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review 2019-01-20 20:00
A Memory of Light, Wheel of Time #14 by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan
A Memory of Light - Robert Jordan,Brandon Sanderson

This series was a long road, there's never going to be anything like it for me ever again. There are other epic fantasies out there and there is one, still on-going, that I began around the same time I started this one - but, I'll admit it, 'A Song of Ice and Fire' can't match this. The Evil Empire is developing a fauxevision series of the show as I write this. It will be interesting to see them attempt it, but it won't be pretty. Gray Men can't make, duh.

 

This was my first time reading the entire series over again. The early novels I've read 6, 7, 8 times at least, but around the time I hit 'Winter's Heart' I wasn't feeling the love as strongly anymore. This reread, prompted by the 'Great American Read' (was it supposed to make me read something I hadn't before?), has made me fall in love all over again. Even with the typos that riddle these trade paperback editions. I've come to terms with the errors, the books still look pretty anyway, even if they aren't on the inside.

 

I also have to give huge amounts of credit to Leigh Butler, whose 'Wheel of Time Reread' on Tor.com made an excellent companion during my reading, helping me clear up long-standing questions and allowing me to see connections I never would have made on my own. 

 

In my first review of the book I praised Sanderson, and my only real criticism was my feeling underwhelmed by the conclusion and having been bored during a lot of the endless battle scenes. Some of that still holds true, but reading the whole series so close together this past year makes me appreciate even more how cohesive the series was and, frankly, amazed that more threads weren't dropped. The ambition of this series still staggers me.

 

These books still made me laugh, shiver with anticipation, and gasp in surprise - Sanderson wasn't great on laughs, but he nailed other important aspects and nixed arms crossed over breasts, so - it is so nice to be able to say that this series has aged well. I'm going to read it again. There's a lot that could be said about the sequel series in Seanchan Jordan talked about writing, or the other prequel novels, but this is what we have and its enough.

 

Oh, and I've been reading the official companion now that I've read the whole series over. I have some thoughts.

 

The Wheel of Time

 

Next: 'The Wheel of Time Companion'

 

Previous: 'Towers of Midnight'

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review 2019-01-11 21:40
Towers of Midnight, The Wheel of Time #13 by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan
Towers of Midnight - Robert Jordan,Brandon Sanderson

If the cover art weren't a clue, Perrin takes center stage in this volume with a final confrontation with the Whitecloaks under Galad. This is something that has been brewing since 'The Eye of the World', so it was very satisfying. Perrin's and Galad's plotlines conjoining puts Morgase into an interesting position. Perrin also faces down demons of self-doubt, and a Forsaken or two with varying results. Faile and Berelain Work It Out and we can truly lay to rest the ghost of the Plotline of Doom. As a united force, Perrin's forces march towards the Last Battle.

 

Mat has reached Andor and must delay there until he either opens a letter from Verin, or he receives instructions from her. While he waits he strikes a deal with Elayne for Andor to start building Aludra's dragons. Elayne also has to get Queenie on Perrin for awhile. Long standing darkfriend/Black Ajah threats come to a head and some rash decisions are made. Mat is awesome, and less problematic than he was in 'The Gathering Storm'. As with Perrin, a long-standing animosity - in Mat's case with the Snakes and Foxes - is dealt with on a rescue mission with Thom and Noal. 

 

Egwene and a united White Tower face down the lingering Forsaken threat - and something else - and take to the World of Dreams, with some unwitting assistance from Perrin engaged in battle with another old nemesis. The White Tower is whole and can prepare for the Last Battle, but now it must try to decide how they solve a problem like the Dragon Reborn. 

 

Rand still holds on to his new zen-like state and heads to Arad Doman and then Saldaea to take care of unfinished business, and make amends. With the help of Min he begins to form a plan that could make the coming confrontation with the Dark One the last. Meanwhile Aviendha sets out for Rhuidean to become a Wise One. There she experiences the past of the Aiel, but is given something else, also. A vision of the future that changes much.

 

And then, at the Black Tower (FINALLY, we get a picture of what's going on), some people are troubled by the constant echoing laughter and rubbing of hands. Androl, a Dedicated with a bit part in 'Winter's Heart', becomes the central figure there along with Pevara of the Red Ajah. 

 

As with 'The Gathering Storm', 'Towers of Midnight' (I don't fully understand the name) is clearing away old plotlines and advancing timelines so that all of our main characters are in sync at the start of the Last Battle. Sanderson does the best job that any writer could have, frankly. There are some reunions that we don't get to see and a whole lot of unanswered questions - but this is the penultimate novel we got and its pretty damn good.

 

The Wheel of Time

 

Next: 'A Memory of Light'

 

Previous: 'The Gathering Storm'

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text 2018-12-23 16:38
NO JORDAN?! How will it go?
The Gathering Storm - Robert Jordan,Brandon Sanderson

Any avid reader has at least heard of Conan. No not the ginger headed late night talk show. Conan as in The Barbarian. That is the first series that I had heard of that was done by Robert Jordan. Strangely I had never heard of the Wheel of Time. Once I had I was excited to read the epic series. 

However, I also know that Robert Jordan passed away in 2007 and that 3 books in this series were published after his death. I decided to give it a go anyway and hope that the last 3 lived up to their predecessors. 

