The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12) ★★★★☆

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Title: The Gathering Storm
Series: The Wheel of Time #12
Author: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 829
Words: 304.5K


From & authored by Toral Delvar

Aviendha is sent to Rhuidean to go through the Glass columns and become a Wise One. Faile kills Masema. Perrin rides north with the refugees, with Grady and Neald too tired to make gateways for those that would want to go home. He meets up with Galad and learns that Maighdin is actually Morgase.

Mat and the Band try and head to Caemlyn before going to rescue Moiraine. In the shadow of the Damona Mountains, they come across a village where everyone goes crazy at night and tries to kill each other, only for everything to reset back to normal the next morning. They learn a woman in a nearby village is handing out pictures of Mat, so he goes to see who it is, learning it is Verin. She explains that she had intended to go to Tar Valon, but was drawn there by his ta’veren nature. She tells him she can make a gateway for the Band to go quickly to Camelyn, but if so he must either wait ten days, then obey the instructions in a letter she gives him; or wait thirty days, then do as he wishes. He agrees.

Rodel meets with Turan after the Seanchan army has been destroyed outside Darulna. He explains he used their overconfidence and reliance on raken against them. Turan tells Ituralde that this will not be the end of it, that the Seanchan will send a larger army and will not make the same mistakes again. Rodel executes him. The Seanchan amass a fresh army of 300000 men with around 200 damane, traping Rodel and his men in a stedding. He knows they cannot win, but hopes to be an inspiration to future generations. Rand arrives and offers an alternative. Rodel and his men go to the Borderlands to protect the Blight border, and Rand will make a truce with the Seanchan, with the Aiel and Saldaeans enforcing order in Arad Doman.

Tuon meets with Beslan as Daughter of the Nine Moons. He swears fealty to her. Tylee tells Tuon how her force was attacked by Trollocs outside Ebou Dar and her opinion that they need to ally with the Dragon Reborn and others. Tuon decides to meet with Rand, waiting until after that before becoming Empress, as once Empress, she will be of higher status than Rand. She believes that would make the meeting difficult. They meet and Rand demands a truce. She feels herself being forced to agree to it, but manages to refuse, largely because of her belief that he must kneel before her according to prophecy. He leaves and she steps up to take the mantle of Empress. She orders a raid on the White Tower.

Rand visits Moridin in a dream and learns he is Ishamael re-incarnated and that balefire is the only thing that can prevent the Dark One giving one of the Forsaken a new body. Rand meets with Harine and tells her the Sea Folk must do better with supplies. In exchange for a promise to answer any question of hers, he learns that Sea Folk men who can channel are either drowned or abandoned on a deserted island. He tells her the practice must stop. Rand orders the Aiel to pacify Arad Doman and to find members of the Council of Merchants so they can name a new king. He uses one of them to try and track Graendal, via one of the messengers she had used, but that messenger had already died. Nynaeve investigates the torturer involved and finds an apprentice, heavily under Compulsion, from whom they are able to find Graendal’s location. Rand Travels there and balefires the whole palace.

Cadsuane makes no progress with Semirhage, until she realizes that they are showing her too much respect and spanks her like a child. Shaidar Haran arrives to free Semirhage and with the help of Elza, from whom she removes Verin’s compulsion, She puts Rand in the male a’dam. Via his link to Moridin, Rand is able to access the True Power and uses balefire on both Semirhage and Elza. Cadsuane tries to tell him not to use balefire, but he tells her he understands it better than she does and that it is the only way to prevent the Forsaken from being re-incarnated into fresh bodies. He exiles her from his sight for her failure in not keeping the male a’dam safely hidden and says that he will kill her if he sees her face again. He Travels to Far Madding to meet with the Borderland leaders, but they refuse to meet outside the city, so he tells Hurin, their messenger, to tell them to either return to the Borderlands and do their duty, or to stay away from him.

Cadsuane has Tam brought to Rand and they talk. Tam asks him why he is fighting. Rand goes crazy when Tam mentions Cadsuane, attacking Tam and fleeing to Ebou Dar before he can kill him. There, he decides to use the Choedan Kal to destroy the Seanchan in the Tarasin Palace. However, he falls sick when he seizes saidin and collapses. The concern of the passersby disturbs him and he flees, skimming first, then Travelling to Dragonmount. With Lews Therin, he realizes that the chance to love is what makes it so important to save the world. The two merge and then begin to laugh, before destroying the Choedan Kal. Above Rand, the clouds part and and he is bathed in light.

