A Memory of Light


The final book in the Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light, is finally about to hit the bookshelves.

Believe me when I say I have often thought that I would never be able to write that sentence. We have talked about this series previously, in posts about book 12, The Gathering Storm, and Book 13, Towers of Midnight.

The book will be out January 8, 2013, which is significantly later than first predicted. I hope that means that Brandon Sanderson has spent extra time making sure that this final volume is a fitting end to this long series and ties up all the loose ends. That might be too much to hope for, but I’ll be happy if he even comes close. There are some big events planned for the release date, as well as an extended book tour, which will include Robert Jordan’s wife, Harriet. You can read more about the events surrounding the release here.

I will get the book and read it as soon as I can and try to post my thoughts on it as soon as possible. I would like to do some re-reading of the series prior to that, but as we have discussed before, a full re-reading would take far too long. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on this series finally being completed. We can discuss some hopes and dreams and speculation about what will be in this final book as well.

26 thoughts on “A Memory of Light

  1. For my part, I expect to see the final battle, including a final attempt to re-seal the bore into the Dark One’s prison. This time, it will include both male and female Aes Sedai, as should have happened back in the Age of Legends, when it was attempted by Lews Therein and the Hundred Companions.

    I don’t expect a particularly happy ending.

  2. If you want a nice refresher on the other books, along with a healthy dose of snark, the amazon reviews are a lot of fun.

  3. Years ago I read to book five or so. I gave up on it, but I told myself that eventually, when the series was finally finished, I’d go back and read it all the way through. I started rereading the series about two weeks ago. Definitely not up to the standards of Tolkien or George R.R. Martin (or Robin Hobb, for that matter), and way too many stolen ideas from Tolkien, but it is a fun read.

  4. Tim, I haven’t read much of Martin. In what ways is he better than Jordan?

    Also, I agree that Jordan steals from Tolkein, but in some ways I think that’s an inevitability in this genre. It’s hard to write a fantasy series without using some elements of Tolkein because the genre practically did not exist before him.

    I don’t want to come off as a Jordan apologist, because I’m not, but I’d like to hear more discussion on these topics.

  5. Martin is a better wordsmith, his characters feel more real, and his books are more intense. (Note–only the Game of Thrones book series–I read some of his other stuff and wasn’t impressed). However, Martin’s books are also probably not suitable for children…

    I’m not saying Robert Jordan is a bad writer. Unlike most of the fantasy I read as a teenager (Eddings, anything with Drizzt the Dark Elf, etc. etc.) I still enjoy reading the Wheel of Time. But I’m not convinced he was a GREAT writer.

    Read George R.R. Martin, or, for a lighter read, Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s apprentice. Those are probably the greatest fantasy writers since Tolkien. (And I’ve seen both Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card back me up on this, so it’s not just my opinion here).

    As far as Tolkien elements, the first book in Wheel of Time is pretty bad. For example: A small group of young individuals runs away from their peaceful village, being pursued by demonish monsters. Or: one of them meets a member of an enormous, freakish-looking species that ends up being a good guy but takes forever to say anything, and lives very long lengths of time. Or, a particular artifact that drives the character who holds it both crazy and evil, over time; unfortunately, this character doesn’t even have the willpower to get rid of the artifact, and is forced to carry it with him. I think many of the similarities will disappear after the first book (even Jordan admitted to regretting some of those similarities). Kinds of similarities that aren’t evident in Martin or Hobbs (who’ve deviated further away from the Tolkien model).

  6. Ah, I might have to finally start Wheel of Time now. I bet I can finish it before George R R Martin releases The Winds of Winter.

  7. I agree with you Tim, Jordan is not a great writer but he is a great storyteller. He is definitely building on Tolkein’s foundation, however. Trollocs are orcs, Fades are Nazgul, etc. I hadn’t thought about Ogier being ents, but I think that’s true to a certain extent. The ruby dagger is not really the same as the ring, but it does have some similar characteristics.

    Better get started, John. You have 13 large books to read before the 14th comes out on January 8th. If you don’t get it read by then, you just know people are going to spoil the ending for you.

  8. I am soooo excited. I have been rereading the entire series (for the third or fourth time!). Currently up to Book 9, and have four more to go before Jan 8!

    I have become somewhat of a Jordan apologist over the years. Yes, Eye of the World is a little derivative. And Jordan certainly doesn’t have the linguistic finesse of Tolkien or the writing skills of Martin. But the world that begins to unfold in Book 2 becomes so complex and marvelous as the books progress. I love the characters and the story. Can’t wait for MoL!

