PDA

View Full Version : It is over. Review follows.


Callandor
01-12-2013, 03:32 AM
Like everyone I am sure, this is a very mixed ending. I do feel it is a strong, solid conclusion to the series, even with my reservations. It is over, I am glad that it is over. It is infinitely better in my mind to have this conclusion than to otherwise be left at the end of KOD and nothing afterwards. But complicating this is the obvious fact of Brandon finishing the series.

It did take away from my enjoyment of the books at several points as I asked myself whether or not Brandon wrote whatever. It's stupid to try to piece it together. The vast majority of the book is obviously Brandon's writing, and he'll sadly be stuck with all the blame for what people do not like (justifiably or not). But having the clear change over with the Last Battle chapter, it brought home several differences with their style.

(Naturally, since I pointed out the hypocrisy of blaming Brandon, I will of course point out problems.)

The largest problem I had is that Brandon likes to write for fooling the readers. I'm not talking about putting clues in and if you figure it out you get the prize of guessing right. Jordan did that to a large extent. It was a game. Pay attention, you can get it.

Brandon writes several scenes where we cannot figure things out - they are written with us playing the fool, and we find everything out after the fact. It gives me the feeling of Nelson from the Simpsons, and I do not appreciate it. The most egregious example of this is thankfully not in AMOL, but TOM: Mat fighting the gholam. I was very disappointed with that scene when the book came out, but it took me till now to figure out why.

The entire setup is a cheat. Mat is going through the POV with knowledge of what is to come (hey, Talmanes is actually doing everything according to plan, and that burning building is not just a gigantic mess up, but a "controlled" plan... sure it is), but is telling us the reader that he knows nothing of it. Unreliable narrator this is not. Mat lies to himself frequently; he does not lie about events occurring in the moment.

Similar tricks show up in AMOL to lesser degree. Oh, Rand went back and found the fat man angreal. Oh, Rand's just been playing tricks this entire time with the Darkfriends and the clouds.

I've read other people finding the Black Tower parts too long, but I found it disappointing that we go through so much of it, and then it's wrapped up off screen - and THEN we are informed of it, off-handedly, by Cadsuane several hundred pages later. WTF?! We spent quite a lot of time there, it didn't need much more to completely move on to something else. Seriously just one more POV after Androl's gateway show, and we'd have been done.

People complained in TOM about Tam's timeline jump being confusing (it wasn't). It was very annoying with the timelines being off here. For instance: Mat is surveying the battle to get its pulse. He exchanges clothes for armor, and goes to attack the Sharans. He saves the day reports back to Tuon, POV break to I believe Elayne. Asha'man appear to save Caemlyn. A POV break to the same POV... Why bother with the break? Another tedious part. Whatever. Androl lava awesomeness happens. End of chapter. Ok, solid chapter ending

Next chapter is Egwene, but the timing of the POV occurs during Mat's save-the-day attack on the Sharans, as indicated by the Seanchan soldier still wearing Mat's coat. What the hell? Why not just include this with the last chapter and push Elayne's stuff into this separate chapter? The unnecessary re-tread for this is very annoying.

Fake death scenes. Anyone keep count? It's a trope to be sure, but my goodness there were a lot. And not even convincing ones. When Perrin's fake death scene occurred, I wanted to say out loud, "Oh no! Perrin is in danger until we go a few chapters to get the last few paragraphs that should have ended his fake-death-chapter." Surprise! I know why it was done (it might've been bizarre for Luhhan to save Perrin when we weren't expecting him there chronologically), but it just stank of bad pacing and tension.

While we're on it, Perrin, the guy who spent books trying to rescue his beloved wife, leaves his wife to go hunt Slayer and we do not hear about the somewhat farewell he gave until 300 or more pages AFTER he had left. What the what?

Also, what is the danger of going into TAR in the flesh? It appears to be nothing, yet everyone is "OHHHH, best not do that!" Anyone suffer the slightest long-term effects? Wow, it's so dangerous, it will become Perrin's new awesome mode of nearly instantaneous transportation!

Don't get me wrong: I love the hell out of Perrin's powers this book, and TOM. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to be Perrin. It's been almost the entire series, with the exception of TEOTW, where I haven't preferred being a male channeler or a unbeatable, luck-driven general. Wolf-powers are bloody awesome here. It's just too damn bad that it took 12 books for them to become interesting. I guess it would've made things too bloody easy for Perrin to get shit done then in, say, Malden.

Can anyone even identify Leigh Butler's events (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/12/the-wheel-of-time-a-memory-of-light-spoiler-free-review)? They're jibberish. Ok, Tam and Rand sparing, that's one. The abatis is obviously the defense of Shayol Ghul (I did the exact same thing in looking it up). Hurin's appearance I would guess would be another. That's three. Good luck with the rest.

