Book Review: Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson
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Spoiler Free Summary:  Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson is considered book 3.5 of the Stormlight Archive. A ghost ship is found seeming to come from the mysterious island of Akinah. What secrets does that land hold? Why are some so driven to protect them? Mysterious beings composed of cremlings seem intent on keeping people off the island, and Rysn, a shipowner, must go there. Her pet Chiri-Chiri is sick, and only a visit to its home island, you guessed it, can give the creature a chance to survive.

Cover image was taken from the book’s buy page on Amazon for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Character:  The Lopen always steals the show for me when he’s in a story, and this one is no different. I mention him first because he’s so charming. That said, Rysn is a fascinating character. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a story where someone who couldn’t walk is the main character. Rysn is intelligent and driven. She’s sympathetic and proactive, but her vunerability (perceived (I said perceived) powerlessness) makes her story interesting. Rysn doesn’t compare to Kaladin or Dalinar by any means. It’s not an insult to her; it’s just that she doesn’t grab me the way those two do. Still, she’s a great character, and Chiri-Chiri is awesome.

Exposition: Being a short story, there simply isn’t enough time to have too much bad exposition. There are some moments that we get a bit of a data dump in the form of conversation (negotiation) or internal monologue, but the story reads fast. I think I read about thirty percent a day.

Worldbuilding: This is what excited me. First, we get to see that island that’s been teased to us. Second, we get some expansion on the Cosmere. This book really opens up the origins of the Cosmere, so if you’re a fan of it, you really should read this book.

Dialogue: This isn’t as good as Sanderson’s work normally is. It’s not bad at all, it’s just not as amazing as it usually is (though I understand this was a rather rushed story). The Lopen gets another pass here because his dialogue is always fun. I think this book falls a bit short for me because the plot hinges (as is appropriate for Rysn) on a negotiation, and that scene didn’t really sing for me. I still loved and enjoyed it, but more so because of what I learned about the Cosmere and what this book teases about future books than the plot.  

This image of Mr. Sanderson was taken from his website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Description: Sanderson has some wonderful description. I’ve always appreciated how he balances good description with the pace of a story, and this is no different. I almost always feel like I’m watching a movie more than reading a book when I’m reading Sanderson, and this book was no different.

Overall: This book is awesome more so what it implies and promises about the Cosmere more than the story itself, which is probably not something Mr. Sanderson would want to hear. The book isn’t bad at all, but it was less Rysn and her arc that intrigued me than the greater implications this story offers to future books. Again, this story was good; it just wasn’t great. I will say this was a great primer for Rythm of War, and that alone makes it worth reading.

Thanks for reading


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The Top 5 Most Awesome Heroes In Fantasy

The Top 5 Most Awesome Heroes In Fantasy

Greetings all,

So I was running dry on ideas. I’d been doing a lot of update posts and bracket posts, and I felt it was time to do something different. That got me thinking about one of my favorite reasons I read fantasy: the idea of “who would win in a fight?”

Therefore, I decided to do a “Top 5” list. What is this list based on? My opinion! It’s my list. I hope this post encourages healthy (kind-hearted) debate. It may even inspire a bracket.

What do I base my opinion on?

That’s a great question. The first is memorability. I’m going to provide the five characters who came to my mind. If I have to try to remember you, you clearly aren’t that powerful. The down side? I honestly haven’t read that much. Oh I read a lot, but there are books I haven’t read (again why I hope you lovely readers would be interested in enlightening a fan). So, you can also look at my “read” bookshelf on Goodreads to tell me if there’s someone in a book I read that you think would top any of these five. From there, it’s based on sheer power and capability.  Limitations are also factored. for instance, you won’t find an Aes Sedai on this list. All I’d have to do is not threaten them, and, though they could make life inconvenient, they couldn’t hurt me. The rest is just me thinking about what I’ve read about them doing and how impressive it is.

Now that the logistics are covered, let’s see who’s the top dog!

51yPTs-9jqL._SY346_#5: Ian Troy, The Crown of Stones  I honestly had a fight with myself about this.  Do I select the characters “at their most powerful” or their power level (or lack there of) at the end of the last book I read. Since most nerds like me will always argue fights on a “height-of-power” scale, I went with that as well. Ian begins the whole series with a display of power that would put any on this list on notice. Ian stops at number four because the crown serves as a weak point that could be exploited.  Since I have to take the character at the height of his power, I must also take him at the most dangerous of issues weaknesses too.  Ian could honestly destroy a world, but his power comes at the expense of the lives of others. This wouldn’t be a problem for a villain, but a former addict trying to protect life just wouldn’t consciously throw power around at the expense of (possibly) those he loves.

