Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson

The violent Everstorm rips across Roshar, awakening the parshmen. Dalinar tries to get the whole continent to work together to stop the Voidbringers, but is met with complications because of his past. Kaladin, Shallan, and Adolin go on a dangerous mission together.

Fantasy, 1,243 pages, published in 2017

The violent Everstorm rips across Roshar, awakening the parshmen. Dalinar tries to get the whole continent to work together to stop the Voidbringers, but is met with complications because of his past. Kaladin, Shallan, and Adolin go on a dangerous mission together.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have a feeling this is going to be such a hard review for me to write! I love this series and the characters, but I struggled with this book. There are just so. many. words. and I had a hard time finding the motivation to pick it up. If you haven’t read my reviews for The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, I would suggest reading those first.

I was very excited because I knew going into this book that there would be a focus on Dalinar’s past and he is one of my favorite characters. I realized that I actually don’t like chapters from his POV, but I like him more when he is seen from other characters’ POV. The story we get of his past in this book was…rough to say the least. I was really questioning for a long time if I should even like him, because he did some terrible things, but I overall really loved the message that came out of exploring his past.

There were a lot of scenes in this book that I really enjoyed. Some were really meaningful, while others were funny and awkward (specifically talking about Dalinar’s butt). I love the way that this series deals with depression, guilt, self-hatred, and grief. Scenes that deal with these things always end up really impacting me.

To me, one of the strongest things about this series has always been Bridge Four and their bond. In this book though, Kaladin and Bridge Four are not together for the majority of the story. Bridge Four characters get their own chapters in this book, but it just didn’t feel the same and it was something that I was really missing.

The romance in this book has it’s moments, but a lot of the time it feels kind of awkward and based on the fact that they can joke around with each other.

I didn’t love this book because it felt like not a whole lot happened, especially for 1,200 pages. There was a bunch of stuff about Kholinar and Shadesmar that seemed too drawn out. I feel like a lot of characters were focused on that I didn’t necessarily want to hear about. It just fell a little short for me, but I still love the series and characters.

I’m nervous and excited for Rhythm of War. This book really feels like a turning point in the series, especially given the revelations at the end of the book. I’m super curious about who will get flashback chapters in the next two books. I want to see more of Renarin, but I feel like he always kind of gets pushed to the side.

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Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson (Part One)

This collection of short stories from Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe include stories from Elantris, Mistborn, and The Stormlight Archive.

Fantasy. 672 pages, published in 2016

This collection of short stories from Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe include stories from Elantris, Mistborn, and The Stormlight Archive.

Spoiler Free Review:

I decided to split this post into two! I will be doing mini reviews for each of the nine stories in this collection, so if I did it all in one, this post would be very long. I am going to rate each story, instead of the book as a whole. Look forward to part two, coming on February 20th!

THE EMPEROR’S SOUL

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I really enjoyed this story! It took place on the same planet as Elantris, but no prior knowledge of that story is required to enjoy this one. At first, I was a little hesitant because I didn’t know if it would be hard to understand an all new magic system in a short story. I’m sure he could have gone more into depth with it, but it was kept simple enough.

What I enjoyed the most about this story was how much the main character analyzed and understood people. She has to recreate the soul of someone she’d never met, so the lengths she went to to understand him were really interesting. I also enjoyed how creative the magic could be, but it could also be very tricky.

Overall, I just really enjoyed this story and I can understand why it won a Hugo!

THE HOPE OF ELANTRIS

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This takes place during the climax of Elantris, so I won’t say anything about the plot. However, I thought this story was pointless. It was super short, so I didn’t mind too much, but still, I didn’t like it. It was information that I just did not need. The reason why he wrote it is sweet, but it doesn’t make up for how unnecessary it was.

THE ELEVENTH METAL

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This story takes place before the events of The Final Empire in the Mistborn series. It shows a vital character to the series and his motivations. For the most part, I enjoyed this while reading it, but it has since kind of faded from my mind. I did feel super nostalgic returning to this world, so I may just have to reread this series soon.

ALLOMANCER JAK

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This story takes place in the second era Mistborn books. There aren’t any characters from that part of the series. It is about Allomancer Jak, who writes his adventures down and publishes them in broadsheets. There is heavy usage of footnotes in this story, which I normally don’t like, but they were so funny in this! This story was just the right length. Any longer, and it would have gotten old, but it was just long enough to be super funny. I really enjoyed it!

MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY

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This takes place during The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages. Again, I won’t say anything about the plot since it contains lots of spoilers. It kind of explores the events of those books from a different perspective. There is a ton of information in this story about the magic of this world and about the Cosmere in general. It was kind of overwhelming to take in, to be honest.

I thought the actual story was fine for the most part. The ending was my favorite section because it made me super emotional. I appreciate the story and all the information, but I did think that this story was a little bit too long.


Stay tuned for the second part of this review!

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The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Where do I even start with a book this size? I considered breaking this up into multiple posts, but I wouldn’t even know how to break it up. I went into this book used to Brandon’s writing, so I tabbed a lot of things (look at the picture about) that I thought I would need to remember later on. I don’t know if this necessarily help me in the future but I think it made me think more critically about what was happening.

Fantasy, 1007 pages, published in 2010

Spoiler Free Review:

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Where do I even start with a book this size? I considered breaking this up into multiple posts, but I wouldn’t even know how to break it up. I went into this book used to Brandon’s writing, so I tabbed a lot of things (look at the picture above) that I thought I would need to remember later on. I don’t know if this necessarily help me in the future but I think it made me think more critically about what was happening.

THE FORMAT

The format of this book is definitely a little daunting. There is a prelude, then a prologue, then finally part one of the book. Between each part, there are interludes. It was a lot for me to take in, especially after seeing a pretty long table of contents. Another thing that initially scared me was that there seemed to be a lot of time jumps. After the first few chapters that take place in the past, there are chapters in the present and also chapters in the past following a specific character. The past chapters are all chronological and I’ve gotten the impression that each book shows a different character’s backstory with these chapters.

In each section of the story, you follow a different mix of characters. The interludes follow seemingly random characters throughout the world. There are also pictures and maps thrown in between chapters are certain points. These really helped me grasp the world and the creatures in it.

Similar to Mistborn, there are epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. The style changes each section, sometimes being a letter, others being a collection of excerpts from different texts. It was fun to try to figure out what exactly each one meant.

THE SETTING

This story takes place in Roshar, which is comprised of many countries, most notably Alethkar and Jah Kaved. Highstorms are intense storms that ravage the continent every few days. The landscape and people have adapted to them. People from different countries are quite distinct. Some have weird features, like foot long white eyebrows (my personal favorite), while others have unique skin, like red and black marbled.

I feel like in general, Brandon tends to lean into stereotypes for nationalities a little bit too much and this was no exception. If a character is from a certain country, you pretty much know their personality because its the same at everyone else from their country. There are exceptions of course, but most of the time, this is true.

In the main areas of the story, the ruling people are decided by the color of their eyes; lighteyes are in power while darkeyes are beneath them.

There were a few gender things that were odd to me. Men and women have very different roles. Men are for war and battle, while women are for science and art. Women also have a “safehand”, a hand that is covered and isn’t used for anything. Men don’t know how to read, and I couldn’t tell if this was because it was beneath them or if women just have the capacity for it. Men and women also eat different food. This aspect was weird for me. In this book, nothing was done on either end to challenge these restrictive roles. I’m hoping that in future books, something will be done to challenge and change these traditions.

THE PLOT & THE CHARACTERS

It is hard to pin down a plot for this book because there are so many things happening to so many different characters. Kaladin is a slave who has to run carrying bridges to dangerous battlefronts. Shallan is trying to convince a heretic to teach her so she can get close and steal an artifact that could help her family. Dalinar is struggling to find a purpose for the war he is fighting, as well as keeping political rivals off his back.

In this book, we get Kaladin’s backstory. It shows his motivations for why he is willing to fight back, unlike the other slaves around him, as well as how he even became a slave in the first place. I think Kaladin is really interesting. He comes up will all of these grand plans for him and his bridge crew and while they work most of the time, sometimes they don’t. These moments reminded me of how young he still is because he definitely didn’t feel that way when he was leading his men.

I loved the community Kaladin ended up creating. I was totally rooting for his bridge crew throughout and it was sad every time anyone from the crew died in the dangerous job they were forced to do.

I liked Shallan, but I would still love to know more about her. She is thorough and loves to draw and learn. I thought her story was fun, but it definitely got more interesting towards the end.

My favorite character actually ended up being Dalinar. I didn’t like him or care about him at all at first, but by the end, I was totally rooting for him. He experiences visions during highstorms and I thought those were very insightful to understanding the world and the past. He is very traditional and honorable, which can sometimes get in his way, but most of the time, it saves lives. I am so excited to see more of him in future books.

