Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Gathering Storm

Delivered Tuesday afternoon, courtesy of Amazon, and read Tuesday evening (Mrs S-E being out). Boy, is it long. 750 pages of actual story. I suspect Jordan would have chopped out some of the less significant narrative but I can understand Sanderson felt he shouldn't and couldn't. There isn't much, if any, dross in there. And I can see now why we are going to have to put up with 3 volumes instead of one to finish it.

So, without plot spoilers, where are we now? Well, we don't hear anything about Andor (either the Lion Throne or the Black Tower). We don't actually get that much further with any of the plot lines, except one - the split White Tower. None of the principles gets an overt bonk, although Min is still with Rand and Siuan and Bryne do end up grinning. We do get a partial denouement regarding the Black Ajah and a couple of significant surprises (at least to me, and I have re-read all of the books this year).

It is, largely, a book about Egwene, with a strong second line about the Seanchen (although there is nothing here that has not been foretold, shadowed or actually done - Tuon was Empress in all but name at the end of Knife of Dreams and, not startlingly, peace and harmony does not magically break out in the West of the world - remember that the Prophecies of the Dragon are different in Seanchan) and enough about the other characters (nothing about Lan, though) there to keep you interested. Travelling does seem to make things much more disjointed.

Markedly, this is very similar to the easy-to-disregard middle volume of many good trilogies - they had too much plot for 2 books but not enough action for a proper threesome. Still, I have certainly read far, far worse and anybody who has got this far, having hacked their way through 11 previous volumes and the prequel is unlikely to stop now. And I am looking forward to Audible having it available.

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