548 of 623 people found the following review helpful
A perfect ending!,
This review is from: A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time, Book 14) (Hardcover)
NOTE: I tried to make this review as spoiler-free as possible but still enjoyable for people that have read the book. You might not want to read it if you want to go into the book with an absolutely blank slate, but none of the book's surprises are spoiled if you do read it.
I know there are no endings to the Wheel of Time and this is merely AN ending, but I still can't believe the Wheel of Time is over.
This book is a perfect ending. The main theme of the Wheel of Time has always been balance between two opposing forces - saidin and saidar, Darkness and Light, good and evil. The resolution of the story carries that philosophy to its logical place - there's no other way it could've ended.
Don't go into this book expecting all your questions to be answered - some are, but a lot aren't. It feels right, though - there are far bigger things going on.
Most of this book involves battles. Tarmon Gai'don is the Last Battle, and the stakes are truly desperate. The book does a great job of conveying the scale of this conflict, even though it's exhausting to read about. Any less, and it would've been too easy to win. The usual "no one dies" approach that the rest of the books have does not apply. Some very bad things happen to very good people, and death seems better than some of them. Our heroes are outnumbered and outmaneuvered, and it shows. Even at the end, you're not left feeling like it's been a great victory - you're horrified. There's still hope, though, and that's what matters.
Of course, it's not all bleak - there are several moments where characters are really awesome, including some unexpected ones (Gaul, you are the man). There are some very touching moments between people (one of my favourite ones involves Annoura Sedai and Berelain). There's even some humour - usually Mat or Talmanes are involved (although, one fan theory concerning Demandred gets a very unsubtle nod). Long-awaited prophecies are fulfilled in unexpected ways (Logain's glory and Seanchan helping Egwene, I'm looking at you!) And there are still some cool plot twists.
The battles are not just about swords and spears and the One Power, there are several maneuvers by both sides that were absolutely brilliant. What seemed like throwaway incidents in the previous books come into play in a very clever way.
I liked that Perrin, Mat and Rand were fighting on different "fronts", so to speak. Their special strengths were uniquely suited to what the forces of the Light needed, and brings their character arcs to a satisfying close. Most of the characters got a satisfying ending, not just the ta'veren, but my favourite was Birgitte's.
We finally get to meet Demandred (I guessed right about where he was!), and he's quite formidable. I'm used to the Forsaken being easily balefired/defeated by our heroes, but not Demandred. Some adversaries that I thought would have a much bigger role end up not being a huge threat, though.
I really couldn't see how the multitudes of issues with the Seanchan would be tied up in time for Tarmon Gai'don, but it's handled very neatly. A completely unexpected character ends up playing a pivotal role, and I hope that the Seanchan system of institutionalised slavery can end because of that character. The Black Tower plotline's resolution was not quite so satisfactory, but it works pretty well.
I kind of wish there was more of an epilogue, but I think that's just me being selfish and wanting to see the dawn of the Fourth Age. It's probably a good thing there wasn't one, judging by the Harry Potter epilogue.
It's rare that I say this about a book that ends a much-loved series, but A Memory of Light is everything I wished for and more! Thank you, Robert Jordan for creating this incredible world, and thank you, Brandon Sanderson for doing such an excellent job giving us a satisfying conclusion.
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Showing 1-10 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 8, 2013 7:04:30 AM PST
I have to say that I did not read all of your review for fear of spoilers. I'm still waiting for my book to arrive today. Unfortunately I'm at work and will have to wait to get started. Your final paragraph caught my eye. Everything you wished for and more?! That is so exciting and I cannot wait to start reading. I get all the people complaining about the lack of an ebook version but COME ON!!! 20 years later, an ending some thought we'd never get...just buy the damn thing and start reading!! I'm just so happy we got this book and the last 2 to bitch about anything. I have no idea how you got your book and read it so fast...but I'm glad you enjoyed. Looking forward to doing the same.
Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:25:50 AM PST
Jason Hornbuckle says:
your spoilers are bad but kudo's for being one of the 2 (out of 40!) actual reviews of this book so far
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:41:38 AM PST
I tried to be as spoiler-free as possible; I'm pretty vague about actual events. I experimented with being even more vague, but then the review would've just been "This is great! Read it!"
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:42:46 AM PST
Awesome. A great review without giving away spoilers. Greatly appreciated. someone might go. "ah HA" a page earlier if they remember what you wrote while reading, but as I'm muscling through all the earlier books (on book 4) I likely won't remember.
I'm thrilled to hear your review and that we finally have a closure worthy of the journey.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:43:20 AM PST
I tried to make my review as spoiler-free as I could while still making it useful. :) I'm sure you will enjoy the book!
I was able to post this review so soon because I got a review copy for my book blog from Tor in late December.
Posted on Jan 8, 2013 8:43:57 AM PST
F. HAVENGA says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:51:59 AM PST
I tried to make my review as spoiler-free as I could, but I've edited to add a note on top just in case.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 8:52:14 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 8, 2013 8:52:25 AM PST
Thank you! :) That was my intent.
Posted on Jan 8, 2013 9:22:25 AM PST
Ed Morgan says:
well, I appreciate the review; didn't feel like it spoiled things; thanks.
Posted on Jan 8, 2013 1:26:40 PM PST
Thanks for the review - I am picking up "my" copy from the library tomorrow. I really appreciate how you were able to review the book - and give an overall feel - without spoilers. Am hoping after reading I will be able to give a positive review also -- due to the amount of time vested in this series it would be a total bummer if I think the book sucks. (I am kind of nervous after the beating Sanderson has been taking over at dragonmount!!!)
Again, kudos on your review.