In the Tower, Egwene encounters Meidani while serving Elaida and tells her to summon her. Egwene continues to meet with Aes Sedai, who grow more receptive to her. Bennae and Nagora both summon her to ask for advice, and both are impressed. She meets Suana, who tells her she would do well in Yellow. Egwene suggests to her that Sitters of different Ajahs should begin visibly taking dinner together. When Meidani does summon her, she is unable to say why she didn’t flee the Tower when Eliada learned she was a spy, but she is able to show Egwene, taking her to a meeting of Saerin, Doesine, Yukiri and Seaine. She refuses to back down and tells them that they need to start reaching out to other Ajahs to heal the rifts in the Tower and also that they must take the fourth oath off Meidani. Meidani agrees to continue spying on Elaida as that is what Egwene wants from her. Egwene points out that as it was a bare minimum of Sitters that deposed Siuan and that at least one was Black, it was not legally valid.

Katerine tells her that she is no longer to meet with Aes Sedai but is to just do chores. In the kitchen, Laras tries to help her escape, but she refuses. Elaida has her as a serving girl a second time, this time in front of a group of Sitters. Egwene stands up to her, bringing up all her failures, using arguments specifically designed to impress various different Sitters. When Elaida sees Doesine murmuring agreement, she loses control. Egwene calls her a coward and a tyrant and she attacks, calling Egwene a Darkfriend and ordering her imprisoned. Silviana comes before the Hall to stand up for Egwene, saying Elaida should be deposed. Elaida orders her imprisoned and Stilled, with Katerine to replace her as Mistress of Novices.

Verin visits Egwene in her cell and tells her she herself is Black Ajah and that she only got around their oaths by taking poison that will kill her within the hour. Verin has been researching the Black Ajah from the inside and has compiled a list of around two hundred members that she has identified. After Verin dies, Egwene has Meidani remove the body and meets Siuan in Tel’aran’rhiod, telling her Sheriam and Moria are Black Ajah and should be watched. She is pulled out of the dream by Nicola when the Seanchan attack. She finds the novices and teaches them to link, forming a circle with Nicola, before Travelling to the storeroom where the objects of the power are kept, to fetch the sa’angreal she knows, Vora’s sa’angreal. She returns and, along with the novices, begins to fight the Seanchan. She encounters Adelorna who is feeling despondent at the poor showing of the Greens. She forces Adelorna to accept her leadership and together they engage the Seanchan.

Gawyn learns Egwene is a prisoner in the Tower and that the Aes Sedai are willing and able to relieve him of command at any time. He leaves them for the rebel camp. When they hear of the Seanchan attack, Siuan and Gawyn decide to rescue Egwene. She persuades Gareth to go with him. He insists that she bond him first. They fight their way in and Gareth kills a Seanchan assassin. She recalls Min’s vision that both would die if they didn’t stay close and Heals him of a minor wound he took that would otherwise have been fatal because of poison. They and Gawyn reach an exhausted Egwene and take her out of the Tower through a gateway. Elaida and around two dozen others are captured.

The next day, Egwene visits Saerin, to retrieve the Oath Rod, before holding a meeting of the Hall. She tells them that the Black Ajah is real and swears the Three Oaths, announcing that she is not a Darkfriend and that everyone else is to do the same. Sheriam embraces the Source, but Egwene shields her and tricks her into lying. Moria tries to flee and they apprehend her as well. Once the other Sitters have all been cleared, they go through the other Aes Sedai, starting with those in Verin’s list. All the Black Ajah are quickly executed.

In the Tower, the Ajah heads try to plan what to do to replace Elaida. The hall has been unable to make any progress, the divisions between the Ajahs still too strong for any to support a woman not of their own. Adelorna suggests Egwene and is immediately supported by Ferane, with the others soon agreeing. Once the decision has been made, a group of Sitters goes to summon Egwene to be raised Amyrlin. She is raised unanimously, with no second round of voting needed by the eleven remaining Sitters, there being no Red, and the Black Ajah Sitters having fled with around sixty others. She names Silviana as Keeper, as Silviana did her duty. She then goes to the rebels, forgiving them for rebelling and readmitting them to the White Tower.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this. This how the series should have been the whole time. While this was another monstrous book (the hardcover is over 800 and the ebook clocks in around 1100) I did not find it draggy, slow, ponderous or padded. Sanderson really makes an effort to push the story forward. It was fun and refreshing and I enjoyed reading a WoT book again.

I also felt like Sanderson did an excellent job of starting the characters down a path that would bring them from the wildly flung places Jordan has scattered them to. And I felt like he did the same thing for all the various shit pies that Jordan shoved down our throats. If I sound bitter, I am. Jordan could have gotten his readers to this place without wasting our time with at least 3 books that he made us wade through and wait for years for. I realize I am making a hash of this review as I really did enjoy the book but it is hard to sit back and realize what Jordan did to me, as a reader. While not nearly what GRR Martin has done to his readers, this was bad enough.

