Character Study: Adolin Kholin, The Cosmere’s Most Underrated Hero

Character Study: Adolin Kholin, The Cosmere’s Most Underrated Hero

Greetings all,

It’s been a while since I’ve done a character study, and since I’m currently through my fifth read through of Oathbringer, I’ve been thinking about Adolin.

I’ve had the chance to speak with the author, Brandon Sanderson, who is my favorite in the business right now, and people were talking about Kal and Shallan. I couldn’t help but say, “The only thing wrong with Adolin is that he isn’t Kal.”

Fanboy moment: Mr. Sanderson felt that was a good point.

You see, if Stormlight doesn’t have Kaladin, I affirm that Adolin would be the main character. In fact, Adolin would be a fine main character in pretty much any other fantasy story that doesn’t have Kaladin in it. And yet, poor Adolin is stuck behind this generation’s greatest hero. Kaladin is the greatest main character since Rand al’Thor, and Adolin can’t help but get lost in that shadow. (I’ll probably do a character study on Kaladin later, but I’m still a bit perturbed by his character given what happens in Oathbringer.)

Even in writing a blog praising Adolin, I can’t help but acknowledge why he isn’t the main character, but he is possibly one of the greatest secondary characters ever (I’d put him behind Perrin myself, but Adolin is up there).

So why not take a look at Adolin and try to understand why he’s so compelling.

The simple answer is his sympathy aspect. Adolin is loyal. He’s the picture of a good son and a model of a great big brother. He’s charming. He’s earnest. The most fascinating part of all that is how he sees himself: Not good enough.

Like his father, Adolin is his harshest critic. He’s an acclaimed duelist. He’s the planet’s most eligible bachelor, but he sees in himself flaws that don’t even exist. The flaws that do exist in him are mountains that rest on his shoulders. This leads him to do something beautiful: He tries. He tries so hard to be the sort of man he thinks everyone thinks he should be, and he’s unable to see he’s already so much more. This is what makes Adolin stand out.

When I was first reading Oathbringer, I was afraid Adolin would turn against the team. A part of me still is. How long can a man be just short of good enough before that yearning to be recognized becomes bitter? It would make for a great fall-from-grace arc, but I sure hope it doesn’t happen. I still think it might, and that has me rooting for Adolin all the more.

This is why some of the events of The Rhythm of War made me so happy, which brings me to the other point I wanted to make about this character.

Adolin does all the “hero arc” things others do in a completely original way, and when you compare his arc to Kal’s you can see the parallel. To be honest, Adolin does it all the hard way.

The trade off is Adolin’s suffering (the tool most authors use to build sympathy) isn’t as obvious as someone like Kal. This is probably one reason why I don’t hear people talk about him. Honestly, I hear more people talk about Renarin.

This image by Exmakina was taken from The Coppermind for review purposes. Please don’t sue me.

I think the fact that Adolin doesn’t suffer physically or by the loss of others is the the key, and that makes me sad. Adolin is sort of a caricature for an average person in today’s world, and we do the same thing to him that real people do to others.

We look at him and think, “Well it’s not like he’s been imprisoned or hurt, betrayed or forced to experience loss. What’s he got to complain about?”

Think about it. He’s wealthy, charming, and handsome. He must be fine right?

Except he’s not. He’s fighting every bit to be seen as his own man, a man a father and brother can be proud of, a man a woman can love, as Kaladin fights to protect those around him, but because he’s never been poor or enslaved, people just don’t appreciate him, and that’s tragic. It’s a depressing view of how people treat each other.

Yet he fights on, not so much with his awesome swordsmanship or his spren, who he’s helping to find herself. Instead, he fights on by being a kind, loyal man who does all he can.

That, dear readers, is a character worth putting on t-shirts. That, dear readers, is a main character trapped in a more-compelling main character’s arc.

