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Title: A Memory of Light
Series: The Wheel of Time #14
Author: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Note, this summary is neither in chapter order nor strictly chronological. Instead, it follows the individual plot threads insofar as that is feasible.
At the Black Tower, Androl and Pevara have realized that Taim is forcibly turning men to the Shadow and decide to try and work together. They practice linking but Androl doesn’t release the link quickly enough and Pevara panics and bonds him when he does. He retaliates by bonding her. They learn that Welyn has been turned and he claims that Logain and Taim have patched up their differences and are working together. They realize that Logain must have been captured and Androl decides to free him. They invite one of the turned men, Dobser, to come and talk and ambush him knocking him unconscious and tying him up with air. When he wakes, Emarin interrogates him, apologising for what Androl did and telling Dobser that he only followed Logain for his own safety as he didn’t want to reveal his true identity. Dobser assumes him to be a high lord of Tear and tells him where Logain is located. They go to rescue Logain, but Evin is caught and gives the plan away and they are captured. Taim tries again to turn Logain, but fails and also tries with Emarin, but fails with him as well. He manages to turn Toveine and Evin who urge Logain to stop fighting. Androl uses his knowledge of Evin, that his madness has made him extremely suspicious, to make him turn against Abors who he attacks, but the struggle is brief and Taim’s men come out victorious. Hessalam arrives and criticizes Taim, who tells her he has the Seals. They decide to leave and he orders Androl and the others killed. He weaves balefire at Androl.
Perrin and Gaul enter Tel’aran’rhiod in the flesh, to better combat Slayer. They go to the Black Tower, as Perrin suspects there is another dreamspike He sees Lanfear there, who explains to him something of how it works enabling him to remove it. With the dreamspike removed, Androl is able to weave a small gateway and the balefire Taim aimed at him passes through it. Canler and other loyal Asha’man break in and the two groups begin to fight. Androl opens a gateway in front of Taim’s men, with the exit behind them, and weaves meant for him and his allies instead kill many of them. Taim, Hessalam and the others flee.
At the Field of Merrilor, Rand tells the assembled leaders that he will have three conditions for agreeing to fight in the Last Battle. The first is that the nations sign a peace agreement, the Dragon’s Peace, to last a hundred years, the second is that he be given the Seals to break and finally that he have complete control of all the armies. It is not going well until Moiraine arrives and repeats parts of the Prophecies of the Dragon that show Rand is right. He agrees not to break the Seals himself as long as Egwene agrees to break them when the time is right. The rulers agree to his demands and Aviendha asks him to include the Aiel. He says he trusts them to do what is right, but she insists and he changes the treaty to include them as peacekeepers between the nations. Moiraine also makes him realise he cannot have command of the armies while he fights the Dark One and he names Elayne to the role. When the time comes to give Egwene the Seals, he discovers they are fakes and the real ones have been stolen.
Mat goes to Ebou Dar to see Tuon and saves her from a gray man. Rand visits and manages to persuade Tuon to abide by the treaty. She and Egwene also have a meeting, that threatens to descend into conflict until Mat steps in and forces them to come to an agreement. She accepts that as the Sea Folk have not accepted her in any way, and Tremalking does not have a Sea Folk ruler, their rule there is illegitimate and the Sea Folk must be left to rule themselves They decide that the women who have been collared will not be freed, but that in future, the Seanchan can send emissaries to the other Westlands, asking women who can channel to come and be damane. She agrees that the Seanchan forces will fight in the Last Battle
They decide to fight the Last Battle on four fronts, with one of the Great Captains planning the battle for each of them but with Elayne in overall command. Bryne will lead in southern Kandor, Agelmar at Tarwin’s Gap, Bashere in Caemlyn and Rodel will defend Shayol Ghul, while Rand fights the Dark One. Graendal uses compulsion on them however, to cause them to make mistakes and many men are killed. Rand enters the Pit of Doom and starts to fight Moridin. Demandred arrives from Shara, with a huge army including hundreds of channelers who take on the combined Aes Sedai forces. He has Sakarnen, a sa’angreal and a full circle of seventy two, but his effectiveness is limited as he obsesses about Lews Therin.
Baldhere and Lan realize that Agelmar is making mistakes that leave their army completely exposed, and they lose most of their army. Tam realizes that Bashere has left their army heavily exposed and Elayne realizes he has been under compulsion. Logain and the Asha’man arrive and manage to save Elayne’s army by opening a gateway into Dragonmount and letting the lava block the path of the advancing Trollocs. Rodel realizes that he is being made to give bad orders and fights against it. Perrin sends Elyas to stop him, and Elyas is able to get there before the compulsion overcomes Rodel. When Mat arrives in Kandor, he realizes that Bryne is making mistakes that are positioning the forces of the Light to be wiped out. He sends Min to tell Egwene that Bryne must be a Darkfriend, but she just assumes Mat doesn’t understand what is happening and laughs at the idea. She begins to reconsider if she really does trust him and when she hears that Bashere turned against Elayne, she begins to question some of his decisions and he is removed from command. Egwene realizes that because of Mat’s medallion, he is the only one who can be trusted and he takes over control, moving to one location, the Field of Merrilor. They move all the forces apart from the ones protecting Shayol Ghul and wait for the Shadowspawn armies to arrive.