Like most Brandon books, the beginning of this one was slow and grew to a huge climax at the end. I personally love this, but I know for people who predominately read YA, it will feel slow in the beginning. Brandon does such a good job of not giving away all the information at once. There were definitely moments where I was confused, but later on, it made sense because I was slowly given information about the world.

OTHER RANDOM THINGS

There was actually a lot of information about the Cosmere, the universe that all of Brandon’s adult fantasy novels are a part of. In everything else, there are vague hints and things that you would only pick up if you knew about the Cosmere, but in this book, there is a lot more information. It isn’t a lot by any means, but more than I was expecting.

I was really disturbed by the treatment of Parshmen, the race of slave people in Roshar. They are basically mute and will follow any orders. They are basically ignored until needed and aren’t even really treated as people.

The war going on throughout this book was also kind of disturbing. It is really being fought for no good reason and the cost of human life is astounding.

I am very intrigued by the Parshendi, the group of people that the war is against. They are so different than anything anyone in the world has experienced and it is cool to see how their culture differs from what is normal in the world. I am looking forward to learning more about them, hopefully outside of war.

For a fantasy book, this didn’t have as much magic as I was expecting. It is present and I know there will be more in future books, but there really wasn’t a lot in this one. There were magically powered swords and armor, but those are still pretty mysterious.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you made it this far, thank you! This was a looong book, so I had a lot I wanted to say. I don’t know if I’ve made this clear, but I really loved this book! I can definitely see how this would need to be a 10 book series because the scope is huge. There are so many other thoughts I had that I just did not have time to mention in this review.

If you like fantasy and have read other Brandon Sanderson books, I would highly recommend this! I think it is helpful to have read something else by him to get a sense of his style beforehand. I am beyond excited to read more from this world! I ordered Words of Radiance before I even finished this book, that’s how excited I am.

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis: Vivenna is trained her whole life to wed the God King of Hallandren, but when her father sends her younger sister Siri in her place, she decides to follow her into the foreign land and attempt to save her.

Fantasy, 652 pages, published in 2009

Synopsis: Vivenna is trained her whole life to wed the God King of Hallandren, but when her father sends her younger sister Siri in her place, she decides to follow her into the foreign land to attempt to save her and prevent a war.

Spoiler Free Review:

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Here we are again, another Brandon Sanderson book complete! I didn’t really know what to expect going into this book because the only words I had heard in relation to it were “fun” and “romance”, but as always, I really enjoyed it! I don’t know how he does it, but the magic systems, worlds, and characters that Brandon comes up with are an absolute delight to read about.

I do have to say, it was a fun book! Romance, on the other hand…that’s stretching it. Yes, there is a romance and I did find it pretty cute, but it is a fairly small part of the story, so it doesn’t make sense to call it that. It says it on Brandon’s website, so I’m not just pulling it out of nowhere!

The magic system was so cool! It uses a combination of color and Breath, a property that everyone is born with and can collect from others, in order to animate objects. The more breath someone has, the more they can do and the more powers they gain, like immortality and perfect color recognition. The magic has some pretty cool uses throughout the book.

I enjoyed Siri’s chapters the most out of anyone else in this book. At first, I didn’t really understand how all of the other main characters fit in, so I wasn’t very invested in them and was ready for more of Siri. I just really liked Siri’s personality. She is young, but she is also curious and free-spirited. It was interesting to see how she reacted in the situations she ended up in.

On the other hand, I think Vivenna’s arc was more satisfying. She starts out prim and proper, knowing her place and her value. Through the events of the story, she goes through a lot and has to question her beliefs and prior judgments, as well as herself. It was really interesting to see who she became by the end.

One thing I love about Brandon Sanderson’s books is that I can usually figure out some of the twists if I am trying hard enough, so I will feel very accomplished when I do. Then, an even bigger twist will come along and absolutely blow me away, like those smaller twists were leading me off the trail of the big one! I’m always breathless (no pun intended) when I finish one of his books because the endings are always just so intense in the best way. There is never anything that really seems out of place or unreasonable when I look back at the hints that have been laid down.

There isn’t really too much action in this book, which I appreciate! Actions scenes are usually my least favorite part of a book, so I liked the amount of intrigue in this one a lot.

Once again, I loved another Brandon Sanderson book. It is safe to say that he is one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend any of his books (that I’ve read so far) because they have all been really good!