This is your last warning.
I took my sweet time reading it -- you don't rush the end of the world -- and I have no regrets and no complaints. I can't even complain about the 190 page chapter. This book lived up to the definition of Epic Fantasy. There were times when I had to stop reading and hug the book for a while because of how a passage or a chapter moved me. Likewise, there were parts like Rand and Matt's bickering in the garden, that made me laugh out loud. Though, I couldn't laugh too loud. I didn't want to spoil it for my mom (who still hasn't finished it) (Grr!).
I know some have criticized the series in general for being so battle heavy and so laden with tactics that it bogs the book down. I've never been one of those people. In fact, they're among my favorite scenes. The battle tactics used in the many assaults of the last battle made me squee. No, really. It did. I'm such an ancient battle nerd (it's one of the many hazards of being a fantasy writer) that I recognized strategy X as being one used at the battle of _______ by General So-and-so.
Ok, I have to take a moment to gush about the new passages from The Cycle of the Dragon and other prophesies. It was as if everything quoted before now was a warm up for these. They read like scripture. I want to frame each one and hang them on my wall. If I was any good at calligraphy, I would.
I was upset that Egwene, Gawyn, Bela, and many others didn't live through the last battle but allowing everyone to live would have cheapened the moment and the battle. As much as I hate to say it, we needed to lose a few near and dear ones. Like all long time fans, I was as emotionally invested in the outcome of the battle as the characters. Seeing their lives come to an end in both glorious and terrible ways, made the battle more real. Their loss was my loss. When the time came for their part in the tale to end, I was ready to let them go. As for those who had near brushes with death, I'm so freaking happy that they were saved in time. Some people need to live for the happiness of all. Even Moridin.
Overall, I'm pleased with the end and the journey to it. In the end, everything made sense and everything had a purpose. No, I don't think Rand's fate was a cheat. It's only right that he get the chance to live a normal life, to be anonymous for a change. He's more than earned it. If he had died in the way the prophesies implied, the end would have been too dark. The forces of light won the battle, after all. A conclusion full of sadness and woe wouldn't have conveyed that. Not in the way that a man with a heart full of hope and an impossible spark does. Besides, there were still a couple of Min's prophesies that still needed to come to pass and we all know that her viewings are never wrong.
Oh, if any of you were wondering, I didn't need to rescue my copy from the land of lost things. I bought my mom her own copy. My copy is tucked away on the shelf with its brethren and that is where it will stay until it is time to let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.