Friday, May 17, 2013

Book Review: A Memory of Light

Book Description: (From amazon)

Since 1990, when Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time® burst on the world with its first book, The Eye of the World, readers have been anticipating the final scenes of this extraordinary saga, which has sold over forty million copies in over thirty languages.

When Robert Jordan died in 2007, all feared that these concluding scenes would never be written. But working from notes and partials left by Jordan, established fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson stepped in to complete the masterwork. With The Gathering Storm (Book 12) and Towers of Midnight (Book 13) behind him, both of which were # 1 New York Times hardcover bestsellers, Sanderson now re-creates the vision that Robert Jordan left behind.

Edited by Jordan’s widow, who edited all of Jordan’s books, A Memory of Light will delight, enthrall, and deeply satisfy all of Jordan’s legions of readers.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass.
What was, what will be, and what is,
may yet fall under the Shadow.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Book Review:

As I wipe a few tears from my eyes, I wonder how in the world do I review the final book in a series that took over 4 million words and nearly 12,000 pages to complete the tale (wikipedia). In this saga of good vs. evil, you expect some characters you’ve grown to love while following this series for years will play their part in the Pattern and die. I tried to not think about that as I read A Memory of Light and just allowed the story to unfold as Jordan intended it to be told, albeit through another writer, Sanderson.

This was a (mostly) satisfying conclusion to the series in that it tied up loose threads from the myriad of storylines. I wanted more though, that’s where the mostly comes in! I suppose though, that one of the first rules of Being a Master Story Teller ™ is to leave your audience wanting just a little bit more and in that, Jordan greatly succeeded. He created a world where we really began to care about the characters, to think about them while away from the created world. If you’ve never read a Wheel of Time book, this is NOT the place to begin. Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200. Start with The Eye of The World, originally published in 1990, and read the series in order, all 4 million+ words. It’s a rich tapestry, intricately woven to pull you in. The characters are fantastic, and watching them develop throughout the series is truly a treat. Even if you don’t want to actually read the series but are kind of interested, you might consider listening to the audiobooks. The voice actors truly deliver amazing performances (a man and woman read respective parts).

It took me quite a while to read this final installment for a few reasons: finishing grad school, wanting to savor the last book and some parts just kind of drag in the middle. I know the author is setting the stage, but I really didn’t need to read for the hundredth time about the forces of good being overrun by Trollocs. I get it. The Shadow has nearly inexhaustible forces to block in our heroes so someone can come in and save the day.

Rand’s fight with the Dark One was very different from what I expected, though I’m not sure how else it could have gone with a spirit entity.

Criticisms aside, this really was a fantastic conclusion to the series. It was full of hair-raising moments, chilling moments, awwww moments, gasp-out-loud moments, dread-inducing moments, stomach-dropping moments, eyes-bug out-of your-head moments, LOL moments and teary moments. It’s quite a wild ride and you won’t regret sticking with the series to its completion.

Since I don’t want to give spoilers, there’s really not much more I can say except for if you like epic fantasy series and choose to make the time to read long ones, you will be the richer for having read this one. There’s quite a lot of plot a child will not be able to grasp (we’ll leave out the sheer size of the series for that consideration), but older teens and adults who enjoy fantasy will likely relish diving into this series. Highly recommend.

Sensuality: It’s the end of the world, people, there’s nothing in this one that I remember.

Rating: 5 stars

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