Hello, everyone. This is not a Wheel of Time Re-read.
It’s something even cooler, as you may have guessed by the art to my right. Or your right. Whichever.
Once again I have the distinct honor of providing for Tor.com one of the only advance reviews of a new release in the Wheel of Time series – this time for the last time.
I still have no idea how to feel about that.
But I do totally know how to feel about the book itself, so please click on to read my in-advance, mostly-coherent, and totally and completely spoiler-free review of the final novel in the Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light, which is scheduled to be released on January 8th, 2013. (Please note that, in keeping with the spirit of the review, the comments should remain a spoiler-free zone. Any potential spoilers should be marked as such and whited out, and/or you can always comment on the spoiler thread for Chapter 2 here).
I finished reading the last book of the Wheel of Time at 6:26 AM Central Time on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at the desk in my bedroom in my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.
In about six and a half hours, hopefully, this advance review will go live on Tor.com, so I’d probably better get cracking on finishing it, but I just wanted to mark that down, before anything else.
Some things are worth noting.
In a moment we’ll get to my traditional mess of mostly-off-the-cuff, flailtastic, spoiler-free and therefore no-doubt-incredibly-frustrating teaser commentary that I’ve done for each of the last three WOT books I’ve been privileged to review in advance here, so that you all can have your traditional
torment fun of guessing what the hell I’m talking about before you get the chance to read the book yourself. But first I want to just kind of… sit here, in a way, and contemplate it.
Not just the book itself, but everything surrounding it and the series and the fandom and what all of it has meant for me personally, which has ended up being a shocking amount.
I don’t think I’m up to articulating all of that right now, though I’ve tried before and will almost certainly be making another stab at it in the near future. But contemplate it, yes.
But that’s okay, because currently I’m pretty sure you’re here just to hear about A Memory of Light, and what, in a non-spoilery way, I thought about it.
And what I think about it is, put as simply as possible:
Oh, what a treat you have in store for you, my friends.
If you are a Wheel of Time fan, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that if you’re reading this you probably at least nominally are, then be of good cheer, for this book is, in my opinion, pretty much exactly what you’ve been waiting for. Maybe that’s just the caffeine and the catharsis talking, but I don’t think it is.
The nitty-gritty of it all—the good, the not-so-good, the flaws, the non-flaws, the unanswered questions, the details, the analysis, the criticism, the *headdesk*s and the big sparkly Yays—those will all come. But for right now, just know that as far as I can tell in this moment, on the question of whether A Memory of Light is a fitting and satisfying end to the Wheel of Time, I feel pretty confident in saying that this book knocked it out of the park.
Well done, Team Jordan. Well done.
And… well, that pretty much sums it up, at least as far as things I can say without straying dangerously close to spoiler territory. And I really, really don’t want to spoil this for you, O my peeps. You should get to savor this.
As a result of my desire not to spoil this singular experience for you, my teaser commentary is perhaps unfortunately probably even vaguer than it was for the previous two volumes. But, well, them’s the breaks. Even more annoyingly (she smirks) some of the following reactions are in chronological order, but others are quite deliberately mixed up in the timeline. What can I say, I’m evil and I want you to get your AMOL fix properly.
Also, as an aside, I will not generally be noting DUN! moments in this teaser commentary. Mainly because if I said DUN! for every time I had a DUN! reaction reading AMOL, this entire entry would be a dull grayish-brown color. Ba dum dum. (Ba Dun Dun? Okay, I’m sorry, shutting up now.)
Right! So. Have some reactions, why don’t you?
- “A familiarity,” indeed. Very funny, Team Jordan.
- Geez, no consent issues here. I am not sure a proportional response is always actually proportional, you guys! What the hell?
- Dammit, dammit, no, don’t agree, don’t agree to – DAMMIT. Well, there goes the neighborhood. You MORON. (Maybe?)
- I have definitely been on the Internet too long, because everything I’m coming up with to comment on/wonder about re: this is SO not fit for polite company. Y’all would be SCANDALIZED. …Wait, what am I talking about, most of you have been on the Internet just as long, you’re just as bad. Never mind.
- Hah, so sure of that theory, were you? Well, so were a lot of people. So much for that!
- His pocket? Seriously?
- And here would be where I get choked up for the first time. I suspect it will not be the last.
- DAMN STRAIGHT, MAN. Thank you.
- …Yup, here’s Choked Up Incident #2.
- Huh. It just keeps coming back to truth, doesn’t it.
- Wow, I totally forgot that ______ didn’t actually know that. And yes, dude, your timing sucks balls. Sheesh.
- And here’s Choked Up Incident #3, and over a sparring session!
- God, they are so WEIRD. I totally don’t know how to feel about this relationship. But then, apparently neither do they, so that’s… all right? I guess?
- Holy crap, THROW IT AWAY RIGHT NOW ARE YOU CRAZY. …Wait, stupid question.
