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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » A Memory of Light (Unmarked Spoilers for entire Wheel of Time Series)

   
Author Topic: A Memory of Light (Unmarked Spoilers for entire Wheel of Time Series)
Swampjedi
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I finished this over the weekend, in a marathon reading session. Overall, I was pretty satisfied. It wasn't the best in the series, but it was far from the worst. I felt that I could see the seams between what Jordan directly wrote and what Sanderson filled in from notes. It wasn’t too jarring, though.

Most of the book was the Last Battle, which frankly I wasn’t expecting. I suppose I was so accustomed to the earlier meandering that I was shocked when AMoL got right to the point. I did get a little fatigued, though, from all the death. Perhaps that was intended? When the POV characters are barely standing after 24 hours of combat, I really empathized!

Specifics:
Demandred's appearance was slightly frustrating. I mean, I figured he had to be in Shara and would show up with a Sharan army (Chekhov's Gun), but it still felt like a deus ex machina moment. I wish we had seen some more descent into madness, so him stomping around shooting balefire lasers wouldn't have felt so jarring. Don’t think that’s Sanderson’s fault, but a symptom of the number of plot threads getting away from Jordan earlier in the series.

Rand switching bodies with Moridin at the end wasn't terribly unexpected, but felt rushed. It had been explained that they had somehow become linked after "crossing the streams". I was expecting Alivia to have some really interesting role other than "I stole all this money so you can be independently wealthy anywhere."
I had to laugh at the way Bela was written. It's almost as if Sanderson wrote her final scene so over the top to mock her "importance" throughout the series. Seriously, the horse had more story/importance than some of the minor characters. Then again, I guess he could have been playing it straight.

I expected Fain to have a bigger, more Gollum-like role. This was reinforced in my mind with the role that Shadar Logoth played in the cleansing of saidin. Mat dispatched him with little ceremony when he showed up just before the end. I’m not complaining – a subversion of expectations isn’t always bad.

The philosophical “end” to the Dark One was somewhat surprising to me. I didn’t expect that ALL evil came from the Dark One, and that killing him would make everyone slaves to the light. So all of the races are inherently perfect beings? The future that Rand imagined where humanity had degenerated a la The Time Machine to dead-eyed pleasure seekers was rather heavy handed, in my estimation. I was expecting that Rand would re-seal the Dark One because he’d realize that killing the DO would be breaking the Wheel, which is what the DO was trying to do. So, I got the ending I expected, but for a different reason.

Sad that it's over! I didn't pick up the series until 2001, but it's been a big part of the last decade of my life. I re-read the entire series each time a book came out up until AMoL, but now I want to read from the start to see things with more clarity.

[ January 14, 2013, 11:03 AM: Message edited by: Swampjedi ]

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Aros
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You state "Spoilers for the Wheel of Time Series". I took that for "spoilers for the previous books". I didn't really expect specifics from the END of this book.

Dang. Spoiled again.... Are you Shigs? Or was this just an accident?

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Swampjedi
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Not exactly a flattering question, Aros.

Title edited to be even more explicit.

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Aros
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Glad it's over. Twenty years I've been waiting. Great book . . . great conclusion. It was a bit of a cop out about the body switch, though.

There were a lot of questions unanswered. I'm left wondering about the fate of the Tinkers, for instance.

And it appears that Shigs's spoilers on release day were correct. Too bad.

I have no interest in re-reading the series. Though I'd be tempted if Sanderson re-wrote it from the beginning. Maybe omitted the slow stuff. Honestly, I recommend that new readers read as far as they can get . . . if they can get AT LEAST through book four, they should just read a synopsis on Wikipedia and then skip to the Sanderson books. Nothing against Jordan, but it began to get a little tedious in the middle.

All in all, however, probably the greatest series ever written. Flawed as it might be.

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Xavier
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Hmmm, I think I enjoyed up to book four. That's the one where Perrin saves his hometown, right? I liked that one a lot, IIRC. I think I actually read up to book nine, but have very little memory of anything past four.

So perhaps I will skip ahead and pick up Sanderson's first one someday.

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scifibum
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I'm in the market for a heavily abridged version of the series.
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Swampjedi
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I read somewhere (Dragonmount) that RJ said that the Tinkers will never find the Song - but not because it doesn't exist. He said it's been lost so long that they wouldn't recognize it. I think that what Rand was singing is what they're looking for.

