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: Knife of Dreams (Robert Jordan)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time 11 Knife of Dreams

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time #11)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy   Pages: 793
First published: 2005
Edition: Paperback, published by Orbit in 2006

The dead are walking, men die impossible deaths, and it seems as though reality itself has become unstable: All are signs of the imminence of Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, when Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn, must confront the Dark One as humanity’s only hope.

The Wheel of Time truly is the epicest (not a word I know) of all epic fantasy. It moves slow and deliberate setting up a world so expansive and detailed it feels incredibly real.

In Knife of Dreams the story takes a definite step forward, despite the fact the story moves along at snail’s pace. We spent time with all of our own main characters, some more than others, but it is mainly Mat that we see  move into position. This book definitely feels like the story is starting to reach its conclusion as the underlying tension builds.

It is incredibly hard to talk about these books individually, but as a whole this series is truly astounding in its detail and world building.

I am looking forward to re-reading the next one in a couple of months’ time.

5 out of 7 stars

Randomness

Let’s Talk about the upcoming The Wheel of Time TV Adaptation

So, Amazon is turning my favourite epic fantasy series into a TV series. Is that exciting? Yes, definitely. Is it scary? Hell, yeah, what if it ends up being a complete farce like the Shannara Chronicles car crash? But I have a bit of hope that it won’t… Why not? Well…

1. It’s Amazon and one presumes that the program will have a decent budget. I mean, when I heard the budget for their (completely unneccesary) Lord of the Rings adaptation it kind of blew my mind!

2. Creator Rafe Judkins is a big fan of the actual book series and director (of at least the first episode) Uta Briesewitz has plenty of experience with big shows (Jessica Jones, Westworld, Stranger Things, Altered Carbon, etc)

3. Robert Jordan’s widow Harriet and Brandon Sanderson are involved in some sort of consulting capacity. Sanderson has said that the changes they made to the source material make sense considering the different medium and I think I trust his opinion.

4. The casting so far looks pretty solid. A big actress (Rosamund Pike) to play Moiraine and lesser known/less exposed talented actors for the younger roles. I am curious to see what other actors will be cast!

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***

I am curious to see what changes will  be made. From what I have heard Moiraine is the main protagonist in at least the first few episodes, whereas Rand is the main protagonist in the first book. Apparently they are also expanding the role of Logain, the false dragon. I think that could actually be a good move. I wonder whether they will show Rand and Logain with parallel storylines, so people unfamiliar with the books may not be sure who the true Dragon Reborn is.

Considering that Moiraine is kinda the main girl in the TV series, I wonder whether they will pull some of the prequel New Spring into the show to show some of her (and Lan’s) background.

I am also pretty curious what R-rating they will put on it. I mean, there is quite a bit of nudity, sex and violence in the books, even if the writing is never that gory or explicit. Bad, cruel shit happens all the time in these books and there is so much nudity!

Will they condense the books? How closely will the series follow the main events from the books? What will it expand on? What will it cut out? So many questions!

However, something I really love about these books is the cultural details. Every area in the WOT world has its own very detailed cultural differences. I hope they bring a lot of that to the screen as well. It is what makes Jordan’s fantasy world so rich.

***

Have you read the books? Are you excited about the TV series? What changes do you think will/should be made?

Buckle up! The Wheel of Time Series is only two years away… 😂😉

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: New Spring (Robert Jordan)

Jordan, Robert - New Spring

★★★★★★☆

Title: New Spring
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy   Pages: 397
First published: 2004
Edition: Paperback, published in 2014 by Orbit

Moiraine Damodred, a young Accepted soon to be raised to Aes Sedai, and Lan Mandragoran, a soldier fighting in the battle, are set on paths that will bind their lives together. But those paths are filled with complications and dangers, for Moiraine, of the Royal House of Cairhien, whose king has just died, and Lan, considered the uncrowned king of a nation long dead, find their lives threatened by the plots of those seeking power.

This is a prequel novel to The Wheel of Time series set around twenty years before the series starts. It tells the story of Moiraine and Lan, two prominent characters from the series and I thought it was a really good insight into their characters.

It is about half as long as most The Wheel of Time books and I think it felt tighter and less elaborate than many of those books. That is not a bad thing.  It helped that the only two perspectives we get are Lan’s and Moiraine’s, mostly the latter. I have always loved Robert Jordan’s writing style, despite the fact that it can be overly descriptive and a tad repetitive, but here that was not an issue.

I had never read this novel before and I was glad to be able to read it for the first time. It was a joy from start to finish.

6 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: Winter’s Heart (Robert Jordan)

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★★★★★☆☆

Title: Winter’s Heart (The Wheel of Time #9)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy     Pages: 678
First published: 2000
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 2001

I went back into Robert Jordan’s world for the ninth book of The Wheel of Time series and I have to say I had fun there.

Yes, it’s one of those dreaded middle books in a gigantic series and drags a little in places, but overall I enjoyed this re-read. It was laid out a little oddly, with focus on certain characters in the first half the book and different ones in the second part. I did not mind that, as I sort of know the storylines anyway, but I can imagine if this is your first read that might be a little grating.

On a positive note, I know Jordan is always slated a bit for his female characters, but actually I thought they were handled much better in this book. They were not as annoying and there are definitely plenty of kick-ass women in it. In fact, most leaders are women and they are boss leaders too, not just wimpering queens. I like that aspect quite a bit. Our main male characters get bossed around by the ladies more than they would like, with varying degrees of success.

Our main protagonist Rand is a bit more human in this book, and I liked the way his storyline was handled. I was also happy to see the introduction of Tuon, who is a really interesting character.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this re-read and though it gets bogged down in details sometimes, the world building remains incredible. I am looking forward to re-reading the next one in a couple of months’ time.

5 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: A Crown of Swords (Robert Jordan)

Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Times #07 A Crown of Swords

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: A Crown of Swords (The Wheel of Time #7)
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy     Pages: 740
First published: 1996
Edition: Mass Market Paperback, published by Orbit in 2002

So I have come to the halfway point in my epic re-read of The Wheel of Time series.

I remembered this book being extremely slow and not a lot happening in it, but I have to say that this time around I actually enjoyed it more than I expected.

When I have read one of his books I am reminded that Jordan’s world building is second to none. The customs and appearances of people from different places differ quite a bit.  whether it is dress or speech, Jordan manages to bring this across very well. He is a very good storyteller, making you see events unfold before your eyes.

We are introduced to some very interesting characters in this book, such as Cadsuane, and I was glad to see the return of other beloved characters. But this book IS slow and not enough happens in it really binge-read it. It simply not exciting enough to really get you enthralled until right at the end.

Having said that, I did enjoy this re-read more than I expected to and I am looking forward to reading The Path of Daggers in a couple of months time.

4 out of 7 stars