After nearly twenty three years and countless millions of words vomited out upon thousands of pages, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series finally concludes with its fourteenth volume, A Memory of Light. It has been a memorable series for those who’ve read, it albeit for some such as myself, it has become more an exercise in patience and restraint, waiting to see if the payoff justifies to any extent the laborious parsing of repetitive descriptions, redundant sentences, clothing and furniture porn, hackneyed villain motivations, etc. My own opinion of the series has fluctuated between a diversion during my last semester of grad school in the Fall of 1997 (it was a change of pace from reading Hitler’s memoirs and speeches for my grad seminar/research) toward it being a repetitive, poorly structured (and written) clunker of a novel/series. I wrote a series of posts on re-reading the Jordan-penned books, most of them for the first time since the release of the ninth book back in November 2000, and the re-reads did little to improve my deepening dislike for the series. Yet the first semi-posthumous release, co-written by Brandon Sanderson, I thought at first was a marked improvement. That was before I began to understand while reading the second co-written volume, Towers of Midnight, that the planned three-volume conclusion to the Wheel of Time series was terribly flawed in terms of narrative structure, characterization development, and prose. Therefore, it was with some trepidation that I ordered A Memory of Light and read it. Unfortunately, it is one of the worst-written books in a series renowned for its mediocre, bloated prose. Continue reading
Posts Tagged: A Memory of Light
Yesterday, Tor.com hosted one of their ongoing #TorChat twitter conversations, and invited Brandon Sanderson, co-author of A Memory of Light, the final volume of Robert Jordan’s long-running Wheel of Time series, to answer fan questions. And, well, it being Sanderson and Wheel of time, the questions were endless. And spoiler-filled. Egads, by the end of the chat, my virgin ears were stuffed full of more spoilers for A Memory of Light than I cared for. They were popping up on my twitter feed left and right. Ah well.
To save those of you still waiting to read the book from unwanted spoilers, I’ll hide them behind the jump. Continue reading
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!
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.
Whether you like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series or not (and there are many reasons to fall on either side of the fence), the upcoming release of its final volume, A Memory of Light, will be one of the biggest Fantasy events in decades. Wheel of Time has helped shaped contemporary Fantasy, and opened the doors for authors like George R.R. Martin (who launched his own series, which you maybe heard of, with a juicy quote from Robert Jordan plastered on the cover), Patrick Rothfuss, and even Brandon Sanderson, who now carries the torch for the late Jordan. To celebrate the life and career of Jordan, Tor has produced a loving video looking back at the aurhor, featuring his wife, Harriet McDougal, Tom Doherty, the big guy at Tor Books, and Brandon Sanderson.
So, you might want to file this one away in the ‘Useless Genre Knowledge’ drawer, but I was a little shocked when, in an interview with Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, Jason Denzel, webmaster of Dragonmount, and one of the few people who have read A Memory of Light, mentioned that there is a chapter in the final Wheel of Time novel that is 50,000 words long and contains as many as 70-80 point-of-view characters. For reference, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is 95,000 words long, and Lord of Chaos, the sixth volume in the Wheel of Time time series, features 47 point-of-view characters in its entirety. That’s a meaty chapter.
There’s one chapter in the book, one chapter itself, that’s fifty thousand words long, or maybe more. I’ve been saying fifty thousand, but it might actually be more than that. There’s something like seventy or eighty point of views within that single chapter.
Speculating, my best guess is that the chapter covers a single major event (Rand fighting/defeating the Dark One?), viewed by dozens of different characters on the battlefield and/or around the world. At the low-end estimation of 70 characters, that leaves about 700 words and change for each point-of-view, which isn’t a lot to work with, but could be an interesting technique for showcasing the world-altering events that are sure to fill A Memory of Light. It makes me tired just thinking about it. For what it’s worth, Denzel also said that it’s the fastest he’s ever read 50,000 words.
The entire interview with Denzel is worth reading for anyone interested in Wheel of Time fandom, or salivating for the upcoming release of A Memory of Light, which Denzel talks about at length, but avoids spoilers completely.
Update: For those who don’t read the comments section of these posts, Brandon Sanderson dropped by and clarified some of the details about this chapter. It’s both smaller, and larger, than Denzel was suggesting.
Just opened the document, as I figured I could give some hard statistics on this. The chapter is just shy of 79,000 words. It contains (by my quick count) 72 scenes–but only 31 distinct viewpoints, as numerous ones repeat. (There are eight Rand scenes, for example, and six each for Mat and Egwene. Three or four each for another eight characters.)
It is not the last chapter of the book, but is a very important one, as you might have guessed. From the get-go, I lobbied Harriet to let me do this sequence as a single, massive chapter as I felt it fit with what was going on in the book as well as fitting with the series as a whole. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
79,000 words puts it just 15,000 words (or a decent sized novelette) away from being as long as The Hobbit, and 35% of the length of the entirety of The Path of Daggers. Staggering.