I guess I’m going to have to make a concerted effort to judge the next Wheel of Time book on its own instead of dragging in my baggage with Jordan. Sigh, sometimes reviewing books seems like it’s more of a hassle than anything.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

47 thoughts on “The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12) ★★★★☆

    1. Ohhhhhhh, a newbie. I guess I should have explained 😀

      Here’s the short answer:
      Robert Jordan died after writing book 11. That was in 2007 (when he died). Brandon Sanderson was an up and coming epic fantasy writer at the time and Jordan’s widow tapped him to finish the series up. Jordan had left extensive notes and outlines, so it was up to Sanderson along with Jordan’s widow to put all of that into book form. Which is why both of their names are still on the cover.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. His stuff is comparable to the early books where everything was awesome, before Jordan got author bloat and wrote whatever he felt like instead of writing a good tight story.

          Of course, Sanderson has gone on to write his own magnum opus, a 10 book epic fantasy series, that is even longer, in terms of page count, so I’m not sure he learned the right lesson here 😀

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Fantasy has entered, starting in the 90’s, a big and bloated phase. 10 book series with each book being a “double novel”, ie, no less than 500 pages and usually closer to 1000. It used to be that only established authors could do that and the publishers would take a chance. Now? newbies do it right off the bat. John Gwynne did that. A new author debuting with an 800 page book! What has the world come to, I ask you? Pure madness.

              Mysteries definitely tend to long series too, but those tend to be sub-300 page novels.

              As you can tell, I’ve put too much thought into this whole idea, hahahaha 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            1. He “used” to get books done. And still does by a technical definition. But with him adding more and more to his plate, his releases are getting more scattered. He’s produced 3 (!!!!!) ya books while leaving Wax and Wayne to languish. I can’t speak to his Stormlight Archives as I’m pretty much ignoring them.

              But Alcatraz was abandoned for years and the Rithmatist is dead in the water.

              It’s not that he’s not producing, but his production quality has dropped as his quantity has either stayed level or gone up.

              Considering that Erikson churned out the Malazan 10 book series in approximately 11 years, I believe that Sanderson could do the same.

              Thanks for giving me a great reason to write so much, it’s appreciated 😀

              Liked by 1 person

                1. And that unfortunately makes my point. He’s managed to start a lot of other series during this time. He’s so spread out that he’s losing fans of his older stuff. And if that type of behavior continues, he’ll lose new fans as they age as well.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Apparently the next Alcatraz book has been finished for years, but the publisher sat on it. Apparently it’s coming out end of this year or early next and the final book end of 2022. At least that’s the impression Sanderson had in his end of year update last December.

                    Liked by 1 person

    1. Correct.

      And at the time there were a lot of jokes about Martin dying and somebody else finishing his series. I think it’s too late now, even if he died…


                1. Yeah, you keep your little cabbages to yourself. I’d call you “Paddy” but even I know that’s the wrong little piece of the island.
                  What IS a stereotypical Scottish name anyway?
                  Irish has Paddy, Americans have John Smith, so what about you?

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. Pahhh, get a haircut, you hippy!
      and get off my lawn while you’re at it! 😉

      The journey is definitely part of it, but the Destination is the point of it all.

      Now, if I could give you all my Journey parts and you give your Destination parts, I’d probably be ok with that 😀


  1. I think you might be giving Sanderson too much credit for wrapping this up the way he did, do we know that Jordan didn’t plan it out this way? Sure, there are large parts of books 8-10 that could have been cut or combined into one or two books, but I guess that never bothered me. I grew up on the Eddings and Donaldson series, and both of them are masters at putting the readers through literary slogging through the mud, so I guess it didn’t bother me when Jordan just did the same x2.

    Sanderson has taken that and gone to x5 with Stormlight Archive, which is why I’m done reading that series after book three.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I could be, won’t argue that it is a possibility. But the fact remains that Jordan was stuck in a boring rut describing pointless nothings for at least 3 books makes me think he would have continued in that vein. He had no motivation to end the series, whereas Sanderson did.

      I fully concur that Sanderson has gone on to beat Jordan at his own game of author bloat. I’m going to read the first 5 Stormlight Archives once they all come out. We’ll see if I’m still alive for the second set of 5 😀


      1. I think the series picks up the pace in Knife of Dreams before Jordan passed. But I agree with the sentiment about bloat generally. I really enjoyed this book and thought Sanderson did a great job… except for some issues with getting Mat a little bit wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. It wasn’t far off. I think Mat just reverted more to his early book personality. A lot of Mat’s humor from book 4ish onward is built on his internal frustration and/or some failure to be self aware. In book 12 he was outwardly funny.

            Relating it to other franchises I felt like he went from being Han Solo to being Capt. Mal Reynolds (Firefly). I think he got much better with Mat in the last 2 books though.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Sanderson did a great job overall. I complained a lot at the time that he was taking 3 books and several years, but we all knew he would finish it off properly.

      I’ll watch the first season when it comes to Prime. Depending on how it goes will determine if I continue watching it as more seasons come out. I have not been impressed so far with most of Amazon’s funded projects so I’m not really holding out a lot of hope. But it would be nice if it was clean and still stuck to the story in general.

      Liked by 1 person

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