A Prelude, or What on Earth is The Gathering Storm?
When I heard Robert Jordan had died, I gave up on the idea of ever getting a satisfying conclusion to the Wheel of Time series. Here was an author who had stretched and stretched a story over 11 meaty volumes, one which apparently at the start had only been destined for 3 books, but due to burgeoning sales managed to get extended. Every book introduced new characters, new plot threads, and somewhere around book 7, I found myself thinking I should only ever pick up new series when they’ve already been finished or the author is dead and I know there’s no more coming.
Jordan promised the readers a conclusion in one book, A Memory of Light, and he said he was damned if he wouldn’t deliver. Well, fate caught up with him first and so his series was doomed to be left with an unfinished story, the remainder of his notes locked away for all we knew. So now we find ourselves with an author who has passed away, and yet the series continues… because there’s a demand out there for this damn story to be finished.
Naturally, with sales to be had, the publishers hired on another author, and so Brian Sanderson was picked to fill the shoes of the indomitable Jordan. Sanderson got to writing… and writing… and writing. It turns out he’s either even worse than Jordan at concocting a quick conclusion, his editor is just as bad at chopping unnecessary bits (not surprising given it’s Jordan’s editor, his wife), or they’re all out for a quick buck.
Maybe all of the above, because what we have now is not one final volume, which would end the series on an appropriate 12 book note, but rather 3 final “volumes” of A Memory of Light, the first of which is The Gathering Storm. I don’t want to complain at the prospect of having more reading material, but lordy, this thing is heavy enough already. Coming 4 years after Knife of Dreams, tGS isn’t so much a book as an old-fashioned tome. I can only imagine what this will be like when bound in smaller paperback format. And what has me worried is that this is only volume 1 of 3 of the final book – and by gods, will it be hefty when finished.
So, it is with this trepidation… that I rushed down to the book store and picked it up, and have been reluctant to put down since yesterday. And it is with some assumed knowledge that I assume you are coming into this, because I know for sure it’ll make little enough sense to anyone else. And if you really do care, there’s a jump to click through: