I intended to read it last year when I got it for Christmas. I didn't.
I was afraid.
I started reading The Wheel of Time series sometime in the late 1990's, perhaps 1997. I fell in love with Rand al'Thor immediately. He's exactly my kind of guy: tall, red-blond hair, hazel blue eyes and the fate of the world on his shoulders. Oh, I like Mat and Perrin, too, and the womenfolk, Egwene and Nynaeve. But my heart belongs to Rand.
I've followed Rand through 12 books. I've waded through seemingly senseless (and endless) chapters about other characters who don't hold my heart, because I know they will be important to Rand. I started late enough to read the first books within the same year, but early enough I've had to wait for installments to emerge.
When Robert Jordan (whose real name is James Oliver Rigney, Jr. according to Wikipedia) died in 2007, I was devastated. Alas, not for his family so much, although my heart bleeds for them. From all I've read, he was as great a man as he was an author.
But what about his other family? What about Rand? What about the Third Age? Who would fight and die at Tarmon Gaidon? Rand al'Thor or Lews Therin, the madman in his head?
I thought these questions would never be answered. I've accused Jordan of dying just to escape having to write that last book because he didn't know how he would do it. I was unkind and unfair.
Robert Jordan cared about Rand more than I did. He passed the pen to another writer.
The fear remained.
Yes, a successor was chosen, but was it because the lad was worthy or because Jordan was desperate?
Could he do it? Could he continue Rand's story in a believable way? Would I care about Rand as written by this upstart newcomer? Would the differences be too distinct for me to care?
Remember, I've read this story for 14 years, 12 books and almost 4 million words. I know these people. I've laughed with them, cried with them, bled with them.
Would I still care about them with a new writer at the helm?
Guess you'll find out tomorrow.