A Memory of Light. The end of what has been a very long journey (although not so much for the characters), and what a disappointing ending it is. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy it; it was by far a better read than the previous tome, but that’s not really saying much, I suppose.
The book is fast paced, I will give it that. Upon further reflection, however, it feels as if the pace is there to mask underlaying faults. Not to mention, more time could have been spent on characters and characterization/interaction if we hadn’t wasted so much time in the previous two books. More specifically the huge Perrin love fest that went on in Towers of Midnight. Even so, the fast pace helped give the battle scenes a sense of urgency which could be very exciting at times. Every few pages the point-of-view would change so you were constantly hopping from one battleground to the next. There was a point when I realized that the breaking up of chapters seemed to be almost arbitrary given this type of set up.
The action does take away from The Wheel of Time‘s strong point, that being the characters. Little time is spent with anyone, including Rand. So I might as well go ahead and gripe about the lack of Moiraine.
There was no reunion between her and Lan. We know they are distant with one another but not really why. Oh, we can guess, but that’s not the same. Besides, given the crap load of Lan point-of-views we get you’d think he would reflect on the Aes Sedai once. But nope. Nothing. Moiraine thinks of nothing important ever. Not of Lan, not of Thom, not of Siuan, not of hugging Nynaeve. Oh yes, Siuan. No reunion there either and that tingle they had I suppose was just pointless like so much else.
Speaking of Siuan, here is a death that left me shocked. I had never considered whether or not Siuan would die. She just didn’t seem important enough to kill off. Turns out, her and Egwene were pretty much it for deaths. Well and my girl Romanda. 🙁 Clearly I do not care about Gawyn. Or Bela. If Bela was a cat I would be a bit sadder. I was, however, sadder about Bela than Gawyn, so there is that.
But yes, no one really died. For a moment in the book I thought this was it, that Jordan/Sanderson were going to go all George R.R. Martin and kill everyone. When Egwene bit the bullet I actually had to re-evaluate my belief that Moiraine was safe. But I got over it as I realized she and Nynaeve were in the safest spot in the book: the Pit of Doom. I have to give the writers credit for at least making the rest of the world look like it was in such dire straits that being at the literal end of the world was a safety zone.
But they didn’t do anything! Moiraine and Nynaeve clung to rocks while everyone else fought and not-died. Nynaeve helped Alanna who somehow was in the cave. And who released Rand’s bond without there being any downsides. Which then makes one (ok makes me) wonder about what the heck happened with Moiraine and Lan’s bond. Anyway. Alanna died. But it was so anti-climatic I just don’t care. And I liked Alanna. Even if she was a mind-rapist.
Elayne got kidnapped again. How many times is that now? At least this time she realized she could in fact die and wasn’t so over confident. I have a tiny hope she will not remain queen of Cairhien. I also liked how Egwene recognized that Elayne could be just as power hungry as any other ruler. But she is dead now, so she can’t tell that to the ninny’s face.
There were some very nice moments. Lan riding his way to battle a Forsaken with sword and the Two Rivers men lighting the way with Trollac corpses. Very cinematic. Very strange that Lan didn’t die. Also, this was Demandred’s third sword fight. It felt like a video game: Let me keep throwing players at you to wear you down, then summon my mighty fighter to finish you off.
Perrin vs Slayer was interesting but way too long. Perrin vs Lanfear was more interesting, because for a second I actually thought she found the Light. And then he snapped her neck.
Rand not dying and living to be a harem master. Mmm.
One pleasent surprise was Androl/Pevara. I had no interest in them in previous books but I loved them in this one. Yeah, the telepathy was a bit strange. Okay a lot strange. But they were adorable enough and human enough I didn’t mind. Apparently there are other readers who hated their sections. But again, I usually skimmed or skipped them previously so that might be the difference: I had no expectations besides boredom.
Nynaeve and Moiraine being buddies is cool. And Thom actually did something useful during the Last Battle. Color me surprised on both fronts. Now they can all have babies and the babies can marry each other and there’ll be Moiraine/Nynaeve grandbabies. *cough*
Cadsuane becoming Amyrlin made up for a lot of disappointment for me. First off, she lived! Hahahahaha! YAY. Second, that scene when she realizes she has been selected for the job she wanted least was just great for me. I can now admit to myself that she is my favorite Aes Sedai and character. Yes, Moiraine has been booted and has been for awhile. Cadsuane Melaidhrin is just awesome. AWESOME.
Okay, anyway. After finishing the book I felt rather elated. I knew it wasn’t a home run but it was still fun. Now approaching a month after I can barely remember what happened. I liked it better than Towers but less than The Gathering Storm. If I had to give a number score it would be 7/10.