So the next time you’re reading a Stormlight book, take a moment to give Adolin a bit of love.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

My Top Three Reads of 2020

My Top Three Reads of 2020

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to share my top three reads of 2020 with you all.  Goodreads says I’ve read 14 books in 2019. I’m still trending downward, but I don’t know that I read “less.” Considering how much I read the Bible, I think I’m reading as many pages as I normally do (given married life). It’s just that I’m reading much larger books. That said, I have to say 2020 was probably the weakest year since I’ve been doing this. That doesn’t mean my top three aren’t great, but I think the drop off is pretty steep. Was that the case for you all? Let me know in the comments below. This list was made without regard to publisher, format, or author.

How I did it:  I kept track of books I liked and mentally compared one to the other. Without further delay, here’s my list.

#3 Starsight by Brandon Sanderson: You can find my review for that book here.  If it weren’t for Sanderson, I probably wouldn’t name a top three. I read some non-fiction I really enjoyed, but I don’t enjoy non-fiction in the same way. He’s still my favorite. Starsight added depth the the charm of skyward, and I gain more interest as the universe (of this story) opens up. It’s still clearly YA, and so it lacks a lot of the impact his other books have, but it’s honestly growing stronger with each book. I freely admit it takes a degree of patience to read a non-cosmere book from Sanderson because you’re waiting for that next Stormlight book, but the stories are always enjoyable, and it’s a part of his style of writing.

#2 The Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson: This is not a cheat. You’re free to look at all 14 books I’ve read, and if you honestly think there are two better, let me know in the comments. I’m actually a bigger fan of ROW than other readers I know. That’s because I liked the science nature of this book. Here’s my review. It was very hard to decide this between this book and number one on my list for this year. I’ll explain that later. I just want it known that after a bit, I still personally think this is the second best book in the series so far. This book doesn’t rise because it’s still just a set up. Also, this book has some super odd breaks between characters (like some cast members vanish for an entire act). Regardless, This book put everything into place, but the rewards for this book will actually be in Book 5. Sanderson is a master, and if you haven’t read Stormlight, you’re really missing out. It’s just that simple.

#1 The Burning White by Brent Weeks:  My review for this can be found here. What helped put this book over the edge was that it was the conclusion to a very good saga. A lot of things came together here in ways I thought were very pleasant. I think Lightbringer is solid. I don’t really know if it holds up against Night Angel or not. They’re actually pretty different books, so it’s hard to tell. Which ever is better, both deliver a great story that gives readers an ending that’s satisfying.

So that’s my top three. What are yours? Why? Do you have a review you can link it to? I’d love to reblog it for you.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson The Fourth Read Through

Book Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson The Fourth Read Through
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Image taken from Amazon for review purpose.

 The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson  is the first book in The Stormlight Archive. This was my fourth time reading this book. I wanted to read it before reading The Rhythm of War.

I used my normal format when I did my third read through, so for this review, I want to focus on things that stood out after four read throughs.

First: Kaladin is freaking awesome! I can read this book a million times, and I will still love every word of his arc. This arc (in and of itself) is on the same level as that of Jaxom and Ruth and Rand al’Thor.

Second: Shallan’s arc gets progressively more annoying. I actually like Shallan as a character, but that is in spite of this book’s arc. First, Shallan was the character who taught readers a Rosharan economics lectures, and that is brilliant world building, but it’s not why I read Stormlight or Sanderson.

Third: No matter how annoying, the most rewarding details are in Shallan’s arc. For those who have read RoW, her arc still has little connections that make RoW more interesting.

Fourth: As progressively annoying as I find Shallan (again, just in this particular book), I find Adolin comparatively more endearing. There is indeed a scenario in which Adolin actually becomes my favorite character. If I really had to sit down and contemplate it, he might already be my favorite. Dalinar is up there. What about Kaladin?

Fifth: Kaladin was awesome in this book. He becomes epically awesome in Words of Radiance, but the last two books really tested my patience with Kaladin. I get his character flaw. As a service member with many friends who have PTSD, I completely understand, but fantasy is typically an extreme. I’m glad Kaladin (as reported by Sanderson) has turned the corner, but seeing Kaladin at his best makes me more frustrated. I’ll probably do a comparison between Kaladin’s downward arc and Rand’s. Both are similar, and maybe some will feel differently than I do, but here I’ll say that when Rand was falling into despair, I felt sad for him. I understood his pain and hoped he’d find a way through. With Kal, I simply got more and more annoyed, and that’s not good. I’ll probably even feel more strongly about this as I read Words.

