Book Review: Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan’s A Memory of Light

Posted February 5, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan’s A Memory of Light

A Memory of Light


Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan

fantasy in Hardcover edition that was published by Tor Books on January 8, 2013 and has 909 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages, Towers of Midnight, Dangerous Women, Games Creatures Play, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning

Fourteenth and last in the Wheel of Time fantasy series.

In 2013, A Memory of Light was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy.

My Take

Yup, I cried. And cried. Even writing this review, I want to cry again. It just breaks my heart. The deaths that Rand feels. The deaths we witness. It was T-E-N-S-E. I swear, I raced through the pages. Be sure to take any heart medication before you read this, because it will be pounding! Especially with all the people being killed off right and left! Sanderson leaves it up for grabs until the last minute as to whether the good guys will win.

It was a bit disappointing that this installment came off as more Sanderson than Jordan unlike the two previous books. It created a disconnect immediately for me.

Rand has a lesson to learn in this, and your heart will be pounding with the enormity of the decision he must make and the completely opposite decisions that are possible. I want to go back and re-read the series from the start as Rand has grown up so much. Heck, even Cadsuane is impressed!

There were some stupid little things in this: why Sanderson has Min do something so completely outside her usual caution; where did these Sharans come from; and, Egwene. Especially Egwene, who knows about dreamwalking. Why wouldn’t she have set wards for it?

What is going on in Seanchan? I feel as though I’ve missed an entire book…

I love it! Mat wants to put Furyk and Lan in a staring contest. He reckons they’d be at it for years.

They are horrendous battles with the accompanying mayhem, injury, and death. Battles fought on so many fronts, in so many ways. With many rethinking their own righteousness. Not enough, but many.

As for the epilogue. I was very disappointed. It felt incomplete. As though we’re left hanging off that cliff. Yes, I realize this sort of ending is normal, but considering that Jordan is dead, that Sanderson is unlikely to want to continue and start up a new series based on this ending, and that Jordan’s estate is unlikely to allow any further developments. Well, damn it, I want a bit more.

I really hate those endings that simply get chopped off. What will happen with the Aiel in future? What about the empress? Why would the Sharans ally with one of the Forsaken? The damane? Is the male half, the saidin, gone? Those are my big questions. There are always the little ones about Elayne and Rand’s twins. What will happen for them. Do the White and Black Towers evolve? Can Rand’s peace hold? What happened to Galad? Just what is Androl Genhold’s back history?

I don’ wanna use my own imagination!

The Story

It starts with a little side trip so we understand how the world is changing, meanwhile Caemlyn is being invaded by Trollocs and only half the Band is there.

Rand intends a radical approach, one which Egwene refuses to accept. And Rand demands the Dragon’s Peace.

The Black Tower battles within. Mat journeys to Ebou Dar and the empress while Perrin enters the Wolf Dream, Tel’aran’rhiod, with Gaul to guard his back.

Elayne will command the armies with the four great captains: Gareth Bryne, Davram Bashere, Rodel Ituralde, and Lord Agelmar. Their primary tasks are to defend Tarwin’s Gap and the border of Kandor, retake Caemlyn, and destroy Shaitan.

The Characters

Five young people from the Two Rivers, farming country so far off the beaten path the people hadn’t seen tax collectors in decades. These five people are the pivots around which the last hopes of this world will turn: Rand al’Thor; Perrin Aybara, Matrim Cauthon (the boys are all ta’veren), Egwene al’Vere, and Nynaeve al’Meara.

Rand al’Thor is the Dragon Reborn. He’s destined to die in his attempt to save the world in the Last Battle. He is a reincarnation of Lews Therin, a male Aes Sedai who did break the world when he sealed the Bore in the last turn of the Wheel. Min is Rand’s most constant companion and one of the three women he will marry. Although she gets in a heap of trouble with the empress. Sebban Balwer was Perrin’s secretary and spymaster, now on loan to Rand. The Asha’man with Rand include Jahar Narishma who has bonded with Merise, Damer Flinn, and Naeff.

Cadsuane will be with Rand at the Last Battle with Alivia; Alanna; Aviendha; Tallan, a Windfinder; and Amys.

Tar Valon
Setalle Anan has come to Tar Valon as well along with Olver, the young orphan Mat took in. Laras is still mistress of the kitchens, and she will work alongside Faile, who has become quartermaster for the armies and aided by Captain Madevwin, Vanin, and Harnin, Red Arms in the Band of the Hand. It is Faile’s job to deliver the Horn of Valere to Mat. Aravine was driving the wagon; and Selande and Arrela of Cha Faile was with them when the gate went awry.

