Yes, I will alert you all first. If you are reading the Wheel of Time books and have yet to reach The Gathering Storm, ignore this blog post.
I started this book with great hopes, high anticipation. For years I waited for this, what was to be the last book but instead became three. It’s no secret that Robert Jordan is my hero, my Light when it comes to writing. Just reading his books inspires me to write better, stronger fiction. And so it was with shaking hands that I turned to the first page.
Now, this book was a roller coaster of emotions from start to finish. In all the other books there were full sections that I had ot push my way through to keep going. In this book it was limited to one chapter, and it was only because in that one chapter there was a character that I couldn’t stand from the start.
Cadsuane Sedai. That woman deserved the exile Rand gave her long ago. And to be honest, I wouldn’t have blamed him at all if he killed her. Not because she let the male adam fall into the hands of Semirage, but because she was just downright despicable! Then after he exiled her she stayed dangerously close. Sure her scheme brought Tam to Rand at long last–how many of us were eagerly anticipating that reunion?–but she also ruined the moment by trying to manipulate Tam into doing what she thought was best for Rand instead of just letting a FATHER deal with his SON! Sure the two of them grew apart, but from the moment Rand realized it was Tam he was ready to crumble and if Tam had dealt with this on his own, instead of letting Cadsuane guide him, then I think things would have gone much better. But what good storyteller would let things happen the easy way?
As far as what happened with Rand siezing the True Source and trying to kill Min when Semirage had that collar on him… That gave me chills. No lie. I had to pee about halfway through the whole thing I think I read another two chapters after that before closing the book. HOLY CRAP, RAND AL’THOR IS BADASS!! No one, and I mean no one else could have removed that collar on their own. The taint of the Dark One is on him at this point though, and honestly, for the rest of the book I saw him “going to the dark side”. Literally. Sure he was a cold, hard bastard from that point on, shutting out everyone. But I thought, before he even saw Tam and nearly killed him, that Rand would kill Min and Nyneave.
I thought for sure when he stood in the mountains with them and said, “I hope you see this as a mercy too,” that he was going to kill them both to save them from him. Instead he BALEFIRED AND ENTIRE FUCKING FORTRESS OUT OF EXISTANCE!! I blinked in shock and disbelief at that.
Now, let’s not forget Mat, who is undoubtedly everyone’s favorite just for fun. I haven’t read a chapter with him since he was freed of that dagger so long ago that I have not enjoyed. I can’t really say much more than that about him. Honestly, there is no NEED to say anything more than that about him. Mat is Mat. Period. Nothing will change that. What I am waiting for is him to get his hands on the Horn of Valere again. He has to blow it for the Last Battle, so that has to come into play at some time… soon.
Perrin had a relatively small part in this book, but there was no need for him to have a big part at this point, really. He is doing his duty to the hundreds of thousands of people following him across Murandy. He has his wife back. He is accepting his role as a leader and starting to accept the Wolfbrother in him. This was inevitable. I’m not seeing how he will fit into place at the Last Battle unless he takes his men to help Lan at Tarwin’s Gap. But then, doesn’t he need to be with Rand at Shayol Ghoul?
I have one word to say for Egwene… BADASS!!! She took beatings almost all day, every day while being forced to act as a novice in the White Tower, yet she didn’t break. They forced her into a cell smaller than her and she wouldn’t cave to Elaida’s will. She stood up for what she thought was right, sticking to her principals, and finally united the White Tower once more. We all knew it was coming, but her methods of doing so were epic, and they will certainly go down in history as an example of what an Amyrlin should be. One top of that she was given an almost COMPLETE LIST of the Black Ajah and dealt with them too! I cannot say the word enough (badass) but Egwene fought off the Sheanchen invasion almost on her own (badass), made the rest of the Aes Sedai lower their eyes in shame (badass) and unseated Elaida as effectively as she could without any power at all (badass).
I will admit that I did miss Elayne in this book. I know she wasn’t of much use to this part of the story, but I do like her a lot and I look forward to seeing how she fits into the final puzzle. Especially with babies in her tummy.
And who didn’t expect that Siuan would bond Bryne to her as a Warder? It was a long time in the coming indeed. That’s all I have to say about that. Now if only Egwene could get over what Gawyn did rescuing her against her orders and come to her senses about him as well.
Oh! That reminds me! WTF happened to the Whitecloaks? Galad killed the leader and took over, then that whole part of the story disappeared! I’m itching with curiosity. I mean, they can’t NOT be part of the Last Battle. We are talking about the group that dedicates their lives to fighting Darkfriends and Shadowspawn. They have to be there, so what in the name of Light gets them there?!
Alas, I have another year to wait. The Tower of Midnight, or whatever it’s called (can’t remember at the moment) will be out next fall. I will just have to chew on my thoughts until then.
But while I wait, I pray for Rand al’Thor’s soul.