A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In an Age long past, an Age yet to come, a 20 year old fantasy series came to an end. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was an ending.
The Last Battle is upon us.
Rand has marshalled his generals and forces, the Dark One has his ready, and battle will be joined with the survival of humanity and the Pattern itself at stake.
Can the forces of Light defeat the Dark One, or is even a stalemate too much to hope for?
Will Rand survive Tarmon Gai’don?
Will any of the Two Rivers folk, or the friends they’ve met along the way, survive?
Is Bela really a Dark Friend? Can she Channel?
Is Taim Demandred?
Do Trollocs really kiss goats?
Some of these questions are answered in A Memory of Light, the fourteenth book and conclusion to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.
I’m not going to discuss the plots in detail to avoid spoilers, suffice to say that this is not a conclusion where everyone survives and lives happily ever after.
Okay, one SPOILER:
There are deaths. Main character deaths. Heart twisting, emotion flaring deaths. Have a box of tissues handy.
Jordan and Sanderson deliver an ending to the Wheel of Time, and where they focus their attention, we’re treated to a detailed exploration of the strategy, tactics, fights and politics, of the Last Battle, including all the dirty tricks both sides can come up with. We also get a number of long standing questions answered, and theories substantiated or invalidated.
However it’s a single book, and there was way too much content to be covered in its entirety, so a lot was abbreviated or neglected. I’m not sure whether I’d have wanted it to be two books, one leading up to and including Chapter 36, the next starting from The Last Battle (a single chapter longer than some novels) or not.
In one sense it’s an ending and a completion, in another there could have been so much more. I don’t know that there could ever have been enough, yet I’m immensely grateful to Sanderson for the last three books and the completion of the series.
Certainly some aspects suffered from the compression, in particular the Padan Fain / Mordeth / Machin Shin entity, IMO, but I won’t go into any more detail to avoid spoilers.
There’s also somewhat of an irony of Sanderson’s writing suffering from being compressed when Jordan’s suffered from insufficient compression…
But I digress, and don’t want to speak ill of the dead.
If you’ve read the first 13 Wheel of Time books, you’re not going to give up and skip this finale. Know that it will be worth it to finish.
If you haven’t made it this far and were lost in the wilderness some time after The Fires of Heaven, then I’d recommend reading the chapter summaries online, and resuming with The Gathering Storm (book 12). Read it, Towers of Midnight and then A Memory of Light. Know completion.
If you didn’t make it past The Shadow Rising, then there’s nothing for you later on.
I’m simultaneously sad and glad at the ending of this series which has kept me company, made me many friends and lead to several travelling adventures over the last 20 years.
Let the Dragon ride again on the Winds of Time.
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Mirrored from P.R. Kaye's Presence.