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Feedback on my review of TGS


Jason Denzel
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If (and only if) you have read TGS in its entirety, how much do yo agree or disagree with my initial review?  

118 members have voted

  1. 1. If (and only if) you have read TGS in its entirety, how much do yo agree or disagree with my initial review?

    • I thought the review was accurate and fair.
      106
    • I don't agree with your review, but you're entitled to your opinion.
      12


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Hi guys,

 

For the past four WoT novels, I've had the privilege of being the first one to review it. Most likely, this trend will continue for the last two novels as well. While I realize I am closely tied to the Harriet, Brandon, and Tor, I sincerely try to do my best to review the book from an impartial POV.

 

For that reason, I'd like to know how I did.  Here's the link to my TGS review.

 

If, and ONLY if, you have read the entire book, please vote on the poll above to let me know how you think I did.

 

Also, comments welcome, but keep it polite. I'm open to feedback in the interest of writing a fair review for TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT and A MEMORY OF LIGHT when the time comes.

 

Jason

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your review was 99% accurate! well you kinda exaggerated on the Mat going to "somewhere" part though. but every single bit of the review was dead accurate :D

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Your review was most definitely accurate.  I won't give too much away, but I will say two things. 

 

 

First of all, when reading TGS withhold judgement until you finish the book.  In the middle I was getting worried about the direction certain plots seemed to be heading, but the last hundred pages or so is so fast moving and intense that by the end I have to say it is definitely one of my favs. 

 

The second thing is that Brandon did a very good job with the book.  The only portion that I thought might have been him (enough so that it momentarily took me out of the story) was the first Mat chapter.  I think that's probably because I literally had just finished rereading the entire series and Mat is my favorite character so I was very aware of his mannerisms.  The first Mat chapter didn't ring true for me, but I also think Mat is one of the toughest characters to write for as his humor is so much a part of him that if not handled perfectly it shows through.  I will say that as the scenes with Mat progressed, so to did the writing quality and by the end I had forgotten that Brandon had most likely been writing.

 

Jason, I do have a question for you, if you happen to read this.  Do you know if RJ left particular notes or recordings about some of the characters combat stress experiences?  I ask because as a combat veteran I was very impressed with some of the characters thoughts and conversations (especially at the end of the book).  I had worried that Brandon would struggle with this part, but having been there and experienced that I thought those portions were incredibly well written as well as being all too true.

 

To sum it up, for those of you who may still be worried that Brandon isn't up to the task, let me disabuse you of that notion.  The Wheel of Time continues to turn and I for one can't wait for the final two books.

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Jason,

 

I found your review 90% accurate.  The story is fast paced, action packed, and a fast read.  This is clearly not Robert Jordan's book though.  When re-reading the entire series and then comparing it to TGS, it is clear that Jordan was a much more sophisticated writer.  Jordan's books seem to be set at a 10th grade reading level (16 years old) while TGS seems to be set at a 3rd grade (9 years old) reading level.  I have always considered this series on par with Frank Herberts Dune series as far as the quality of writing, with Sanderson, the quality had dropped very far in my opinion.

 

That said, it is still a good book, well worth the purchase price, and I'll re-read it several times, and I'll buy the rest in the series.  But I am disappointed in the quality of writing.  If I were to grade all the books, about 3 would receive an A+, 4 would receive an A, 2 would receive an A-, 2 would receive a B+, one would receive a B, but I would give TGS a C+.  Strong points a strong plot, action packed, weak point is that Sanderson has turned this book into brain candy.  I felt all other books of the series were profound because of the intricacies of the plot, the intricacies of the writing style..  Sanderson does not have the intricacies of the author.  It felt that Jordan was writing for the love of writing.  It feels like Sanderson is writing for a paycheck.  In the previous books, it felt that the characters were making well thought out strategic decisions.  Some of the decisions the characters make in this book seem flippant and rash.  Particularly the Rand/Tuon chapter, amongst others.

 

I'm sure many will disagree with me, this is just my humble opinion.

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Thanks for the feedback everyone. 

 

The only portion that I thought might have been him (enough so that it momentarily took me out of the story) was the first Mat chapter.

 

I think everyone who reads TGS is going to find at least one character who feels "off" to them.  I pointed this out in my review. I chose deliberately not to share who it was at the time, because I didn't want to taint people's expectations going in.  But now that you've read it (and if you're reading this, I hope you have!)  for me, it was Mat. From what I have heard from others (including you), he's the one who will get the most backlash.  We should just remember that Mat is HARD to write. He's clearly going to have a major role in TOWER OF MIDNIGHT, so let's give Brandon a fair shot at doing him.  I think he "got" Mat in the later chapters. He just came out the gate wrong.

 

It felt that Jordan was writing for the love of writing.  It feels like Sanderson is writing for a paycheck.

 

I see the deeper meaning behind your point, but I think that anybody who's read Brandon's blog for the last year and a half, or met him in person for 60 seconds or more, would know that nothing is more far from the truth about him doing this for a paycheck. He honestly offered to do the book for no credit (his name not on the book) and for no pay.  We can debate the quality of the product until the Wheel stops turning, but to say that Brandon just throws words on paper to get the job done would be a disservice to the man.

