Friday, January 18, 2013

Reflections on "A Memory of Light", the last novel in The Wheel of Time

Yesterday I finished reading "A Memory of Light", the last book in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and +Brandon Sanderson

A little over fifteen years ago +Jason Christ introduced the epic WoT series to a skinny Freshman student who had just started working together at a small University tech department. Jason carried a hefty hardback, and the characteristic cover-art of Darrell K. Sweet caught my curiosity, as I had read and loved the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien since my mother had read to me The Hobbit as a small child. While I was a bit skeptical that any other author could come close to the same depth of character and the scope of their world and plots, I took the recommendation and dove into the first 6 novels that were available at the time. There may have been a few hundred slow pages in the middle, but overall Robert Jordan's vision well met the expectations set by the truly great first volume, "The Eye of the World".

To avoid being too spoiler-ish, for now I will refrain from jumping into a critique of specific plot points in AMoL. But I can say that it was gripping, emotional, mostly satisfying, and sometimes intentionally exhausting end to the series. Brandon Sanderson did a great job of picking up where Robert Jordan left off, and crafted a balanced, well-paced and compelling conclusion to the struggles of characters that readers have seen grown from small-country-folk into complex personalities of nearly deistic powers. The conclusion of the Last Battle between the forces of good and evil felt genuinely climactic, while allowing for a good resolution to *most* of the plot lines that had been building across thousands of pages and in our imaginations for years.

I certainly looked forward to reading this last entry in the series, but to paraphrase Robert Jordan it did not feel as much like The Ending, but it was an ending, and I hope that The Wheel of Time might someday come back around to us again.

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