Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: A Memory of Light (Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson)

Jordan, Robert - A Wheel of Time 14 A Memory of Light (w Brandon Sanderson)

★★★★★★☆

Title: A Memory of Light (The Wheel of Time #14)
Author:  Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fiction/Epic fantasy
First published: 2013
Edition: Massmarket Paperback, published by Orbit in 2014

All humanity is in peril – and the outcome will be decided in Shayol Ghul itself. The Wheel is turning, and the Age is coming to its end. The Last Battle will determine the fate of the world …

As far as conclusions to series go, this is the most epic of epic closers. I felt that the first time I read it and I feel exactly the same way this time around.

It took me quite long to read, but that had more to do with my attention span (bad) than the book itself. Because although this is an amazing book, it takes some reading, especially the begining. This is probably because the writing still goes into unnecessary detail, but man, it is grand. In this book The Last Battle is fought and the scale and course of that battle is so well described you could practically draw it out. There are so many blazes of glory and epic fails, that once The Last Battle rages, it is hard to stop.

We get to spend time with all of our favourite characters and none are safe. They all fight for what they are worth. Will they all survive this final battle?

Just as a side note, there is a chapter called ‘The Last Battle’, which is over 200 pages long!

This series is worth it for this last book alone. The journey is hard, just like it is for our characters, but the pay-off is everything.

I will write up an overall review for the whole 14-book series at the beginning of May, because it deserves it.

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Towers of Midnight (Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 13 Towers of Midnight (with Brandon Sanderson)

★★★★★★☆

Title: Towers of Midnight (The Wheel of Time #13)
Author: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
First published: 2010
Edition: mass market paperback, published in 2011 by Orbit

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.

Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way–at long last–to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways–the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn–have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.

Dovie’andi se tovya sagain – It’s time to toss the dice.

These final books in The Wheel of Time series are an absolute triumph. Whether it is Jordan’s plot or Sanderson’s writing I am not sure, but they are incredible.

The characters we have been following throughout this series start to intersect and the plot seems to magically come together in the most glorious way. I have enjoyed every page of this tome of a book and this being a re-read somehow helped piece things together.

Mat and Perrin’s storylines show so much strength and character and Rand finally feels like Rand again, even if I feel we do not quite get enough time with him to get to know him again in this book. What we do get is some resolutions to a number of story arcs and a clearer picture of what is to come.

I know how hesitant people tend to be about reading The Wheel of Time series because it is rather sprawling in size, but in my opinion it is worth every single page, even the slower ones.

I am wholeheartedly looking forward to re-reading the final book in a couple of months’ time, especially since this one ended on a number of cliffhangers and I can’t quite remember how it continues.

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Gathering Storm (Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 12 The Gathering Storm (with Brandon Sanderson)

★★★★★★☆

Title: The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time #12)
Author: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
First published: 2009
Edition: audio (narrated by Michael Kramer & Kate Reading)

Rand al’Thor struggles to unite a fractured network of kingdoms and alliances in preparation for the Last Battle, as his allies watch in terror the shadow that seems to be growing within the heart of the Dragon Reborn himself.

Egwene al’Vere is a captive of the White Tower and subject to the whims of their tyrannical leader. She works to hold together the disparate factions of Aes Sedai, as the days tick toward the Seanchan attack she knows is imminent. Her fight will prove the mettle of the Aes Sedai, and her conflict will decide the future of the White Tower – and possibly the world itself.

I started this one two months ago, but I did not read that much for a couple of months. Because it was a re-read, I decided to listen to the audio book. I have to say that the audio book is not my favourite. The narration is not bad, but since these are characters I am very familiar with, the way the voices were read were really annoying to me personally. I thought I would get used to that, but unfortunately  it bothered me throughout.

This is the first book that was finished by Brandon Sanderson from Jordan’s notes after his death and he did a fantastic job. I love all books in this series, even if some are slow as heck, but this is one of my favourites.

In terms of the story, this book is where the plot starts to pick up speed and plot lines start to weave together. You can just feel we are in the homestretch and we are gearing up for the climax. I love that there is an urgency now to the story that starts to propel things forward.

Rand’s character development especially throughout the books is incredibly interesting. In the first books he is someone you root for, but he changes so much in the course of the books and you almost start hating him. For most of this book he is almost unrecognisable as the farmboy he started out as all those books ago. And yet I understand him, why he has become what he is at this point, and that is a very clever thing to do.

The whole series is simply so well plotted and thought out. There is so much detail to love and the characters change and grow so much. It does feel slow and heavy at times, but I do feel it is worth every page. This particular book definitely felt like it was paced right and the plot development is what I had been waiting for.

I will be starting book 13, Towers of Midnight, next week, but I will be reading the physical copy rather than the audio book this time.

6 out of 7 stars

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Elantris (Brandon Sanderson)

Sanderson, Brandon - Elantris

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Elantris
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy   Pages: 553
First published: 2005
Edition: Kindle e-book

Elantris was a place of glory. The capital of Arelon, the home to people transformed into magic-using demigods by the Shaod.But then the magic failed, Elantris started to rot, and its inhabitants turned into powerless wrecks.

This was my first sole Brandon Sanderson book and it was a really good start. I enjoyed being able to dive into his work without having to commit to a series straight off the bat.

Sanderson’s writing feels incredibly familiar to me. Of course I have already read The Wheel of Time books that he has finished for Robert Jordan, so that may well be why.

The storyline of Elantris is pretty straightforward. There are only a few POV characters and on the whole this feels like a very tidy well thought out novel. Maybe therein lay the slight issue for me. It felt almost too easy, too clean, as if something was missing. That may be a odd thing to say, but the plot felt rather to the point. I like a bit of meandering every now and then and there was not much of that.

