“He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone.”
A Memory of Light is the final chapter of the enormous saga by Robert Jordan with posthumous help from Brandon Sanderson. It ties up the story of Rand al’Thor and company and their fight with the Shadow and does so with epic battles and grandiose stages.
As one would expect, this book leaves no one out. The three main ta’veren are present and doing all sorts of mischief, with Rand not only forging peace throughout the world, but confronting his ancient foe. Mat does things only Mat could get away with, both before and during Tarmon Gai’don and Perrin is his normal meticulous self, doing what needs to be done despite personal desires or cares.
But this is not only the boys’ story. While Nynaeve plays a smaller role than you’d initially think, Egwene is center stage early and often. Even Min has important things to do. Elayne is a boisterous addition to the ladies’ ranks, earning her spot in the finale with a brashness that is now expected of her.
And looming over everything is Tarmon Gai’don: The Last Battle. While there are a number of physical battles going on throughout the book (more on those in a moment), Tarmon Gai’don is the culmination of the shepherd becoming the savior. Rand’s battle with the Dark One, while not what people might have expected, is a fascinating read that allows people to truly grasp who and what the Dragon represents for the world. His is the story of second chances, of the glory of doing not only the right thing, but the right thing correctly. Ultimately, Rand does what he does because, even at the end of things, he retains his ability to learn from his mistakes.
While Rand does his dance with the Shai’tan, everyone else is busy fighting a more normal war against the forces of the Shadow. In any war, there are costs, and there are no punches pulled here by our authors. There are deaths that will surprise you, and deaths that might make you surprisingly emotional, considering to whom they happen (stupid horse. It’s a horse. Why should that make me so sad?). The heroes fight an impossible battle, led by a degenerate gambler who swears he is no hero despite all his heroic actions.
A Memory of Light is the apex of writing, to me, of both Jordan and Sanderson. It shows that they are capable of not only making huge, sprawling battles engaging, but the niggling details as well. Rand’s encounter is as captivating as Egwene’s duels with M’Hael, Perrin’s hunt for Slayer and even Faile’s insane trek through the Wastes. The book shines as a beacon of what a culmination of such massive proportions should be and will have you coming back to the series time and again as there are no beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But this was an ending, and a damn good one.
Justin enjoys most games. He is currently learning the ins and outs of competitive modern Magic while enjoying all sorts of other gaming mediums, assuming he can find the spare time.