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Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson(1975- )

Brandon Sanderson
was nominated for the Campbell Award (Best New Writer) in 2006 and 2007. He is completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time epic.

The Wheel of Time

The Wheel of Time — (1990-2013)  Publisher: The peaceful villagers of Emond’s Field pay little heed to rumors of war in the western lands until a savage attack by troll-like minions of the Dark One forces three young men to confront a destiny which has its origins in the time known as The Breaking of the World. This richly detailed fantasy presents a fully realized, complex adventure which will appeal to fans of classic quests.

Robert Jordan The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of ChaosRobert Jordan The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of ChaosRobert Jordan The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of ChaosRobert Jordan The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of ChaosRobert Jordan The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of ChaosRobert Jordan The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of ChaosA Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, New SpringA Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, New SpringA Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, New SpringA Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, New SpringA Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, New SpringRobert Jordan Brandon Sanderson Wheel of Time 12, A Memory of Light 1. The Gathering Storm, Towers of MidnightRobert Jordan Brandon Sanderson Wheel of Time 12, A Memory of Light 1. The Gathering Storm, Towers of MidnightRobert Jordan Brandon Sanderson Wheel of Time 12, A Memory of Light 1. The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, Memory of Light
Available for download at Audible.comClick here for audio download.

The Eye of the World: A re-read

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

Years ago I read the Wheel of Time series up through book 10. Now it's late 2008, Robert Jordan has passed on, and we're expecting the last Wheel of Time book, A Memory of Light in about one year. Brandon Sanderson will be writing it with the help of notes and taped messages left by Jordan, and in consultation with Harriet, Jordan's widow and confidante.

When I read it the first time, I really enjoyed WOT until it bogged down in the middle of the series. In fact, I stopped reading it after Crossroads of Twilight. But the story was interesting and exciting (though excruciatingly slow at times) and now I'm quite curious to see how Brandon Sanderson will bring it to an ... Read More

The Great Hunt: Another fun installment

The Great Hunt

Here's another really fun installment of The Wheel of Time. Like The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt kept me thoroughly entertained. Everything I said in the review above goes for this book, too. It's fast-paced and full of plot. I think this is the best book in the series.

We get to meet some excellent secondary heroes and villains in The Great Hunt — Egeanin and the Seanchan from across the sea who use captured and chained women with power to fight for them, and ship captain Bayle Doman, for example.

Also, in The Great Hunt, we start to get an inkling of just how well Robert Jordan has built his world and planned this series. There are aspects of the poetry, mythology, history, and stories of this world that w... Read More

The Dragon Reborn: One of the better books in the series

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan (on audio)

In The Dragon Reborn, Rand finally starts to discover his new talents. Unfortunately, we don't get to watch that happen. We only see a few glimpses of him learning to use his power. It makes me wonder if it was just easier for Jordan to show us the newly developed Rand rather than to explain how he got that way.

A couple of times here (and in later books) we're told that Rand doesn't really know how he wields the power — he just does. In fact, this also happens with the girls from his village (Egwene and Nynaeve) who are learning to be Aes Sedai, and with their friend, princess Elayne. They supposedly are the most powerful women in years, but they don't really understand how they do it or how and why they are more powerful. If you appreciate a well-developed, creative, and well-explained magic system (e.g. Read More

The Shadow Rising: Starts to slow down

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

In The Shadow Rising, things start to slow down. In fact, it often feel like the reading of the story must take longer than it took for the events to actually occur.

Part of the problem is that Mr Jordan tells us nearly everything except when the characters make a bowel movement. Also, he regularly launches into pre-set spiels in which he re-describes something or someone who we've encountered numerous times before or re-explains something we've been told dozens of times (e.g., Loial sounds like a bumblebee, Perrin likes to think things through, wet bowstrings are bad, trollocs eat anything as long as it's meat, Aes Sedai never lie but... ). Every time a Tinker shows up, you may as well skip the next two paragraphs because they invariably describe first the "eye-jarring" wagons and then the even gaudier clothes. The format is nearly the same each time. This i... Read More

The Fires of Heaven: Amazingly little happens

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

For being such a long book (nearly 1000 pages in my trade paperback copy), amazingly little happens in The Fires of Heaven, and this is why so many readers have abandoned this otherwise interesting story. Approximately the first third of the novel contains so much recap and repetition that, if I'd had "my hair in a proper braid," I would have been yanking it as often as Nynaeve does.

