The Gathering Storm by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan

I had really soured on the most recent books in The Wheel of Time series.  The books had gotten long winded.  They meandered aimlessly and seem to be leading nowhere.  There were a million characters that I could no longer keep track of, let alone care about.  I strongly considered giving up on the series even though I was so far into it, but I had heard to stick with it because the series got better after Brandon Sanderson took over, and I definitely concur with that sentiment.  Sanderson has given this series the shot in the arm that it badly needed.

 

Although the novel was long, and there were storylines that seemed to be going nowhere, the writing was vastly improved, and, by the end of the novel, those wandering storylines came together more cohesively.  The Egwene storyline was an example of one that had been really dragging but came together strongly at the end of this book and was a real highlight.  I also liked the villain turn of the Daughter of the Nine Moons.  The writing was tighter.  The plot and progression was more focused.

 

There were still some issues with the novel.  The biggest problem that I see is that Rand Al’Thor has become a completely unlikeable character.  He started off the series as a character that you could root for, but now it’s like, yeah I suppose the world needs him to defeat the Dark One in the final battle, but he has become a complete bore.  He barely even feels like a real person any more.  I am hoping in the last couple of novels they fix his character, because it’s hard to truly enjoy a novel when you don’t like the main protagonist.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this novel and remain optimistic for the final two.

Beyond the Ice Limit by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I wanted to like this novel because I found the concept to be interesting, but there were too many hurdles to leap over to actually find it enjoyable.  There were problems with the characterization and the writing, which weren’t particularly well done, but the biggest problem was believability.  And the lack of believability had nothing to do with the concept of an alien tree-like creature being launched somewhere from deep space in an impenetrable pod before landing on the sea floor, growing into a structure that was miles long and was going to then destroy the planet.  And yes, that does sound a bit far-fetched but I was willing to go with that.  It was everything else that was a problem.

 

For starters, the team was able to get a nuclear weapon placed on a ship with the intent to destroy this alien life form without any government in the world noticing them.  Things like the obtaining of nuclear weapons typically doesn’t go unnoticed by government agencies.  Not to mention this type of voyage would have possibly cost into the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, but funding and resources seemed to be no problem for these folks.  The science in the novel was preposterous and turned me off because it was almost silly at times.  The way the characters acted on the crew did not come off as realistic, but what really lost me was the ending.

 

Without spoiling the ending, to kill the alien creature and have the characters actually survived would have been a one in a trillion shot, and that’s being generous.  Yet, somehow they threaded the needle so that everybody could live happily ever after.  Except that it wasn’t remotely satisfying since it was so preposterous.  For me, this novel is a pass.  I think you could do much better.