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Old 27-06-2015, 12:19   #1
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Brandon Sanderson

Just approaching the last 100 pages of my first Brandon Sanderson novel (Mistborn #1) and having read up on the guy, I'm amazed. He's relentless in the amount of material he releases. Don't know how I never came across his stuff before.

Mistborn has proven to be a fun read, if a little heavy-handed and obvious. Sanderson seems to be able to tell enjoyable stories with intricate magic systems, but he lacks subtlety and the characters don't particularly leap off the page. It reads as something close to YA fiction at times, which I don't mind at all but sometimes feel I could be challenged more.

Then I hear that he completely changed his writing style for The Stormlight Archive, creating a MUCH denser, more complex story that's closer in style to Erikson or Martin.
I've also started listening to his writing podcast.

Any particular recommendations of his?
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Old 19-08-2015, 12:25   #2
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One of my favourite authors. His productivity is second to none and it doesn't seem to impact on quality.

1st recommendation finish the Mistborn original trilogy. 2 & 3 are just as good as #1. Mistborn then shifts forward a millennia to the Wax & Wayne novels (imagine Mistborn set in the wild west tech era) - starts with Alloy of Law, # 2& 3 are out this year if I recall correctly (he plans a trilogy in each millennia - next is mistborn 1980's tech evidently followed by mistborn future tech).

Then I would commence the literary feast that is Way of Kings & Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive). both are amazing. I can't wait for #3 (of an estimated 10!). I envy you for not having read these yet - both tomes of 1000+ pages but creates a world & magic system & ecosystem & character base & history like no other set of novels I have read.

others of his I have read

Elantris - OK.. .one of his earlier ones & you can tell
Warbreaker - OK... I didn't get into this one much.

Steelheart - young adult fiction but I really enjoyed it- no magic system this time / set on earth & a tale of superheroes. I think Firefight is #2 and recently out - haven't read it yet.

if you read up on BS - he has a wider concept embedded in all his novels called the Cosmere. . Each series of books is set on a different planet with a different magic system within the Cosmere. there are small hints/ characters relevant to this in most of his books (look out for a character called Hoid!). this will evidently culminate in an set of novels as I understand it
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Old 19-08-2015, 12:59   #3
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I've read his YA stuff (Steelheart, Mitosis, Firefight, with a final book in the series coming out next year). Incredibly easy to read but with no real depth and some fairly cringeworthy moments.
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Old 20-08-2015, 08:52   #4
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I've also read about his theory for magic systems - can't remember details, but there's stuff like it has to be limited, rather than all-powerful, has to impose a cost on the user, etc.
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Old 26-03-2019, 10:41   #5
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Since first posting this, I've read Elantris which I enjoyed. It's very clear that Sanderson is able to create wonderfully detailed magic systems that - oddly enough - manage to ground the story. There's clear rules to why things do or don't work, and it makes a nice change.

The concept and set-up of the story is utterly fantastic, the execution is not. But somehow, that didn't affect my enjoyment too much as I was able to get very wrapped up. Similar to Mistborn, I found the characters very shallow but that doesn't mean they aren't interesting. I enjoyed spending time with Raoden and Sarene, despite them happening to have all the right qualities needed to fulfil their part in the plot. Hrathen was probably the best written, we are given an antagonist who isn't really a bad guy; we understand his motivations and see the dilemma he's in. It makes him sympathetic and adds greatly to the story, but I still have to say that everything is a bit simplistic. Characters aren't multifaceted and don't have much personality.

The writing itself is up and down. The character of Dilaf was especially problematic, as we were constantly told that he "hisses" and has a ridiculous ability to express every one of his thoughts through his eyes. It became too much to take, as people somehow were able to "see the hate in his eyes", or "his eyes showed disgust but there was an intelligence hiding behind that". It happened in every single scene he was in and became more and more convoluted.

An excellent mystery story with a lot going on. I found it dragged after the halfway point but picked up again.
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Old 26-03-2019, 10:45   #6
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Since then, I later re-read the first Mistborn book because I couldn't really remember what happened in it. I found that a quick and easy read. I then moved on to the second book, The Well of Ascension, only to find that there was a summary of book 1 in the back!!

Anyway, after racing through the first book, it turns out that it's taken me over A YEAR to get through this second volume.

I enjoy the world of these Mistborn books, but it became clear to me here how unnecessarily long this was. The first 650 pages are almost entirely comprised of setup, with very little actually happening and no real movement of plot. It's mostly people wandering around having conversations and contemplating things/doubting their selves.

The Vin/Elend romance is horribly angsty. I have a similar problem with this book as I did with the first one, in that the characters and their dynamics seem so simplistic. I was never left with any sense of depth to these people because they continually just say whatever they are feeling. Here it stood out more.

It surprises me, then, that I found myself generally enjoying hanging out with the people in this story. Vin stands above the rest as the most defined character, but Sazed got a significant promotion here and OreSeur is fascinating. Meanwhile I find Ham to be near unbearable with his non-existent personality, and side characters like Breeze and Clubs fare only a little better. A new character, Zane, is an utterly bewildering addition. Were we supposed to believe that he's somehow tempting Vin?

Once again, it feels like Sanderson is not sure if he's writing and adult or YA book. It doesn't quiet mesh. BUT, the final 100 pages of this are just explosive. The twists, the surprises, the action, the mystery. It becomes absolutely thrilling. I really wish it didn't take so ridiculously long to get there.

I'll definitely be reading the third book, anyway.
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Old 23-09-2019, 15:51   #7
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Phew, I reached the end! The Mistborn trilogy has been entertaining from start to finish, but I have to admit that I've found it a real slog at times. The story being told is a fun and fascinating one, but the storytelling itself leaves a lot to be desired.

While the first book felt like a complete novel, books 2 and 3 were unnecessarily long. The stories took an eternity to get going, and once they finally did everything just happened all at once. They could have easily been edited down to one novel without losing anything important, as so much of the books were spent on unnecessary details. This would have been more acceptable if the characters were interesting, but they really aren't. Sanderson just isn't capable (at least at this point in his writing) of making them feel like real people.

TenSoon is a fun character and the strongest addition to the story. Meanwhile, the character of Spook bears no relation to the person he was previously and the change is too severe and not given a good enough explanation. Breeze and Ham are relegated to background roles and given no further development (though Ham especially had no personality to develop). Vin and Elend make a strong team and I always enjoyed chapters spent with them even though they are shallow creations who exist only to follow the plot twists.

Ordinarily, these issues would make a book unreadable but I can't deny that Mistborn is a fun ride and the mysteries presented are so very compelling. I had periods where picking the book up didn't interest me that much, and other times where I couldn't put it down. Sanderson created a fascinating world with intriguing problems to be solved, and when the answers come they are very satisfying. How those answers come about is more of an issue because the characters seem to put random clues together and come to bizarre (but correct) conclusions in very unnatural ways.

For this third book especially I found it to be very preachy even while the author attempted to present a rounded view of religion and faith. He's putting a lot of his own views in here, which is natural for any author. He just lacks any subtlety when doing it. On the flip side, Sanderson writes some spectacular action scenes and creates some really vivid imagery. I would enjoy seeing this adapted for the screen as has long been rumoured to be in the works.
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Old 29-10-2019, 12:40   #8
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I enjoyed the Mistborn books, I would definitely place them in Young Adult fiction though.

I like the sound of the Stormlight Archive, but I don't want to start reading/listening to them until he's finished. I don't want a repeat of The Wheel of Time!
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