Robert Jordan - Shastrix Books

Robert Jordan

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A Memory of Light

A Memory of Light

Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

12th January 2013

The final book in The Wheel of Time, completed by Brandon Sanderson following the death of Robert Jordan, but including passages and an epilogue written by the original series creator. Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, must make the Light's final stand against the Dark One, as the Last Battle begins across the whole world.

This book has been worth the wait. The last battle is truly worthy of the name and shows Sanderson to be a fantastic author, planning the intricate detail of so many complex scenes and weaving them together in a way that not only flows but makes things clear to the reader despite the huge potential for confusion.

It's a book about war, and so was never going to be the lightest book in the series. Battles are a major focus right from the start, and there are sad moments throughout, but Sanderson mixes in humour in a subtle way that doesn't feel out of place in the context - much of it not even being a joke in the story, but which references the real world in ways to make the reader smile.

As an ending, it works well to wrap things up, although there are a few things that left me slightly confused and will probably require a re-reading of at least the end, if not the entire series, for me to understand fully. It is addictive reading, and at one point I decided to just read one more chapter before breaking, only to discover it was 190 pages long.

It is a worthy ending to the series, although I am slightly sad that this means there will be no more - I've only started four years ago and yet the characters have become very familiar, and the prospect of never reading more about them is a slightly odd feeling.

It is an ending that does justice to everything that has come before.

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Towers of Midnight

Towers of Midnight

Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

11th November 2010

It's hard to digest Brandon Sanderson's second entry in the Wheel of Time series after just one fairly quick reading, but my initial impression is that he continues the story well, while restoring the passion that some of Robert Jordan's later novels lost.

Much of the focus of this book is on Perrin, and it serves as a vehicle for him to find his place in the world, much as the previous book did for Mat and Rand. Some characters are left with little coverage, however they are generally those who featured more in the previous episode and so the idea that these are just two parts of one overarching final novel comes across. Here, the final pieces are moved into place ready for next year's grand finale.

Sanderson's grasp of the characters is stunningly good, and the way he successfully emulates Jordan's style makes the book believable as a continuation. There are a few places where the language has become, what seems to me, more Americanised than that which Jordan used, which feels out of place breaking the flow of the narrative.

There is much more action in this than possibly any of the earlier novels, and despite its length this makes the story feel faster, and it seems like it has covered a lot more ground than on reflection it has. I was confused in some places as the way that Sanderson has split the plot leads to scenes being narrated out of chronological order, with much of some characters' storylines occurring simultaneously with other characters' events from the previous novel. This is of course nothing new for the series, and it makes sense that the stories were split this way, but means that at one time the same character was in two places at once. There are subtle attempts to make this clear in the narration but it is rarely made explicit and easy to forget.

The biggest frustration is that the books ends, which leaves me to wait for an entire year before I am able to read the conclusion. Sanderson has an irritatingly genius way of leaving the reader wanting more, and as I am a late comer to the Wheel of Time this will be my longest wait between instalments.

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The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

23rd August 2010

Book 12, which is not now the final episode, is the first Wheel of Time novel since Robert Jordan's death in 2007, and Brandon Sanderson proves himself a worthy successor.

The style is somewhat different, the chapters shorter, the viewpoint switching more frequently and the action certainly speeding up - but then it has to to fit so much in. While I would hesitate to say that this style was better, it certainly wasn't worse. The action grips the reader unlike recent books in the series - you are reading because it's exciting rather than to find out what happens.

Sanderson's use of the characters is masterful as well, continuing their storylines naturally and bringing some to their concussion quickly and easily while giving others more of a challenge. The pieces are boldly moving now towards the end game, and the tension is ramping up.

It's clear from reading that there is no way this could have fitted into a third of a book - it fits so well into this format, bringing both Rand and Egwene's plot-lines to a dramatic point for a break. The only let-down is the lack of action from Perrin, and the total absence of Elayne.

I'm glad that I've read this now rather than when released, as waiting twelve months for the next instalment would have been torturous. Easily worth five stars.

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Knife of Dreams

Knife of Dreams

Robert Jordan

1st July 2010

Book eleven is, in my opinion, one of the best in the series. It's nice to know that Jordan went out on a high, as this is the final instalment that he completed before his death. Mat tries to escape the Seanchan tracking him, Perrin fights to regain his wife from the Shaido, Elayne fights for her crown and Egwene adapts to life as a prisoner of the Tower.

Its a good book because the plot advances at a reasonable pace. It's far from fast, but that's not what you want from an epic on this scale. Plenty of time is taken over the characters and their environments, but stuff continues to happen.

It is clear now that Jordan is getting things ready for the end of the series. Several key storylines that have twisted through the past few volumes are wrapping up, but a few surprises appear. The different groups of characters are beginning to move back together again, and I'm hoping this means an end is in sight to the lack of communication that has interfered with so many of their plans so far.

