So, this week I finally turned the last page of A Memory of Light - the fourteenth and final volume of the Wheel of Time series.
I started reading the series way, way back in 1990 and that got me thinking - I've been reading and following this series for half of my lifetime.
I remember being in WH Smith one Friday afternoon back in '90 and seeing the first book in the series, The Eye of the World - It was HUGE!!! The first thing that got me was the cover art - I was a big fan of Daryl Sweets covers and this was one of his best. I guess I was already sold on the book before I read the cover blurb but the blurb only turned a "want" into a "must have".
Needless to say I got the book home and devoured it. Thankfully book 2 and book 3 followed fairly quickly (and possibly books 4 and 5) but after a while there came a bigger gap between books and also, some of the books seemed to be a lot of reading for very little happening - but I had to keep on with them, for when things did finally happen they were usually well worth the wait.
Then, in 2007, the author, Robert Jordan, died leaving the series unfinished. Thankfully he had prepared for this eventuality and left enough notes for the book to be finished after his passing. The job of completing the final book was given to Brandon Sanderson - the ending was in sight.
The final book turned out to be 3 books but, in my opinion, that was for the better as there was a hell of a lot of story to be told.
The whole WoT story deserves to be recognised as a masterpiece in my opinion. I've been with these characters since they left the village of Emond's Field in the Two Rivers all those years ago. I've watched them grow into the roles they were given. I sat at 2am one morning, back when book 5 had just been published, stunned because Moiraine, one of the main characters had seemingly been killed off (it was expected but I guess I always thought there would be a way out). I remember feeling both sad and cheated at the death of Mr, Jordan and dubious about the ability of Mr. Sanderson to finish the job (and boy was I wrong there - he turned out to be THE BEST CHOICE!!).
I've had the good fortune to have met both Mr. Jordan and Mr. Sanderson at book signings and two nicer guys you couldn't hope to meet.
These books have been a big part of my reading life and will continue to be so as I now plan to start a complete re-read.