The formula for the first 100 pages or so goes something like this:  One or two lines of dialogue, two paragraphs of backstory, another line of dialogue, another couple of paragraphs of backstory... It felt like the proverbial "one step forward, two steps back!"

I managed to stick with it, though, only because I was listening to it on audiobook (and therefore only half listening while I accomplished something else at the same time) and because I wanted to write ... Read More

Lord of Chaos: More of the same

Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan (on audio)

I could almost copy and paste my review for Fires of Heaven right here and it would be mostly suitable because Lord of Chaos is more of the same. This is another metropolitan-city-phonebook-sized novel with a potentially interesting story that is bogged down by its excruciatingly slow pace, regular insertions of backstory, constant descriptions of the garb of every major and minor character (garb which keeps getting smoothed, straightened, or otherwise adjusted), and too many mentions of expanses of bosoms, spankings, sitting on knees, sniffing, snorting, and braid yanking. (I swear, if I have to read "good stout Two-Rivers woolens" one more time...)

In Lord of Chaos some of the most interesting WOT characters are absent (e.g., Egeanin and ... Read More

A Crown of Swords: Someone stuck a stick in the spokes of The Wheel of Time

A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan

My reviews of The Wheel of Time novels are getting just as repetitive as the actual books. There's really not much more to say. A Crown of Swords is another long slow installment in which there are too many detailed descriptions of clothing, references to spanking, concerns about bosoms, and people blushing. There are pages and pages which chronicle secondary characters' extensive internal thoughts. But what bugs me most, though, are the constant depictions of people and places as if they have a corporate personality:
Men strutted arrogantly along the streets with often ragged vests and no shirts, wearing great brass hoops in their ears and brass finger rings set with colored glass, one knife or sometimes two stuck behind their belts. Hands hovering near knives, they stared as though daring someone to give the wrong twist to a l... Read More

The Path of Daggers: At least it’s shorter

The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

The best thing I can say about The Path of Daggers is that it is significantly shorter than the last few novels have been — only 700 pages (mass market paperback) compared to the 900-1100 page novels that have preceded it. There is much less of the repetitive backstory. I guess Mr. Jordan finally realized that new readers aren't jumping in at this point.

However, that's not to say that there are 700 pages of plot here, either. For again, most of the pages are devoted to minutia such as nearly every word spoken during one of Elayne's 3 hour long rides, every thought that Perrin has while walking around his camp, etc. Most of the significant action is squeezed into the last couple of chapters. The story is still interesting, but The Path of Daggers doesn't advance it far enough.

But what's annoying me mos... Read More

Winter’s Heart: Plods along

Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan

The first six chapters of Winter's Heart follow Perrin and Faile after Faile is abducted by the Shaido Aiel. The next several chapters follow Elayne as she returns to Caemlyn and prepares to make a bid for her mother's crown. These two storylines are incredibly dull and I confess that I skimmed over a lot of it and read the excellent cross-referenced chapter summaries at Encyclopaedia WOT. I read Winter's Heart years ago and I just did not feel like once again sitting in on Elayne's steward's descriptions of the rats in the Caemlyn sewers or Perrin's angst about Faile (good riddance, I say!).

Mat's story, as usual, was entertaining, and we finally get to meet the Daughter of the Nine Moons (who turns out to be not nearly as exotic as her name suggests). Rand's storyline was side-tracked by his quest to hunt down the rogue Asha'man, so he doesn't really accomplish anything new (other than to acquire ... Read More

Crossroads of Twilight: THE PLOT DOES NOT MOVE

Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan

Crossroads of Twilight was maddening. I read it years ago and ended up giving up on The Wheel of Time after this book. I tried again in my preparation for reading Memory of Light, and I just couldn't manage to do it again. So, as with Winter's Heart, I cheated by reading many of the chapter summaries at Encyclopaedia WOT. I skimmed the chapters involving Perrin's hunt for Faile because I remembered how slow, grueling, and painful they were when I read them the first time. And even though about 25% of the novel was about this storyline, it did not advance at all. I also skimmed a lot of Elayne's campaigning and dealing with the constantly whining Sea Folk because not much happ... Read More

Knife of Dreams: Moves story forward

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan

Knife of Dreams has several things going for it. It isn't as bad as the last few for one, no slight achievement. It is relatively crisp in prose and pace. It advances story and character at a more enjoyable pace. It even has a few (though too few) strong scenes that evoke fond memories of earlier (much earlier) books in the series. It is without a doubt an improvement on the past few and anyone who has put the time into this series and felt like they were scraping along will breathe a sigh of relief.

