Since 1990, when Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time® burst on the world with its first book, The Eye of the World, listeners have been anticipating the final scenes of this extraordinary saga, which has sold over 40 million copies in over 32 languages.
When Robert Jordan died in 2007, all feared that these concluding scenes would never be written. But working from notes and partials left by Jordan, established fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson stepped in to complete the masterwork. With The Gathering Storm (Book 12) and Towers of Midnight (Book 13) behind him, both of which were number-one New York Times hardcover best sellers, Sanderson now re-creates the vision that Robert Jordan left behind.
Edited by Jordan’s widow, who edited all of Jordan’s books, A Memory of Light will delight, enthrall, and deeply satisfy all of Jordan’s legions of listeners.
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, May yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
©2013 Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
Master of None
This was a very fitting and satisfying end to a saga that was perhaps the most epic in scope since Tolkien. While the merits of Robert Jordan's style has been hotly debated, and the individual books have been received with varying enthusiasm, the importance of the series cannot be ignored.
In A Memory of Light, fast rising author Brandon Sanderson does an admirable job of pulling together the overwhelming number of plot threads that Jordan wove through his masterwork. From the Dragon Reborn himself to the shaggy pony that accompanied him in the first chapter of the first book, we learn the fates of all the characters that have intrigued us, frustrated us, drawn our sympathy, and pulled us into their lush and complex world. While the story is brought to a close, enough mystery is left to remind the reader that there are truly no endings to the Wheel of Time.
Readers Kate Reading and Michael Kramer, as always, bring life to the characters and light to the rich environs of the novel.
For fans like myself who have literally grown up along with the Wheel of Time and its cast of characters, this book is exciting, heart-rending, and satisfying, though more than a little bittersweet. I salute Brandon Sanderson for the passion and professionalism he brought to this beloved series, and I fondly extend my thanks to Mr. Rigley, whose life work has rendered him truly immortal in literature.
Proud to be a geek
“Loial son of Arent son of Halen, had secretly always wanted to be hasty.”
As a hasty human, I listened to this book almost non-stop, narrator on 2X (3X for the slow parts) so that I could get to the end. Waiting almost 2 decades for Tarmon Gai’don made me impatient. I’ll certainly listen to it again, this time on normal speed, but wanted to jot down a few things in a spoiler-free review for my fellow impatient humans before I start over and savor it more slowly.
I feel that I should warn people that A Memory of Light is one of the most exhausting books I’ve ever read. Half-way through and I was already battle weary. Three quarters through and I felt that the whole thing was hopeless. None of the preceding books have come close to approaching the intensity of this final volume. It truly felt like the end of all things. It was glorious. It was heartbreaking. It was so many things but, like most WoT books, it wasn’t perfect.
First, a few of the good things. There are so many surprises that I never felt that I could anticipate what was going to happen next. Many threads are tied up, most in a satisfactory manner. Talmanes gets more screen time (I’ve always love Talmanes). You really get the feeling that the entire world is at war, and it’s done in a way that is believable.
The Pervara and Androl storyline almost stole the show. I just couldn’t get enough of them. I’d love to see a follow-up short story about these two in a fantasy anthology like the Legends series.
Good people die. GASP! Oh yes, while Team Jordan doesn’t exactly go about it George R.R. Martin-style, they definitely make up for lost time in weeding down the character list. Some of the deaths are meaningless, some are tide-turners and not all of them were as touching as they could have been. The death of a few of my favorite characters left me feeling oddly detached, while the death of another character had me bawling more than I did for Dumbledor.
Now for the not so good. There are a few deus ex machina contrivances that grated on me, but the worst was about Perrin. Perrin’s special abilities have never been particularly spectacular and it really feels like they got amped up so that he wouldn’t be overshadowed by the other two ta’veren boys. I’ve never been a huge fan of Perrin’s storyline once he married Faile, so maybe it’s just me.
Mat, one of my favorite characters, has deteriorated into not much more than a clown. I didn’t mind his comic relief bits so much in the last two novels, but he’s a pivotal character in this novel and has become almost a parody of Mat.
Everything Padan Fain. Sad waste of a potentially great villain. I really haven’t cared about him since he left the Whitecloaks and here it almost seemed like he was thrown in as an afterthought. I wish they would have just left him out of it. Terrible.
Another reviewer stated that some of the accents for characters have changed, and I have to agree. I’ve just spent 3 months listening to the 14 previous books and there are several minor differences in the ‘voice’ of some characters in this final novel. It was mildly distracting in the beginning, but nowhere near as the egregious differences in Roy Dotrice’s erratic narrations of the first/last Song of Ice and Fire novels.
