Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was amazing.
I thought it was going to be hard to top the first two doorstoppers, but this one not only outdid the others in page-count but also in the quality of the storytelling. Every aspect of it was brilliant.
I'm not usually one to gush on and on about epic fantasies. Most are pretty okay and I can slog through and eventually enjoy certain ones like GoT all right, but a few really manage to jump right out there and grab you with character, world-building, and overall story with heart, rage, heartache, and amazeballs reveals that are about as far away from the usual as you can get but still slam you with the reality and inevitability. I'm talking about Dalinar.
I mean, sure, we get a lot of great stuff from Kaladin as he grows into his new heroic role and learns a lot of disturbing things about the Parchendi, including the fact that humanity is the invaders to this land, that we are the villains. And Shallan continues to grow as an illusionist and her love story is quite satisfying if generally on the backburner to the main action. Doesn't matter. I think I'll always love her and all her split personalities.
But even though we think we've learned a lot of things about the ultra-honorable Dalinar and we're satisfied with the fact that he's bonded with the Stormfather himself, the reveals regarding his missing memory is kinda shocking, to say the least. I mean, it's kinda flooring. And now all the unspoken and referred-to actions of his younger self now make a lot more sense. He's an animal. All about the passion and the Thrill. The blood-rage, the thing that consumes all. How did he get here from there? Ah, that's the trick, no?
Well, I can tell you all that it is all brilliant. :)
But don't just think this is all character development. Indeed, most of it is occurring during really fantastic scenes of action or during inopportune times. The momentum is maintained. And then there's a whole squad of flying, storm-riding heroes. Matter-altering women, master illusionists, blade dancers, immortal assassins, gods, and my personal favorite... the cognitive realm itself.
Oh, yes, we are treated to the homeworld of the Spren. A lot of it. And a very cool place it is. :) Nature spirits or creatures of pure thought, who cares? It's damn cool. :) And the reveals about humanity? NICE. :)
I think this one might be my favorite. It obviously builds on the previous novels, but it has the wonderful distinction of not just gliding. It pushes and strives for a lot more and I couldn't be happier. :)
Bravo, Sanderson! You've got a life-long fanboy here!
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