That said, though, there isn't much to praise beyond its improvement over the last few books and its more clear movement toward resolution. Knife of Dreams is a serviceable book. It does what it needs to do (finally) but does so without any real panache or aplomb, without any sense of passion or wonder. It's readable, but not c... Read More

The Gathering Storm: WOT is in good hands

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

That the twelfth book in a series is entitled The “Gathering” Storm probably points to a fundamental problem with the series. I mean, we’re eleven books (long, long books by the way) down and the storm is only just “gathering”? And anyone who has stuck with The Wheel of Time thus far (which I’m assuming is pretty much everyone reading this because otherwise why the heck are you reading this?), knows that pacing has been a big problem in Robert Jordan’s work, especially after the first few books. I wonder, in fact, if part of the reason for the title was a special publisher’s plea to wavering fans: “the end is coming! No, really! It’s almost here!” Though in that case, perhaps announcing that the final book was going to be split into three wasn’t such a smart idea…
... Read More

Towers of Midnight: An event-filled book that moves the big story forward

Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

One of the problems with reviewing books like Towers of Midnight is that as you’re taking your notes and then as you’re writing the review itself, you know that really, none of it matters. Because let’s face it, nobody’s reading a review of the thirteenth book in a series — the penultimate one no less — to see if they should read the book. So we’ll dispense with the recommending part of the review and just give some spoiler-free impressions of this almost-the-end book by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson.

I’ll begin by confessing that over the years I’ve become somewhat ambivalent toward the The Wheel of Time, feeling that while some of the books (especially early ones) were absolutely fantastic, the series overall has had wide variations in quality of characterization a... Read More

A Memory of Light: Truly the “Last Battle” and a fitting close

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Every now and then, I find myself writing a review that I know just really doesn’t matter. Usually, you like to think of your reviews as acting as a guide to potential readers as to whether or not they should give any particular book a shot. Somebody out there somewhere saw this book and is wondering, “Hmm, I’m not so sure about this one, should I try it?” or somebody out there never heard of this book and is thinking, “hmm, that sounds intriguing; off to my local independently owned small bookshop right around the corner!” (leave me my dream). But let’s face it, when you’re reviewing, as I am with A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan via Brandon Sanderson, the fourteenth and final book of a series (in th... Read More

New Spring: The Wheel starts to (creeaak) turn …

New Spring by Robert Jordan

With New Spring, Robert Jordan offers himself up to two major criticisms up front. One is for releasing a prequel when you haven't finished the first series yet and the other is for trying to grab a quick book by just padding out an already published first story. With regard to the first, I think it's pretty silly to complain about an author's choice of subject — perhaps he became inspired with something in terms of the back story and is excited to write it, perhaps he needs to flesh out the backstory before continuing with the original series, maybe he just has writer's block and is using this as a tool to work through it. Whatever his reasons, fans have no claim as to what an author writes, frustrating as that choice may be.

As for the second criticism, I haven't read the original short, so I can't speak as to how much this is "padded" and how m... Read More


Mistborn — (2006-2016) Publisher: For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the Sliver of Infinity, reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Rulers most hellish prison. Kelsier snapped and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark. Kels plan looks like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, shes a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Brandon Sanderson The Final Empire 1. Mistborn 2. The Well of Ascension 3. Hero of Ages reviewBrandon Sanderson The Final Empire 1. Mistborn 2. The Well of Ascension 3. Hero of Ages reviewBrandon Sanderson The Final Empire 1. Mistborn 2. The Well of Ascension 3. Hero of Ages reviewBrandon Sanderson The Final Empire 1. Mistborn 2. The Well of Ascension 3. Hero of Ages 4. The Alloy of LawShadows of Self (Mistborn)The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn)

Mistborn: The Final Empire: Great start to a series

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

I was a fan of Brandon Sanderson's first novel, Elantris, though the novel had some pretty clear flaws. I'm an even bigger fan of his follow-up, Mistborn, a book that has all the plusses of Elantris without the problems.