The Aes Sedai who embrace saidar and the White Tower
Egwene al’Vere is the Amrylin, the leader of the Aes Sedai, and she has married Gawyn Damodred, who is her Warder at last. I suspect it’s Egwene’s stubborness that leads Gawyn to make the decision he does about the Bloodknives. Gareth Bryne commands the armies of Tar Valon; he is with Siuan Sanche, the former Amrylin. Romanda is still the Sitter for the Yellows. Silviana of the Red is Egwene’s Keeper. Moiraine has returned from the dead married to Thom Merrilin. Adelorna Bastine is Captain-General of the Greens. Yukiri is a Sitter for the Grays. Leane and Lelaine are still alive. Doesine, Faiselle, Masuri, Bea Harkin, and Sarene and her Warder Vitalien are also in this story.

Lyrelle, Myrelle, Faolain, and Theodrin are some of the Aes Sedai outside the Black Tower. Sumeko is one of the few Kinswomen, a.k.a., the Kin, who are mentioned.

Ila and Raen are on the battlefield, hunting for the wounded. Hurin the thieftaker is also there, fighting. Loial comes with his wife Erith, Haman, and every Ogier who can hold an axe or a sword.

Tarwin’s Gap in the Borderlands
Nynaeve al’Meara is Aes Sedai and a Healer; she has her own battles while Lan Mandragoran, a.k.a., Dai Shan, fights for Malkier in the Borderlands at Tarwin’s Gap. Prince Kaisel, Andere, and Lord Baldhere, who worries about Agelmar are with him.

Elayne Trakand is queen of Andor, Aes Sedai, and pregnant with Rand’s twins. Birgitte Silverbow is a Hero of the Ages, torn from her place in the World of Dreams, and fears having lost Gaidal. She commands Elayne’s guards as Captain-General and is her Warder. Captain Guybon is in charge of the Queen’s Men in Andor. Lady Dyelin is one of her advisors. Melfane is the autocratic midwife. Uno has survived. Mellar, the traitorous guardsman, makes his appearance as well.

Aviendha is the third woman in Rand’s life. She has passed the test and become a Wise One, but it’s no blessing. Aviendha’s last trip to Rhuidean has opened her eyes to the Aiel future. Other Aiel Wise Ones include Sorilea, Melaine is heavily pregnant with twins, Bair, Kymer, and Amys. Rhuarc, Bael, and Jheran are some of the clan chiefs.

The Band of the Red Hand
Matrim Cauthon is the leader of the Band, the Prince of the Ravens, and married to the Daughter of the Nine Moons; he will acquire another title, Knotai. Talmanes is his second-in-command. Lieutenant Sandip is one of the Band’s commanders and a hedge-doctor. Melten knows a trick that may keep Talmanes alive long enough to get proper help. Vanin is one of their best trackers, but he’s gone to Tar Valon as escort.

Mat got Elayne’s backing for Aludra‘s dragons.

Perrin’s People
Perrin Aybara, a.k.a., Lord Goldeneyes, a.k.a., Young Bull, is married to Lady Faile, second in line to the throne of Saldaea. He has brought his ragtag army to Rand. Gaul is still with him as are Chiad and Bain. Queen Alliandre of Ghealdan and Berelain Pendraeg of Mayene have given their allegiance to Perrin; and, Berelain has found a new man to hunt. Annoura Sedai is still with Berelain. The Asha’man who look to Perrin include Jur Grady and Neald. Edarra is one of the Wise Ones who remain with him. The Two Rivers men with Perrin include Tam al’Thor, Rand’s father and commander of Perrin’s army; Dannil is Tam’s second; Master Luhhan, the blacksmith and Perrin’s master; and, Abell Cauthon, Mat’s father. Elyas, a.k.a., Long Tooth, steps in to help. Arganda is Alliandre’s man. Gallene is the Mayener commander; Havien Nurelle will play a needed role at the end.

The Sea Folk
They refer to Rand as the Car’a’carn, one who will fulfill a prophecy for them. Zaida din Parede Blackwing is the Mistress of the Ships, and they stand with Ituralde.

The Rulers
Darlin Sisnera is King of Tear, holding it for Rand. Gregorin is Steward of Ilian. Queen Ethenielle has sent her son, Antol, to the meeting in the Field of Merrilor; she has married Kalyan Ramsin. Davram Bashere is uncle to Tenobia, the Queen of Saldaea and Faile’s father; he is also heir to the throne. His wife, Deira, rides at his side. Roedran is King of Murandy. Alsalam is the King of Arad Doman. King Paitar of Arafel, Lord Agelmar of Shiernar, and King Easar are more kings.

