My dad is the reason I grew up reading genre fiction. He helped me pick out books at the library, and they often had little green men or spaceships on the cover. As I got older, I started including fantasy in my selections.
I should have picked up on this sooner, but my dad tends to prefer sci fi. I mean, he’s a geologist, and he’s always loved a story with good science and cool gadgets. But hey, I was young. It was 1992, I was 12 years old, and it was my dad’s birthday. I ended up buying him Robert Jordan’s THE EYE OF THE WORLD.
And while I’m sure my dad fully intended to read it, it lingered in the basket near his bedside table (much like the copy of GAME OF THRONES I loaned him would later linger for months, untouched–I guess I still haven’t learned my lesson). Eventually, I asked him if I could give it a go.
So I started reading. This was my first exposure to epic fantasy. My little hands could barely hold this doorstopper of a book. And to be honest, I didn’t really like it at first. The pacing was slower. And why did it have a glossary? So I put it down.
Thankfully, a few months later, I decided to give it another go. And this time, I was determined to stuck it over the course of hundreds of pages. After about 300 pages, I was hooked. I carried that book everywhere, as the cracked, glued, and taped spine proves.
Book after book, year after year, I kept reading. And not just Jordan, but I devoured other series such as Feist and Eddings. I even picked up the more epic science fiction tales, like the six books of Dune I read one after another.
And so here I am, 20 years later, buying book 14, A MEMORY OF LIGHT, realizing that soon the series will be done.
I received it yesterday afternoon in the mail, a few hours before the midnight release. It’s a book that should be celebrated. It’s influenced so many readers and writers that people should come together and show the love and respect for it. Instead, after my wife went to bed, I read alone, quietly. I didn’t feel like celebrating. I was sad.
I was almost reluctant to start reading it. Yes, I can barely wait to see what will happen during the last battle. And yes, I want to know what happens to my favorite characters. But, no, a part of me doesn’t want it to end. I know it’s only a matter of time before it will go up on the shelf–the series has its own shelf, mind you–and a big part of my reading life will be done.
So I can only say thank you to the late Robert Jordan for creating such a wonderful story. Thank you to his wife and editor Harriet McDougal, who protected and shepherded this story throughout the years. And thank you to Brandon Sanderson, for seeing this story home, despite the terrible risks and pressure such an task carried with it. Thank you all for introducing me to a wonderful world that I have visited repeatedly over two decades. Thank you for this obsession. Thank you for introducing me to the possibilities of epic fantasy. And thank you for making me the reader and writer I am today.
I hope some day my kids ask if they can give it a go. I can’t wait to revisit this story again.