I did enjoy the characters and the plot overall and I definitely connected to Sanderson’s writing, partly because it did feel so familiar. It does remind me of Robert Jordan’s writing, just less elaborate. In my book that is a good thing, on both counts.

I will definitely be reading more of his books in the near future.

5 out of 7 stars

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Crossroads of Twilight (Robert Jordan)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 10 Crossroads of Twilight

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: Crossroads of Twilight (The Wheel of Time #10)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy     Pages: 797
First published: 2003
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 2003

The characters stand at a crossroads, and the world approaches twilight, when the power of the Shadow grows stronger.

If there is one thing to say about this tenth book in The Wheel of Time series is that it is incredibly long-winded. Not a massive amount happens. Possibly as a first-time read this one may be more interesting than a re-read.

Sometimes I find the random interactions between people quite interesting and at other times I found myself doing a series of eyerolls combined with a slight yawn. Jordan’s writing of female characters or relationships is not getting any better with this book, and at times it is almost comical.

Yet, I cannot dislike the book or not enjoy reading it. This world is so fleshed out, so expansive, but so well executed that you can pretty much live in it and I love that. I still really care about all five of our main characters (Rand, Perrin, Mat, Nynaeve and Egewene), even if some of the others annoy me.

I just wish he would get to the point! There just a tad too much pointless waffle. I know that the last four books in the series ( the last three completed by Brandon Sanderson) are a step up from this one and I am looking forward to re-reading those in the upcoming months.

I am anxiously keeping an eye out for news on the upcoming TV series as well, which is apparently tentatively taking shape.

4 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Path of Daggers (Robert Jordan

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 8 The Path of Daggers

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time #8)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy     Pages: 643
First published: 1998
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 2004

These middle books were always going to be weaker than earlier and later books in this epic series. I have read them before, so I knew that going in. That is not to say that I am not enjoying these re-reads. because I am, more than I expected!

This one moves along enough that it kept me from getting bored at any point, but really not much happens. Min still simpers after Rand, Perrin needs to re-grow some, but worst, there’s no Mat!

Overall, I enjoyed this eight book in the series, but I am not entirely sure how necessary it is (if at all). However, I still enjoyed Jordan’s writing. Apart from that, there is not much to say. I am looking forward to reading the next book in a couple of months. I know the series gets stronger and stronger as it goes on from here.

4 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Wheel of Time #4 – The Shadow Rising (Robert Jordan)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 4 The Shadow Rising

★★★★★☆☆

Title: The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time #4)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy     Pages: 1001
First published: 1992
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 2003

This book is a paradox. That is my first thought. On one hand I felt like a lot was happening at once and at the same time I felt not much happened at all. I could almost hear the scrape of pieces shifting on a chessboard in this book.

For a thousand-page book I have to say I did not find it a hard read at all. The characters (for the most part) are engaging, enough was happening to keep me interested and the world feels so well-developed. In contrast, I feel maybe the female characters remain a little underdeveloped in this installment. They get much less page time, but then I guess our main characters were always Rand, Mat and Perrin, who I all love in different ways. Having read the series before and knowing the conclusion already, has added to the joy of following them on their respective journeys.

There are characters in this that I am not so fond of. Faile never ceases to bug me. She is the kind of woman that deserves a good slap. And therein lies one of Jordan’s main issues. He tends to write female characters as obnoxious, obstinate and bossy. Maybe with the exception of Min and maybe Elayne. And yet, these are definitely traits I recognise from women around me, so I am not sure how I feel about that.

This is very much a middle of a series book. It continues building up to something big, the characters are still developing and are moved like chess pieces are being moved across their world. Battles are fought, but you always feel like they are just bricks in the wall of a plot yet to play out. Not that strange considering this is a 14-book series and this is only the fourth book.

Having read the series before, I feel it is a series well worth reading and this book is well developed and for the most part well written, but I know many people by this point would be wondering where it was all going. If you like the most epic of fantasies, do give this series a try. If you feel you could not commit to reading fourteen books, this is not for you.

I still have a big soft spot for The Wheel of Time.

5 out of 7 stars

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Wheel of Time #1: Eye of the World (Robert Jordan)

Jordan, Robert - Wheel of Time #01 The Eye of the World

★★★★★☆☆ 

Title: Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fantasy
First published: 1990
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 1992

It’s hard for me to be objective regarding this one. I have read the whole Wheel of Time series before, even marathon reading all 14 (!!) books a couple of years ago. When a buddy read on Goodreads came up, I felt it was a terribly good excuse to re-read it at a slower pace and I have really enjoyed it.

We start at the Two Rivers, where our three friends Rand Al’Thor, Perrin Aybara and Mat Cauthon have led a sheltered quiet life. Of course all of that changes as they are thrown into the middle of the approaching battle of good and evil.

The pace of this first book in the series is not the briskest, but most of the book moves along just quickly enough. The chapters where Rand and Mat are travelling between Whitebridge and Caemlyn are a bit on the slow side, but never irritatingly so. The pace picks up again at the end and the story surges forward towards a conclusion that sets up for an epic sequel.

A criticism is that every now and then it not quite clear what is happening or whether you missed something, as if something has happened outside the narrative, but it does not bother me that much.

There were many things I had forgotten, for instance what the Eye of the World was! It was definitely interesting to re-read knowing what happens in the end. And knowing that, I guess so much of this first book is about getting to know the characters, especially the three male leads. We will learn much more about the female characters in subsequent books.

This is not a book series for faint hearted, but if you are into grand fantasy series, I would thoroughly recommend to give it a go!

5 out of 7 stars