Author Topic: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*  (Read 24832 times)

JCHancey

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2009, 10:00:15 PM »
I've told all of my WoT nerd friends that it is going to be HARD not to run up and hug Brandon at the November 2nd signing. I've been in love with the Wheel of Time since about 2002, and you've done it justice. I loved it. My friend and I now call Verin Verin "badassedai"

Needless to say I think he did a great job. Cannot wait until The Crowned Shadow of Winter's Heart is Crossing the Road with a Sword, and he's pissed. :D
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Andrew the Great

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2009, 12:52:03 AM »
Finished today at 3:00 AM. It was worth it.

I felt that Brandon got every character almost exactly right, except Mat. Mat, I wanted to strangle. He was too goofy for me. It's like Brandon took Mat's character and pushed him just a little too far down the "Mischevious Trickster" Path. Mat is a Mischevious Trickster, but he seemed to be trying to be funny all the time. What's funny about Mat isn't the way he talks, although he does sometimes say some clever things, but rather the circumstances he's in and the way he reacts to them. I felt like Mat was trying to be funny too much, and as a result he came across as a different character to me. I didn't like him. The Legends scene in particular didn't fit. His reaction to Mandevwin (I think that's his name) thinking (or pretending to, at least) that he actually had a great aunt he was staying with were intended to show how he thought that Mandevwin was an idiot. But Mat wouldn't have said that, he would have been exasperated and thought about how Mandevwin was an idiot, but when he responds by saying "You don't have a great aunt!," it looks like Mandevwin is clever and Mat's an idiot. That's what really threw me. Mat seems to be less clever because he sounds like he's trying too hard.

By the way, I'm kind of making this up as I go along, so I'm only now realizing just what it was about Mat's character that annoyed me.

Also, saidared? Really? I about cried.

There were just a few other words that were really jarring to me. For whatever reason, whenever a character said, "Bloody Ashes," I mentally went, "What? That should read 'Blood and Ashes!' Hmmm...."

I realize this sounds really critical. It's me ranting because I need to rant about Mat's character. And kind of in the hope that it gets back to Brandon that Mat is just a little over-the-top so that he isn't as much so in the next one. But I liked the book quite a bit more than it sounds like I do. In fact, it was one of the best WoT books so far. The pacing was much better in my opinion, and since we seem to be reaching the end, that's a good thing. Most of the character's reactions were very real, and I thought Brandon did a good job of juggling the various cultures.

Honestly, with the number of characters that there are in this series, it's a miracle that there weren't more characters that I felt were off. As is, I really appreciate Brandon's skill. He was the right choice to finish the series.
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tkharmonic

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2009, 07:44:05 AM »
[applause]  Bravo!  Very well done!  [more applause]

I feel sort of hungover from reading this book, but in a good way.  Overall, I rank this book up with The Shadow Rising on my favorites to re-read list.

To me, this was a very meaningful book, just on content alone.  It is also more of a turning point, I think, with characters and storylines lining up and pointing to the Last Battle.

Yes, there were certainly some passages that felt a little odd to me, but not in a bad way.  Once very near the beginning of the book, though at first I thought it was just getting back into it, upon re-read it does seem odd or off, but since it was a new character I didn't mind at all and thought it was refreshing to see regular people.  Mat was a bit much in some places, to me he was in character but a little too much in some places, though that might have to do with character growth, being married, etc.  "Saidared it"  did not seem like Jordan thing, but to me it seemed very much like a Mat thing.  It was also a LOL moment for me, which led to a bathroom break I desperately needed at the time anyway though that was a struggle with my foot asleep from sitting in the same position too long. 

Like every book of this series, I wanted to strangle certain characters for being the way they are.  I mean, really, almost every character in the book is stubborn the point of personality disorder, but that made it all the more true to the series for me.

Egwene was one of the best parts of the book I think, not suprised but very satisfied to see her defending the Tower against the Seanchan for one thing, I was beginning to worry she'd be in a cell and miss the fight.  As I felt she had been through the last few books, she combines the strength of character she started with, plus what she learned from Moiraine, the Aiel Wise Ones, Siuan, etc. while at the same time seeming to lose her self-doubt.

