Review: A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan
“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning” – The Eye of the World
And what a beginning it was for me 17 years ago when my girlfriend, now wife, gave me The Eye of the World as a birthday present. I was immediately drawn into Robert Jordan’s world as he provided a new twist on the farm boy to hero storyline with a complexly developed world and well fleshed out characters.
Fast forwarding 17 years and 14 books, I find myself at the end of an Age as Jordan’s story is brought to it’s conclusion by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson has remained true to the characters birthed by Jordan and has add a freshness to the storyline, that I personally felt was needed. I found books 6 to 9 were a bit of a grind and a tad slow and repetitive. To be honest I had actually decided not to finish the series when I heard of Jordan’s passing. Luckily a friend convinced me to pick them up again when Sanderson was confirmed to be finishing the series. (Maybe Sanderson could start discussions with a certain other author to get that series finished…)
A Memory of Light is the book of Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, where the Dragon Reborn, Rand al’Thor, confronts the Dark One on the slopes of Shayol Ghul in a battle that will determine the fate of all. Rand does not fight alone, while he is battling the Dark One, the forces of Light band together to face the overwhelming forces of the Shadow.
The battles in this book, and there are many, are well described and gritty. You will be engaged with the up close and personal melee of the frontlines and feel the angst of command decisions. At times you get a very real sense of desperation and hopelessness in the face of overwhelming odds and will revel in little sparks of hope and humanity amongst a sea of chaos. Once the battles proper get underway the pacing is excellent and I must admit I had trouble putting the book down at times I was so drawn into the story.
All of the main protagonists have developed in maturity as they have been wittingly and unwittingly thrust into positions of power and responsibility over the series. Given that the storyline takes place over 2 years, I think their development has been fairly realistic as they have come to grips with their power, their destinies & themselves.
I was a little dubious as to how Sanderson was going to end this series. It’s no mean feat to conclude a series that is 14 books long, has many in depth characters and the main protagonist has been prophesied to die. All of the story arcs have been brought to their conclusions in a well thought out way and I was left with a feeling of completeness upon finishing Memory of Light. I was satisfied with how the book ended and would rate Memory of Light as being one of my favourite of the series.
I have read through the series multiple times, and will probably read it several more times, and each time I read it another understanding of a character or pick up another plot thread I skimmed earlier. I have introduced the series to countless friends and will continue to do so. Don’t let the thought of a 14 book series deter you from a well developed world and epic storyline.
“The wind blew southward, through knotted forest, over shimmering plains and towards lands unexplored. This wind, it was not the ending. There are no endings, and never will be endings, to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was an ending.” – A Memory of Light
Thanks to Hachette NZ for letting us review this book!
Review written by Brenton Cumberpatch for BestFantasyBooks.com