The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The Gathering Storm
The Wheel of Time, book 12
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Rand struggles to prepare for the Last Battle while Egwene continues her attempt at uniting the White Tower where she is being held captive.

The beginning of the end. At this point the Wheel of Time torch has been passed to Brandon Sanderson to finish writing the series following Robert Jordan’s notes. Honestly, this deep into a massive series, I was nervous about it. But I knew it was coming and, in the very least, I knew the story was still Robert Jordan’s even if the writing was not.

We’ve seen the effects of the Dark One in previous books, but in this one we get a closer look into how ‘ordinary’ people are being affected and coping. All the smaller ways the world has changed that our heroes never knew about and it shows us that everyone isn’t just living their lives ignorant to this impending battle of good vs. evil. Everyone outside of the main heroes and villains have a huge stake in what happens to their world when it’s all over.

Rand’s stress and anguish over being the Dragon Reborn and all the lives that have been lost or impacted by him working to fulfill his destiny reach a breaking point in this book. Not wanting to shirk responsibility for anything that has happened, Rand keeps his struggles mostly to himself. His companions continue to make attempts to help him, but with a lack of understanding of what is going on with him these attempts generally backfire. Lews Therin, the voice that seemed to initiate Rand’s madness, ultimately becomes his voice of reason.

Egwene, the hero of the Aes Sedai, continues her mission to reunite the White Tower. She takes everything thrown at her in stride. Her devotion to seeing the White Tower restored far exceeds her desire for power as Amyrlin and her selfless priorities ultimately win over the people around her. She makes even more progress in Verin’s cleverness at finding a loophole to reveal everything she knows about the Black Ajah. I didn’t like Egwene when we first met her, but her journey has been so interesting and I’m so invested in the woman she has become.

I was pleasantly surprised that this book didn’t feel too different with the author change. We’re getting close to the end and I’m looking forward to seeing more of out other characters in the next one.