Mistborn takes places in an ashen, devastated world where the "Skaa" are a brutally downtrodden majority who do all the work for the aristocratic minority of the Great Houses, who themselves are ruthlessly dominated (in differing ways) by the Lord Ruler, a religious godhead. Supposedly immortal — he's ruled for centuries via his magic power and his two competing bureaucracies — the "obligators" and the Inquisitors — a fearsome secret police who have steel rods impaling their eyes and who are nea... Read More

The Well of Ascension: Plenty left to tell

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Bridge books are always dicey things — many fall into a sophomore slump, meandering along trying to get from A to C with the required stop at B (because everyone knows a fantasy story can’t be told in only two books; three is clearly the sacred minimum — damn you Tolkien!). Luckily, The Well of Ascension doesn’t fall into that trap.

Mistborn is set in an ashen, mist-filled world whose myths tell of a time when plants were green. The world is dominated by the Lord Ruler, a seemingly immortal tyrant who had ruled for centuries, ruthlessly oppressing the majority population of Skaa, as well as the much smaller class of nobles. The Lord Ruler is also the hero who centuries ago defeated the mysterious “Deepness,” saving the world fr... Read More

The Hero of Ages: Put Mistborn on your TBR list

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

I'm impressed with Brandon Sanderson's first fantasy trilogy. The entire story was carefully thought out, well-plotted, and well-paced. What impresses me most is that in this last installment, The Hero of Ages, there are plenty of wonderful surprises left. But these surprises aren't little add-ons that Sanderson lately thought up and decided to throw in just to keep up the interest and excitement. These are major pieces of the puzzle that have purposely been left for the characters (and therefore the readers) to discover. Back in The Final Empire, the first book of the Mistborn trilogy, I thought Brandon Sanderson had created a unique and really cool magic system. That was nothin' — it gets even better!

Finally, we understand the origin and p... Read More

The Alloy of Law: Western setting adds a new twist to Mistborn

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

I loved Brandon Sanderson’s MISTBORN series, so I was excited to learn that he was publishing another novel set in the MISTBORN world. The Alloy of Law takes place a few hundred years after the events in the original trilogy. By this time, society is in the midst of an industrial revolution and is expanding into uncivilized frontier lands, making The Alloy of Law, I suppose, a Western Steampunk or Weird West tale.

A minority of citizens still inherit Allomancy or Feruchemy or, in the case of Twinborn Waxillium Ladrian, both. Even though Wax is heir to a rich noble house, he uses his powers to fight outlaws in the frontier lands... until he’s called back to run his family estates after his uncle’s death. Wax isn’t interested in being a stuffy nobleman, but hundreds of people rely on his family for thei... Read More

Shadows of Self: A breezy weird Western romp that left us wanting just a bit more

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Bill: Let’s see, last week in September. That means I’ve got to grade my first-years’ first essays. Call the guy to clean the gutters. Make sure the furnace and gas fireplace are set to go. And, oh yeah, it’s been a month, that must mean I have a new Brandon Sanderson novel to review. Yep, Shadows of Self, the second book in his second MISTBORN trilogy (or, if you prefer, the fifth book in the entire MISTBORN series). Apparently it’s due out in two weeks, which means I better get on this now or the third book will be out before I review the second (I swear, if Brandon Sanderson and Joyce Carol Oates ever had a child, their love child would be a high-speed printing press).

Interestingly enough, although this is, as I mentioned, the middle book of a second trilogy, my promotional material is te... Read More


Alcatraz — (2007-2008) Ages 9-12. Publisher: A hero with an incredible talent… for breaking things. A life-or-death mission… to rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network… the evil Librarians. Alcatraz Smedry doesn’t seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the world. The sand will give the Librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination. Alcatraz must stop them!… by infiltrating the local library, armed with nothing but eyeglasses and a talent for klutziness. Alcatraz’s ability to break things, he soon learns, is actually a Talent. Alcatraz must learn to use his Talent as he goes after the sands with a team of resistors, including Grandpa Smedry (Talent: “I have the ability to arrive late to things”… including arriving late to pain, or to his own death), Sing Smedry (Talent: “I can trip and fall to the ground”…avoiding injury in surprise attacks), Quentin Smedry (Talent: “I can say things that make absolutely no sense whatsoever”… if captured, he speaks nonsense instead of spilling secrets), and Bastille (a girl Alcatraz’s age, who is a knight charged with protecting Grandpa Smedry. Bastille has no Talent, but she’s got spunk, skill, and spark to spare). Together they must defeat a Dark Oculator and retrieve the magical lenses smelted from the sand, which allow Alcatraz to read The Forgotten Language, a previously indecipherable text — including a message from his long-lost father, who may not be dead after all…

