A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
Cover Artist: Michael Whelan
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765325952
Date: 08 January 2013 List Price $34.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The wind blows as prophecies are fulfilled, Tarmon Gai'don nears, and the forces of light prepare for the final battle. Over the course of the prior thirteen books; a large number of plots and subplots have been developed. There are too many interwoven plots to describe in a few words, so I wonít even try to list them all.
Rand has accepted who he is, what must be done, and has a plan to bring an end to the Dark One. Perrin knows he needs to find Slayer. Mat has his own problems with Tuon and the Seanchan. Lan has reached Tarwin's Gap and engaged the forces of the Shadow. Egwene has the White Tower whole and ready to do battle, but the Black Tower is fragmenting. The Aiel must find a place in the coming Age to avoid becoming extinct. Many others have become part of the overall web of the land and will face choices -- not everyone will survive.
Never fear, the story isn't all about closing plotlines, there are new plots and threats. These new threads explain some hints that have been dropped in earlier volumes. It wouldn't be a Wheel of Time novel if things grew static.
A Memory of Light is the fourteenth and final book of the Wheel of Time. I started reading the series just before The Great Hunt came out over twenty years ago. I was naÔve to think that the end of the series was near. This must be a trilogy, because almost everything came in threes at that time. After finishing the second book, I wondered how Jordan was going to get to Tarmon Gai'don and tie the loose ends in a thousand pages. That was not the case.
The Wheel of Time launched the epic long series trend. This model now seems to be the standard for fantasy. I am of two minds on this change. I do like the opportunity to explore and develop characters, but sometimes I feel that there needs to be more editing to tighten the story. The bloat is allowed to fill the gap and justify more novels.
I enjoyed A Memory of Light. I struggled with my emotions as I progressed through the chapters. I was enjoying the action, but saddened by the end drawing near. In some ways the experience reminded me of some of the recent movie sequels where the plot is a bit more of a reflection on the series and a final farewell. There were a couple of hints at the action that was slated for the prequels that were planned. As a fan of the series, I hope that they decide to give the full story of Tam al Thorís wartime experiences.
The Wheel of Time series has many supporters and detractors. Many others sat on the sidelines because they didn't want to get sucked into a story that wouldn't be finished. For those who refused to read the series until it was completed, the time to start is now. As the final book in a long series, it is not a good entry point to the series.
Like many I was skeptical of the continuing expansion of the last book, but in the end, I am happy that it was expanded. More of the loose ends are tied up than might have been the original plan. Most of the major subplots that I recall were tied off. How are they tied off and who lives and who dies? Read and find out.