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View Full Version : My AMOL review - No spoilers


Terez
01-07-2013, 07:18 AM
The end has come.

Some of you have read it already, but most of you still have a few hours to go—perhaps a few days if you're unlucky—and this review is for those people, especially those who are wondering what to expect, if not quite so furiously as to hunt down spoilers.

Those of us who consider ourselves HCFFs—whether it's because we've been reading from day one, or because we know WoT better than Brandon, or anything in between—we have expectations for this book. There are certain things we fear about it, too, and not just the inevitable emptiness we'll feel when we realize our theorizing days are essentially done.

We fear for the delivery—at least we know what to expect here by now—and we fear certain outcomes, too. On the fan forums, you will find fans who say they will hate the series if it ends with Rand dead. Others say they will hate it if Rand survives. It has to be one of the two, though, doesn't it?

Which will he choose? Which will he choose?

Other, smaller theories are important to us too. There are some we love so much, we'll hate the book if they don't happen. There are some we hate so much, we'll hate the book if they do happen. I'm speaking generally, of course; some will love it no matter what, whether as a result of ending catharsis or...by sheer force of will. ;)

One thing I've come to learn from compiling the interview database is that RJ didn't have every detail of the ending worked out in 1984. He said he could have written the last scene then, and I now know what the essence of that scene was when he imagined it. It's not very complex, really. It's simple, and in its essence, it really is the right ending for the Wheel of Time, though I'm sure many fans will be frustrated with the details, or lack of resolution to many, many other plotlines, for all RJ warned us multiple times that this would happen. (I suspect the notes were probably lacking in a few important areas, too.) The general lack of resolution didn't bother me, but I was frustrated with certain unexplained things. As for the details we were given...

From Stone to Stone run the lines of if, between the worlds that might be.

RJ laid foreshadowing for a great many things in WoT. Some of them, he followed through with. Others remain as possibilities, things he might have actually considered doing. Some of these, he didn't even specify before he died; Brandon has told us (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=860#3) that sometimes RJ left a note saying "Well, I am either going to do this, this, or this. I was thinking of this, but it could be this." Sometimes, all of these things might be foreshadowed. Even Aviendha's vision of the future, which she is determined to change, is a nod to the Mirror Worlds where the prophecies would have to be fulfilled in different ways. Many parts of the story could have easily been written differently.

Beyond that, the lack of resolution which will frustrate some of you creates a situation that is more open to interpretation than I think many of us expected, and in a way, that's a good thing. I am opinionated, though, and there are certain things that happened in the book that I just don't like. Can't like. And despite what some of you might think, it has little to do with the outcome of my theories. For every WoT release I've experienced (this is my fifth), I have been wrong about some things and right about others, and AMOL is no exception. (In other words, don't make the assumption you know which are which.)

"Does it surprise you that your life might go differently if you made different choices, or different things happened to you? Though I never thought I – Well. The important thing is, we are here. Though not as we hoped."

Verin was a great example of what it's like to be happy you were wrong about something. And we were all wrong about her, one way or another. Those who believed she was Black Ajah thought she was evil, too; hardly anyone bothered to argue that she was a double-agent, and the one person I know of who did mention it wasn't taken seriously (nor did he seem to take himself all that seriously).

I was more wrong than most people about Verin, because I was convinced that Alviarin was the key to the Great Purge; her entire plotline seemed to be designed for her to take the Black Ajah down with her when she fell; the Black Ajah hunters were pointed at her like an arrow. Perhaps RJ considered that, too; perhaps he decided a simultaneous Purge with Egwene on one end and Pevara and Co. on the other was just too much. The Last Battle needs Dreadlords, after all.

My Great Purge theory was the one I dedicated the most time to debating aside from Lews Therin, but I was honestly thrilled to be wrong about it. The actual outcome was foreshadowed even better than the red herrings (read: possibilities) that distracted me. It explained everything about Verin that didn't make sense, and it brought about the Purge in an unexpected and balanced way.

I'm not sure I can say the same for certain things in AMOL. I'm sure there will be many debates once you've all read it about what was satisfying and what was maddening—what was surprising in a Verin kind of way, and what was surprising in an Aram kind of way. I don't know if Verin can be matched, but there are definitely some things that are surprising in a way that will make all of the HCFFs feel a little stupid for having missed them. Which is, of course, a good thing. But I do wonder if Verin was always intended to be a part of RJ's last volume. She would have distracted from certain other things that were less than satisfying, and her own loose ends would have been less frustrating without several years to ponder what the ripples of her actions might look like.

It's tempting for me to blame all of these things on Brandon, but I can't, and not just because it's unfair in the context of trying to finish someone else's work. Or at least, I try to convince myself that Brandon wouldn't take certain liberties, or that Harriet wouldn't allow it—I know that others disagree, others who happen to have been proven right time after time—but I think you will understand when you read it why I don't hold Brandon or Harriet responsible for many of the things I didn't like.

Aside from that, I probably shouldn't dig much deeper; I'll have more to say once everyone has read it. I don't want to worry you too much, but some others have had similar reactions to me, so I thought I would try to put the book in context. I have a feeling that many or perhaps even most of you will love the book with few reservations.

So what's good about it?

Probably what I loved most about the book was that Brandon made several repeated references to earlier books...and they're the kind of thing that most people won't notice. Those are for the HCFFs, a special gift that only we can enjoy. I noticed tons of lines that were direct quotes, scenes that were replayed almost exactly (in entirely different contexts)—some of them are obvious, but many of them are obscure—and when Dom read the book he pointed out tons of little repeating patterns from books 1-3 that I hadn't noticed—he's been taking notes on these things for years—and that led to me noticing even more things. So yes, there was an effort to put the book in the context of the entire series, both with the overarching themes and the small, random details. And while I still have many of the same frustrations with Brandon's style, he really did come a long way in certain areas. There are a couple of scenes I'm fairly sure he wrote that are now among my favorites in the series.

