I have noticed that a movie can be successful if it has nothing more than a good beginning and a good ending. The beginning must be good enough that people do not walk out or switch channels early; the ending stays in the audience's mind long after they finish watching. If a movie has a strong beginning and end, people will remember it fondly, even if the middle 80% is crap.
Robert Jordan must have understood this principle when he applied it to his "Wheel of Time" series. Although Jordan did not survive to complete the series, his widow selected Brandon Sanderson to finish what Jordan began. Sanderson tied up many plot threads and added action to the story in the final three volumes. "A Memory of Light" is the finale of the 14-volume epic series.
After years of buildup, the forces of good - led by Rand al'Thor - and the forces of evil - led by The Dark One - finally clash in an epic war. The book - the entire series, in fact - climaxes in a chapter almost 200 pages long, titled "The Last Battle." This chapter switches context between the multiple fronts of the battle, fought by the myriad of characters introduced in the preceding volumes.
With the possible exception of volume 1, the books written by Sanderson are the strongest of the series, and "A Memory of Light" is the best of these three.
Jordan's strength was world-building. Sanderson's strength is storytelling. The two combine their powers in this Coda.
More than once, I came close to abandoning this series, but I soldiered on in anticipation of the finale. Fortunately, Sanderson brings a solid conclusion to a series that lost steam about halfway through as the action dragged and the plot moved at a glacial pace. It is safe to say that Sanderson saved this series for me.
It has been almost a year and a half since I began this journey. I feel a sense of accomplishment after conquering fourteen books and many thousands of pages.
The strong ending will stay in my mind long after I have finished reading.