Brandon Sanderson 1. Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians 2. Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's BonesBrandon Sanderson 1. Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians 2. Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones 3. Alcatraz Versus The Knights of CrystalliaBrandon Sanderson 1. Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians 2. Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones 3. Alcatraz Versus The Knights of Crystallia 4. "Alcatraz Versus the Shattered LensBrandon Sanderson 1. Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians 2. Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones 3. Alcatraz Versus The Knights of Crystallia 4. "Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens
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Alcatraz Versus The Knights of Crystallia: This proves I’m not YAnymore

Alcatraz Versus The Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz versus The Knights of Crystallia is Brandon Sanderson’s third book in this YA series and I have several confessions to make. One is that I haven’t read the first two Alcatraz books. The second is that I am not Y. Not even close. Usually, I don’t feel that hinders my reviews of YA books. But as I read much of Alcatraz, I started to wonder if I’d become the old guy in a bathrobe yelling “Get off my lawn ya lousy kids!” while waving a hairy-knuckled fist in the offenders’ general direction. Maybe, gasp, I just didn’t get the “Y” in YA anymore.

What tipped me off? Maybe the occasional reference to farts or “potty breaks,” the character who thinks curses in the Hushworld (our world) are phrases like “farting barf-faced poop”... Read More

The Stormlight Archive

The Stormlight Archive — (2010-2014)  Publisher: Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive. Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable. Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity. Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war. The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making. Speak again the ancient oaths, Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before Destination. and return to men the Shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Forthcoming: Eight more volumes

The Way of Kings: A very promising start to a very long series

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Here we go, folks: The Way of Kings, at over 1000 pages, is the first volume of Brandon Sanderson’s projected ten-book series, THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE. At one book per year, we probably won’t see the end of this series before 2020, especially given that Sanderson is first planning to finish up Robert Jordan’s WHEEL OF TIME. So, if you’re looking for a new series to read, this one has some advantages and disadvantages: on the plus side, there will be a lot of reading material coming your way; on the other hand, it’ll take quite some time for all of it to get here. Luckily, The Way of Kings is a very promising start to the series. Unlike what seems to be most of the fantasy audience, I haven’t been a huge fan of all of Brandon Sanderson’s work so far, bu... Read More

Words of Radiance: Worth the trip so far

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radiance is book two in Brandon Sanderson’s huge STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE series, projected to be ten books. In fact, at 1100 pages, Words of Radiance is almost large enough to be its own series (at least once upon a time — I’m thinking say of Zelazny’s AMBER series, or Donaldson’s original COVENANTtrilogy). With another eight thousand pages to go, who knows whether the trip will be worth it, but at this point the car is humming along, the scenery is nice, and the kids are getting along in the back seat.

Part of the reason the series is off to a smooth start is Sanderson’s consistent facility with regard to pace and plot. I have always found his books to regularly feel shorter than ... Read More


Legion — (2012-2014) Publisher: Brandon Sanderson is one of the most significant fantasists to enter the field in a good many years. His ambitious, multi-volume epics (Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive) and his stellar continuation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series have earned both critical acclaim and a substantial popular following. In Legion, a distinctly contemporary novella filled with suspense, humor, and an endless flow of invention, Sanderson reveals a startling new facet of his singular narrative talent. Stephen Leeds, AKA ‘Legion,’ is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his ‘aspects’ are drawn into the search for the missing Balubal Razon, inventor of a camera whose astonishing properties could alter our understanding of human history and change the very structure of society. The action ranges from the familiar environs of America to the ancient, divided city of Jerusalem. Along the way, Sanderson touches on a formidable assortment of complex questions: the nature of time, the mysteries of the human mind, the potential uses of technology, and the volatile connection between politics and faith. Resonant, intelligent, and thoroughly absorbing, Legion is a provocative entertainment from a writer of great originality and seemingly limitless gifts.

Legion: I hope there will be more of Stephen Leeds

Legion by Brandon Sanderson

I’m a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s vivid imagination, so I was happy to get a copy of Legion, his new 88 page stand-alone novella. It’s about Stephen Leeds, a man who’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia because he sees and hears people who don’t exist. The thing about Stephen, though, is that unlike most schizophrenics’ hallucinations, the people in Stephen’s head actually help him. They all have their own talents and areas of expertise (and their own mental illnesses) and if Stephen needs to know something they don’t know, some other “aspect” is likely to show up to offer some help. This makes him valuable to anyone who needs help — it’s like hiring a “legion” instead of just one guy. Therefore, Stephen is highly paid and lives in a mansion with enough rooms to house all his special friends.