I also read that RJ had planned a few "outrigger" series that would follow some of the hanging plot threads (for example, following Mat and Tuon). I wonder if Sanderson is going to work on those? I think the world that RJ built is believable enough to support a whole host of other novels, especially back-story.

I'd be interested in an abridged series, myself. I do think most of the "Faile and the Shaido" plot could have been skipped. That was what, three books worth? I guess this is what happens when you don't plot out everything ahead a la Babylon 5. Then again, wasn't WoT supposed to be three books to begin with?

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Kwea
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Yep, it was suppose to be 3.

I like the series, a lot, but there were books that were not very good. I don't think they were horrible, but they were not good.

But some fo them were excellent. I thought The Great Hunt was one of those. I also liked how the series ended. Although I wonder about Rand and his powers now.....he can't channel, but he lights his pipe just by thinking about it? Does that mean the wheel is now a reflection of him, so he can pretty much change reality by thinking?

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Swampjedi
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That was an odd thing for BS/RJ to throw in. If Randidin can alter reality with just a thought, he's arguably stronger than he was as a ta'veren channeler.
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Kwea
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Not arguably at all. He mirrors the Creator then, and alters reality by wanting it do change.
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CaySedai
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scifibum: The Wheel of Time Reread
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Kwea
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Cool! I will have to check that out...I am doing the same thing myself, I just need new copies of 2 of the books. I have The Great Hunt in a trade paperback, and I have Fires of Heaven in a regular paperback so I need new hardcovers of them to have them all...
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Tittles
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Lord of Chaos is pretty good..

As for Rand and his pipe, it's a twist ending, you see. He's actually still in the Matrix.

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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Swampjedi:
I also read that RJ had planned a few "outrigger" series that would follow some of the hanging plot threads (for example, following Mat and Tuon). I wonder if Sanderson is going to work on those? I think the world that RJ built is believable enough to support a whole host of other novels, especially back-story.

Brandon and Harriet have said that there will be no more prequels and no outriggers. Jordan left nothing beyond one-sentence summaries, and they didn't feel comfortable writing something from scratch that may not have been what Jordan intended.

quote:
I'd be interested in an abridged series, myself. I do think most of the "Faile and the Shaido" plot could have been skipped. That was what, three books worth? I guess this is what happens when you don't plot out everything ahead a la Babylon 5. Then again, wasn't WoT supposed to be three books to begin with?
An abridged series would be great. I think the Faile and the Shaido plot could be condensed into one book pretty easily. Some of the other threads (looking for the Bowl of the Winds, wandering around with the circus) could be cut down a lot too.
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Jon Boy
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I really enjoyed A Memory of Light, though I did have a few quibbles, most of which were the same as Swampjedi's.

I wish I had some idea what the Bao the Wyld crap was all about. Obviously Demandred thought he was fulfilling some Sharan prophecies or something, but it felt too random since we had no backstory or explanation. Lan Sheathing the Sword felt pretty fitting, though.

I also felt that the part about Graendal corrupting the generals was a little too tedious and repetitive. The first time Perrin sees her going into someone's dream (Bryne's, I think), it was obvious what was happening. But then it took about three hundred pages for everyone else to figure it out, and we had to watch the same scenario play out four times.

Fain's appearance and end was pretty disappointing. He morphs into some powerful and evil new entity and then gets dispatched almost immediately. The only purpose his appearance served was to tie up a loose end.

I was also a little surprised by the Dark One's end. He wasn't actually the enemy all along? Uh, yeah, he was. He inspires men to do terrible things and is perpetually trying to break the Wheel of Time. How is he not the enemy?

I liked Rand's end, though I found it just a little dissatisfying. The "twice dawns the day when his blood is shed" line combined with the Finns' "to live you must die" made me think that he would die and would then somehow turn the Wheel of Time back a day to live again. It wasn't bad; it was just less complicated than I expected.

Overall, though, I really liked it. It was a satisfying end to twenty years' worth of reading. It answered the important questions without feeling the need to tie up every single thread in a nice little bow. I like having a few unanswered questions.

