In one of those cases that is sure to make fans burn with envy, Jason Denzel, of Dragonmount, has had a chance to read, and review, The Gathering Storm, the first Wheel of Time novel to be published since Robert Jordan’s death.

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Some snippets of the review:

The Gathering Storm is, in my opinion, quite easily one of the most intense and exciting books in the entire Wheel of Time series. Yes, you read that right. I avoided writing this review right after I finished reading. Instead, I purposely waited some time to let the initial rush and enjoyment wear off. It certainly has cooled a great deal, but I can still say with grounded and sober confidence that the book is outstanding. I would rank it up there in the top 4 in the series along with The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, and The Great Hunt. Pacing-wise, I would agree with Brandon Sanderson’s statement that it’s similar to books 4-6 in the series.

There is a scene towards the middle of the book that was so dramatic and intense, that I … I don’t even know to say it. As a long time fan of the novels, it rocked me to read it. I had to set the book down and let it soak in. Remember the intensity of Dumai’s Wells at the end of Lord of Chaos? This is like that, minus the armies. I am certain that in the years ahead, we’ll run polls on DM for the “Best Scenes in the Series”, and this will be one of the popular choices. Trust me. You’ll know it when you read it.

So now the other burning question: does this feel like a Robert Jordan novel? Does it have his “voice”? Well, truthfully, I thought the prose stayed very true to previous novels. … it seems like Brandon put himself into the heart of the saga and allowed himself to be its vessel and storyteller. The result is that this book is clearly and undeniably a novel which belongs in the WoT series. There were only a few times where I suspected the scene I was reading was entirely from Brandon’s imagination.

Even though it’s a thick tome, none of it feels padded or rushed. Before he was the writer tasked with finishing this series, he was a fan like you and me.

Guided by a strong plot outline, familiar characters, and a knowledge of the franchise that was honed to a razor sharp edge by lots of research, it became quickly apparent to me (or “intuitively obvious to the most casual observer”) that Brandon was the best person in the world to take this gig, and that he did as fine as a job as was even possible.

There’s no doubt that The Gathering Storm deserves an equal place on your top shelf next to the previous eleven volumes. Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson have crafted a remarkable novel fraught with dark, foreboding themes that will remind you why you first fell in love with the series to begin with. Even though we know it’s Brandon who pulled the actual words together, this is undeniably Robert Jordan’s work, and perhaps one of his best.

Now, as Jason admitted, no one out there has glasses more rose-tinted than he does. He was friends with Robert Jordan and his wife, Harriet; he [i]is[/i] friends with Brandon Sanderson; he runs the biggest website out there devoted to the series. One might consider that it’s in Jason’s best interest to pump up the novel, but equally that he might be a harsher critic than anyone, due to his love of the series.

Still, he has very positive things to say about the novel, and it should be a relief to fans of the series that Sanderson was able to hold his own in the world. Being frank, I prefer Sanderson’s prose, plotting and pacing to Jordan’s, so it’s nice to know that his touch is firmly on the novel. I doubt it will really be possible to judge the novel for a few years, once the initial reaction dies off and people have some time to properly analyze its place in the series, but this early review is no doubt a positive thing.

The quotes I pulled only scratch the surface of the lengthy review, so I urge any one interested (especially skeptics) to read the whole thing. Then come back here and let me know what you think of Sanderson taking over the series.

  • TheDude July 31, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Sorry, but I’m not falling for this one again. I remember years ago reading a review on Dragonmount of Crossroads of Twilight saying that it was the book that Wheel of Time fans could show to ASOIAF fans and not feel embarassed because it was so good.

    I bought the book and what followed was without exageration the worst reading experience I have ever had. I gave up on the series then. I like Brandon Sanderson and I’m sure he did a great job but the series lost its interest to me

  • aidan July 31, 2009 at 8:12 am


    I was out of touch with WOT when Crossroads of Twilight came out, so I never really ran across that review. I suppose that’s further proof that no matter what praise Jason puts on the upcoming novel, it’s all to be taken with a grain of salt.

    I haven’t gone back to the series, since dropping it at Path of Daggers, but I always figured that when I do go back, I’ll just skip CoT when it comes around and move straight on to Knife of Dreams.

  • Jeremy August 26, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me how snobbish people can act about George R.R. Martin’s writing. He’s not a bad writer and ASOIAF aren’t bad books. Is he better than Jordan? Different, but certainly not better. What did one guitarist say to the other guitarist after hearing him play? “That was good, but I can do it better.” I guess that applies to fantasy and writing in general, also.

    I definitely feel nervous about Brandon Sanderson being chosen to write the last 3 novels because I’m not entirely convinced he’s a good enough writer to pull it off…let’s hope those “capacious” notes he talks about are enough to keep him on a good path and out of the weeds. That being said, I can’t wait to check it out :)

  • Chase October 21, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I’m very excited to read this book, and Jasons review only makes it better. It’s never going to be the same as RJ’s writing.. but after Crossroads of Twilight, the largest waste of time I have ever engaged in in my entire life.. it can only get better.