41kUPvqlguL #4: Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings: I honestly had a lot of trouble placing him. As one reads LotR, it’s easy to understand he has the potential to lay waste to a number of opponents. The thing is, we never really see him do much in the way of magic. We feel like he could, so I have him all the way up to number three just for that reason, but he never really displayed it. If someone said to drop him to 4 or even 5, I don’t know that I could argue, except that the guy seems so powerful.  Therefore, I met in the middle.  This ranking (I feel) gives the potential of his power respect while also taking into account how little power he actually used in the books.

51RphRxrZPL#3: Vin, Mistborn: I think she’d fall in this spot even without the “at her most powerful” rule. She wasn’t just powerful, she used that power in clever ways that made it pretty much unfair to fight her (unless you’re essentially a god). The events of the book take that seeming unfairness and make it down right laughable to think she couldn’t take out pretty much anyone. Allomancy is just an awesome power, and a full Mistborn is pretty much impossible to beat if you’re limited to a single power, but not if you’re using the One Power.

51-NVUtW9XL#2: Rand al’Thor, The Wheel of Time: The Dragon Reborn already has the strength to “break the world.” The One Power is such that some serious power get’s flung around. With this power, characters can make or flatten mountains. They can even use a weapon so great it erases one from existence (or even burns away parts of their life).  There are even ways to amplify that power! It’s honestly ridiculous when I think about it, but it’s so fun to read. While Rand could break a planet, he could make one, so he falls second to number one on the list.

516rFaN7djL#1: Harmony, The Cosmere: Sure, anyone who follows my blog knows Sanderson is my favorite author. But I dare you to point out a character who has god-power X 2. The Cosmere surrounds sixteen shards of what was once a whole. Each single shardholder is known as a god in their system. Harmony has two. Even Sanderson has said flatly that Harmony is the most powerful shard-holder for this reason. 2-4 could probably end a world, but Harmony could create one if he wanted. Some may argue limitations here, but only one shardholder to my knowledge is actually limited. Two were limited for reasons explained in the books. But, as far as I know, Harmony could do whatever he wanted, and no one could stop him. At his most powerful, there isn’t a fantasy hero (or even many villains) I can think of who could stop him.

So there’s my list! What do you think? Who would you add to the list of “most powerful”? Who would you rank higher than my guys? Do you think I got my list wrong? I want to hear it folks!

Thanks for reading,


Book Review: Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson

51ofjrk-jflSpolier Free Summary: Edgedancer is a novella pulled from Brandon Sanderson’s Cosemere collection Arcanum Unbounded.  For the record, I’ve read all the other stories in that collection, but Edgedancer was the new material, so that’s what I’m focusing this review on.  Lift is probably the oddest of the Knights Radiant. She’s rushed of from luxury and an easy life seemingly on the quest for taste pancakes. (Honestly, that excuse worked on me; I’m a man who loves good pancakes.) As she works to find her delectable breakfast food, she finds herself again confronting Darkness, the Skybreaker who tried to kill Lift during the events of Words of Radiance. She finds herself in a race to save someone who seemingly everyone has failed to notice has a special secret.

Character:  Lift is charming, as most Sanderson characters are. I don’t quite find her as compelling as Kelsier, Vin, or Kaladin, but she’s growing on me. She’s certainly powerful. Her draw is her innocence. The way she sees the world is fascinating, and that’s what gives her such charm. She’s proactive. Her competence is somewhat on par with that of Captain Jack Sparrow in it’s seemingly accidental genius. It’s her sympathy that I don’t quite have yet. I think there are reasons for her to be sympathetic, but I don’t really know them yet, and that’s preventing me from falling for her the way I do most characters from Sanderson’s world. I think that’s intentional though as she’s supposed to gain prominence later in the series.

This image, created by Ben McSweeney, was taken from Mr. Sanderson’s website and posted here for review purposes. Also, it’s beautiful.

Worldbuilding:  We get a bit more sense of scope here. We also learn a bit more about some of what Spren can do. I don’t know that a learn a lot more about Roshar, but we do see a bit more of what Knights Radiant are capable of.

Dialogue:  This was a bit limited. It was natural, and charming. Lift is actually a cunningly clever conversationalist. Her blunt style and mannerism catch people off guard. She’s like a rude friend you bring to a party just to see how people will react. (not in a mean way, more like a “My friend is WAY smarter than you think she is, and I can’t wait for you to try and verbal spar with her” sort of way).

Description: As always, we get a perfect mix of color and sensory cues without getting bogged down in details. Sanderson has the balance I hope to find one day.

Overall: I’m always excited whenever I read a Sanderson novel, and that excitement is crippled when it’s a Cosmere story. Lift honestly wasn’t enough to hold me over to the next Archive novel, but it was a scrap of bread to a starving man. It’s a pleasant little glimpse into not just the world of Roshar, but what’s to come in the second half of the series.

Thanks for reading,