts to pick up speed and plot lines start to weave together. You can just feel we are in the homestretch and we are gearing up for the climax. I love that there is an urgency now to the story that starts to propel things forward.
Rand’s character development especially throughout the books is incredibly interesting. In the first books he is someone you root for, but he changes so much in the course of the books and you almost start hating him. For most of this book he is almost unrecognisable as the farmboy he started out as all those books ago. And yet I understand him, why he has become what he is at this point, and that is a very clever thing to do.
The whole series is simply so well plotted and thought out. There is so much detail to love and the characters change and grow so much. It does feel slow and heavy at times, but I do feel it is worth every page. This particular book definitely felt like it was paced right and the plot development is what I had been waiting for.
I will be starting book 13, Towers of Midnight, next week, but I will be reading the physical copy rather than the audio book this time.
6 out of 7 stars