the daily column

The Gathering Storm, Part 2

Well, after Part 1’s overly extended meandering get-nowhere introduction, I really shouldn’t be attempting a second round of introduction. So if I said here that I wanted to go through and try to introduce the Wheel of Time series to those who hadn’t read it, you wouldn’t like that, right?

Thought so. So for those who haven’t read the Wheel of Time, you … might not want to read the next, oh, 6 or 7 posts about this. On the other hand, if you’re looking to draw yourself into an epic fantasy series, you might want to go down to the library and borrow The Eye of the World.  (or if you’re looking to get into an epic fantasy series that’s not endless, go borrow Magician by Raymond E. Feist. And stop reading after Shards of a Broken Crown.)

Side note: so, so very glad we don’t get the American cover for The Gathering Storm in Australia. That just looks awful.

Ahem. Enough of the chitter-chatter. More below the cut!

Part the Second: Chapters 7 – 12

Ok, we’re into Book Proper now, and… ok, some plot threads have started to move, though not necessarily at the pace I’d like it to. There’s also a major sticking point: I’m coming at this book relatively fresh – I haven’t done a re-read to build up to it, barring reading a few of Leigh Butler’s Much Awesome Re-read at Tor – so I feel like I should be reasonably tolerant of some of the recurrent parts of the book, but it’s just not happening.

What I’m specifically picking up on is the constant reminders of “bubbles of evil” and how they are affecting everyone; how food is spoiling and the general malaise that lies across the land. I mean, yes, these things are all necessary to set the scene and show how on edge everyone is, but this doesn’t seem to have had a material affect on the plotline recently, unlike for example the bubble of evil way back in The Shadow Rising.

This includes the one in Chapter 11, which seems to be there primarily to demonstrate Rand is going visibly nuts under the pressure, and that Aviendha is Good at Channelling. But we still haven’t found out why it is that she is being punished, other than for not ‘learning quickly enough’. Similarly, there’s one in Chapter 6 that does little, other than demonstrate how helpless Aes Sedai are in the face of these too. But I get the feeling we knew this already.

That aside, I do like how the pace is slowly building. In these six chapters, we learn:

  • Rand has a Plan for Arad Doman
  • The sky is pretty grey.
  • Siuan still meets with Egwene in T’A’R weekly
  • Siuan is head-over-heels for Bryne, to the point where she will trek across the camp to help wash his shirts.
    • Which Bryne appreciates because she’s so damn good at it.
    • About frigging time we had a reasonable romantic plot in this damn story.
  • Bryne has some measure of insight, possibly what makes him such a good general.
  • Perrin has mixed feelings for Faile.
    • Are we seriously back to this again?
  • Perrin doesn’t want to be a lord.
    • Are we seriously back to this again?!
  • Mat is Around. Somewhere, but Rand & Perrin aren’t interested in seeing the swirly colours.
    • I’m tempted just to skip ahead to the Mat chapters.
  • There are a whole lot of armies with a whole lot of men running around Randland.
    • It’s about to get a whole lot more hectic since so many of them have channellers who know how to make gateways.
    • Instantaneous troop transport! What could go wrong now?
  • Bubbles of evil congregate around Rand. Like we’ve known for something like, oh, 9 books? Yeesh.
  • Egwene is finally! making some headway in the Tower.
  • She also finally gets to meet the Black Ajah Hunting Society, staring down much more senior women in order to assert her authority as alternative Amrylin.
    • It appears to be working too, with some coming for “hypothetical” advice.
  • And that would appear to be that for these 6 chapters… yeah.

It really doesn’t feel like much has happened – I’m guessing I need to be more flexible with these posts, leaving it for more logical plot points instead of exactly 6 chapters, though I’ll attempt to keep it to a manageable length before I forget key points myself. The pace is picking up, which is a Good Thing.

That said, having gotten impatient, I’ve looked ahead at some spoilers, and they do look good – I just need a chance to get to those pages!

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