  9. Jeremiah, i envy you. I would like to reread the whole thing again before the 8th, but i just do not have time. I will for sure reread the online summaries and probably will reread the entire last book before then.

    I agree with you completely on Jordan. It’s the world he invented that hooks you, and really, for a fantasy writer, what higher compliment is there?

    I can’t wait either, but now that the time is finally arriving, i feel like I maybe don’t really want it to end!

  10. “I bet I can finish it before George R R Martin releases The Winds of Winter.” I’m pretty sure I will too. Not sure what Martin will do when the HBO seasons catches up to the books, assuming the TV series continues running. That’s the big downside to Martin–he takes years to finish each book. But they’re so excellent that I still enjoy reading the entire series every time a new book comes out.

    And yeah, Jordan was a pretty good storyteller. No argument there.

  11. For those looking for a shortcut to catch-up or review the previous books, the WOT Encyclopedia online gives a synopsis of each book chapter by chapter.

    Also, as far as tying up ALL loose ends, I don’t see that as humanly possible, considering that there are well over 2,000 characters and so many fragmented plot lines. But we shall see…

  12. Here’s a list of what I see as critical storylines to tie up:

    Tarmon Gai’don, The Aiel, The Seanchan, The Aes Sedai, The Sea Folk, The Ogier, The Borderland Army, Lan’s ride to Tarwin’s Gap, The Seals on the Dark One’s prison, Shadar Haran, Rand and Lews Therin Telamon, Nynaeve and Lan, Moiraine and Thom, Egwene and Gawyn, Galad and the Children of the Light, Lan as King of Malkier, Luc and Isam/Slayer, Tel’aran’rhiod, Perrin and Faile, Mat and Tuon, Matt and the Band, Rand and Elayne/Min/Avienda, Elayne’s twins (finally), Birgitte Silverbow and Gaidal Caine, Moridin/Ishamael and his link to Rand/Lews Therin Telamon, Demandred, Graendal, Cyndane, Moghedien, Logain and Mazrim Taim…

    That’s just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head, but I really think the final book needs to at east touch on all of those things and give us closure on these things.

  13. The first three or four books are pretty good despite a lot of Tolkien influence. And is Tolkien influence so bad? Most fantasy books aped a lot of Tolkien but Tolkien was aping Celtic myths and fair tales.

    After the first few books he got really, really stuck I think. Lots of subplots and characters that don’t go anywhere. He seriously could have taken out three books and a lot of characters and ended up with a much stronger series.

  14. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be influenced by Tolkein, but too many similarities reflect a certain lack of originality.

    Rereading the Wheel of Time series has given me a new respect for one thing about it: the subplots are all intended to go somewhere. Jordan has too many characters and too many things happening at once, there’s no question about that, but it is all intended to lead somewhere. It all has a purpose. That’s why it’s so important for Sanderson to at least try to tie it all together in the end. That’s clearly what Jordan intended to accomplish. Whether that’s really possible at this point, I don’t know.

  15. I doubt Sanderson will want to do any more stories in Jordan’s universe. He has his own expected 10 volume series he just started plus a new Mistborn trilogy he’s working on.

  16. Yeah I expect he’s done, but remember that he’s never had any of his own books come close to the sales of what he’s had on the Wheel of Time books. I’m sure he could be persuaded to do more if there was a good reason, but I really think, other than doing adaptations for movies or a miniseries, this series should be done now.

  17. I’ve had a lot of time to read lately (got hit with the flu or something similar, despite having had the flu shot) and so I’m almost done with Book 4. Book 1 was very much a Tolkien knock-off. The rest of them–not at all. The characters start exploring foreign cultures (and enemies worse than Trollocs and Fades) and the similarities to Tolkien pretty much disappear.

  18. “and enemies worse than Trollocs and Fades”

    Um, who would that be, Tim? Are you talking about the Seanchan?

    I think you’re right though. Beyond the first book, there are not many parallels with Tolkien. I do wish Jordan had copied one aspect of Tolkien however: brevity. Tolkien packs a ton into every sentence. Jordan never uses one sentence when he can use five.

  19. And the Forsaken, the Black Ajah, the Grey Men, Aes Sedai who aren’t necessarily Black but are still dangerous enemies, etc. etc.

  20. True, but some of those things have parallels in Tolkien’s work. After all, what is Saruman if not Black Ajah, or Forsaken? The Seanchan are like the Haradrim with their Mumakil.

  21. Yeah, I bought it in hardcover and wanted to get an electronic version as well, but no dice. Don’t know why that is.

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