  • Alex October 29, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    This was definately one of the top four, just as said above. Though the book is very dark in many parts it was necessarily so, cause lets face it leading up to The Last Battle isnt going to be all laughter and smiles.
    The best thing i think about it is it brings back the characters i love with major sections of the book, especially Rand and Egwene.
    For all those people who lost interest, trust me when i say you will want to power through the rest of the books to get to this one, and especially the two more to come!

  • toremygg October 30, 2009 at 9:23 am

    @Chase: You can’t have read any of the last seven books of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, then ;)

    Looking forward to reading TGS, I enjoyed Mistborn a lot, ad I believe BS can pull it off.

  • trisha November 1, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I have read the gathering storm and say yes bring it on I cant wait for the next one I am counting down the days.So many things on the razors edge for so long are finally comming to pass. soo cool

  • Charles November 2, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I just got done reading the gathering storm a couple of days ago and it kept my eyes glued to the page through out the entire book. I had read most of Sanderson’s novels while i was waiting for the gathering storm to be released. I loved the mistborn series and his writing style in general So i had high hopes for the new WoT book and iam glad it didn’t disappoint. There’s alot of “holy crap i can’t believe this is happening” moments in the book that just make it one of my favorites of the series. Although it is the closing chapter of the series so this book was bound to be action packed with all the story arc’s coming to a close . I can’t wait until the next book!!

  • John November 6, 2009 at 6:01 am

    I have been an avid reader of the WOT since first introduced to me in 1990. so unlike many, i had to wait sometimes years between books to get my fix, as such i have not sufferd the same unrealized expectations. I wrote Mr. Jordan years ago, and told tim i didn’t want him to rush. just tell the story. and he did. Book 12 was an awsome book, the pace was quicker but the shear number of revelations and conclusions were astounding, and page 352 will knock you socks off. for those of you who have quit the series, I mourn for your loss, as for me it has been a grand ride and I will be there till the end.

  • Kyle November 6, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I was turned onto the books by my mom about 10 or 12 years ago now and I was thoroughly enjoying the story until about TPOD. I continued to plow through them out of sheer desire to know what happened at the end and now I’m very pleased with my decision to keep reading. This last book TGS has become what I’d hoped the series would return to. We know the world now and things are happening and the story is progressing towards the last battle that we know is coming. For me the end of the book was very climactic and I can’t wait now to get the next book to see what will happen. My passion for this series has been renewed whole heartedly.

  • Deb November 15, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    While I was THRILLED to finally get The Gathering Storm in hand I was dissappointed with the character development. EVERY character EXPLAINS themselves in nauseating detail.. no more mystery, no more brooding, no cryptic remarks. Not only that, but every character is suddenly a philosopher and/or scholar… they use words that simple country folk never thought of using ( I can’t be specific right now). And refer to terms like “portal”, “medical aid” never used in the first 11 novels. And does anyone else remember that “Sealed to the FLAME” means sealed between the Amerlyn Seat (The Flame of Tar Valon) and those SHE tells the information to???? Sealed to the HALL is between the sitters, and Sealed to the Ring is to any Sister. How can something be SEALED TO THE FLAME yet an announcement is made without the amerlyn? And all the sisters know about it, not just the hall? I do hope we will see puzzles revealed without everyone beginning to talk like a brittish snob or an aristocratic philosopher. I mean, did anyone actually pay attention to the “conversation” between Matt and Aludra? She only promised to give HIM the secrets tothe guild, yet now Domon and Lylewynn are privy to the entire thing, not to mention Olver? Even Aludra waxed philosophical and she got over Matt long ago when she said “You are already juggling more than most, and Me, I will not be Juggled!” She dumped him when he went for Tuon…
    I am a REAL fan, but also a perfectionist and these inconsistencies are driving me crazy!!! Help!

  • Bobit November 28, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I know it’s too much to ask, but if you’re done reading the book, can I have your copy? It’s so expensive to buy it here in the Philippines.

  • aidan November 28, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Heh. I don’t actually have a copy of it. And, frankly, shipping to the Philippines would probably cost more than just buying the book!

  • Kes November 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I agree with Deb.And wasnt Sulin with Perrin?? Far too much conversation going on with Mat, and he would normally have been put right in his place with his attitude and bad language around the sisters.Not enough feeling through the bond with Rand and his girls.Will keep reading though, have to know what happens!!

  • laura January 10, 2010 at 5:23 am

    i was devastated when mr. jordan passed away and i thaought that we would be left with an unfinished story!
    i am so happy that brandon sanderson is writing the remaining two books because he done an absolutly AMAZING jo of TGS!!!
    to be honest i enjoyed TGS more than any of the other books because finally things are happening unlike the others where there was a huge lead up to EVERYTHING! now BS is actually making things happen…..brilliantly!
    at some points of the book i was actually afraid:O like when Rand changes into a killer with no mercy!!! it was so scary:O
    i have read all the books a number of times and i enjoyed this book more than all the others!
    I can-not WAIT for the next two!!

  • Chad April 8, 2010 at 6:16 am

    I agree with Deb.

    It doesn’t feel like a WoT book except the familiar names.

  • Prateek February 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Personally, I liked Brandon’s writing more than Jordan’s.
    I’ve read his Mistborn series and also Storm Light Archive book1 and I can see that there is
    a Brandon Sanderson feel to the book and I like that.
    He’s done an admirable job in trying to stay true to Jordan’s writing style though and hats off to him.