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Image by Nazrilof taken from Mr. Sanderson’s Website for this review.

Sixth:  This book currently lands at third best in the series for me. Shallan’s arc alone is enough to bring it down, but I also acknowledge I have RoW higher (number two) at the moment than other readers might. I was talking to my brother who made some good points. He wasn’t such a fan of the science lesson in the middle of RoW that is Navani’s arc. I liked the science of the arc (if not the character decisions and reasonings). So again, a lot of how these books rank for readers will greatly depend on how much they like world building.

Overall: Any book I read more than once is (at worst) very good. If I read it every time a new book in the series, I hope that speaks for the quality of the story overall. This book still had me sitting in my car for 20 minutes simply because I didn’t want to stop listening to it. It’s that powerful. I honestly hope to start reading this series with my sons soon, but my wife will want to finish reading every napkin Tolkien ever sneezed on first, which I can probably understand (it’s her favorite series).

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
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Spoiler Free Summary:  Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson is the fourth story in the Stormlight Archive series. The war on Roshar is in full bloom. Dalinar leads a desperately needed assault to take back territory the humans need. Kaladin is still struggling with his desire to fight. Shallan and Adolin must travel to Shadesmar to negotiate with spren who would rather avoid them. Navani is learning secrets about the tower that could change everything. Odium has his plans as well. Everything comes together as the contest of champions takes shape.

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

Character:  I’m happy to say that Adolin and Kaladin have my favorite arcs. A while back, I wrote a blog about things I hope RoW does, and this delivers on 1.5 of them. Sanderson has wonderful and charming characters. Interestingly, at least two (and perhaps as many as four) arcs deal with specific mental disorders. I wonder if Sanderson meant this book (and maybe this series) to parallel so many mental health issues. Regardless, these characters are all awesome. I must, however, disagree with Navani’s arc. It just felt kind of stupid to me (spoilers). Not all of it was by itself stupid, but there was a final part near the end of the book that didn’t come together for me. I get the plot point, and I understand the implications of what she did, but the way it came together felt forced. Even accepting this as what I honestly feel is a weak arc, it’s still a fantastic story. It’s only in hindsight that I consider these issues, and the most important aspect of evaluating character is in the heat of the story, not days after I’ve had time to pick it apart in my mind.

Exposition: Since everything really is coming to a head, there isn’t a lot of exposition here. I imagine people reading that book before others might feel lost, but I never understood reading a book in the middle of a series. I kind of think that’s on the reader. This story is huge (about 1,200 pages), but it reads fast. The last two hundred pages flies by! There are some parts that drag as Sanderson expands on his magic system (another demerit to Navani’s arc), but all epic fantasy has some deep exposition to go over the magic system.

Worldbuilding: This has been and remains where Sanderson shines. This book expands on Roshar and, more interestingly, the Cosmere. Everything in this story is vivid and immersive, and it just gets better and better with every book. I can’t say this story hits a home run, but I can absolutely say that anyone who’s been waiting as long as I had been for this book was (at worst) satisfied with it’s arrival. This book puts the larger arc in context. For those who don’t already know, the ten books that comprise this series are actually two, five-book arcs.

Dialogue: This is actually better than I’ve come to expect. The dialogue in this story is on par with Oathbringer (or better) for the same reasons. The relationship between Dalinar and Taravangian harken to Xavier and Magneto. It’s a wonderful arc that I hope continues in this vain. This is amplified (a credit to Navani’s arc) in Navani’s story. There’s some beautiful dramatic prose delivered via dialogue that kept even the exposition meaningful and interesting.  

Description: This has all the wonderful traits of any Sanderson novel: expansive worlds, immersive scenes, and awesome fight sequences. If you like any Sanderson book, this one delivers as always.

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

Overall: I’d probably argue this is the second best book in the series so far (Words of Radiance). This book delivers on a few promises it has made early in the series, and it provides a thrilling plot twist that completely shocked me (in a good way). This book already has me chomping at the bit to get to Book 5!

