Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review: "The Gathering Storm" by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

This may be an obvious observation, but if you haven't been reading the series, this review isn't going to mean anything to you. But you can join in on the fun if go you to your local library or used book store and find book one, The Eye of the World. Then get your hands on the next ones, and by the time you get up to this current one, which is number twelve, it'll be out in paperback and you can then consider yourself all caught up.

Readers who enjoy high fantasy should definitely give this series a try. Robert Jordan has created a world that seems so real it's easy to get lost in it. He has numerous people groups, each one unique, with their own customs and governmental system. There are certain similarities to particular groups in the real world, but nothing is based entirely on any one people or place. There's just enough to make them seem familiar, but then he adds in magic (called "the One Power") and otherworldly creatures (like Trollocs) and you realize you're dealing with an intricately detailed location that has its own rules and problems.

The characters are strong and generally well-developed and the plotting is complex, so even if you're not into fantasy as a genre but you enjoy good storytelling, try the first book and see if you don't get hooked. Naturally some books in the series are better than others, but overall this series is a deeply satisfying read.

The first few times we see each character include some backstory explication, so if you didn't get a chance to do any re-reading, it's okay. Some phrases or paragraphs seem a little pendantic, but mostly (for me anyway) it was a good reminder of where everyone was and what they'd been doing at the end of book eleven. You do need to be familiar with terms and previous events in order to fully appreciate this volume as Sanderson (and/or Jordan) wasn't that explicit, but if you've totally immersed yourself in this series and can reel off trivial facts and names at will, then you might feel like you're in remedial class for a while. However, skim over those parts and get ready to dig into the meat of this story. The only part that will disappoint you is the last page, because then you'll realize you have to wait many months to find out what happens next.

Read my entire review >>

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