Leilwin Shipless was known as Egeanin. She and Bayle Domon are together now, married; she intends to set the Daughter of the Nine Moons straight.

The Whitecloaks, Children of the Light
A religious order, the Whitecloaks see all who channel as witches. Galad Damodred, Elayne’s half-brother, is now the Lord Captain Commander, and he will sign. Trom is the second-in-command. Dain Bornhald comes to terms with past events.

The Asha’man who wrestle saidin and the Black Tower
Mazrim Taim, the M’hael, has divided the Black Tower using thirteen channelers and thirteen Myrddraal to create Dreadlords. Coteren, Atal Mishraile, Abors, and Mezar are some of Taim’s bully boys. Dobser and Leems are more that Taim turns; the M’hael suborns them too easily, and they never know when one of their own is taken.

Androl Genhold is a de factor leader of the ones untouched along with Emarin, a.k.a., Lord Algarin of House Pendaloan; Canler; Evin; Malaam; Welyn (Jenare is his Aes Sedai); Logain Ablar bonds with Gabrelle; Desautel; and, Jonneth Dowtry. Androl and Pevara Tazanovni Aes Sedai, a Red Sitter, will reach an understanding. Lind Taglien runs the bar inside the Black Tower. Her husband Frask was “hired to help Henre Haslin teach swordsmanship”. Toveine is another of the Aes Sedai inside the Black Tower.

Lord Jarid of House Sarand refuses to accept Elayne as Queen. Bayrd, Lord Karam, Eri, Rosse, and the rest finally come to terms with the Dragon being Reborn.

The Seanchan are in Ebou Dar
The Seanchan are invaders from across the sea who believe they have a mandate to conquer these lands. They view any who can control saidar as damane, needing to be collared and themselves controlled. Mat’s wife, the Daughter of the Nine Moons, is now the Empress Fortuona Athaem Devi Paendrag. We know her as Tuon. Selucia is Tuon’s Voice and her Truthspeaker.

Petra, the strong man from Valan Luca’s circus is now a Seanchan guard. General Lunal Galan, the head of the Seanchan armies, is sending assassins after Tuon. General Furyk Karede is the captain of the Deathwatch Guard who failed in their mission. Savara, Abaldar Yulan, Courtani, Makoti, and Tylee are some of the Seanchan generals.

Beslan, Tylin’s son, has sworn allegiance to the Seanchan.

The Forsaken and their Allies
The Chosen are those who went to the Dark side, to the Great Lord, the Dark One, Shaitan: Moridin, a.k.a., Ishamael, a.k.a., Elan Morin Tedronai, has lost interest, although he is Nae’blis. Moghedien is out of favor. Demandred is in the ascendance. Cyndane was once known as Lanfear and originally as Mierin. Hessalam is an old and ugly woman, once known as Graendal.

Isam, a.k.a., Lord Luc, a.k.a., Slayer, is nothing as he appears. And all he wants is to hunt. Padan Fain, a.k.a., Ordeith, a.k.a., Mordeth, now Shaisam, comes to Shayol Ghul as well in the mist of Mashadar.

Duhara and Falion have become Dreadlords, no longer Black Ajah. Jeaine Caide pretended to be Cadsuane at the cave. Mishraile, Alviarin has bonded Nensen, Kash, Rianna, Donalo, and Ayako are at the Field of Merrilor.

Trollocs are a horrible hybrid between man and beast. Myrddraal, a.k.a., Fades, a.k.a., Halfman, are too powerful, too strong, too fast, and they command the Trollocs, forcing them into battle. Draghkar are Shadowspawn, capable of singing their prey into acceptance.

Shayol Ghul is this world’s version of Hell. Samma N’Sei are the red-veiled ones. Your heart will sicken when you learn from whence they came.

The Sharans
I find it odd that an entire country of people is pretty much ignored throughout the series only to show up in such force now at the very end. A bit convenient. The Sharans are led by Bao the Wyld, originally known as Barid Bel Medar, a.k.a., Demandred.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a slashing Rand as he enters the cave so many of the baddies have scrunched through before him. He carries Callandor a sword of light and power; the background is a yellow and blue sky as an eclipse obscures the sun.

The title is for Rand and those who support him, for they have A Memory of Light.