Min was also a stand out for me, her internal dialogue, understanding of why everyone is wrong to try to handle and control Rand instead of just trying to help him and her studies to try to help understand some of the prophecies to help him.  Nynaeve saying "I wish Moiraine was here" was fantastic, as was her at least understanding Rand's POV as was him actually explaining something in the first place. 

Cadsuane irritated the hell out of me, as usual, and I want to not blame her for Semirhage, but at the same time, who does she think she is to forbid anything?   Her character, not Brandon's portrayal of her, is one that just makes my teeth grind.  It's like, she sometimes gets it but then still goes about everything the wrong way.  I loved her spanking Sermirhage and making her eat off the floor though, that was one of many unexpected and very rewarding scenes in this book.

Rand finally understanding that not using balefire only benches the Forsaken was one of the FINALLY moments for me, and this book had so many of those.  Others have expressed suprise at how dark Rand seemed to be at times, I was not suprised at all and enjoyed it.  Rand's scenes with Rodele Ituralde were great, really great on a few different levels for me, as was his meeting with Tuon. 

One stupid thing:  at one point Min calls Rand 'looby' and I think that's supposed to be 'farmboy' and a line editing error.  It threw me, as misuse of saidin and saidar in passed books threw me off.

I did miss some of (I don't know exactly what to call it) the gradiose,dramatic syntax mastery of Robert Jordan.  You know, like "on a day of fire and blood and the one power" kind of thing, maybe it's still to recent since my reading and I'm not done with my first re-read yet.  It seemed to me the closest I came to finding/feeling those moments came from Egwene's speech near the end, instead of finding it in the narrative.  Sorry, I don't have the right vocabulary to express what I want to say here and that's pretty ironic, considering what I'm trying to talk about.

I could go on and on and on, but will wrap it up by saying this book made me laugh, cry and grind my teeth by turns.  I think everyone who worked on this book should be congratulated and proud.  I'd call it a triumph for Brandon Sanderson and a long awaited reward for fans, especially fans that have been reading for so, so long.  It's the beginning of the end of the Wheel of Time and it feels like it.

I first started the series in 1991 when my then boyfriend stumbled on The Great Hunt in a bookstore.  It was not long before the release of The Dragon Reborn, but we had a hard time finding the The Eye of the World.  I read a few chapters of the The Great Hunt and refused to read more until I got the first book of the series.  Anyway, not to be cruel or insensitive, but after The Shadow Rising/Fires of Heaven, I started thinking how much I hoped and prayed the author would live long enough to finish the series.  Long, long before his illness of course, but reading the author blurb about writing until they nailed his coffin shut just fed my paranoia.  I worried when hurricanes threatened the Charleston area, things like that.  Well, we all know what happened and I still hate it for his family and his fans.  That said, now my fear is my own death before this series is finished.   It's up there right behind watching my son grow up and have his own family as things I hope to see before I die.


Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2009, 06:38:49 PM »
"looby" has been used before: TDR ch. 45, CoT ch. 3, and KoD ch. 30. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/looby
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Asundar

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2009, 01:41:26 AM »
Brandon,

I skipped work and spent all day yesterday reading TGS. I have to say, for several reasons, some of which have been mentioned herein, your writing is SPECTACULAR. I think you were able to capture most of the characters very well. There were some things that were noticable, such as Mat being a little bit more serious and using bigger words than he usually does, and a couple of other characters that were a little off. Egwene was awesome, I think you captured her well, and in fact, I found her portion of the story even more interesting than the other parts (even Rand included). I really liked how you got into Rand's head a bit more. The part where he taps into the true power gave me goose bumps.

I was a little disappointed with the part where he and Tam meet, I gotta say. I think more time could have been given to that--I hope you follow up in TOM on that piece. Otherwise though, I thought this book was spectacular. Also, one thing you did VERY VERY VERY VERY well was tie in memories and sequences from the previous books--all the way back to EOTW and TGH, which really made us old readers get that warm fuzzy feeling.

Thanks alot Brandon.  You are going to be one of the great fantasy writers of all time I think. I can't wait to read Way of Kings now. I really am looking forward to that, after we get the rest of the Wheel of Time. :)

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2009, 04:29:06 AM »
Brandon;

I first picked up Elantris after hearing you were taking over WoT. Figured I should read some of this new guy. I've read Elantris, the Mistborn Trilogy and WarBreaker.

