A Memory of Light - the end of The Wheel of Time
Well, I finished the book last night. I will give the most spoiler-free review I can manage.
Be aware, it's harsh. Twenty years in the waiting has made me keen.
for the tl;dr crowd: It was alright.
I understand what was mostly expected - I do. There was going to be someone, somewhere, that was butthurt if every single solitary character wasn't handled or mentioned. But really? This made for a clunky story. But if you've stuck through 13 books this is not surprising. It's a behemoth of action, but 75% of it doesn't even matter. It's just an end to that person's story and I realized I didn't care. And I don't. I couldn't even tell you about any of it.
There was almost no way to be satisfied. I was thinking this going in to the story. But halfway through the climactic ending it occurred to me, in my utter wrenching dissatisfaction - that I've readother books where the ending was satisfying. I then realized that I just never expected to be satisfied with whatever Jordan could come up with because he just isn't that great. Plain truth right there.
He succeeded in making it about as average as the rest of the series. But it had such potential. I felt about the ending about how I felt after watching the last Matrix film or the TV show Lost - embarrassed.
There were moments that were wonderful. But just a couple. They were far outweighed by the absolute cheese of the rest of them.
There was one single moment of perfect emotion and feeling that was drawn out of me - well two really but they happened one right after the other so it was blended together -- and it was stolen right away from me with a 'gotcha!' moment that I felt cheated, even in my pain. /rolls eyes.
I hope there are people out there who really like this book. As it stands for me right now I am glad it's over. I will cherish the memories I have of the world and the people in it (the half a dozen whom I like/will remember) and beyond that, I'm glad I experienced this for twenty years, despite the mediocrity of it all.
For the angry people who disagree: First let me say that, it's all good. To me, a book is a subjective endeavor. I thought of this metaphor last night as this dissatisfaction rolled around in my head. It's like ice cream. I wasn't very happy with chocolate. But you can like chocolate and I can like vanilla or strawberry. There is no reason to get angry about dissent over something so subjective as a book. It's your own journey experiencing it... and it's valid.
If you want to read my reactions to the book, I made a tumblr - it was live as I was reading.endofthewheel.tumblr.com - my daughter built it for me, it's a lovely little site :)
I will probably write a spoiler-filled review soon. Too much to talk about directly, but I may not.
Cover Art by Michael Whelan