I have been waiting for this book ever since I finished reading the last of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and discovered that the author had passed away prior to completing the final installment of this epic saga. Brandon Sanderson is releasing the last book as three separate novels and after seeing the size of this one I am happily looking forward to all the nice long hours I will spend enjoying the final two books.
I finished reading The Gathering Storm this weekend, possibly due to the fact that I had nothing better to do on Halloween. Once I started reading this I did have a hard time putting it down and only the Harry Potter-esque thickness of the tome kept me from finishing it 24 hours after bringing it home.
Brandon Sanderson did a wonderful job of keeping the story feeling like Robert Jordan's work. His interpretation of the characters, places and storyline fit in exactly with how I expected things to be and I was able to immerse myself in the story without any distraction of being aware that someone other than Robert Jordan had penned the words.
However, Brandon Sanderson did make use of one technique that I felt worked well coming from him that would not have felt right if it had come from Robert Jordan - now and again he would revisit places and events from the earlier volumes. In a way it felt like a tribute to Robert Jordan's work but also served the purpose of coming full circle and building up towards the impending goosebump-enducing ending to the epic.
I loved how the story ended; after it just seemed to get darker and darker, finally there is a ray of hope shining through that makes me look forward to what will happen next. However, it's making me think that in contrast the second book of the final trilogy should end up with an Empire Strikes Back type of cliffhanger ending to lead into the final book. But I'm going to have to wait to find out!