Thanks for reading

Matt

Buy The Journals of Bob Drifter

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

Matt

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Story Review: The Thrill by Brandon Sanderson from Unfettered II

Story Review: The Thrill by Brandon Sanderson from Unfettered II

The Thrill is honestly nothing more than the flashback sequence from Oathbringer by Sanderson. You can read my review on the full book here.

I was a bit bummed seeing this. It’s not new content. It’s not an alternate universe. It doesn’t provide new information. Sanderson is my favorite author in the game these days, and I’m always excited for new material. I don’t even mind re-reading it. I’m currently re-reading The Way of Kings as a way to get ready for the new Stormlight book. For people who haven’t tried any of his work (if they exist), this is a nice introduction. I’m a huge Dalinar fan, and this arc is wonderful. I just wish I had new Sanderson rather than stuff I’ve already paid for and enjoyed.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Things I Hope to See in Rhythm of War

Things I Hope to See in Rhythm of War

Greetings all,

Temporary CoverMost people who follow my blog know I’m a huge Brandon Sanderson fan. Well, his newest book, Rhythm of War comes out Nov. 17, so I thought I’d do a blog about the things I hope to see in Rhythm of War.

SPOILER WARNING! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

1. An end to Kal’s trauma: It’s perfectly understandable that Kal had a traumatic life. That trauma came to a head in Oathbringer. I think I’ve reached my limit on Kal’s struggle to save everyone. I’d really like to see him accept that sometimes you lose people you love, and sometimes you don’t.

2. Hoid do something awesome. A while back, we heard, “Hoid would do something awesome.” I believe that was originally intended to be in Book 5, but I hope it’s in this one. What I hope is to see Hoid do some sort of cross-world magic stuff. Like using biochromatic breath or allomancy against some of Odium’s peeps.

3. I want to see how Nightblood got to this planet! Obviously we know where Vasher is but I really want to know how they came to be there and how they got separated. I’m thinking Vivenna had something to do with it. This is probably the thing I’m most interested in at the moment.

4. More intimate battles. The last book, the scope of the battle was huge, and that’s cool, but I’m more a one-on-one kind of guy. I’d really like to see a few of those. I’d also like those fights to display more of the other radiant abilities. I have a good handle on Kal’s abilities, but they currently seem to be the ONLY offensive radiant abilities. Lift I suppose has some abilities that are more visual, but even they seem more defensive in nature, but at least they’re active.

Oathbringer5.  I want to see Odium throw down. With how powerful everyone else is, I think it’s time for a threat. I want to see Kal get his but whipped (which might contradict what I mentioned above, but if it’s to make Odium a threat, I’m all for it). It doesn’t have to be Kal, but now that the knights had a huge victory, we need to see the Odium and those he’s working with or manipulating show their stuff. Now Sanderson usually does this through subversion. If you look closely at all his books, the good guy hardly ever gets beat. It happens, but it’s rare. I’m hoping to see some bad guy flexing.  I need this personally because Kal (and his order) are pretty much OP at this point. Lift is all but impossible to kill. I’m not asking for a body count, but I wouldn’t be against it. The minimum for me is to see the threat posed. I get Odium’s situation, so I don’t really expect him to do much, but I need someone on team Odium to show that maybe Kaladin and Dalinar aren’t up to the task.

6. I ALMOST FORGOT! I want to see Adolin awaken his shardblade. He knows its name now. He can hear it. I really want to see him become a knight by brining his spren back to life. I almost forgot that because I expect it, but I EXPECT it, so I really want to see it happen.

7. A reunion of Vivenna, Vasher, and Nightblood. Do I need to go farther?

That’s pretty much it. I mean there are several other things I’m looking forward to, but those are the highlights. I don’t necessarily want to see all of these things happen in the next book. (Otherwise, what would be the point of the other six?) But I’d really like to see maybe two of them. If I had to pick which two, I’d say number 6 and 3. Those are the ones I really want, but any of the others in any combination would already make Rhythm a great addition to the saga.

What about you? What would you like to see out of the book?