Rand living. Sorry, I completely disagree with this ending, even though it is obviously all Jordan. It's ridiculous to me that Rand would leave his father to deal with his "death," to not raise his children, it completely invalidates any "sacrifice" on Rand's part, and then who gets the most important and meaningful death? Fucking Egwene. I mean come on!

I should've known better, though, for a simple reason: Jordan loves Twain, and couldn't help but give the ending of Rand looking on at his own funeral.

Nakomi - waste of time. What the hell happened there? Sorry, I have reached an issue where I officially do not give a shit. I throw my hands up at this, and spit on its feet.

How about a hand for people who just disappeared?

Dobraine. Where the heck was he? He's not a favorite of mine or anything, but still, what the hell?

And what happened to Graendal?!

We get a Julian POV that is quite unnecessary, yet we don't find out what will become of one of the two only living Forsaken in the world? Yes, she's under Compulsion. Ok, and? What will people do with this fact? Silence....

On to happier things.

Gawyn's death. Bawhahaha! This is supposed to be sad? Oh, man, I've rarely been happier. Why didn't Demandred decapitate him?

Bela's death had more impact to me than Gawyn's death. She was supposed to live, damn it! He could die at any time and whatever, who cares? She almost made it! Grrr. It's Hedwig all over again.

Lan fighting Demandred was fantastic. I myself, though, felt it was best if Lan had died after the fight. But, pssh, great fight.

Demandred being in Shara - I should've seen it coming, but I was honestly not expecting Shara to play a role. I loved that twist. Though I wanted a lot more of Shara than what we got. Sure they padded the Shadow armies out, but it's been one of the most mysterious places of the entire series, and even with doing battle with essentially all their armies, we know practically nothing about the place. Demandred seemed like he did quite a lot to get such a following there. What was it?

Demandred in general. Finally. I think it's a word that Thom Merrilin would appreciate as succinct and fitting for this. Finally we get to see what the fuss was about with Demandred. It makes up for all the whining and pining he has done throughout the series.

Egwene's death. A more mixed once, since I still feel she gets the most heroic and meaningful death, which is incoherent for this series. However, it was a good fight and way for her to go. She was unbearable for a lot of the series, got a lot better after COT, and was doing mostly well here.

Rand and Mat bragging contest. I enjoyed it, sue me. I also enjoyed Mat dressing incongruously with his fancy wardrobe and hat.

The second best line:

"If he'd been able to embrace Lews Therin's memories earlier, Rand would never have been fooled so easily by her in the Waste."

I mean, come on people, it's right frggin' there!

And to me the absolute single best line of the book was a simple question: "Why must the heroes all be human?"

My goodness, I loved that part.

http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/pimp.gif

Terez
01-12-2013, 04:33 AM
Fake death scenes. Anyone keep count?
Also fake Darkfriends. As for the fake deaths: Siuan, Bryne, Yukiri, Perrin, Rand, Galad, Lan, Faile, Mat. I'm sure I'm missing some, but it actually reminds me of something that Brandon himself said (http://bordersblog.com/scifi/2010/09/19/brandon-sanderson-and-brent-weeks/im-overstating-this-but/):

An example here for me is Dan Brown. I don't want to pick on him, as big targets are often too easy to pick on. He's obviously been very successful, and has some very interesting things about his writing. However, one thing I noticed reading the Da Vinci Code was that he seemed to be using the same tricks over and over and over to simply get me to turn the page. Someone would open a door and... We don't find out what was on the other side. The chapter ends. We go to the next chapter, and we either find out that nothing really that important was on the other side of the door, or we get told "I'll tell you what was on the other side of that door eventually...if you keep reading."

This actually works, quite well, for a little while. (For me in the Da Vinci Code it worked for about half the book.) And then, it just gets wearying to me. The gimmicks start to show through, and I get tired of never finding anything out. There doesn't feel like development, just one big long stall. Yes, it's possible for a book to be "too exciting." Because if excitement is all there is, we lose character, setting, and a whole lot of depth. We go from trouble, to trouble, to trouble. High tension moment to high tension moment.


Can anyone even identify Leigh Butler's events (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/12/the-wheel-of-time-a-memory-of-light-spoiler-free-review)? They're jibberish.
She did. (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/the-wheel-of-time-a-memory-of-light-spoiler-review)

I should've known better, though, for a simple reason: Jordan loves Twain, and couldn't help but give the ending of Rand looking on at his own funeral.
Good call; I didn't think of that.

And to me the absolute single best line of the book was a simple question: "Why must the heroes all be human?"

My goodness, I loved that part.
I did too...probably because I called it, though. :)

Terez
01-12-2013, 06:20 AM
Also, I'm surprised you didn't comment on the depiction of a world without the Dark One. I have thought a few times about starting a thread for that and then decided not to because nothing anyone can say about it will make me like it.

