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The Gathering Storm

Wheel of Time, Book 12
Series: Wheel of Time, Book 12
Length: 32 hrs and 58 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1,072 ratings)

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Summary

Tarmon Gai'don, the Last Battle, looms. And mankind is not ready.The final volume of the Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light, was partially written by Robert Jordan before his untimely passing in 2007. Brandon Sanderson, New York Times best-selling author of the Mistborn books, was chosen by Jordan's editor - his wife, Harriet McDougal - to complete the final book. The scope and size of the volume was such that it could not be contained in a single book, and so Tor proudly presents The Gathering Storm as the first of three novels that will make up A Memory of Light. This short sequence will complete the struggle against the Shadow, bringing to a close a journey begun almost 20 years ago and marking the conclusion of the Wheel of Time, the preeminent fantasy epic of our era. In this epic novel, Robert Jordan's international best-selling series begins its dramatic conclusion.

Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle. As he attempts to halt the Seanchan encroachment northward - wishing he could form at least a temporary truce with the invaders - his allies watch in terror the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.

Egwene al'Vere, the Amyrlin Seat of the rebel Aes Sedai, is a captive of the White Tower and subject to the whims of their tyrannical leader. As days tick toward the Seanchan attack she knows is imminent, Egwene works to hold together the disparate factions of Aes Sedai while providing leadership in the face of increasing uncertainty and despair. 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.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Listen to more books in The Wheel of Time series.
©2009 The Bandersnatch Group, Inc. (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

Critic reviews

"The Wheel of Time...is a fantasy tale seldom equaled and still less often surpassed in English." ( Chicago Sun-Times)
"Jordan has a powerful vision of good and evil - but what strikes me as most pleasurable...is all the fascinating people moving through a rich and interesting world." (Orson Scott Card on The Wheel of Time)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Fine Return to the Wheel of Time

I quit the Wheel of Time in 2004 after "Crossroads of Twilight". The frustration at the slow pace and long gaps between books was too much for me, I decided not to continue with WoT until the series was complete. Ten years later it's finally done and after a refresher with Leigh Butler's re-read of the first 11 books on the Tor.com website (and lots of referencing on the WoT Wiki) I got up to speed and re-read "Crossroads of Twilight" and then"Knife of Dreams". The horrendous pacing issues reminded me of why I gave up reading these but I was still eager to see what Brandon Sanderson had done with the story so persevered, and I'm very pleased indeed.

Sanderson did say that he would not copy Jordan's style but that he would use a style appropriate to the Wheel of Time, which he has done admirably well and he has captured the feel of the Wheel of Time perfectly. What is immediately apparent however, is much tighter writing and a seriously improved pace; a lot less time spent on describing every boot buckle and bit of lace, far less finger wagging, shawl adjusting and braid tugging. Whole chapters moving the plot forward and some great character development. Joy!

The Gathering Storm concentrates mainly on the story arcs of Rand and Egwene, balancing hopelessness with hope. Rand's descent into darkness and madness is depressing, agonizing and nearly hopeless as he reaches the lowest point of his struggle. Balancing that is Egwene's struggle to reunite the White Tower, however where we agonize about Rand, we are fuelled with Egwene's passion and fire, her fight for the White Tower leaves us full of hope and we see what a truly awesome character Egwene is becoming. The plot drives forward to both Rand's and Egwene's determining moments, which is immensely satisfying. We also see more of Matt, who has some awesome moments of his own, however Perrin's arc still remains very ho-hum, though I believe he finally comes into his own in the next installment.

The Gathering Storm has rekindled my original love for these characters and brought back that sense of excitement I felt while reading those first books way back in the 90's. Sanderson was without doubt the best choice to bring The Wheel of Time back on track and I can't wait to begin with "The Towers of Midnight

Whilst there was nothing wrong with the narration, i always find fantasy narrated with American accents a bit odd. The story would have been awesome If we had the likes of Rupert Degas narrating!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

Carrys on the story in true Robert Jordan style.
Brandon Sanderson has done a great job.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brandon Shines