Stephen’s current petitioner is unusual. Monica, ... Read More

Legion: Skin Deep: Another cool SF novella from Sanderson

Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson

“I’m not crazy. I’m compartmentalized.”

Legion: Skin Deep is the second novella in Brandon Sanderson’s series about Stephen Leeds, a man whose psyche has spawned a “legion” of extra personalities that he thinks of as “aspects.” Stephen is the only person who can see his aspects — each is a separate personality who lives with him and can follow him around and help him solve problems. Everyone else thinks Stephen has schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder, but it’s not the same thing. Stephen doesn’t know why he has all these aspects or why he creates new ones when he learns something new. There’s one woman (Sandra) who can help him understand, but she has disappeared.

When we met Stephen in the first LEGION story (simply called Legion), he was helping a client find a c... Read More

The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist — (2013- ) Young adult. From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson: his debut novel for the young adult audience. More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever. Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense — the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.

The Rithmatist: Brandon Sanderson’s lawn is a scraggly weed-filled mess and he dresses poorly

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

I’m beginning to wonder if Brandon Sanderson is cloning himself. Really, it’s just making the rest of us look bad, all the work he’s managing to put out there. I find myself hoping he’s a really bad father or something, until I realize that’s sort of taking it out on his children. So maybe I’ll go with his lawn is a scraggly weed-filled mess and he dresses poorly. Anyway, another month, another Sanderson book . . .

If one did a mash up of Harold and the Purple Crayon, A Wizard of Earthsea, and Read More

The Reckoners

The Reckoners — (2013-2016) Young adult. Publisher: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson, comes the first book in a new, action-packed thrill ride of a series – Steelheart. Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart – the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning – and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Calamity (The Reckoners)


Steelheart: Trigger-happy YA

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart is a young adult novel, it has a post-apocalyptic setting, and it’s about superheroes (super villains, actually). It’s like Sanderson collected the last five years of blockbuster movies and novels and condensed them into one work that could be adapted into a newer, even bigger blockbuster movie. I also think there’s video game potential.

Steelheart is not adapted from a specific comic series, though Sanderson does appear to have been inspired by some of the genre’s most popular titles. Here, a bizarro man of steel named Steelheart takes over Chicago, renames it “Newcago,” and begins a cruel reign of dominance. Steelheart is an Epic — he has superpowers like super strength and the ability to generat... Read More

Firefight: A fun, exciting superpower romp

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Firefight, second book in the superhero-dystopian RECKONERS series, is a good young adult novel. It's fun, it's lively, and the pacing never drags. I do have a handful of quibbles, but none of them are vastly troubling. If all you really want to know is whether Firefight is worth reading or a worthy successor to Steelheart, then you have your answer: a solid affirmative on both counts.

Anyway, our story starts off a few months after the previous novel left off (and shortly after the intervening novella) with the Reckoners struggling to hold Newcago in the aftermath of Steelheart's demise. Numerous Epics (Sanderson's word for superhumans) have turned up to make our heroes’ lives miserable, but a majority of them seem to be coming from Babilar (Graffiti Art New York). Prof, the Reckoners' leader, believes t... Read More

Mitosis: A corny, action packed short story

Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson

David and the Reckoners have freed Newcago from Steelheart’s dictatorship, but the people are slow to believe in themselves. Epics have divided and dominated America for so long that many people are leaving before another Epic arrives to take over Steelheart’s domain. David takes comfort in the return of Chicago style hotdogs and in the steady trickle of people that choose to enter the city each day in search of freedom and a better life.

However, a new Epic does attempt to take over Newcago in Brandon Sanderson’s short story, “Mitosis.” An Epic, Mitosis is a little like Marvel’s Multiple Man: he has the power to split into multiple beings and he lives so long as one of his copies lives. Thankfully, David and his friends are developing a knack for discovering the Achilles heel of the Ep... Read More

Elantris: Above average stand-alone

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

At the start, I want to give Brandon Sanderson props just for doing what seems to be the unthinkable nowadays — writing a standalone fantasy, a book that actually comes to a close, a book that is just that, a book and not the “start of a bright new fresh trilogy that out-Tolkien’s Tolkien!” Luckily, Elantris holds up well and even merits beyond being a standalone.

