Book Review: A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time Series)

At long last, the Wheel of Time series ends with “A Memory of Light”. Anupa and I have been waiting for a really long time for this to come out. I wasn’t able to start it until I’d finished Joe Abercrombie’s “The First Law” series. It’s been such a long time since I actually held a real book in my hands to read. Wasn’t pleasant. Difficult to hold and eat and read at the same time. But now to the book.

Book Review of A Memory of Light

Book Review of A Memory of Light

The series’ end is satisfying to start off with. No “twists” at the end that make the rest of the series a joke – for example something like a revelation that the Dark One wasn’t really dark at all and this was just a whole misunderstanding! No – there really is a Dark One who is evil who needs to be defeated. It was a good ending. With a lot of deaths. Since I generally write spoiler free reviews, I won’t reveal who dies. But the next section has spoilers – be warned!

Spoilers begin here!

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I realize that when Egwene dies, she needs to go out in a blaze of glory. But finding a weave to counter balefire at the spur of the moment? I mean that’s just too much of a deus ex machina for me. It came out of nowhere! We’ve spent the whole series being told that balefire is the one thing that has no counter, that it can wreck the pattern by itself…and suddenly the ridiculous Egwene Al Vere manages to pull it out of a hat even though the Forsaken themselves know nothing about it? To give a corollary, it’s like someone “accidentally” building a complete nuclear fission reactor on instinct knowing absolutely no theoretical physics. Bah – I always thought the authors had created Egwene with a swollen head, but this is just too much.

Also, what exactly were Moghedien, and Graendal doing during the entire last battle? I mean sure Graendal harries Aviendha for a while at the blight, but that’s not enough given that she’s a Forsaken! Moghedien doesn’t even put in a token effort preferring to fiddle around in the Seanchen court playing games while the greatest battle of time is being played out elsewhere. It strikes me as just ridiculous.

Also it turns out that the true fight between light and darkness consists of Rand and the Dark One sharing stories with each other and discussing philosophy.

Totally. Lame.

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Spoilers end here

I was also disappointed about how the book rambles on in the beginning with nothing really happening. Brandon Sanderson carries on Robert Jordan’s tradition of introducing useless characters all the time who have absolutely no purpose in the plot whatsoever other than to say “Light!” now and then. The first half of the book blurs together as boring Elayne and boring Egwene go around arranging to fight trollocs.

Mat of course is brilliant. His is the best story arc. Perrin actually manages to do something cool other than wasting the lives of hundreds of wolves which was neat. And all the story points were neatly tied up. Like I said, very satisfying.

And so comes and end to the granddaddy of all fantasy series – only the Malazan Book of the Fallen stands up to it in sheer length and complexity. And despite some of the ridiculous characterizations, I can’t help but feel a little sad that it’s over. Finally. I enjoyed it as the tale spun out and am happy to see it come to a nice conclusion.