Book Review—A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

 A Memory of Light
Rand al’Thor The Dragon Reborn

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning. So begins the first chapter of A Memory of Light, the final book in the quintessential fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. I loved this book! Reading this series is all about commitment. Once you decide to join in this 14 book epic adventure, the river of imagination will sweep you off your feet. It’s not for the faint of heart, who only open a 150 page novella once in a while. This story, with it’s numerous plots and subplots, overabundance of characters and continual fight between good and evil will throw you into it’s weave, making you a part of it’s pattern. Holding you in with both air and spirit as you enter a world that is both familiar yet so very different from our own.

This final book, A Memory of Light, brings all the stories together for the Last Battle. During most of this book the characters move in and out of this battle and we get to see the genius of military strategy in some characters and the creation of heroes in others as all gather to dance the spears. Towards the end I was feeling weary. I was so pulled into the story that I couldn’t help but feel the exhaustion that so many were going through as they fought so valiantly and unfailingly to save the world. If they lost this battle, all would cease to exist. There were no other options,this was the last battle! I could almost feel my muscles ache and the weariness enter my bones as I sped toward my goal of page 909, the end.

Now it’s a bittersweet feeling. The ending was complete, somehow hundreds of ingredients were thrown into a bowl, whipped furiously and out came a perfect cake. Fulfilling and finished. That’s what this story was like. Lots of action with many parts and pieces swirling around until the end, which left us with something bright and pure. I feel wistful, could it really be over? Has the wheel stopped turning for me? I miss Perrin and the wolf dream, Mat and his lucky hat, the Aes Sedai , the strength of the one power, Rand, Min, Aviendha, Elayne! I feel like I’ve just woken from the dream. But we know there are no endings, for the Wheel weaves as the wheel wills. Robert Jordan created an extraordinary world. Incredible lands, fascinating cultures ( I like the Aiel best) and an impressive system of magic. How many of us have sought the flame and the void as taught by Tam al’Thor? I know I have. I haven’t had success feeling the sweet power of saidar, maybe I’ll discover my own magic.

(Spoiler Alert) One of my favorite moments from the book was Egwene’s final conflict with M’Hael. I had found myself not understanding her character. She was so strong, she seemed to always succeed and didn’t have as many shortcomings as many of the others. But then when I started thinking of her as Ta’veren, it all seemed to fit into place. Ta’veren are special because they cause the fabric of the pattern to bend around them. When Egwene figured out how to defeat the darkness, it was perfect. The two streams of power sprayed light against one another, the ground around M’Hael cracking as the ground near Egwene rebuilt itself. She still did not know what it was she wove. The opposite of balefire. A fire of her own, a weave of light and rebuilding. The Flame of Tar Valon. And then she sacrificed herself in a quiet and beautiful explosion. She died. Tears filled my eyes and I felt like I finally understood her. Sniff, sniff.

When I reached the ending I felt a shift and I could tell these were Robert Jordan’s words. There was a warp in the pattern. Having been immersed in Brandon Sanderson’s words for so long, it was obvious that something had changed. I missed that Sanderson style. (Spoiler Alert) Having Rand just wander off in the end, like a carefree youth, didn’t work for me. That would have been fine in the beginning of the series, but after watching his character develop and grow into such a passionate individual, I didn’t find it believable that he wanted to escape. He loved, he lived, he unified the world, he worked so bloody hard and now he just wants to ride off into the sunset and sleep in a pile of hay? Hmmmm, I don’t think so.

However, I also realize that it is a fitting end, for it’s Robert Jordan’s ending. Robert Jordan began this story, he created it, and he should, and did, end it. Brandon Sanderson accomplished something that not many could have done. Completing the Wheel of Time series was a monumental task. Duty is heavier than a mountain. He did it with his own style, yet stayed true to the story and characters. Thank You!

Oh light! Now what am I going to read?????

Thank you Macmillan Audio for the following clip from A Memory of Light audiobook. It’s read by the talented Michael Kramer and Kate Reading, who have voiced the entire series.

Moraine and Nynaeve

Here is a video clip I took at the Seattle Brandon Sanderson book signing, February 12, 2013.  Brandon Sanderson did a fabulous question and answer and then Harriet read the wind scene, which is in all the Wheel of Time books.  It was an honor to meet her, and always fun to talk with Brandon Sanderson.  I asked him how could Rand just walk off like that in the end, and he responded, he wasn’t sure what RJ had in mind, but he thinks that Rand was off on a few Jain Farstrider travels to see the world, and then Matt and Perrin would probably find him again!  Another amazing author discussion!  I gave him some homemade cookies, I thought he needed a snack during this long WOT tour.  I’m already looking forward to the next book tour, Stormlight 2, due out next November!

Elaine, Brandon, the assistant who looks like Cadsuane Sedai, and Harriet
Seattle February 12, 2013

6 thoughts on “Book Review—A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

  1. Great review. I think of Rand walking off as part of his softening after he fought Tam. He could enjoy life again. This was the remnants of the Two Rivers boy returning, off to explore and experience. Hard Rand wouldn’t do that.

    I think it keeps the story going in your imagination…

    I also loved Siuan and Bryne’s fate, in that “life at all costs” isn’t true to people with commitment. There are things worth dying for.

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