Unlike Tolkein’s Return of the King, we don’t get a lot of wrap up. If I had to summarize the flow of the novel, it goes something like this, maneuver, maneuver, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, reposition your troops, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, end. Sure, it’s Tarmon Gai’don, but I guess I’m one of those people that prefer a bit more exposition about what happens afterward. These are our friends, some of whom we know better than our own family members, and I would have preferred to know more about what happens to them when the dust settles as we’ve been assured that there won’t be any sequels or prequels.
As far as my rating, I take away ½ star for pacing, ½ star for annoying plot devices, ½ star for missed opportunities, which leaves 3 ½ stars. I’ll round that up to 4 because, though it often infuriates me, The Wheel of Time is an old friend and I love it despite it’s flaws.
Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.
"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass.
What was, what will be, and what is,
may yet fall under the Shadow.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time..."
In A Memory of Light, the Wheel of Time series comes to a conclusion since its first book (The Eye of the World,1990) opened the door to Jordan's fantastic world of magic, politics, religion, savagery, and intrigue. Since that first novel, readers have passionately waited in anticipation for the next novel in the series, and then the next, passionately cheering and arguing after reading each same novel in the series. Here, the very last in this phenomenally epic saga is finally available at Audible, and the anticipation has been no less strong, the cheering and arguments no less passionate.
Think of it: This grand telling has birthed over forty million printed copies in over thirty languages. It warrants a longer and better than typical review. So, let's.
One of my favorite writers, Brandon Sanderson, respectfully took the reins from the deceased Jordan, who passed in 2007, and bravely took up the incredibly daunting task of completing what Jordan would never be able to do: Tying in Jordan's style and notes combined, take the the series to completion, and thus closing the Wheel of Time appropriately. Sanderson moved forward to do exactly that, and successfully completed both The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight. Each novel achieved number 1 New York Times hardcover best-seller status, and rightfully so.
Sanderson and Jordan’s widow, who edited all of Jordan’s books, have done what is almost impossible to achieve: Meet the demands of millions of fans worldwide by faithfully adhering to the author's passionate dream of breathing life and completion into this final novel, and in the telling, take us one last time on a powerfully heart wrenching journey that satisfies, thrills and moves.
Will I give away plot lines or provide spoilers?
Read my other reviews, and you know I NEVER do. However, here's I WILL tell you: This novel will stir you, excite you, satisfy you as it weaves together the final strands of this fantastic tapestry of The Wheel Of Time! Many questions will be answered, and story lines closed. Epic battles will be fought, and heroes and villains thrust to the very limits of their being. You will stay up nights, wringing your hands, cheering on your favorites, be completely surprised, you'll maybe even shed a tear or two. At the end of it all, when the last words are spoken...You'll be satisfied.
I have been an Audible listener since 2006, and have literally HUNDREDS of audiobooks in my listening library. This last novel is a RARE OCCURRENCE. Similar series facing the author's death and so much storytelling yet to be completed DIE off. They fade, and the readers left thoroughly disappointed. Not so here.
If you have loved, or even liked, the Wheel Of Time series, you owe it to yourself to buy this audiobook. Devour it, as the series has devoured millions across the globe. This Audible book is a MUST OWN. It has my very HIGHEST recommendation.
Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Jordan, and Mr. Sanderson for an incredible journey.
And an appropriate farewell.
Correctly placing the WOT series into the proper place among the hierarchy of fantasy greats is complex. Setting aside the commercial success of the series, the quality of each book in the series varied widely. Starting off great with The Eye of the World, each subsequent novel got better than the one before it for quite some time. Robert Jordan hit his stride in the fourth and fifth books while the sixth, Lord of Chaos, is probably the finest book he ever wrote—these three books (4,5, and 6) are among the greatest in fantasy literature.
With the 7th book, Jordan began to slowly stumble. The trend for (7,8,9,10) was that each one was at least a bit worse than the one before it. The series began to ramble. Plot threads stalled, more and more characters entered the story line while old plot threads stayed unresolved. The story began to become convoluted where once elegance weaved the beautiful complexity. This culminated with the dreadfully dull, poorly edited tenth book. It may have been his health, or fatigue, or perhaps Jordan had just lost his way for a while, but there is no doubt that much of the early magic was gone. I kept reading--We kept reading—despite this in part because we knew the magic would come back and partly because in our extensive adventures with fantastically deep characters, we had grown to love them, and there was still joy in loving them walk nowhere fast. I am glad that Robert Jordan reversed this decline with his final book, (book 11) which was much better but still not at the pinnacle of his earlier work. We will never know if this redemptive trend would have continued had Robert Jordan not been taken from us so early.