 

As for writing quality itself:  It's different. But not bad IMO.  I'd rate it higher than a C+, but you're right that it's not entirely RJ.  Then again, there are a few scenes.... wow. 

 

J

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@SmokeandMirrors: IMHO the reason why people in wotland became rash and all was because the storm is coming. In the past where like you said, the characters made sophisticated and strategic decisions that is because although they know that the Last Battle is coming the signs weren't as bad as with TGS. I think Sanderson did made the characters more on a panic-mode because the Last Battle was imminent. everyone was at their edges waiting for the first lightning strike. The only peace you'll experience in the book wherein nothing else mattered was at the end when egwene saw something. at that moment, the world seemed to stop moving. so i might argue with you about what you said with the pace of the story. other points, you have your opinion to hold :)

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Jason, I thought that overall, you did a nice job.  I agree with most of your review.  Well done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

********Slight Spoiler************

 

I was okay with Mat actually...I admit, his first chapter was a bit of a jolt initially but after a few pages he became the old Mat to me.  I could have done without the entire part of the story where he goes to the place he goes, frankly.  I'm not sure it added a whole lot.  I dunno.  The other scene I wasn't so in to was the Rand/Tuon meeting.  Seemed unrealistic and if I'm Rand (or Nyn) I have some very interesting information about Sul'dam that I could broadcast and shake things up a bit, no?

 

Jason, the person I thought you were talking about (and the person who seemed a bit "off" to me) was Nynaeve.  The tone of her chapter seemed noticeably different to me...whereas I think Brandon nailed Rand, Egwene and Siuan in particular.

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Ok, I take back what I wrote about Sanderson just writing for the paycheck.  That was uncalled for.  The bottom line is its a good book.  Some of the scenes are outstanding.  In retrospect, maybe a little bitterness is in my subconscious knowing that its not Jordan, and with all due respect, Jordan is a tough act to follow.  I meant no disrespect to Brian.

 

I do seem similarities to the Dune series though.  The six original books written by Frank Herbert were epic.  When he died and his son took up the word processor, the books his son wrote just didn't feel the same.  They were not of the same caliber as the original.  I feel the same way with TGS.  A good book where the first eleven were great.

 

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Ok, I take back what I wrote about Sanderson just writing for the paycheck.  That was uncalled for.  The bottom line is its a good book.  Some of the scenes are outstanding.  In retrospect, maybe a little bitterness is in my subconscious knowing that its not Jordan, and with all due respect, Jordan is a tough act to follow.  I meant no disrespect to Brian.

 

I do seem similarities to the Dune series though.  The six original books written by Frank Herbert were epic.  When he died and his son took up the word processor, the books his son wrote just didn't feel the same.  They were not of the same caliber as the original.  I feel the same way with TGS.  A good book where the first eleven were great.

 

I actually think this is one of the best in the series. I know the prose isn't as poetic but the pace and action of it is intense. And for the first time in all of the series I can actually see the end nearing.

 

As for your review Jason. 99% accurate, but you mentioned a magnificent journey Mat got onto??? and the whole asmodean RAFO thing got me excited for no reason :-)

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Jason, I'd probably add a "middle" option to your above poll for better results. Most people aren't going to totally agree or totally disagree with you. I bet some will think you had some great points and perhaps some they didn't fully support. Though... when I read the book in a week, I hope I'll be in the "totally agree with you" category ! ;D

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Jason, good to hear that I wasn't the only one that thought that about Mat.  I do agree that later on he seemed to hit the mark.  I also agree that Mat is probably the absolute hardest to write for.  The best thing about WOT for me has been those scenes that take your breath away in a way that I've yet to experience fully in other books.  Does TGS feature those scenes?  Most definitely...and more than once so we know it's not a fluke.  Initially I was probably one of the biggest detractors of Brandon's...but after reading the book I have to give a hearty sigh of relief and say that RJ is in good hands.

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To those that have read it, do you feel this is one of the top 3-4 books in the series? If so, would you say this is the best book since Lord of Chaos? Or would you go back even further? Just curious, thanks.

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To those that have read it, do you feel this is one of the top 3-4 books in the series? If so, would you say this is the best book since Lord of Chaos? Or would you go back even further? Just curious, thanks.

 

It was my favorite since LoC. Here's my top 5:

 

1. The Shadow Rising

2. Lord of Chaos

3. The Dragon Reborn

4. The Gathering Storm

5. Knife of Dreams

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Deadsy!  Never thought I'd see you here on DM. ;-)  Welcome.

 

I agree. TGS is one of the top 3-5 books in the series.  I change my mind often on which are my favorites, but there's no doubt that TGS belongs near the top.

 

J

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Lord of Chaos > Knife of Dreams > Fires of Heaven would be my top 3.. i haven't had the privledge of reading Gathering Storm yet but from the prolouge and what i've read so far... i expect it to be in my top 3. It sounds amazing.. Thank you to those who have answered my questions so far!