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (Second Read)

Book Review: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (Second Read)

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

Spoiler Free Summary: Oathbringer is the third book in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.  My review for Book One is here. My review for Book Two is here. Dalinar Kholin has reached Urithiru. The Voidbringers have returned. However, Roshar isn’t united. While Odium’s forces gather, Dalinar must strive to find a way to get the nations to work together. But as he works toward his goal, his past begins to haunt him all over again. Kaladin returns home to face his past and learns the Voidbringers aren’t what he thought they were, in fact, they’re not what anyone thought they were. Shallan’s secrets mount against her, but the only way for her to progress is to continue to face them. Each role she takes fractures her mind again, and she must take control before she faces the challenges before her.

 

I wanted to do something different for this review since it wasn’t so long ago I did the original review. First off, I’m a huge fan of Sanderson. I’d read a napkin he scribbled on if he cared to sell it to me. So I wanted to point out some things I think are quintessential Sanderson using this book as an example.

The endings: Dear goodness this man knows how to write endings. They’re always fast paced and satisfying. This book is no different. To quantify it, I read the last fight in a night, maybe three hours. When I listened to it (additional readings are always done via audiobook), it turns out that’s seven hours. He drags you through. From the formation of the army at Thalen City to the last scene of the book, I couldn’t put it down, and every single event was total fan gratification. I count three “hopes” my brother and I had which were all met during that last portion of the book.

The magic system(s): Sanderson has a comic book nerd level of magic in his books. I love this because I remember being a kid and arguing who would win in a fight. I have a lot of fun theorizing what could be done with certain ability or how it might be used later. This book has a few cool new tricks, and hints at more cool stuff to come. I think anyone who loves X-Men or other superpower comic books should check out his work.

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Photo by Nazrilof taken from Mr. Sanderson’s website.

 

The characters: I’m simultaneously impossible and easy to please. I need sympathetic, proactive characters. Even the guy pouring the tea in this book has some degree of motivation and sympathy. I genuinely believe Sanderson has this wiki-document, and every character in it has an entire life story we haven’t seen. I don’t personally take that much effort.  I’m like, “Dude, I just need someone to pour the tea.” This level of care is what separates the great from the rest, and frankly, I need to start respecting that. Dalinar and Kaladin are two amazing characters. I’m also personally a fan of Adolin, who I feels like the Dangerfield of the series. “I get no respect at all!”

The potential: What I mean by this is my favorite thing about a series (any long-format story) is the ability to theorize and guess. As I mentioned above, my brother and I had a lot of fun 1) trying to guess who Odium’s champion would be and 2) Rooting for Adolin to…well…do something he did. For the record, Ben was right, and I was wrong, but I’m very happy I was wrong. This sort of conversation starter is why shows like Walking Dead and Stranger Things are so popular. They generate conversation and fun.

Worldbuilding: Ok, this honestly isn’t something I personally love, but he’s great at it. The history, scope, and detail of this world (and the Cosmere) make a beautiful spiderweb look like a 2-year-old’s rage scribble. I don’t dislike it, but I think there are times when he’s just showing off (look how expansive this planet is). But I love the fact that I know there’s a rich history. Much like Wheel of Time, I’m interested in so much of the history. I’d rather not get that history lesson right in the middle of a book, but I’d honestly read a book about the ancient history of Roshar. Honestly, I’d read the book Way of Kings (not the actual book, but the one referenced).  I’d read Dalinar’s Oathbringer, and I’d really love to get my hands on Hessi’s Mythica. I mean, I’d honestly buy those books if Brandon writes them or makes them available.  I won’t read a textbook on grammar, but I’d read Mythica to learn more about the unmade (shows why my priorities are jacked).

Some of these items are things I review every time, but I want to expand on them a bit to better articulate why I feel Sanderson is simply the best in the game.  I hope it adds a bit of spice to my usual Wednesday reviews.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Edgedancer Second Read-Through

Book Review: Edgedancer Second Read-Through

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This cover image was taken from Amazon.com for review purposes.

