I finally got around to reading “A Memory of Light,” the last in “The Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan (completed by Brandon Sanderson). This wraps up a decade and half of reading. It has left me feeling a little hollow.
For those of you not familiar with this 14-book fantasy series, the first book, “The Eye of the World” was published in 1990. The story line is standard fantasy fair: unsuspecting farm boy is really the Dragon Reborn who will save the world in a battle of good vs. evil.
Over the 13 books that follow, a dizzying array of characters is introduced from different countries, cultures and races. The series raises some interesting questions about free will and the burden of leadership.
There was fear that the series would never be completed. Creator Robert Jordan passed away in 2007. Fellow fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson was selected to complete the series based on Jordan’s outline.
I started reading this series in high school and was quickly wrapped up in Jordan’s rich world. Finishing it up now that I’m in my 30s, I found the “absolute good vs. absolute evil” a little too simplistic.
My other big criticism is that there are just too many characters! Here’s a list of the 464 characters that appear in “A Memory of Light.” Some characters from earlier in the series who hadn’t appeared in several books were brought back for a page or two. I really wish they hadn’t done that. This is how I experienced those references:
Book: Hey, remember this minor character from 5 books ago?
Me: Not really ….
Book: Well, they are at the Last Battle, too!
Me: Great, but everyone is at the Last Battle so you didn’t need to kill your narrative flow to tell me that.
In Jordan’s books, all of the women have identical personalities. Sanderson did do a lot to fix this problem when he took over. He is much better than Jordan at writing complex characters and I have really enjoyed his other work. He did an admirable job of finishing the series, but was limited in the amount of development he could contribute.
Overall, I did enjoy this series as a distraction from the real world. I am glad that it was completed and that I have now read all the books. I would recommend it to die-hard fantasy readers. Everyone else can probably pass.
Amy Adams is the library’s public relations coordinator and loves reading multiple genres.