What we do know is that Brandon Sanderson’—already on his way to becoming a legend for his own work—produced three contributions to the series that have all been magnificent. The have been brilliant not only because of Sanderson’s talent but because they were a labor of genuine love. He started reading the series as a teenager and loved the books and characters like we loved them. His work could not have been better. Here I will say what may be regarded as blasphemy among the Jordan die- hards: Brandon Sanderson not only helped save Robert Jordan’s legacy by finishing the series—he augmented it by concluding the series with stunning artistry and passion.
I am sad to see it end. I have lived so long with these characters that I can’t believe I will never see them grow or laugh or change again. It was worth it thought. This book is beautiful. This series is beautiful.
I found this to be a satisfying ending point to a great series. Everything was wrapped up by the end but I would have liked to see the epilogue extended out a few years to see where they all ended up. I thought Brandon Sanderson did a great job bringing Robert Jordan's vision to life. I am glad that he elected to finish out this series so that we all could see this circle completed. Michael Kramer and Kate Reading delivered a performance that you have come to expect form them.
I would recommend this book to someone who had already read the rest of the series. It's nice to listen to at bedtime--I would also recommend it to insomniacs.
Nope. Kramer did okay, but Reading was not enjoyable to hear.
I'm glad this series is over. I'm glad someone read it to me while I did other things. To be fair, I'm not a fan of fighting/war scenes, and this was one long battle.
The reviews are by Mike.
I borrowed a copy of the Eye of the World from a schoolmate in the mid 90s. I have been waiting since then for this moment.
I was not disappointed.
More than once I found myself sitting at my desk crying.
I'm very satisfied.
Full time Dad, Husband, Computer Geek, and Epic Fantasy Book Listener. Not necessarily in that order.
I love Robert Jordon and Brandon Sanderson too. But how can people be giving the audio book reviews, when it's 45.5 hours long and it's been out around 10 hours?
Please.. Read it first then review it.
Audible listener since the late 1990s. I mostly listen to science fiction, fantasy, history, and science.
As must be true for so many others listening to this book, it is the conclusion of a series I started two decades ago. Fantasy was a bit of a different place then, and the WoT series was, to my teenage sensibilities, amazing. Giant fantasy novels featuring prophecy and magic and hidden identities. It was like reading Tolkein again! Or the Belgariad! Awesome!
A lot has changed in those decades, however, and much of what defined WoT (including lots of "borrowing" from Tolkein and other sources) in epic fantasy is now either completely out of fashion (think the grimdark worlds of George RR Martin), or else has been reconfigured by other writers (JK Rowling's take on prophecy and evil). So, in some ways, it is nice to get back to the intricate world-building, humble farmboys-turned-saviors, hideous Trollocs, and other fantasy staples. Besides, I have invested so much time over the years, including in some of the truly awful books in the middle of the series, that I had to finish this.
Given this context, this is a very satisfying book. After reading various Wikis to get up to speed, I found myself thrilled to see the old characters again, and to see most (if not all) of the many threads of the immense plot brought to a reasonably satisfying conclusion. Sanderson deserves credit for somehow managing to deal with the thousands of plots, viewings, and minor characters that Robert Jordan introduced, and he does it impressively, switching between nearly 100 points of view in various chapters. He also manages to slightly tone down Jordan's somewhat upsetting take on gender politics. Both of these are no mean feat, and I have to admit that I got somewhat emotional as some of the characters I had known for 20+ years met their various fates.
All of this (plus excellent reading) makes this a really worthwhile conclusion to an epic fantasy series. Not the best series, mind you, but one that deserves praise for both its ambition and its satisfying ending. I wouldn't start WoT from scratch, at this stage, but I am happy I experienced it.
I read, I write; I listen
The last book in the epic saga “The Wheel of Time has finally been written. We all know it wasn’t exactly the book Robert Jordan would have penned, that would have been impossible to duplicate, but we have to give thanks to Brandon Sanderson and the many folks that had supported Robert Jordan’s work. They have given us closure to a series that began in 1990, and for a while thought might never be completed.
Although all writers have their own style I believe Brandon Sanderson did a great job of blending his to Robert Jordan’s No one could know the Characters deepest thoughts and tendencies in the Wheel of Time better than Robert Jordan, and some of that insight was missing in the last books, but Brandon Sanderson is a very talented writer of fantasy fiction, and his painstaking effort to keep true to Robert Jordan’s vision is a homage to the late great writer.
“The Memory of Light does exactly what all of us WOT fans have been wanting; completion. It deserves five stars.
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