After Robert Jordan's untimely death in 2007 there was unfinished business in the Wheel of Time universe. Brandon Sanderson was tapped to finish the series that year, but there was a need for a book to act as a comprehensive index for the series. Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's widow, promised an encyclopedia-like book to be released shortly after 'A Memory of Light'. It was hinted that the book would contain passages from Jordan's own notes. I thought that might mean it would shed light on aspects of the books that had never seen print.
As an index, I was pleased with this book. There were a few odd choices in the organization of the book (as in which characters were listed by first name and which were listed by surnames), but in the end you can find every single named character in the book and there is detailed strength in the One Power descriptions for many of the Aes Sedai and Asha'man. That is awesome.
Other highlights include an Old Tongue glossary and alphabet and descriptions of nations. This was cool. I suppose I should include the art, because it wasn't bad - it was just that (obviously) they didn't match what was in my head. The sole exception was a picture of Mat and Queen Tylin, which...was fan service? It was repulsive.
However, what I was really looking for were hints to the unwritten sequels and prequels that Jordan may have been toying around with, substantial information about characters that never made it into the final books, and behind-the-scenes snippets about what sources Jordan used to help him create this engrossing world. There was none of that. The entries for 'Bela' and 'Chair of Remorse' were the only ones that expanded my knowledge by a significant degree other than the power levels and the Old Tongue entries mentioned above. I mean - not even some explanation on 'The Book of Translation'? Even 'The Big Book of Bad Art' had some unique substance in the form of 'The Strike at Shayol Ghul'. It was likely too much to ask, if other substantive notes exist Jordan's estate is well within their rights to hold on to them for future use (how magnanimous of me).
This is a great volume to have for any fan of 'The Wheel of Time', but hardly necessary.