Let me say this:

"Veins of Gold" (Chapter 50 I think) is, in my opinion, the single best thing you have written. That whole scene is just incredible. I don't want to give a thing away, but that was simply an incredible few pages. So short but everything just comes together in that one moment. At the end of that Chapter I really got a "here we go" feeling that 'the end' of the series was really starting.

acote

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2009, 08:34:04 AM »
I did miss some of (I don't know exactly what to call it) the gradiose,dramatic syntax mastery of Robert Jordan.  You know, like "on a day of fire and blood and the one power" kind of thing, maybe it's still to recent since my reading and I'm not done with my first re-read yet.  It seemed to me the closest I came to finding/feeling those moments came from Egwene's speech near the end, instead of finding it in the narrative.  Sorry, I don't have the right vocabulary to express what I want to say here and that's pretty ironic, considering what I'm trying to talk about.

I know exactly what you mean.  I felt that this was the standout strength of Robert Jordan: his ability to take a cool scene and just draw it out perfectly in a way that gave you chills while you read it.  I knew it would be missing in the new book, and it makes me sad that we'll never see the final volumes as RJ would have written it.

But BS really did a phenomenal job here.  With the exception of Mat and a few stylistic differences, everything just felt *right*.  Rand was fantastic - I have a hard time believing that RJ could have done a better job with that plot arc than BS did.  It is undoubtedly a WoT book, and a far better one than anyone could have hoped for.  Brandon deserves a standing ovation for saving the series.

Fodder

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2009, 03:35:05 PM »
Thanks for the read!

My very first impressions were a roll of the eyes.  Everything was a bit off and a touch goofy.   I agree with the poster above that Brandon was over the top with Mat.  I'll throw in Thom for good measure.  The problem was that they talked too much.  Such as Thom saying something like "I wouldn't be surprised to find Olver in my saddle bag.  He really wanted to come!"  The first part is fine but the second is obvious. 

Other than that..... Awesome.. just pure awesome.  The story is all Robert Jordan and the execution by Sanderson brilliant.

Once our lovable stand-in hit his stride I could not tear my eyes away.  The entire second half of the book just rolled.  The ending was perhaps the most satisfying of any of the series so far.  In years past each book had sections that I dutifully plowed through to get to more interesting things.  Not so here.  Every thread was relevant and I NEEDED to collect the information presented.

The part with Verin?  Awesome.. I cried.  The wheel of time has never got me to do that before.  I'm a 30 year old guy.  The only other book to make me cry was "Hero of ages"  Coincidence?  No Ta'veren.

Oh and one last note, before I go off and waste my day wistfully pondering the delight I have beheld; you can burn them and you can burn me, but you can't burn it.  That one pulled me out of my suspended disbelief more than anything else.  I don't think RJ EVER used the phrase "burn it" and I don't think it fits the language of the era.

Keep on keeping on

With much much respect,

Daniel
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2009, 05:25:30 PM »
"burn it" appears in The Great Hunt chapter 49.
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Fodder

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2009, 06:13:39 PM »
Peter you are right.  It is there.  The full context is "Tear it up. Burn it."  Rand is referring to the picture of himself at Falme.  He literally wants Moraine to burn it.  It is not being used as an expression.  That is funny that it is in there though.  I did not stop to think of other contexts.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2009, 02:36:17 AM »
Boo! I took a chance that it wasn't that. And I got burned. :)
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Batchman

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2009, 04:18:25 AM »
I was right! I was right!

* Batchman does the happy dance.




*** SPOILERS ***

I still can't say where I came across the idea that Verin was black Ajah ... in reading through book four I have not come across it again ... but I said she was still working for the light, regardless.

I'm hoping we see her again, somehow ... some of the things she said obviously showed she hoped to survive through the time of her revealing herself.

I just finished the book, and like several others have mentioned, I most loved the parts with Egwene and the White Tower. Wonderfully done. So now she has the whole tower behind her, and is free of hidden members of the Black Ajah (at least for the most part).