 

Brandon Saunderson wrote a few paragraphs in the beginning explaining how he came to write these last books and his own admiration of Robert Jordan. It was touching and honest in a way that I appreciated. Nevertheless, I was skeptical that the following book would stay true to the personalities and quirks that I had come to love of each protagonist that was created by Robert Jordan. 

 

Here's what I think now... GREAT JOB MR. SAUNDERSON! While I can see a bit of optimism creeping into the character, Rand, that was missing in the last few books written by Jordan, I feel it was exactly the right time to bring that out and I hope that it was exactly what Robert Jordan had planned for the character.

 

The jump from one protagonist to another is smooth and easy to follow. I got easily wrapped up in the continuation of their stories and how each one is living out this adventure just as another is living out another. 

 

Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Elayne and Nynaeve are all characters whose story I want to follow. Each with their own unique outlook on the struggles and each one with their own brand of honor and devotion. Naturally I have found a favorite, but I won't allow my choice to color anyone elses. 

 

Suffice it to say, I have enjoyed this series from the beginning. I will continue to the end with a bittersweet emotion. I have enjoyed this Mr. Jordan, I wish you could be hear to know that. Mr. Saunderson, Thank you for continuing the story, I believe you have done RJ proud.

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review 2018-12-22 21:29
Skyward!
Skyward - Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson has done it again,he has done a great job with character creation and had the landscape a distant planet.

When kids reach a certain age they're allowed to join the space force and possibly help defend the planet.

The heroine of the story is the daughter of a coward of a previous battle so she is going to have a hard time advancing in her class.

This book is for teens but it made for an enjoyable read.:)

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review 2018-11-21 15:10
Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)
Oathbringer - Brandon Sanderson

The Everstorm is striking Roshar and a new Desolation has begun as the once docile parshman become conscious gathering to face off against humans who’ve owned them for millennia, however nothing as it seems in the long view of history.  Oathbringer, third installment of Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive, immediately picks up where the story left off as the survivors from the clash on the Shattered Plains regroup in the legendary home of the Knights Radiant and attempt to bring together all the humans on Roshar but hard truths and politics stand in the way.

 

Dalinar Kholin’s actions in the past and those in the present dominate the book like Kaladin and Shallan’s did in the previous two installments, whether through his own eyes or those of others.  Setting up base in Urithiru, Dalinar begins slowly and diplomatically piecing a coalition together though his own past is a major liability.  Using his connection with the Stormfather, Dalinar has other rulers join him in his visions setting up a connection with Queen Fen of Thaylenah and slowly building a relationship.  However his attempts with doing the same with the Azir Prime is complicated by Lift no trusting him initially and the bureaucracy around the young man as well.  But its Dalinar’s bloody past which turns out to be his own worst enemy as we see through his flashbacks a different man who loved battle and bloodlust, two traits nurtured by Odium to create his champion for the conflict to come but which turn against the enemy when Dalinar accepts his past and uses it to defend Thaylen City.

 

Kaladin and Shallan continue progressing through their respective development while Adolin’s slows a bit so as to give time to his cousin Jasnah and the former Assassin in White, Szeth, time to develop into major secondary characters throughout the book.  Through scouting and spying, Kaladin first assesses the actions of the newly awakened parshmen though not without gaining relationships with them, a fact that haunts him when he faces them later in battle and creating a moral crisis that prevents him from stating the Fourth Ideal and almost kills him, Adolin, and Shallan if not for Dalinar’s actions.  Shallan has her own growing crisis throughout the book, multiple personality disorder, which is exacerbated through her Lightweaving and attempts to not be the “scared little girl” she’s always seen herself as.  Though she does not fully overcome it by the end of the book, she has begun dealing with it especially with help from Adolin who is dealing with his own issues stemming from his killing of Sadeas in regards to his place in Alethi society now that the Knight Radiants are reforming.  Though Szeth’s progresses through his Skybreaker training with “ease”, his view of the order and of the overall conflict dovetails with the revelations that nearly destroy Dalinar’s fragile coalition.  These revelations also correspond with Jasnah’s development and her concern for Renarin, whose own spren bonding is a revelation in and of itself as history and expectations are quickly being subverted.

 

Unlike the previous two books, Oathbringer is not as action-packed but is more centered in expanding the understanding the various peoples and politics of Roshar.  While the beginning of the “overall” story was a bang, Sanderson turned the focus from one main area to many which resulted in building the world he created with different peoples with different cultures and long complicated histories interacting with one another during the beginning of what might be a long conflict.  Add on top of this the fact that the ancient history that many believed to be true was not and as a result some are choosing a different side than what is expected of them plus the influence of Odium on everyone, and the next seven books in the series look to be very intriguing.  Though the book’s length is once again an issue, around 1250 pages, attempting to do so much in one book it was the only result.  And if there were flaws, it was mostly the perceived open-ended ways some events happened that were either a mystery to be solved later either in this book or another or just to be left open for no reason.

 

I will not say that Oathbringer is a perfect book, but it was a different change of pace after the first two books in The Stormlight Archive which helped continue the narrative while expanding it over more of Roshar.  Knowing when to “subvert” the standard grand fantasy narrative is always a challenge, doing it this early in the series right now looks like a good move on Brandon Sanderson’s part and I’m interested to see where the story develops going forward.

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