Elantris is the name of the city that until ten years ago was inhabited by near-gods, ordinary people randomly transformed by the “Shaod,” some sort of semi-virus (my comparison not Sanderson’s) that struck all segments of the population of Arelon and turned them into powerful magic users. Elantris was a city of beauty and power, the capital of Arelon, until the magic suddenly disappeared a decade ago. The Shaod,... Read More

Warbreaker: Sequel, please!

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

I just finished Warbreaker, and the words that keep coming to mind are "That was so good!" This is the first Brandon Sanderson novel I've read, and it certainly won't be the last. Warbreaker combines highly original world-building with an exciting plot that kept me on the edge of my seat.

The novel begins with the introduction of two major characters: Vivenna and Siri, princesses of the tiny kingdom of Idris. You may think you've seen these archetypes before — the stiff, elegant princess and the feisty, rebellious princess — but the way the two women develop is unexpected and realistic. Neither is prepared for what awaits them in the neighboring kingdom of Hallandren. The royal line of Idris once ruled Hallandren, and everything about present-day Hallandren is vilified in Idris, especially its magic, its... Read More

The Emperor’s Soul: Good intro to Sanderson

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Set in the same world as Elantris, The Emperor’s Soul tells the story of a Forger named Shai who is called upon by the ranking bureaucrats of the Empire. The Emperor has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an assassination attempt, and rather than have him step down, which would mean a demotion in their own power, the Guardians decide that they will call on the power of a Forger, someone who can magically imprint upon objects a new identity with their magically carved seals, to forge the soul of the emperor. The penalty for failure will be Shai’s death. However, she knows that if she succeeds, she will be killed anyway because her talents are considered blasphemous, and no one can ever know what she has done.

This novella is the first experience I have had reading the work of Brandon Sanderson, and I can see now what... Read More

SFM: Kevin Hearne, Brandon Sanderson, H.P. Lovecraft

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

"Clan Rathskeller" by Kevin Hearne (2010, available at Kevin Hearne's blog, audio available)

“Clan Rathskeller” is one of Kevin Hearne’s short stories set in his IRON DRUID CHRONICLES world. This one takes place before the events of the first book, Hounded. Atticus, the last druid, and his Irish Wolfhound Oberon, are in Tempe Arizona, trying to lay low and avoid the attention of any ancient gods. But then they notice some gnomes disguised as Santa’s elves and they end up getting involved in their fight against an evil creature who stole something from them.

All of Hearne’s IRON DRUID storie... Read More

Epic: Legends of Fantasy: Lives up to its title

Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)

Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brandon Sanderson, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Aliette de Bodard, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Trudi Canavan,  and Juliet Marillier all contributed stories to this volume.

Epic: Legends of Fantasy opens with a novella by Robin... Read More

More fantasy by Brandon Sanderson

Infinity Blade — (2011-2013) Publisher: Trained from birth in swordplay and combat, a young knight named Siris has journeyed to the Dark Citadel with a single purpose: fight through the army of Titans to face the tyrannical God King in one-on-one combat. This was his father’s sacred mission, and his father’s before him, going back countless generations in an effort to free their people from enslavement. But when Siris somehow succeeds where all those from his bloodline previously have failed, he finds himself cast into a much larger world, filled with warriors and thieves, ancient feuds and shifting alliances, Deathless immortals and would-be kings. His quest for freedom will take him on an epic journey in search of the mythical figure known as the Worker of Secrets – the one being in the world who can unravel the secrets of the Infinity Blade. Based on the bestselling video game from ChAIR Entertainment and Epic Games, this all-new adventure from acclaimed fantasy author Brandon Sanderson digs deeper into the fantastical world of Infinity Blade, a world of mystery and intrigue where magic and technology are indistinguishable, and even life and death are not what they seem…

The Gaming Gateway: Gencon 2012

Justin goes to Gencon!

Drizzt Do'Urden & Guenhwyvar at D&D booth

Games have been incorporating elements of traditional epic fantasy since at least the 1950's, but it wasn't until Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson introduced the world to Dungeons & Dragons that fantasy gaming really hit the mainstream. D&D merged fantasy storytelling with game mechanics and forever intertwined the two types of entertainment. Now there's an entire industry built around fantasy-based gaming.

Gygax started another tradition in 1968: Gencon, the largest gaming convention ... Read More