From listening to the interview with Brandon Sanderson which is included with books 12-14 (assuming 14 as not out until April, I understand), it is apparent that before the Lengend Robert Jordan passed away, he had written much (as much as 2100+ pages) on the final installment of this wonderful saga. So how much does Brandon put into this? The fact that it is actually difficult to figure out is, in my mind, a testament to Sanderson's ability, and I believe he deserves accolade for his work here and with book 13 at least. If you are out there, Brandon, high-five!
This book really takes the saga to new levels, as Rand struggles with Lews Therin for posession of his body and mind. The shining, personal battle at the end of the book, marks the beginning of Tarmon Gai'don, and as we progress through book 13, the pace really picks up. Not to take away from this book, however, as the storylines meld and Perrin Aybara, Goldeneyes, Lord of the Two Rivers really pulls his character to new levels, reaching to lofty heights, as he must, to stand beside Rand at the last battle. Having read this book once (I read each before listening), and listened to 3 times now, I will listen once more before book 14 is released. If you were to only read 3 books in the series, I would say 11, 12 and 13 are the ones you should choose, though of course that's just nonsense as you need context! ;) Listen to them all! Brilliant with a capital B.
As a side note, I am reading George RR Martin on the side, and I am finding it very exciting, having already watched the first book in series format on TV, A Game of Thrones. Like finishing with a girlfriend or boyfriend who was like no other, and you compare everyone in the future to them... that is how I am with every book since Wheel of Time. Does Game of Thrones compare to this? Surely, in many ways, not least of which excellent POV handling. And Kate Redding and Michael Kramer as male or female POVs on the audio works better than any other audiobook!!

3 people found this helpful

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Pivotal!

My favourite book in the series. Pivotal in the series as a whole and the last half of the book is fantastic

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Sanderson carries the baton masterfully

Sanderson continues the series brilliantly, and I say that as someone that isn't a big fan of Sanderson's work overall- Mistborn took a nosedive after the first book, Arcanum unbounded has 2 great short stories and an awful novella, The stormllight archive is great. Anyway, this is probably Sanderson's best work. His love for the characters and the series shine through and the differences in his writing style from Jordan's are a welcome change if anything. He describes characters better, and presents the cast and scenes maybe more adeptly than Jordan did. All in all a great addition and as good as any book in the series. As for the Recording: Reading is still vastly superior to the woefully stolid Kramer. He's better in this than previous books but its still jarring to go from Reading's rich performance to Kramer's dead 50's newsreader drone whenever a chapter ends.

1 person found this helpful

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wowwzers

what a book! best one yet in my opinion. they just get better and better

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Love, love, love it

I was gutted when I heard Robert Jordan had passed, and sceptical about the appointment of Brandon Sanderson to complete The Wheel of Time. But I worried unnecessarily. All my favourite characters are here, as I have come to know them and I was delighted when Rand, who has always been among my least favourite lead characters and frequently makes me agree with Cadsuane's and Nyneve's assessments, gave up his frustrating outlook; I like him a little more now.

Sanderson really does do Jordan's legacy justice. If you're worried about the story being told by someone other than Jordan, let me put your mind at ease - take this journey

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

What's to say?

If you're looking at Book 12, you're already hooked. If you've read the books and want to know whether it's worth listening to the audios then YES. For me, it meant I could engage with the story in a completely new way. I was able to continue with the humdrum routines while plugged into the world of Rand, Perrin, Mat, Egwene, Nyneave...



The books are heavy - it's really hard hoovering while holding one!

1 person found this helpful

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Simply amazing

I was dubious about another author picking up Robert Jordan’s work but I was pleasantly surprised to be utterly wrong in my initial prejudgment. All I can say is well done to both Jordan’s editors and Sanderson for taking this course to finish the saga.

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Fantastic

I have really enjoyed the series so far and this book does not disappoint at all

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • D. Ramirez
  • 28-10-09

I normally wouldn't, but...

Usually I wouldn't write a review before I had finished a book, but I just can't help myself... I'm sure that you hard core WoT fans out there won't need any further encouragement to purchase this one, but for anyone who does... Get it, now! :-) Seriously, it's good. Perhaps I'm just not as perceptive as I ought to be, but I've not yet noticed much difference from the quality that I'd expect of a book in this amazing series. So far, I think that Brandon Sanderson has stayed true to the characters that RJ created, and I think his style just works for this series. Needless to say, I am thoroughly enjoying this audiobook so far. I've already noticed quite a few plot lines moving forward and am learning answers to questions that I've really been waiting to find out about. I'd like to thank Mr. Sanderson for his wonderful work in continuing this series, Robert Jordan for caring enough about his fans to leave behind enough content for Brandon to work with, and of course, his wife Harriet for making a great choice of whom to continue his work. Very respectfully, Dominique.

41 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chuck
  • 25-11-13

Best book since Book 1

Quite possibly the best book in the series since the opening book. Not that the other books were bad, but Jordan seemed to just drone on at times and the story seemed to stagnate at times. Sanderson does a masterful job of writing this book. It "sounds" just like Jordan wrote it, but there were very few places in this book where I felt like I was "nodding off" (as I had done several times before in previous books). Great start to the finale of this wonderful series.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan D. Gilbert
  • 02-12-09

Welcome back Wheel of Time!!!

If you would have told me this was written by a different author other then Robert Jordan, I would have called you a liar. This is how the Jordan of old used to write. It's only later on in the series is when he really started go get wrapped up in meaningless crap, and made it a chore to finish a book. The only difference I could really tell were things that I thought were improvements. Gone are the annoying storyline builds ups, only to have the reader jump to a different character at the crescendo. It was so refreshing to not have to wait another 300 pages to find out how a storyline progressed. This ain't 1960's television anymore, we don't need cheesy cliffhangers to make sure we keep reading.