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Tittles
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Ben Franklin will change their minds.

e-Harriet and Brandon's, that is.

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Tittles
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Jon - HE IS THE ONLY TRUTH YOUR WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.
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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon Boy:

I was also a little surprised by the Dark One's end. He wasn't actually the enemy all along? Uh, yeah, he was. He inspires men to do terrible things and is perpetually trying to break the Wheel of Time. How is he not the enemy?

Yeah, I really wish we'd walked away knowing more about the Dark One.

Was he actually trying to destroy everything? Or was he just inherently there as some sort of challenge/test/instigator.

How exactly does the Dark One work, anyways. Everything else is circular, but it (and the mostly hands off creator) seems like the only linear thing. Assuming it remembers the past confrontations, and was earnestly trying to break free, then couldn't it just keep trying slightly different things until something finally works? Rand was pretty close to the edge a couple times. The next time the wheel spins around, what's stopping it from being just a bit different and pushing him over?

In the end, Ishamael kinda walks away looking right. Not in the sense of wanting to help the process along, but possibly right in its inevitability.

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Dread Pendragon
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To avoid spoilers I haven't read many of the previous posts in this thread, but I have a question people here can answer.

I just finished the first book (The Eye of the World) and, though I enjoyed much about it, was really distracted by some of Robert Jordan's writing style. The characters were always defensive, to the point it just didn't seem to fit the story. Also they are constantly dealing with problems that a brief discussion would resolve, but they won't because nobody trusts each other, even though it doesn't really make sense that they don't.

My question is, does that change at all, or is that just Jordan's writing style. I liked it enough I'd really like to finish the series, but it's going to wear me out if that pattern continues.

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scholarette
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It gets better in the last three books.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
It gets better in the last three books.

Was this intentionally hilarious? [Smile]
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scholarette
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Yes. [Smile]
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Foust
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So I'm not really well read when it comes to fantasy. Just ASoIF and LotR. I love both.

How does this series compare?

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Foust
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quote:
Originally posted by Dread Pendragon:
To avoid spoilers I haven't read many of the previous posts in this thread, but I have a question people here can answer.

I just finished the first book (The Eye of the World) and, though I enjoyed much about it, was really distracted by some of Robert Jordan's writing style. The characters were always defensive, to the point it just didn't seem to fit the story. Also they are constantly dealing with problems that a brief discussion would resolve, but they won't because nobody trusts each other, even though it doesn't really make sense that they don't.

My question is, does that change at all, or is that just Jordan's writing style. I liked it enough I'd really like to finish the series, but it's going to wear me out if that pattern continues.

This sounds like a deal breaker to me. Is it characteristic of the series?

Note: I hated Lost.

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Swampjedi
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quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
So I'm not really well read when it comes to fantasy. Just ASoIF and LotR. I love both.

How does this series compare?

The characters in WoT don't feel as real to me as the ones in ASoIF. In many cases Jordan's characters felt one-dimensional, especially the women.

Jordan's plotting and pace is much looser than either Tolkien's or Martin's - and given the last few ASoIF books, that's saying a lot.

In my opinion, Jordan really shines in the world building category. If you take only the LoTR trilogy in comparison, I think Jordan's world is more at least as interesting as Middle Earth (though with the inclusion of the Silmarillion, that's probably not true). Martin's world building is good, but that's less the focus of ASoIF.

Read The Eye of the World. It's a fun read, and self-contained enough that you can quit there if you like. If you like that, read the next two and evaluate again. Some of the middle ones may be better taken in condensed form.

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scifibum
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Wheel of Time is a bloated, meandering, indulgent mess that resulted from a grandiose and wrongheaded attempt to complexify the story until it resembled an omniscient account of a fictional history, rather than a story.

If you like that sort of thing, it's pretty awesome otherwise.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Wheel of Time is a bloated, meandering, indulgent mess that resulted from a grandiose and wrongheaded attempt to complexify the story until it resembled an omniscient account of a fictional history, rather than a story.

If you like that sort of thing, it's pretty awesome otherwise.

That's really only the case after book 4 or 5. I think it's a lot tighter than ASOIAF before it hits the middle books. And the last three are outstanding.
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scifibum
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True. I enjoyed it immensely through book 4 or 5. Definitely before Mat joined a circus.
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