Faile waits in Tar Valon to take the Horn of Valere to Mat. Berisha prepares to open a gateway, but a bubble of evil hits and it the group ends up in the Blight, Berisha having being stabbed with a dagger. Harnan and Vanin open the chest containing the Horn and flee when confronted by Faile. The group make their way through the Blight until they come to a supply dump near the Town. They enter it, disguised as Darkfriends, but are given away by Aravine. An Aes Sedai arrives and opens a gateway, which they go through. Olver stabs the Aes Sedai and in the confusion, Harnan and Vanin free other captives. Faile kills Aravine to take back the Horn and gives it to Olver, asking him to try and get it to Mat.
The battle continues for days, with the forces of the Light outnumbered, but Mat managing to keep them alive. Demandred continues obsesses over Lews Therin and kills Gawyn in single combat and severely injures Galad. Taim is defeated by Egwene wielding Vora’s Sa’angreal and is given sakarnen by Demandred. He uses it to weave balefire and with the Sharans, kills half of the Aes Sedai. Egwene discovers a counter to balefire and with this she defeats and kills him, drawing too much of the Power and sacrificing herself, taking out most of the Ayyad as she does. Demandred is killed by Lan and the forces of the Shadow lose their cohesion. Olver blows the Horn of Valere and the Heroes come to fight. Mat fakes a fight with Tuon and the Seanchan withdraw, encouraging the forces of the Shadow to attack for what they expect to be a final victory, but they stretch themselves too thin and are obliterated when the Seanchan return.
Rand fights Moridin at the Pit of Doom before engaging with the Dark One and being shown a range of possible worlds after the Dark One wins. He rejects them all. Moridin grabs Callandor and realizes it is a sa’angreal for the True Power. Nynaeve and Moiraine use its flaw to take control of what he is holding and link with Rand, who melds the three powers together, as Logain breaks the seals to reforge the Dark One’s prison.
Perrin kills Slayer. A weave of compulsion backfires on Graendal, leaving her dedicated to Aviendha. Moghedien is collared by the Seanchan and Lanfear is killed by Perrin to stop her killing Nynaeve and preventing Rand from reforging the prison. Mat kills Padan Fain. Rand swaps bodies with Moridin and fakes his own death. He leaves, unable to channel but with an ability to alter reality by simply willing a pipe to be lit.
Well, the journey is done. Sanderson wraps up the Wheel of Time, something long time fans were not sure was actually going to happen. And in all honesty, he did a good job of it too.
My only gripe is that Sanderson brings his social justice attitude to the front several times and makes a point of pointing out which ash’aman are homosexual. It added nothing to the story and looking back, this was about the time I began diverging from Sanderson in his other works.
That aside, I was quite happy with how this went. The battle, one looooooong one really, was fantastically written and once one of the main characters turned out to be mindwarped by the Dark One and then another main character dies, well, it was obvious nobody was safe from destruction and death.
Lan’s final sword fight was the epitome of epic and characterized him to a tee. I’m not sure about Rand, since he now appears to be able to control reality at will. Will he live forever? If so, what do the dreams of Rhuedin now mean to the Wise Ones?
Jordan, and thus Sanderson by proxy, left a LOT of questions unanswered and areas unexplored. I don’t know if he was really planning on writing more in this universe, but it sure seems so. If he wasn’t, then he was just a jerk for creating questions for the readers without any possible answers.
Overall, while I am glad I re-read this, I don’t ever plan on doing that again. I saw too many of Jordan’s weaknesses as a writer on display and way too many instances of his wife’s bad decisions as his editor. I obviously have mixed feelings about this series but I don’t unreservedly recommend it nor universally condemn it. I won’t be reading it for a third time though.
- A Memory of Light (2013 Review)
- Towers of Midnight (Book 13)
- The Gathering Storm (Book 12)
- Knife of Dreams (Book 11)
- Crossroads of Twilight (Book 10)
- Winter’s Heart (Book 9)
- Path of Dagger (Book 8)
- Crown of Swords (Book 7)
- Lord of Chaos (Book 6)
- New Spring (Book 0)
- The Fires of Heaven (Book 5)
- The Shadow Rising (Book 4)
- The Dragon Reborn (Book 3)
- The Great Hunt (Book 2)
- The Eye of the World (Book 1)