So, I read A Memory of Light last week. I flew through it. I couldn’t put it down. 908 pages of non-stop battle.
This was it! The culminating book of a series 23 years in the making. Everything rested on this book. Would we, as fans, be satisfied with it? Or would it not live up to our expectations?
I, personally, was blown away.
This series has an unusual history. When the original author died, we worried it wouldn’t get finished (11 books in!). In stepped Brandon Sanderson to save the day! And save it, he did.
I cried. A lot. During the book, and after. I’ve gone back several times in the last couple of days to reread the final chapter and epilogue. I was so excited to read it, and I raced through it. But when it was over, and I thoroughly discussed every little detail with my brother, I was sad. Really, really sad. The end had finally come. Thirteen and a half years of reading these books, and it was over. No more Wheel of Time books.
While I was reading it, I realized that the world of these books (commonly called Randland by us fans) no longer feels like fantasy. The countries, magic system, people of this world feel real to me. I love the characters. Truly and deeply. Well, some I hate, but that’s natural ’cause they’re bad people. They feel like friends to me. When many died (because, duh, it’s war), I couldn’t help but cry. I’ll never read new stories involving Rand, Mat, Perrin, or the others. I feel lost without another Wheel of Time book to await eagerly.
And this? This, my friends, is why I love reading. Non-readers don’t understand how good literature penetrates your heart and your mind and how characters become real. People who exclusively read non-fiction tell me it’s because they like to learn. That you can’t learn anything from fiction. True, most fiction isn’t about factual information. What it is about is truth. Universal truths about human nature and why we are the way we are.
There’s a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald that sums it up perfectly:
That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.
Well said, sir. Well said.