Spolier Free Summary: Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson is a novella featuring Lift, a character from the Stormlight Archive.  This was the second time I’d read this.  You can see my initial review here.  Lift is a girl who’s apparently been 10 for about three years. She goes from sneaking into a place to helping a friend become emperor. The only problem is Darkness. He’s an emotionless hunter who seems obsessed with Lift and her pet Voidbringer who may not actually be a Voidbringer. The only thing crazier than her situation, is her idea to actually track down Darkness and stop him before he kills more people. While the rest of Roshar frets over the Assassin in White and the Kings and Emperors he kills, Lift is fighting for those other people.  Those who might not otherwise be remembered.

Character:  Lift is a fun character. She’s witty and unpredictable. She’s super proactive and incredibly sympathetic. The thing that makes her most interesting is she doesn’t put things together the way others might. Her fresh perspective on a situation often turns out right. She almost feels like a YA version of Columbo. I don’t know where she fits on my “list of favorites,” but I’m always happy when she’s is.n the scene, so this novella based on her is charming.

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This photo, by Nazrilof, was taken from Brandon Sanderson’s bio on his website.

Description: Sanderson is more passive in his description than some might like. I’m not among them. I enjoy a book that’s streamlined for content. It’s still effective. What Sanderson does in this book is hone in on the important details. He doesn’t spend much time on making everything detailed. Instead, he makes sure the details you need to see are vivid.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

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

Spoiler Free Summary: Oathbringer is the third book in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.  My review for Book One is here. My review for Book Two is here. Dalinar Kholin has reached Urithiru. The Voidbringers have returned. However, Roshar isn’t united. While Odium’s forces gather, Dalinar must strive to find a way to get the nations to work together. But as he works toward his goal, his past begins to haunt him all over again. Kaladin returns home to face his past and learns the Voidbringers aren’t what he thought they were, in fact, they’re not what anyone thought they were. Shallan’s secrets mount against her, but the only way for her to progress is to continue to face them. Each role she takes fractures her mind again, and she must take control before she faces the challenges before her.

NOTE: If you follow my Goodreads account, you’ll notice I have this marked as “currently reading.” That’s my second read through (I won’t review it again so soon). I tend to reread books like this right away to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Character: If this book was JUST about Dalinar’s arc, it would be the best book I’ve read in 2017. His story is simply amazing! It’s such a great blend of tragedy and heroics that I can’t really name a rival for it in all my memory. Shallan is improved. Her arc with a certain reoccurring character is as inspiring as it is charming. I must admit a certain grudge with Kaladin’s arc. I think I’ll talk about this more in a different post (no spoilers there either). Something happens with him, and I believe it had to happen for a few reasons. But this plot point felt rushed and then explained. It was very UN-Sanderson.  This explanation was done via flashback, and it felt to me like Sanderson saying, “You see, he would struggle with something like this.”  I think it’s a fairly significant knock, but even with this issue, I feel like Oathbringer is an amazing book. Keep an eye out for more on this subject, but I don’t want to dwell on the issue because it didn’t hurt the book beyond reason.

Exposition: As I mentioned above, we get a little of this, and that’s not common for Sanderson. However, there’s only that one slowdown as Sanderson patches up things in order to move the plot going. Other than that, this is his usual stuff. The book is HUGE, but it didn’t take very long at all to read it (I’m thinking 12-24 hours). The pages fly past, especially when you get closer to the end. When that happens, make sure you’re well rested and don’t have to use the restroom; you won’t want to put the book down for anything.

BrandonGray
Photo by Nazrilof taken from Mr. Sanderson’s website.

Description:  A few of the more critical plot points rely on the description here. It gives the book a lot of life while also letting Sanderson show off his world. I’d recommend you keep your eyes wide open for all of this book, you don’t know what you might miss.

Overall: I want to celebrate a bit. My brother and I had a theory heading into this book. It’s one of those, “Wouldn’t it be cool if!” theories. We also had a list of who we think might turn out bad. We were thrilled that the cool thing happened, and the “bad” thing we expected, well, as usual with Sanderson, it wasn’t how we thought it’d go. Sanderson is the master of rewarding readers. He has so many fan pleasers in this book. I couldn’t even keep track. I’d recommend this book JUST for the last part! The book as a whole is just like one giant bonus.

Thanks for reading,

Matt