And finally...if I had to sum up the book for you in one quote?

When the Dark One's armies swooped down upon the lands of Manetheren, the men of the Mountain Home stood before it, with their backs to the Tarendrelle.

...it was their land...and they went to pay the price of it...

Happy reading to all.

Res_Ipsa
01-07-2013, 10:05 AM
I ignored the text to reply real quick, is this review spoiler free? If so, I will read it.

Vanadis
01-07-2013, 10:13 AM
I ignored the text to reply real quick, is this review spoiler free? If so, I will read it.

It's spoiler free :)

arioch
01-07-2013, 10:13 AM
I ignored the text to reply real quick, is this review spoiler free? If so, I will read it.

Pretty spoiler free.

Vanadis
01-07-2013, 10:14 AM
And thanks Terez, for your review! I'll get the book tomorrow, took a half day at work so I have time to finish it! :D

GonzoTheGreat
01-07-2013, 10:15 AM
Pretty spoiler free.
Depends.

I ignored the text to reply real quick, is this review spoiler free? If so, I will read it.
Have you already started the series?
It does contain some quotes from the first book, and even more from the second.

Terez
01-07-2013, 10:37 AM
All of the quotes I used are significant to the book in some way. :)

SauceyBlueConfetti
01-07-2013, 10:45 AM
Can you change your thread title to indicate not necessarily spoiler free, please?

Terez
01-07-2013, 10:46 AM
Why?

SauceyBlueConfetti
01-07-2013, 10:47 AM
Either it is, or it isn't and one person has already asked for clarification. Until tomorrow, it would be nice to be clear for folks.

Terez
01-07-2013, 10:55 AM
Okay, just wondering if you thought it was spoilery for whatever reason. I had already asked Marie to change it to indicate it's a non-spoiler review; hopefully she will get around to it soon (or another helpful mod).

yks 6nnetu hing
01-07-2013, 10:58 AM
Okay, just wondering if you thought it was spoilery for whatever reason. I had already asked Marie to change it to indicate it's a non-spoiler review; hopefully she will get around to it soon (or another helpful mod).

Aaaand done.

I liked it, btw, makes me want to read it even more than I already wanted to read it...

SauceyBlueConfetti
01-07-2013, 10:59 AM
Okay, just wondering if you thought it was spoilery for whatever reason. I had already asked Marie to change it to indicate it's a non-spoiler review; hopefully she will get around to it soon (or another helpful mod).

Thank you. I, like Rep Isa, skipped the text as I was unsure. Then the responses to his questioning it didn't really help.

GonzoTheGreat
01-07-2013, 11:14 AM
Thank you. I, like Rep Isa, skipped the text as I was unsure. Then the responses to his questioning it didn't really help.
We didn't want to spoil your suspense. :p

Res_Ipsa
01-07-2013, 09:46 PM
Yeah ty for the review, I read it once I learned it was spoiler free. I went to three Wal-Marts tonight after work trying to get lucky to no avail. I even offered some B&N dude $100 to get me the book early, no luck.

Tedman
01-07-2013, 11:47 PM
Just got back from the NYC midnight release where I saw WinespringBrother, has the spoiler embargo been lifted yet?

Chosen
01-08-2013, 12:20 AM
Just got back from the NYC midnight release where I saw WinespringBrother, has the spoiler embargo been lifted yet?

Yes, but please see the stickies at the top of the forum before you create any new threads. Thanks.

newyorkersedai
01-08-2013, 12:35 AM
I like the quotes. They're thoughtful and seem appropriate, and they're justly used as interstices for the review.

I also like the review quite a bit. This must be a bear to cover (though I had no idea you were into WoT for so little time as a mere 5 releases =p), and I figure most of us will have our own complicated reactions to the close of this expansive series. I've been at this '94, and have spread my love of WoT to others, only to watch it wane (and wax, on occasion, at wotmania/rafo)...

As for the question about the ending that you raise, I have always been fairly well decided: either we would simply be told that Rand's soul has been free to travel on the winds of Time (like a Dragon, duh), or we would find Rand tending sheep, having escaped his fantastical life to rediscover a simple, "natural" existence...

And I have always believed that I would get to see the latter, not the former. The most exciting parts to contemplate about WoT's close have always been the non-Rand figures and the direction of the world itself. I'm glad that the ending leaves this universe as something with an ongoing life. I just wish that this series had been written as well as possible.

Sadly, over time, I've been left to conclude that WoT needed strict editing and a diminished willingness to introduce new characters. I have been at the forefront of WoTdom - not necessarily participating in boards, so much as I was willing to research on my personal time, and wait in line to get the books as early as possible. I still fondly recall my one chance to ask RJ three questions...

As to Tedman above: where was the signing, and why didn't I know to be there!?!? I left work early today!

Tedman
01-08-2013, 12:37 AM
I

As to Tedman above: where was the signing, and why didn't I know to be there!?!? I left work early today!

Epic Fail! It was at this Red Sox bar, Professor Thoms. Not exactly my choice of release party since it was Wot themed in that you got books, and maybe an iphone case.

No real WOT discussion or trivia or ANYTHING really IMO, but thats just me. So for my 2 cents, you didnt miss much.

newyorkersedai
01-08-2013, 07:17 PM
Epic Fail! It was at this Red Sox bar, Professor Thoms. Not exactly my choice of release party since it was Wot themed in that you got books, and maybe an iphone case.

No real WOT discussion or trivia or ANYTHING really IMO, but thats just me. So for my 2 cents, you didnt miss much.
Aw, I would've been happy to attend. Oh, well, I'll just go to the nex- oh wait.