A Memory of Light – book review

I’ve wanted to talk about this book because it’s the sequel to the Wheel of Time, book 14 The Final Volume and I’ve read them all (12,000 pages or so), but no one else I’ve mentioned it to has. Whine, whine – and the story is too long and convoluted and fantastical to try to explain without sounding bizarre. But I’ve just read 909 pages of it and I’m brimming with battlefield glory and despair and renewed hope and weird names of imaginary things. And happiness that finally the series is complete, yeah. But willing to read the next rendition too, oh dear.

“There are no endings, and never will be endings, to the turning of the Wheel of Time.

But it was an ending”

Written first by Robert Jordan (11 long books) and then picked up from Jordan’s notes, after his death in 2007, by Brandon Sanderson who has revived the series. I felt it was swirling down (book 10 and 11) into a trap of too many characters and no foreseeable resolution.

This book, A Memory of Light, was basically the last battle on all fronts and the willingness to give all for a cause. It took me a 100 pages or so to really remember what had happened in the past couple of books (this book didn’t give many look back cues, which is probably for the best considering its length, but sometimes I was left puzzling and terrifyingly considering going back and re-reading the earlier books to refresh myself). Rand had his epiphany about the necessity of darkness/evil this felt a bit like the ghost of Christmas future, I’m not quite sure why he won, nobility of purpose, combining all, clarity of vision, or maybe it just seemed like he did win. Perrin, the physically powerful one, learned how to enter the wolf dream in body as well as mind and be all he could be instead of holding back. Mat remained the lucky gambler (the unlikely hero) and vaccinated against the kind of death they were offering. A fair number of major characters died some heart wrenchingly so. The battle scenes were very good and there were lots of them. The confusion with the great-generals was a very good plot twist. It was an entertaining read and I actually never expected a pure reason for any victory against the dark power. I am also amazingly glad that they finally did the last battle, whew!

Would I recommend it…well you’ve got to read the series, or at least most of the series and so if you like richly created worlds and fantasy powers and battles with swords, wolves, and the concept of good/evil, balance and patterns with confusion then yes, do it! Each book is especially good if you’ve injured yourself and are RICE (rest, ice, compress and elevating an injury…like I was this last week – a dog client body slammed my knee). Otherwise stay clear because it is such a long series, when Jordan died I was aghast that it would never come to an ending, just hang out there unfinished.

How would I rate it, probably a 4 out of 5 stars.


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