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With regards to style, I had an amusing memory from over a year ago.

 

Remember how one of the biggest criticisms of Jordan's writing was all the extraneous scenes of braid-tugging, bathing, sniffing, etc, etc that people felt added nothing to the story?

 

After his passing and the announcement of Sanderson as the man chosen to finish it, there were many who stated that they would be disappointed and crushed if they felt there was ANY decrease in the number of sniffings, braid-tuggings, bath scenes, etc.

 

In other words, it's hard to please everybody.  And also it shows that in the end, Jordan really was an incredible writer who had a truly unique style.  We're going to miss that and personally I think that would have been the case whether it was Brandon Sanderson who did it or George RR Martin or Cormac McCarthy. 

 

Does "skill" and "talent" play a role?  Obviously yes. But my point is that even a Pulitzer prize winner would not have filled the shoes that RJ left behind.

 

That being said, I think it can also be slightly tricky to write characters near the end of an epic series.

 

For instance, Mat is known for his trademark "humor" but we must remember that thing have changed drastically for the character.  He's fallen in love and accepted his role as Prince of Raven.  Those are 2 pretty huge developments for his character.  He is going to rescue Moiraine . . . that's huge.

 

He's likely going to lose an eye.  Huge.

 

And of course, Tarmon Gaidon is coming with its fair share of massive battles with the lives of millions hanging in the balance.  Huge.

 

So . . . that being said, do we still expect to see the "same" Mat with the "same" type of character as the one chasing skirts in Ebou Dar or sparring with Tuon, etc? 

 

Part of it might be Brandon not completely nailing the character and part of it simply might be what is going on as we finish up this series.

 

Remember that there were quite a few of us who questioned the quickness and rapidity of Saidin being cleansed and Rand losing his hand and those scenes were written by RJ . . .

 

It almost seems that after having ground forward for so many years that when things happen at a breakneck pace we're not prepared for it.  Truth be told, that's how RJ has been plotting and writing for awhile now.  Long stretches of build-up and politics and introspection and when the action hits . . . a couple of pages and there you have it!

 

So personally, I wouldn't be surprised if say Moiraine arc gets wrapped up in 2 or 3 chapters.  I don't expect her rescue for instance to take 300 pages in Towers of Midnight or anything like that . . .

 

And once we read more and more of Mat, our brain will adapt to the character as he is written and move on with enjoyment of the story.

 

Dennis

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Like I've said in other posts, this is a good book! I'd put this in the upper half of the whole volume, and that for me is high enough for Brandon's first work in WoT. I can only expect higher ratings for the last two. Hats off to Brandon. ;)

 

As for your feedback, Jason, i'd give an A-. Totally hitting it right-on, keeping audiences interested to know about the book. I remember reading it first time, all I felt was envy that you guys get to read the book already. That basically means, it got me fired up. >:( :D

 

Though after reading TGS, and re-reading your review again, I feel like you could still have added more. Like, you were restraining too hard in keeping from spoilers going out. Still is nice, though. Review is great. Goodluck in the next 2 books! :D

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I never did trust your review of TGS because of your review of COT and KOD. I thought those were miles of target but this one was accurate. I agree with you on Mat chapters. They didn`t fit in and some off the names did`t sound like RJ. It didn`t worry me much except for the town names.(also in Mat chapters). I almost agreed with you about Egwene but I still think she is being wool-headed :) about Rand. On that theme Min is spot on right in the end of the book.

 

My personal favorite after this book is Tuon and I look forward to read more on how she changes her view on people channeling.

 

And about Brandon writing this book: I felt that you could see the difference between him and Robert Jordan. I felt sometimes that he wrote better than RJ like describing Rands insanity and others view point of his insanity (like Tuon`s).

For me it seems that they have been wise to choose Brandon to finish WOT. Lets hope that he keeps up this good work he has done so far. 

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And about Brandon writing this book: I felt that you could see the difference between him and Robert Jordan. I felt sometimes that he wrote better than RJ like describing Rands insanity and others view point of his insanity (like Tuon`s).

For me it seems that they have been wise to choose Brandon to finish WOT. Lets hope that he keeps up this good work he has done so far. 

 

Rand hadn't sunk that far into insanity yet in the last book, so RJ couldn't have desribed it. Likely there were a lot of notes on it. So how can you say that Brandon described it better??

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Rand hadn't sunk that far into insanity yet in the last book, so RJ couldn't have desribed it. Likely there were a lot of notes on it. So how can you say that Brandon described it better??

.

 

I am talking about the start of the book and comparing it too the end of KOD. Maybe its just me but I certainly didn`t think of him as mad after reading KOD, but after reading two-three chapters of TGS I realized that he really was. And this before his encounter with Semi. 

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A lot of what you see in the book was probably planned by RJ. So untill we know exactly what RJ wanted, I suggest you don't give the full credit only to Brandon for that.

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