My earlier criticisms of plot-lines existing purely to keep characters occupied now seems unfounded, as each has grown, presumably in a way that will bear fruit come the last battle. Despite this, the same appears to occur now to Aviendha, who is quickly shunted out of the way. Rand himself suffers again from a fairly limited amount of page time as well which would have been frustrating if the others had not been so interesting. The only other fault in this vein was hat Egwene's story did not continue into the latter half of the book.

As I said, a good farewell to an excellent author. I can only hope that Brandon Sanderson can finish the story off just as well.

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New Spring

New Spring

Robert Jordan

20th May 2010

This has actually surprised me by how good it is, and is probably my favourite book in the whole series (so far). It's a refreshing change to the ongoing storyline that we're plodding through in the main series, but is still a part of the same story which gives an excellent insight into the backstory.

This book tells the story of Moiraine, and how she and Siuan begin on their mission to find the Dragon Reborn. It covers some of their time as Accepted in the White Tower - a situation we have not seen much of in the main series. It also delves a little into Lan's backstory, and how he and Moiraine meet.

The characters are excellently portrayed - they are visibly the same characters that we've come to know twenty years later in the books so far, but with an element of youth which allows the reader a much better view into the workings of their minds. The only one I think was not particularly well depicted is Lan. His story is short and fragmented and shown through his thoughts rather than his actions, which a lot of the time mean there is not enough detail to understand what has happened.

The world itself is slightly different from the one we have come to know and it's fascinating to see how it has changed in the following decades. There are also a few little hints that the reader will pick up upon, and characters mentioned in passing that we know will return in the future.

It's a short book, at least on the Wheel of Time scale, but that certainly does not detract from it's value. I very much enjoyed it, and hope that this will continue in Jordan's last book in the series, Knife of Dreams.

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Crossroads of Twilight

Crossroads of Twilight

Robert Jordan

26th March 2010

I've heard bad things about this book, and because of this I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't anything like as bad as has been made out. Okay, so not a great deal happens in terms of advancing the plot, but it's not an awful book. This is however from the perspective of a reader who could, if so inclined, pick up the next volume immediately - perhaps I would think differently if I knew I had to wait several years for the next instalment.

This book mostly focusses on what I think of as the second rank of characters - Rand is the first rank - dedicating each of Perrin, Mat, Elayne and Egwene a sizable chunk each, taking their storylines from slightly before the end of the previous book and advancing them a little. I quite like that each character has their own chunk, rather than being interspersed with the others, as it helps me not to lose track.

The majority of the action comes in the last few chapters though, when we flick around the characters a little, and events begin to occur a lot more quickly. Mostly however this book does feel like a bit of a gap filler - but that doesn't make it bad from my perspective. It's still just as well written, the characters are almost truer in this book than in a number of others, and so I'm happy. Yes, it's a pain that not a lot has happened and now I've got the prequel to read before getting back to the main story, but I actually don't mind.

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Winter's Heart

Winter's Heart

Robert Jordan

16th February 2010

By book nine, the rumour mill had seriously hinted to me, the Wheel of Time becomes slow, stale and boring as it plods tediously on getting nowhere nearer its conclusion. I disagree. I thought this book was a refreshing upping of pace on the last few books. Each of the characters has a defined goal again and works to achieve it, and each of them has a storyline (except Egwene) which actually interested me.

Everything I remember hanging over from the previous novel is picked up in this one, and several of the loose ends from earlier in the series are picked up and are starting to be tied off ready to build up to the end of the story. The characters finally start to talk to one another again which is a genius move on their part as their lack of communication and co-operation has really been getting on my nerves.

The only confusing element in this novel was the bad-guys. They seem to chop and change names and bodies so often that it's hard to keep track - this is true of a lot of the minor characters, and there are a lot of them. It makes some aspects quite hard to follow when you don't know who is who and where you've met them before. In this way the glossaries at the end of each novel could certainly be improved - in my opinion they should have existed to remind the reader of who people are and what events earlier in the story were.

Overall though I did think this novel was an improvement in terms of story and structure. It's left sufficient hanging over ready for book ten without leaving you feeling like it has held back. The ending is rather sudden, but not yet knowing where the story is going I can't tell if that's for a good reason. I am actually looking forward to picking up the next book as soon as possible.

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Other reviewed books

The Path of Daggers
The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time
A Crown of Swords
Lord of Chaos
The Fires of Heaven
The Shadow Rising
The Dragon Reborn
The Great Hunt
The Eye of the World

Unreviewed books

The Wheel of Time Companion

Top books

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  4. Towers of Midnight
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  6. A Memory of Light
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  8. The Path of Daggers
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  10. Winter's Heart
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  12. Crossroads of Twilight
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  14. New Spring