Review of 'A Memory of Light'

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson
14th book in the 'The Wheel of Time' series

a_memory_of_light.jpg I have been reading the Wheel of Time ever since I was volunteering in The Gambia where I had lots of time on my hands. During my time there I was able to get through the first 8 or so Wheel of Time books that had been released to that point. I was drawn to the characters and the various story arches that, although often confusing and long-running, were nonetheless interesting and, perhaps entertaining.

“A Memory of Light” is the 14th book and last in The Wheel of Time series. In this final novel we, predictably, see how the battle between Rand al'Thor (“The Dragon Reborn”) and “The Dark One turns out and how the Third Age ends. The battle ranges outside of Rand's Shayol Ghul battle ground with all of the nations united to fight against the forces of darkness. Of course getting the different factions to unite is not without the requisite political issues involved despite Rand's best efforts and plans for peace that promise to extend beyond the end of this age and into the next. Initially the battle is in four key areas eventually all is merged in an all-out battle at the very edge of the Blight. We see throughout the overwhelming numbers of Trollocs (with their relentless Myrddraal controllers) and the immense power of the Forsaken wearing down the characters we have grown attached to throughout the series. Many familiar characters from the previous 13 chapters make an appearance and, often, die in this final battle - Assume no one is safe. This story is full of surprises and often the greatest accomplishments are made by the most humble of character…Massive inhuman power against the will of humble man (a theme throughout, of course).

The various threads such as the corruption of the Asha'man to the will of the dark one, the battle between Perrin Aybara and Slayer in the dream world (AND the real world), etc, by and large come to a satisfactory conclusion. Having said that I was not entirely satisfied with the way we are left in regards to the Seanchan, but I suppose, the wheel wills as the wheel turns…

I think that Brandon Sanderson has again picked up the story very nicely if not exactly in the style of Robert Jordan. Here the narrative switches very frequently particularly in the 200-page plus chapter (predictably) “The Last Battle” where there is so much going on that my reading pace was slowed to a crawl to try to keep things reasonably state - A lost cause in most cases. The weakness of all of the primary characters are exposed and often exploited in the story. I particularly liked the way that the entire story ends (via the battle between Rand and the Dark One) - Not quite what you might think: Fantastic! A great way to end this massive epic.

Looking back, I think the entire series has been entertaining and enthralling. Certainly worth reading though if I were to do it again I would want to read them a bit closer to one another as picking up another chapter in the story after a few year's absence was often an exercise in confusion as I tried to remember who everyone was and what was happening…Luckily for these final chapters I read them pretty close to one another. Perhaps at some point I will begin the series again, much as the wheel of time itself…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2013-03-03

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: 2012

ISBN: 9781841498720

Other reviewed books in the 'The Wheel of Time' series:

Other reviewed books by Robert Jordan:

Other reviewed books by Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson: