I finished something on the Ides of January that I started nearly two dozen years ago, literally half a lifetime for me, or two turns of the Wheel of Time as respects the Year of the Dragon. I know, I know. I’m mixing calendrical metaphors again with my Julian and Oriental dates. I’m inspired by both Ancient Roman history and enamored of my birth year in the Chinese Zodiac. Only three weeks remain of my favorite of the twelve years, not to rise again until the day after my son’s thirty-eighth birthday. By that time, I predict I’ll be a grandmother, introducing my grandchildren to the fantastic worlds found in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and The Hobbit.
When I picked up the first book in this series, The Eye of the World, my daughter was less than a year old; now she’s a mezzo soprano graduate student at the University of North Texas. Last week, I read the final book, A Memory of Light, in the Wheel of Time series. I resisted the urge to write a review immediately upon completing the series, knowing from past experience, that I needed to ‘grieve’ for the series and its characters. Whenever I finish an epic and beloved book or series, knowing there will be no more adventures, insights, intrigues, anything from that world, I fall into a funk, almost a depression. For two or three days, I felt morose. In some respects, being incredibly stressed and busy at work kept me from indulging in those doldrums.
I finally gave a rating to the book at GoodReads sometime on Friday, remembering to move it from my currently reading shelf to my read shelf in a fit of digital housekeeping. I almost gave it four stars, but reluctantly, and probably against my gut instincts, I relented and gave it a full five stars (with a 4.5 qualifier in my short written review). I give an unreserved five stars specifically to scenes containing Bela, Tam, Egwene and Lan. And I also adore the relatively recent additions of Androl and Pevara.
To the question of ‘Was it worth the wait?’ I am still unsure. Despite the bright shining stars mentioned above, much of the final book annoyed me. Why bother to bring back Moiraine if she amounts to a footnote in the Last Battle? And the same could be said for Nynaeve and Rand for that matter. Mat and the Seanchan – I still wish either or both of them had never cluttered up this series. And Elayne seems to be taking Empire-building lessons from Tuon’s ancestor.
The questions I wanted answered remain unanswered. The resolutions I hoped for did not occur, save perhaps in some oblique off-hand hinted at way.
And thanks to my impatience, I will be re-reading A Memory of Light in May, as I continue leading the discussion of the entire Wheel of Time series (currently in the middle of the 10th book, The Crossroads of Twilight) at the Fantasy Book Club Series GoodReads group. From this point forward, everything I re-read will be dimmed by my foreknowledge of the end. I should, perchance, take to heart the final words of the author(s) and let go, for ‘… it was not the ending. There are no endings, and never will be endings, to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was an ending.’