One note: This is spoiler free. I’m not saying squat about what happens. Read and find out. It’s worth it.
My first epic fantasy was The Eye Of The World by Robert Jordan. I was 15 and just really starting to explore the genre when someone recommended this. I picked up a copy at City Lights in London Ontario and I read it. The series was engrossing. It was nothing new. It was good versus evil – the chosen one that stands in the darkness. We all know this story. On some level, I think everyone is a fan of it. We like heroes, people to aspire to be, and we like monsters as well. What is a hero without a good villain?
But when I first read Eye of the World, I was completely engrossed. Beyond anything I’ve ever read, Robert Jordan had a gift for detail in every aspect of this series. The world had depth to it – cultures, customs, food, politics, religion – everything in the series was crafted with careful thought. Each character, good or evil, had depth to it. A lot of my friends complained that the series at times drifted. As complex a series as this was, I cannot blame them for feeling that way, but when it comes to details and planning and execution, Jordan had planned an ambitious project from the start. What seemed like dallying in my view was simply build up to the bigger picture. Watching it all come together at the end was just masterful. Every book ties to this in great and wonderful ways.
My only complaint is that it’s a shame Jordan wasn’t the one to finish it.
I have to commend Brandon Sanderson. Finishing this series in particular and doing it justice would be daunting to ask anyone. He did a great job. He’s a good writer and his books beyond the wheel of time are worth reading. I hope to meet him in Phoenix this year.
I haven’t really talked about the book yet at all have I? Was it worth it? The seventeen years of waiting and wondering what would happen to all those characters? I think it was. It was the kind of tale you wanted to read. It had monsters and evil and villians and terror all at the one side – each terrifying and the kind of evils that all of us understand.
It had heroes, each one of them unique and filled with faults and fears and doubt. They seemed like all of us – each of them trying to find their way in the world.
What makes memory of light so good is that Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson let his characters be heroes. He let them be who they were and true all the way to the end. Not all of them make it to the last page, but that’s okay. Real courage is finding out exactly who you are when all the chips are down and all hope seems lost. The detail, the picture presented was masterful.
It’s a fitting finale to a great series. People may laud Lord of the Rings as the best fantasy series – after this, I’m not so sure.
Now that I’m done, I’ll wait a while, and start this series again. It’s a favorite and I think it always will be.
Thank you to everyone who made this book. It was a grand story worth being told. I’m sad it’s over, but I’m happy I read it.