While Rand's parts in this book did not do much for me, I am glad to see from the last bits that he seems to have realised he was heading the wrong way ... hopefully in the next book I'll enjoy his bits more.

Brandon did a great job, overall. I enjoyed the entire book, though like everybody else, Mat didn't ring quite true for me.

Probably will be more to discuss in time, but for now, GREAT JOB, BRANDON!

RedMars11

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2009, 06:43:59 AM »
Well that was definitely the best Wheel of Time book in years.  My compliments, as well as a mental cattle prod for you to move faster.  ;)  You struck the perfect balance between the ways the characters react to each other, and showing us what they're really thinking underneath their own thoughts.  The stuff they may not admit to themselves.  That's always been the hardest thing to get right in this series.

Overall... I just can't wait to meet Rand again for the first time.  More than anything, it feels like that's what will happen in Towers of Midnight.  I can't wait for him to talk to the other Two Rivers kids, as well as his three... girlfriends.  And Tam.  Possible above all else, Tam.  I read a fair amount of comics, and this is reminding me a bit of the most angsty stories about Superman having to come to terms with his identity.  Is he Kal-El, or Clark?  And then talking to his dad again, realizing that the man who raised him mattered more than most anything else.  And I like the bit of symbolism of him doing the impossible.  Scaling Dragonmount yet coming back down alive.  I admit I peek at the bits of poetry at the beginning and end of each book.  The ending one here unsettled me at first for some reason.  But read in context, it was wonderful.   At first I was upset that the series was being extended by another two books, yet now I'm excited to spend that much time around the Dragon truly reborn.

Egwyene's chapters were all fantastic.  I can't say much other than that about her.  I just hope she forgives Suian quickly, and her and Gawyn figure each other out quickly as well.  Nynaeve's stuff was great, although now I really fear Lan dying.  May this be another confusing red herring seeing by Min.  And about Min herself, (One of my favorite characters in the series.) it was great to see her say some true common sense to Cadsune and Nynaeve.  Stop trying to make him do what they want, and just help him.  It's about time somebody said that.  The two even seemed a bit mollified by it.  The Verin twist was just... awesome.  I don't truthfully recall why we were meant to suspect her of much craftiness aside from the normal Aes Sedai idiosyncrasies, but I recalled know we were meant to be looking for something.  This reveal was fantastic, and damn well played.

I'm not the closest of readers when it comes to tone.  The only time I think I noticed parts written by you rather than Jordan were with Mat.  He was writtin a bit to obviously comical, and Talmanes as well.  Not that either were bad, both were more amusing than ever.  Just not their normal selves.

I'm guessing the next book is chiefly Ahviendha's, Egwyene's, and Rand's again.  And of course the team which will finally rescue Moiraine.  Mat, Thom, and dun dun dun.

And... does anybody else think that the final chapter with Rand was the actual reason that this "trilogy" was originally meant to be called A Memory of Light?

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2009, 10:43:15 AM »
The novel was a strange mix-it wasn't Sanderson, and it wasn't Jordan.  It was a hybrid novel.  To be honest, for an epic series like this, I would have preferred RJ's style, but the next best thing likely is Sanderson.  As has been noted before, perhaps the biggest departure from RJ's style was with Mat; his humor was more overt, and he cracked more jokes.  RJ was capable of creating characterizations, but in a more...gradual...manner.  The pacing of the book was very similar to KoD, which made it different from any of the first 10.  You get the feel that the plot has already been set up, and what's happening is simply the unfolding (or, WOT-talk, unspinning) of the previous buildups.  (Dominoes are falling in order)

SPOILER.......

I had a few "Wait...what?" moments, the greatest was after finishing, when I realized that Min's injuries hadn't disappeared after Rand's balefireing of Semirhage.  Another was towards the end, when I realized that the chapters weren't perfectly aligned (Rand refers to Mat and Perrin's activities before we see them.) 
Gorram Frakking Woolhead!

Fodder

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Re: The Gathering Storm - First Impressions *SPOILERS*
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2009, 07:06:55 PM »
Min's injuries came days before Semirhage  got BF'ed.  With the amount of power Rand used she may have been burnt back a day or two but not back as far as Min's injuries.  Brandon and Team Jordan got the right of it.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 07:08:34 PM by Fodder »
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