Overview (No Spoilers):
Despite taking a leisurely approach to reading this lengthy series I’ve finally finished my Wheel of Time journey, with my review of the inaugural novel of this series taking place over a year and a half ago. When viewed as a whole, I loved the complexity and detail suffused throughout, regardless of the point of view currently at the helm, especially in this concluding installment. Unless, of course, I was struggling through one of Perrin or Faile’s chapters during their insufferable separation and reunion for both the long suffering lovers and readers alike. In general, I rarely give a five star rating, but with the Wheel of Time, seven of the fourteen reviews received a perfect score, with A Memory of Light bringing the grand total to eight titles with full marks. As you can imagine, this influx of high grades has shifted my yearly average rankings decidedly in the positive direction over the past couple of years. While I struggle to name a favorite book, I can easily identify my least as Crossroads of Twilight due to the heavy hand of politics and Perrin’s panic for Faile. Despite being able to candidly identify one book out of fifteen that was the slowest component of a fantastic series doesn’t not make it a bad novel as I still enjoyed the aforementioned plodding read. It unfortunately is compared against other more exciting works within Jordan’s portfolio. Additionally, any series, long or short has novels that serve to move pawns into place for the final action sequences and major revelations. Out of such a lengthy series, I’m surprised that the lull wasn’t longer or spread over several books. Sure a few of the others titles had major sections in which pawns were seemingly aimlessly moved, however these periods were short lives or only small sections within the novel. And the buildup was absolutely worth it as after finishing A Memory of Light, I can’t not think of a more fitting finale to such a lengthy adventure. I can’t recall crying much throughout this first fourteen books of the series, however the final installment more than made up for this oversight. I probably teared up/cried at least ten times, and the waterworks were not even isolated to deaths but could be cued with key interactions or reunions. The most amusing aspect of this whole emotional mess was that most of these moments happened while at the gym running. I’m currently training for a half marathon, which affords me seemingly countless miles to listen to my audiobooks, and due to the beautiful yet hot and muggy weather that Michigan has been treating us with over the past six weeks my runs have moved inside to the gym. Therefore, I would find myself crying, mid run on a treadmill hoping anyone observing my sad grimaces would take it for an especially difficult “I hate fun runs” expression. Regardless, A Memory of Light was a beautiful weaving together of various storylines, leaving the reader experiencing both heartbreak and joy regarding the fates of characters we’ve grown fond of throughout this long journey. Much of this book was consumed with long, drawn out sections of battle, most of which left the reader with a dreaded feeling of helplessness in the face of such overwhelming odds. This effect worked to keep the me as a reader mindlessly flipping pages as fast I could read. Wait, I was listening to this book instead of physically reading it, so let me rephrase that last sentence as actively listening to this read as every spare second I could find. Overall, A Memory of Light was a more than satisfying conclusion to the Wheel of Time series that as as whole lived up to the major hype surrounding the delightful detailed, ever evolving literary world. I can’t wait to see Jordan’s vision come to life in the new Amazon show.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- Where was Morgase and her husband through the Last Battle? I’m sure he would want to fight during it.
- How did Perrin and Faile handle her being the Queen of Saldea and he being a Lord of the Two Rivers?
- The sections involving the events surrounding the Black Tower are some of my favorites of A Memory of Light, despite many of those characters having minimal roles in the larger series. I really enjoyed Androl and Pevara’s back and forth banter. Why did they not share what happens when both male and females bond each other with regard to the telepathic communication. It would be such an advantage in battle.
- I’m still not a huge fan of Tuon, although Mat’s role with her propped her character up. It was interesting to see Min become wrapped in Tuon’s fold. Will Min be able to remove herself from being Tuon’s Truthspeaker?
- I was beyond stressed right around the time Olver blew the horn of Valere and it actually worked! Tears were had when Noal came to Olver’s rescue. Also when Birgitte came back with the horn call after her gruesome death by Mellar. Will she encounter Elayne unknowingly when born again?
- Will Rand’s Dragon Peace hold?
- Will the futures viewed by Aviendha and the Wisewomen hold true now that key aspects have changed from the initial tellings? What will new Wisewomen see for futures?
- What will Aludra do now that the war is over?
- What happened to Talmanes? Did he survive the Last Battle?
- The battle scenes were long and drawn out, often leaving the reader feeling helpless, only to have an unexpected rescue come last minute. This pattern repeated throughout not only this book but the series as a whole, to the point that you came to expect the rescue.
- I was surprised how much I enjoyed Perrin’s time in Tel’aran’rhiod. Although, Lanfear’s games with him proved puzzling until her true motives were laid bare in the final scenes.
- Gawyn and Egwene’s deaths were terrible to read as they were two beloved characters, as was Siuan’s. Really, Siuan’s death was extra hard because you knew it was one of Min’s tellings.
- Is the Flame of Tar Valon lost to time because Egwene created it as she died? Not that balefire will be used often post final battle.
- I thought Lan was for sure going to die about 100 different times in this book. Somehow he survived but his battle with Demandred was eloquently written.
- I wish Rand and Galad had had a moment of bonding to know they have other family in the world.
- Why were more foxhead medallions not made before the Final Battle? Also, what impact did Perrin’s hammer have or the special spears. Barely any mention was made of their special powers after the initial discovery.
- Ok. I admit it. I cried when the Horn of Valere brought the wolves out of Tel’aran’rhiod.
- How will Aviendha, Elayne, and Min interact with Rand? It actually might be nice for Min and Aviendha that their children with him won’t be associated with the Dragon Reborn.