Davian93
01-12-2013, 05:34 PM
Originally Posted by Callandor
Can anyone even identify Leigh Butler's events? They're jibberish.

She did.


I wish I could like this book as much as she apparently did.

Xarra
01-12-2013, 05:53 PM
Rand living. Sorry, I completely disagree with this ending, even though it is obviously all Jordan. It's ridiculous to me that Rand would leave his father to deal with his "death," to not raise his children, it completely invalidates any "sacrifice" on Rand's part, and then who gets the most important and meaningful death? Fucking Egwene. I mean come on!

Who says Elayne, Min and Avi won't find him? Two out of three can do gateways, and Min can now wave at a damane... (Min, Truespeaker - THAT was a cool twise & entirely threw me! I liked how she stood up to Tuon...)

Bela's death had more impact to me than Gawyn's death. She was supposed to live, damn it! He could die at any time and whatever, who cares? She almost made it! Grrr. It's Hedwig all over again.

I think I surprised people in my office over lunch with 'Noooo! The horse just died!'... I thought Bela's was poignant given she'd started the jouney with them...

Demandred being in Shara - I should've seen it coming, but I was honestly not expecting Shara to play a role. I loved that twist. Though I wanted a lot more of Shara than what we got. Sure they padded the Shadow armies out, but it's been one of the most mysterious places of the entire series, and even with doing battle with essentially all their armies, we know practically nothing about the place. Demandred seemed like he did quite a lot to get such a following there. What was it?

Agreed - I'd have liked more background... As I've said elsewhere, I felt a bit lost with the Sharans... It took a while to get the hang of Seanchan traditions & culture, and all we have is a vague trip (BY Noal - I wonder if he was Demandred's?) description... And wasn't their king sacrificed every so often? *can't remember*

Demandred in general. Finally. I think it's a word that Thom Merrilin would appreciate as succinct and fitting for this. Finally we get to see what the fuss was about with Demandred. It makes up for all the whining and pining he has done throughout the series.

Agreed!

AbbeyRoad
01-12-2013, 09:31 PM
Also, I'm surprised you didn't comment on the depiction of a world without the Dark One. I have thought a few times about starting a thread for that and then decided not to because nothing anyone can say about it will make me like it.
I actually enjoyed that more than I thought I would. I liked the idea that the DO, as a pure force of corruption, has no ability to create but only to corrupt. And without corruption as a force conceptually, life loses meaning. Without the ability to choose to be moral, morality as a concept is invalidated. Not the most elegant idea, but it worked with the idea of choice being so prevalent throughout the series. In the end, the DO wasn't some great, powerful evil overlord dark God, but simply the embodiment of the lurking potential for evil in the mind of all thinking creatures.

God needs the Devil. The Beatles needed The Rolling Stones. Even Diane Sawyer needed Katie Couric.

Tedman
01-12-2013, 09:58 PM
An example here for me is Dan Brown. I don't want to pick on him, as big targets are often too easy to pick on. He's obviously been very successful, and has some very interesting things about his writing. However, one thing I noticed reading the Da Vinci Code was that he seemed to be using the same tricks over and over and over to simply get me to turn the page. Someone would open a door and... We don't find out what was on the other side. The chapter ends. We go to the next chapter, and we either find out that nothing really that important was on the other side of the door, or we get told "I'll tell you what was on the other side of that door eventually...if you keep reading."

This actually works, quite well, for a little while. (For me in the Da Vinci Code it worked for about half the book.) And then, it just gets wearying to me. The gimmicks start to show through, and I get tired of never finding anything out. There doesn't feel like development, just one big long stall. Yes, it's possible for a book to be "too exciting." Because if excitement is all there is, we lose character, setting, and a whole lot of depth. We go from trouble, to trouble, to trouble. High tension moment to high tension moment.

I let out a loud guffaw reading that one.

The similarities between the mistborn bad\evil Deity, especially now that the creator talks to Rand, which I had a mental block about because I just can't believe the creator would talk to Rand, is striking. At least to me. Perhaps it is more accurate to say the system under which they operate seems similar to me.

Sukoto
01-13-2013, 02:48 AM
Similar tricks show up in AMOL to lesser degree. Oh, Rand went back and found the fat man angreal. Oh, Rand's just been playing tricks this entire time with the Darkfriends and the clouds.

I got the impression that Moridin merely thought Rand was playing tricks with Darkfriends and clouds, but that only served to illustrate Moridin's ignorance. It turns out that Rand wasn't playing tricks with Darkfriends (guy in Maradon pokes his own eyes out ffs) or with the clouds (Rand explains how the effects of his t'averen nature changed as the DO's touch on the world got stronger).

