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Sanderson and the Stormlight Archives- My Humble Opinion

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Creed, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Creed

    Creed Sage

    So book 2 of the Stormlight Archives is out, and I discussed my lack of enthusiasm with a friend upon hearing the news.
    So let me just say something about The Way of Kings, and Brandon Sanderson in general: I'm caught in the middle. I've heard talk of a love-or-hate Eriksonian relationship with him, but I am very much caught in the middle.
    And I'll do some brief explaining.
    His worlds are okay. They've got some cool points, and they have some bad points. So he's a very mediocre worldbuilder.
    His magic systems are interesting, and I think his gravity magic here is the best of his I've read (even better than Allomancy). Sure, I'd choose biotics from Mass Effect over it any day, but it's really awesome.
    The way he writes influences this decision, definitely. His prose is… empty. Maybe skeletal is the better word, but I prefer more full prose, and I'm sure most of you know what I'm saying. Maybe not bloated and threatening to explode, as I've heard Forge of Darkness is, but plump and healthy, yes.
    But his characters… they're so bland to me. Sure, they all have internal conflict that keeps me reading, usually. But (besides Szeth) they are all so black and white.
    Scratch that- they're all very white.
    And sure, I love watching Lord of the Rings every once in a while, because when things are that black and white you know who to root for, and life is easy (ignoring the insanity of the Ring).
    But Kalidan is such a Hollywood hero!*
    And Dalinar- especially when he started digging that trench- is way too Mr. Nice Guy.
    Maybe I'm just cynical.
    So I'm caught in the middle here. He's an interesting writer, for sure.

    Where are you situated on the Sanderson Spectrum?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  2. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

    About the same, to be honest. I enjoy his magic systems from a 'oh that's something different' perspective and I don't think he's a bad writer, certainly not for this genre, but I don't get much out of reading his stuff. My husband likes how he ended the Wheel of Time series, but since that was based on the notes and world and characters of another author, I don't know if that's entirely fair a place to judge Sanderson alone. His stories and characters don't interest me much. A few good ones in the supporting cast, but the main characters were all pretty flat to me.

    He's got some interesting concepts for his worldbuilding and character models, too, but I haven't loved any of them. Also haven't read The Way of Kings yet, though, just the first three Mistborn novels.
  3. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    I thought Elantris had clever writing and some interesting characters. (A certain "savior" could have supported a whole novel of his own.) But nothing else I've tried by him has measured up, and I'm starting to get discouraged.
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I liked Elantris.

    I tried to read Mistborn and couldn't get through the first book. Haven't read anything else by him except the continuations of Wheel of Time.
  5. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

    I hadn't even heard of Elantris - but maybe I should check that one out before TWoK? If it is that much better than Mistborn, I do like him enough to see if he's written something I'd love.
  6. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Sanderson is not my favorite author. I could not get into Mistborn, and Elantris was...passable.

    I struggled with parts of 'Way of Kings', but ultimately found it worthwhile.

    As to 'Words of Radiance' (Stormlight Archives II), I've been meaning to start a thread on this one for a while, for a number of reasons.

    First off is the sheer length of the thing - I put it at around 450,000 words. In the opening acknowledgements, Sanderson mentions it took him 18 months to go from rough outline to polished final draft on this oversized puppy. I figure, even for a pro, that means three full drafts/rewrites. Do the math.

    Second, Sanderson is one of the very few fantasy authors I know of who managed to create a credible *alien* world. Most of the lifeforms on Roshar are downright weird. Ordinary earthling animals taken for granted in other fantasy epics are scarce here - chickens are scarce, and horses are worth fortunes. In 'Way of Kings' this dragged, but in 'Words of Radiance' it came together.

    Third, the story finally came together in an interesting way. Characters I didn't care for in 'Kings' became much more engrossing. Characters I did care for in Kings...well, interesting things happened. The 'bad guys' took multiple interesting turns of their own. The strangest of the bunch made a deliberate, horrible choice for themselves a long time ago, with excellent reason.
  7. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

    I've only read the first book of the Mistborn trilogy, bought the rest but couldn't bring myself to read them and probably won't. The plot and characterisation were alright but it wasn't always carried out very well. I remember a scene where the characters are planning their revolution and it reads like a group of students planning their school project.
    The Allomancy is rather original, yes but I also felt it is quite counterintuitive and therefore hard to keep track of. I was also left wondering what happens to the metals which are "burned" and then gone. The energy release of this should cause more than sharpened senses and similar. I normally wouldn't be bothered by this kind of thing but if someone's feels good enough to give out "laws" for using magic in fantasy novels, I expect a convincing explanation.
    The part that really made me lay down the series was the philosophy which didn't do anything for me and which is supposedly much more central to the later books.
    After this, I didn't pick up any of his other books so I can't comment on them.
  8. Creed

    Creed Sage

    I suppose I'll read it eventually. While I agree Roshar was alien, I wasn't impressed by it, as I am with other worlds. But your post will likely make me read it sometime in the next five years as opposed to the next ten.
  9. kayd_mon

    kayd_mon Sage

    I have read the 4 Mistborn books that have been released thus far. At first, all those negative points you mentioned made me dislike the book, but I eventually got hooked by the story. I still don't prefer his technique, really, but (at least in Mistborn) he wrote a story that I got into. I have two more books of his on the shelf, ready to read probably during the summer.

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