At no point did I ever feel like I wanted to place a gun into my mouth to end my misery from slogging through a couple of chapters on etiquette or local customs.

Sanderson touched on all the favorites, Rand, Egwene and company, Matt, Perrin, all the major Aes Sedai and Aiel. Perrin was probably the least written about it in this story, but it really didn't bother me, as he had bigger parts in the last few books. Matt is always a blast and gets into some crazy situations in this book that just made me laugh. Sanderson does such a good job putting Matt's perspective on situations that it's always just so comical, "Why does this always happen to me!"

Rand is probably the biggest triumph of this story. The writing gets more complicated as his delves deeper and deeper into what it means to be the Dragon Reborn and all the emotions that come with that.

Kate and Michael are the only voices I can ever picture reading Jordan, as they do a perfect job. At times I forget that Kate is reading the male parts because she does such a great job capturing the character's essence.

I released a huge sigh of release after I read this book. The glory that is WoT is back, and is on track for it's continued greatness. The ending of this finished perfectly.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • T. Doolin
  • 19-10-09

A Successful Transition

Many people were worried about the continuation of this epic series after the tragic loss of Robert Jordan in September of 2007.

Fans:
Fear no more!

All of our beloved characters are still there and RJ's vision is clearly still the driving force behind these books. Brandon Sanderson does an outstanding job taking our characters and adapting his style to give us a compelling read.

You can sense Brandon's voice more in some characters than others but that is not a criticism. He actually brings more depth to them while maintaining exactly who they are and who we love.

Michael Kramer & Kate Reading again deliver in this book and I'm pleased to know that they'll also be completing the series with:
Book 13 - Towers of Midnight
and
Book 14 - A Memory of Light.

You will love this book! Enjoy!

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gary
  • 30-10-09

Bloody Excellent

Thank you Brandon a most excellent job.

The Wheel of Time has been brought back to life. The life that was in the first few books.(1-4)

I really enjoyed reading this book. (Well listening to it.) Could not put it down.

Each character got some air time and it was not too long winded coverage that I felt was in the later books.

Plenty of action happening in this.

It is also great to see that same narrators
used in the story. Very well read it brings much life to the story.

Again Brandon, A Big Thank You.
I look forward to the next book soon.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • kana
  • 24-10-18

British accents?

Loved the story but what is up with the random British accents? They popped up out of no where this book and came to be a bit annoying.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • alisa
  • 31-12-17

Michael Kramer... sigh

So here's the thing... this is the 12th wheel of time book. you would think that after narrating the other 11 gigantic books he would have consistent accents and pronunciations of character names. that's totally not the case. every time he reads a couple of chapters he switches up accents and pronunciation of names so much it actually screws with the fine details of the storyline... like maybe take notes ? the whole series would be a way more enjoyable I've with some consistency.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa
  • 25-02-13

Slow writing style

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Repetitive descriptors which did not add to the story line

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Incisive editing

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

A little slow

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Possibly

Any additional comments?

Many good ideas in the story and writing, but not to my taste

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 26-02-11

Slow start, but worth the wait

For the first quarter or the book, I had a sick feeling in my stomach - nothing seemed to be happening, I was losing interest. I realize that some of what was happening now was build-up for the rest of the book, but much of it still seemed overstated and contrived. (e.g. Aviendha's rise to wise one, Ituralde's part, and of course anything to do with Cadsuane - ok maybe thats too harsh but who likes Cadsuane???)

But, then the book rapidly began "happening". From Egwene's fight to survive, to Mat's battles with the pattern, and Rand's struggle to hold onto sanity, it was certainly a ride to the end. The sheer amount of action and events that were initiated AND resolved is certainly much more than any other RJ book in a long while. Though I still think RJ is the better writer (believe it or not, I am one of the few who like how he describes every detail of the world he creates), BS is obviously a passionate and deserving author to finish this series. Highly recommended, as long as you are patient at the start.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacob
  • 06-01-10

Sanderson's marvel

Where Jordan often utterly failed at times Sanderson manages to not only succeed but exceed expectations. Jordan often wrote pages, even whole chapters that had no substance to moving the story forward, particularly evident "Crossroads of Twilight". Sanderson however, gives us Jordan's riveting story and extraordinary detail, with much less skimable dreck.

This book covers Egwene's storyline to a remarkable apex, Rand's madness, and who Verin really is. Perrin, Elayne, and Mat's storylines are barely touched. We are left with wanting much in the next two books, but this book leaves us with a feeling of accomplishment and no cliffhanger.

This is Kate's best reading of this series. She pours herself into Egwene's storyline and it really comes alive.

5 people found this helpful