- *blink* *blink* Well, I’ll be damned. Mentioned twice, even! I’m not sure if that’s a sop to shut me up or a nod that I was right, or both, but I don’t care, because awesome. The most likely option, of course, is that it didn’t have a damn thing to do with me at all, and ultimately it is totally irrelevant anyway, but I don’t care, because thank you. I am Pleased.
- AHAHAHA. Just in case there were any trolls out there still insisting on it, eh?
- God, FINALLY. Also: whoever had that development in the betting pool is gonna make a mint, yo. It wasn’t me, but that’s probably because I didn’t bother to guess.
- Hey, don’t you know you’ll go blind if you do that? Heh heh.
- Uh. Is that who I think it is? Because whooooa.
- What? Are you kidding me? That is the worst name EVER! Ugh! I protest! I stomp my foot in your general terrible-nomenclaturing direction! Gah!
- Learned a new word: abatis. Also, ouch.
- Well, that wasn’t tense or anything. Also: PREACH IT, SISTER.
- WHAAAAAT. That seriously can’t be right. …Can it? [later] Well, okay, I was right that it wasn’t right, go me, but that sucks almost as badly! Gah!
- This would be one of those points in a story where there is really only one applicable phrase, and that phrase is oh shit.
- Hey, no, that is NOT COOL. Whhhhyyy do you suck so much, seriously?
- Ah, damn. Well, one prophecy fulfilled.
- Ha ha ha, really? That is hilarious. I sort of feel like it is cheating. Actually there is no “sort of” about it, it is totally cheating, but it’s also kind of awesome in its blatant cheatiness. Or something. I am Amused.
- *wide eyes* Now that would be a thing to see. Daaaaamn.
- Well, there’s a finally dropped shoe that came out of bloody nowhere. I have no idea whether to be annoyed or pleased. [later] Oh. Well, that’s okay then. Good for you!
- Holy Law of Conservation of Characters, Batman! When was the last time we saw ________, TGH? Heh.
- ZOMG they are adorable. That is probably disturbing. It should be disturbing! Why isn’t this disturbing? STOP BEING SO CUTE DAMMIT YOU’RE CONFUSING ME
- Yeah, well, dude, what did you expect? That wasn’t bringing a knife to a gun fight; that was bringing a knife to a Global Thermonuclear Warfare fight. Sheesh. Also: Damn. That sucks.
- Well. That… that sucked more. Like, a lot. Wow.
- And that sucked too. Clearly I have come to the portion where things suck, a lot.
- Oh, yeah, that’s going to go well. [later] …Aaand it really, really didn’t. Toldja.
- That is not how I expected that prophecy to be fulfilled. Awesome.
- Well, jeez. Things can stop sucking anytime now! [later] Oh. Never mind. Sort of.
- AHAHAHA. It’s like Alias, except without the blue rubber dresses. And less government oversight. And with, you know, magic. Okay, so it’s not really anything like Alias, but it was damn funny anyway.
- Okay, it is RIDICULOUS that I just had Choked Up Incident #4 over this, but – but – NOOOOOO. Not fair! The sads, I have all of them right now.
- …And so this wasn’t Choked Up Incident #5, so much as it was straight-up actual crying. Dammit. Dammit.
- Wow, that was perfect. That was perfect.
- You’re just going to have to imagine me flailing at this point, because I have no idea how to textually encompass my reaction to this revelation. Or to this entire scene, really, but especially that bit. I would almost have to *headdesk* at it, except for how diabolically clever it was. How can something be so awesome and piss me off so much in the same breath? Holy shit!
- NO WAY. OMG YAY. Sorry, must clap like a seal for a moment, brb. Also, how did I not see that coming? My hindsight, she is so 20/20!
- Oh, yeah. I was wondering when they would show up. Not that I’m particularly thrilled that they’re here, of course.
- *falls over laughing* Oh my God, that is hilarious. And somewhere a certain someone is saying SO THERE, IT WAS RELEVANT, WASN’T IT. Touché, Team Jordan. Touché.
- Holy crap, it’s like Jack-in-the-Box! Except with lots and lots of death! Awesome!
- WELP, WE ALL KNEW THIS WAS COMING. But fortunately not in the way we were – expecting? Sort of? …And that does divide up nicely this way, doesn’t it. Well done.
- And then:
Right, walking away for a moment.
Maybe several moments.
Aaaand then I just kind of have to stop, because there’s nothing even remotely intelligible that I can say past a certain point without giving anything away.
But hopefully this has been enough to whet your appetites, and reassure you that, no, it is really okay to look forward to January 8th, O my peeps, for in my opinion something deeply satisfying awaits you.
And do make a point of savoring it, y’all. As a friend of mine reminded me, this 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.
And don’t worry. You will. This I Foretell.