And what happened to Graendal?!

We get a Julian POV that is quite unnecessary, yet we don't find out what will become of one of the two only living Forsaken in the world? Yes, she's under Compulsion. Ok, and? What will people do with this fact? Silence....
I get the frustration over Graendal, but I'm not really bothered by the way her arc ended. It bothered me much less than Sammael's "death" at the end of aCoS. We know Graendal nearly always destroyed people's minds with her compulsion, so we can safely assume that is what ultimately happened to her. She will be Avhienda's slave-for-life if she doesn't end up executed. Either one is fine with me. I don't need more closure than that.

EDIT: Oh, and my favorite line: "It had been a very long two years." (Paraphrasing. I don't remember the chapter, or even which character said it. Someone help?)
Nothing like an in-book acknowledgement of how crazy it is for a 10,000 page story to only span two years.

Terez
01-13-2013, 03:59 AM
I was going to bring that one up as an example of Brandon treading too close to the fourth wall, but decided not to because it makes sense for Perrin too. I'd still call it fanservice, though. (It's on p522.)

Jek5
01-13-2013, 09:10 AM
I was going to bring that one up as an example of Brandon treading too close to the fourth wall, (It's on p522.)

Speaking of the fourth wall, did anyone catch the scene were Dannil Lewin muses about what would have happened if he had left the Two Rivers with the three ta'veren? I assumed that was Brandon winking at the (possibly apocryphal) story about how Dannil was the missing fourth boy who appeared on TEotW cover.

Terez
01-13-2013, 10:50 AM
Yeah. But Peter prefers that we call it 'fanservice' instead of anything to do with the fourth wall. :)

fdsaf3
01-13-2013, 11:41 AM
I've been writing out my thoughts in terms of a review for a while, and this seems as good a place as any to make my thoughts known.

Overall, it was an ending. Not the ending most of us seemed to want, but an ending nonetheless. My beef with this book (well, my biggest beef) is with Robert Jordan... and somewhat with the fanbase. Let me 'splain.

I've gone on record here and elsewhere that while I love (love!) this series, I find it unforgiveable that it got so bogged down in its own minutia. The entire story just slowed down to a crawl. Tertiary characters were introduced, minor plot lines were introduced, and the whole feel of the middle section of books takes on an entirely different tone from the rest of the series. Perhaps it's inevitable that in a series as long and epic as WOT there will be an overall unevenness of pacing. I like intrigue and worldbuilding as much as the next guy. I just hate how RJ handled books 8-11.

Now that the series is over and there seems to be a growing crescendo of criticism about the lack of resolution in the finale of this series, I go back to the plot progression from previous books. I know it's nigh blasphemous to criticize RJ, and I don't expect many (or any) HCFFs to agree with me, but the flaws of the final three books stem, at least in some major way, to some significant failings on RJ's part. Brandon's writing and characterization leaves much to be desired, don't get me wrong. This might not have been a story RJ could have told in three books, or even 5. You'll never convince me, though, that once he became incapable of giving an estimate for the number of books it was going to take to finish the series he should have been reigned in.

I'm thankful that these last three books were finished. Brandon did a great job despite the criticism. I don't mean to bag on RJ, either. I thought the ending was adequate. I have a lot of mixed emotions that will take longer than a day to finish processing (I finished the book yesterday). I just wanted to get some of these thoughts out, I guess.

Weiramon
01-14-2013, 12:10 AM
. ... I thought Bela's was poignant given she'd started the jouney with them...


Burn my soul, it's no surprise the death of a fine steed would stir emotions more than that of farmers and fishwives.

At least the butcher's bill among the High Lords was thankfully light.

Tollingtoy
01-14-2013, 04:32 PM
Now that the series is over and there seems to be a growing crescendo of criticism about the lack of resolution in the finale of this series, I go back to the plot progression from previous books. I know it's nigh blasphemous to criticize RJ, and I don't expect many (or any) HCFFs to agree with me, but the flaws of the final three books stem, at least in some major way, to some significant failings on RJ's part. Brandon's writing and characterization leaves much to be desired, don't get me wrong. This might not have been a story RJ could have told in three books, or even 5. You'll never convince me, though, that once he became incapable of giving an estimate for the number of books it was going to take to finish the series he should have been reigned in.


Agreed 100%. Part of my lack of total satisfaction with the ending comes with all of the extremely detailed plot threads RJ introduced in the later books. It would be difficult for ANY writer other than him to successfully tie it all together, and I'm not entirely convinced he could have

GonzoTheGreat
01-15-2013, 03:30 AM
Then again, one of the main things happening in this last book was loads of Pattern unraveling, so not having all those plot threads tied off at the end is perfectly reasonable.