A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

A Memory of Light, the final volume in Robert Jordan’s long-running Wheel of Time series, is, undoubtedly, one of the most anticipated Fantasy novels of the past twenty years, and its release today is one of the biggest events in Fantasy publishing history. I’ve gathered here many of the reviews published of the novel, and they are all glowing. Reviews that aren’t specifically marked as spoiler free are in their own section, after the jump. Enjoy!

Spoiler Free

Leigh Butler, Tor.com:

[T]his is the last Wheel of Time book you’ll ever get to read for the first time. Maybe that’s only a blip in the grand scheme of things, but for those of you like me who have invested literally decades into seeing this to the finish, you owe it to yourself to enjoy this as much as humanly possible.

Jason Denzel, Dragonmount:

The Wheel of Time books have ended for me. I cannot deny the bittersweet emotions that brings. But a strong ending gives more meaning to the journey that came before it. Sure, I can pick apart small nuances of this final book that weren’t perfect. Some little parts may not have rung as true as they could have. But by and large, it delivered in a big way.

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Tamyrlin, Theoryland Forums:

For me, A Memory of Light is a book of moments, moments that grip the heart. That’s how it plays in my mind’s eye, many of which remain imprinted there. Two such moments among the many, after more than twenty years reading and discussing The Wheel of Time, made this a meaningful end to my journey. And I look forward to discussing them. You will experience your own such moments. Suffice it to say, I felt some small joy when a thing or two turned out just a bit as I had envisioned over the years. Some scenes and events devastated me too, but the majority of the book was the pleasant surprise of discovery and understanding. At times, A Memory of Light spoke with a voice of thunder, and I’m willing to bet that you will live the final third of the book, as I did, shaking. Though, it took reading that final portion of the book twice to appreciate Jordan’s overarching vision. I wasn’t prepared for the loss I felt, but there is a completeness that I now savor.

Linda, The Thirteenth Depository:

Just as in the final tally of gains and losses of the Last Battle, we are reminded that we have been given so much over the last twenty odd years and in Brandon’s and Team Jordan’s great efforts to bring the series to fulfilment, but we also lost a lot too in Jordan’s untimely passing.

Zack Handlen, AV Club:

As always, Jordan’s commitment to letting men and women share equally in the violence is gratifying, and the repetitive gender battles that dragged down much of the series’ midsection have been reduced to affectionate eye-rolling and only the occasional sniff. All this, plus a cast list large enough to fill a citywide Sadie Hawkins dance, leads to a finale that hits all the necessary checkpoints, while taking few risks, if any. Perhaps that’s the best tribute Sanderson could’ve composed: an ending that satisfies without ever letting readers forget what was lost.

Spoiler Warning

Adam Whitehead, The Wertzone:

The big questions are answered, the final scene is fitting and the story ends in a way that is true to itself, which is the most we can ask for.

Leigh Butler, Tor.com (Spoiler Review):

[F]lawless? No. Pretty damn stupendously awesome anyway? Yup.

John Ottinger III, Grasping for the Wind:

As a reader who began this journey back when The Eye of the World was first published (I was ten), I can honestly say that I am happy with how it all ends. It was fitting, it was both expected and not, it was oh-so-very EPIC. Oh, there are some things I would tweak or would like to have seen developed more, but all in all I am content. Not just content, actually, but really happy with the way the series turned out. I think you will be too. But whatever you or I feel, one of the greatest fantasy series ever written has come to an ending – and the Wheel turns yet again.

Bill Capossere, Fantasy Literature:

I enjoyed A Memory of Light, and as I said, was often swept up in it. Individually, each fight scene, each duel, each skirmish or battle or stands well on its own. But I would have probably skipped the four early battles, a duel here and there, and cut out a few hundred pages.

Neth Space:

Thank you Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Team Jordan and all of the fans I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with over the years. It is an ending… but it’s a beginning too.

Larry Nolen, The OF Blog:

Even the long-awaited conclusion suffers from its abruptness intermingled with unexplained actions that are designed more to keep the hardcore fans “theorizing” about their import than to provide any semblance of a tale that concludes at a proper resting point. WoT as a whole is a series that is not read for much beyond its ability to facilitate reader predictions and now that it is “complete,” there is very little to recommend it to readers. The writing is at best mediocre and often is very poor; the characterizations are tinny, leaving many readers with a bad taste in their mouths; the overarching themes regarding balance, the struggle of good and evil, and free will are presented in a hackneyed fashion that may only appeal to those who have not seen these issues treated by more talented and perceptive writers. The only good reason that I could give for reading this book is for readers to find out what happened next. It is not the sort that I would think would make for a rewarding re-reading experience, as there is virtually nothing to offer beyond readers trying to figure out the authors’ narrative game. But if you’ve read anything in this series, you already knew that, right? Recommendation to burn after reading it, if you must read it.

Rob Bricken, io9:

A Memory of Light delivers a better ending than Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series probably deserves.

Justin Landon, Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review:

I’m often asked, “Is the Wheel of Time worth it?” In other words, should I invest the better part of a year’s reading in the series? My answer for the last decade has been, “I don’t know, I’ll let you know when the series is finished.” With the final novel now in my rear view mirror, I feel capable of answering it.

The answer has to be no. But, like so many things it isn’t that simple. To anyone who’s read deep into the series, and put it aside until it was finished, please make good on that promise. Sanderson’s first two books in the series are iconic, full of huge moments and promised pay-offs. The third lacks those eye brow raising theatrics, but it provides the closure the Wheel’s fans needed. But, for the reader just beginning, I believe there are better places to look. The miasma of the eighth through eleventh books is a slog I cannot wish on anyone, full of bloat and wasted words. The payoff, however good, can never overcome the frank and utter disregard for editorial oversight that those novels exemplified.

And still. . .

Scott, Iceberg Ink:

Was it a good book? Yes, absolutely. Was it worth reading? Yes…to finish the series and put it behind me.

Have you read A Memory of Light? If so, what are your (spoiler-free) thoughts? Looking for a place to discuss the novel, spoilers and all? Check out this A Memory of Light spoilers thread on the Westeros message board.

4 thoughts on “Review Round-Up: A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson”

  1. Larry says:

    Not that fans will be thrilled to read them, but I am livetweeting my reactions to the book using the hashtag #WoTTF ;)

  2. Aidan Moher says:

    ‘Non-erotic pornography’ is quite a visual image. Dentures and wrinkles everywhere!

  3. Larry says:

    And various teas and teacakes!

  4. EMHeld says:

    Having just finished it, I think I agree with those singing firmly positive praises. No, it isn’t perfect, but what series of this length, or approaching this length, honestly fulfills every last expectation you have at the end of a great first volume? The pluses far outweigh the minuses, and any shortcomings are Jordan’s, not Sanderson’s. But even with his death imminent, Jordon left enough material for a wholly satisfying conclusion and a last few pages that just envelop the reader in warmth and emotion. Honestly, I would have preferred a longer epilogue!

    I wonder if sentiment will propel it towards any awards. It is popular to bash, but it is more popular by FAR than virtually any other fantasy series out there.

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