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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. Read some of Brandon Sanderson’s work at his website.

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 Gathering Storm: Speed up the audio or get the print version

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Since Bill has extensively reviewed The Gathering Storm (above) I'll just add a few of my impressions and address the audio version.

First of all, I'm happy to report that THE WHEEL OF TIME is slowly getting somewhere. Though The Gathering Storm is excessively and needlessly lengthy (why do I, after all this time, still need the clothing styles of each country detailed?), a few things actually happen. And a few important things! Some storylines are mercifully wrapped up and it finally appears that the "storm" is truly "gathering" and that perhaps we might actually see some rain or lightning in the next volume.

Also importantly, the transition from Robert Jordan to Brandon Sanderson has been seamless. I have no idea how much of The Gathering St... Read More

The Gathering Storm: WOT is in good hands

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and 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

Towers of Midnight: Some of the best things that WOT has to offer

Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

In The Wheel of Time series, there are two kinds of conflicts: those that are contained within the scope of the novel and those that are contained within the scope of the series. When Rand defeats Sammael in A Crown of Thorns, it is the climax of a novel. When Rand cleanses saidin in Winter’s Heart, it’s a climax within the series. Somewhere along the way, Robert Jordan began to focus on one of these arcs at the expense of the other.

When Brandon Sanderson took over the series after Jordan’s passing in 2007, many noticed that the voice of the novel — particularly with Mat — had subtly changed. However, what Sanderson achieved was a tightly plotted entry that contained a clear-cut exposition, conflict, and resolution. And while I wouldn’t recommend starting the series with The Gathering Storm, it is a surprisingly contained story in a series that long ago seeme... 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

Mistborn

Mistborn — (2006-2011) 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 Law
Available for download at Audible.com


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

Mistborn: The Final Empire: On audio

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

In preparation for the next Wheel of Time installment, I decided I'd like to get a feel for Brandon Sanderson's work, so I downloaded Mistborn from Audible.com. I was completely entertained for 25 hours!

Since Bill (above) has given you most of the facts about Mistborn, I only need to say a few things and to address the audio production.

My favorite thing about Mistborn was the creative, detailed, and rule-bound magic system. A minority of people in the Final Empire have the genetic ability to burn certain metals which provides them temporary powers (depending on the meta... 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 Well of Ascension: Kandra, koloss, and inquisitors

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

The Well of Ascension begins about a year after the events that occurred at the end of Mistborn. The novel takes a while to get going and generally has less excitement to offer than its predecessor. After all, we're now mostly familiar with the world of The Final Empire and we understand the rules of the unique magic systems that rely on the burning of metals for powers and the storing of attributes such as strength, age, and eyesight into metals. The loss of Kelsior, the most dynamic of Sanderson's characters, creates a void not only in the other characters' lives, but in this book as well.

The pace is slow in the beginning, but things finally take off when we're introduced to Zane, an unbalanced Mistborn who can't decide whose side he's on (and who may or may not be insane),... Read More

The Hero of Ages: Put Mistborn at the top of your list

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

I'm extremely 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 or... 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

The Alloy of Law: Wholly, exuberantly, non-stop, entertaining

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Sometime it’s best to make a distinction about what type of fiction you’re reviewing. For example, I’ll often point out I’m reviewing YA because the genre will come with some built-in attributes, such as simpler language and structure and while my favorites of said novels are often exceptions to these generalizations, it really isn’t fair to hold the majority to being the exception, since, well, then those words wouldn’t mean what they mean. This doesn’t, however, mean that those novels can’t be good or even great; they just do it within the confines (and even that has a negative connotation I’d rather avoid but am too lazy right now to do so) of those generalizations. All of which is a long-winded way of getting to Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law, a new installment in his MISTBORN series, and what it is and what it is not. ... Read More

The Alloy of Law: A great action yarn

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

I haven’t read any of Brandon Sanderson’s MISTBORN books previously, but I picked up the mass market paperback edition of The Alloy of Law over the weekend. This is the first book in a new series, set in the same world as MISTBORN but three hundred years later. Sanderson creates a nice steampunk vibe while getting full use of his metal-based magical system and his pantheon of very involved gods. The book has some philosophical questions about society, wealth and crime, but it’s mostly a great action yarn.

Waxillium Ladrian is the scion of a wealthy family in the capital city of Elendel. Years ago he left the city and went to the frontier, where he became a lawman. Wax is Twinborn, gifted with two types of metallurgic magic, allomancy and feruchemy, and he used those magical skills to catch outlaws in t... Read More

Alcatraz

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
Available for download at Audible.com


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: Well worth reading

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings is the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s new series, The Stormlight Archive. By most accounts (including Sanderson’s), the series will be massive: ten books perhaps, and with The Way of Kings clocking in at right about 1000 pages, we aren’t talking a bunch of novellas. Add in that Sanderson is finishing up Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, has a YA series still going, and has mentioned a follow-up novel to Warbreaker, and a reader can figure on some few years before The Stormlight Archive wraps up. So you’ll need to decide which fantasy-reader camp you’re going t... Read More

The Way of Kings: Sanderson’s best work to date

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

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 — (2013-2015) 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.

Related:


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

Elantris: Good 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 S... Read More

Elantris: On audio

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Upon arriving in Arelon to marry Prince Raoden, the competent and strong-willed Princess Sarene discovers that he has died. What she doesn’t know is that Prince Raoden has succumbed to the Shaod and been cast into Elantris, an uncivilized slum of undead zombie-like people who have no government and no resources. I won’t say anything more about the plot, since it’s been covered in Bill’s review (above).

I really enjoyed listening to Elantris on audio (nice production by Recorded Books) and I think it’s a great debut. Brandon Sanderson has created a couple of heroes I enjoyed spending time with, and a truly engaging story. But, Elantris had several elements that almost made me cringe:

1. Some of the “lessons” of Elantris (war is bad, zealots are dangerous, women are just as compete... Read More

Elantris: A special stand-alone

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Why does fantasy always seem to come in trilogies or, even worse, open-ended series of six or ten or an unending number of books? Since each entry in a fantasy seems to run close to 600 pages, one more or less commits to reading at least 1800 pages when diving into a series, sometimes a wearisome prospect when all one wants to do is read something diverting. It’s not a problem limited to fantasy, but fantasy does seem especially prone to multiples. Writers complain that publishers require them to write in multiples rather than merely in 750 page blockbusters, because it’s more profitable to market three 600-page books. Art must be sacrificed for commerce.

Fortunately, authors still occasionally write stand-alone fantasies. One of the good ones in this category is Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris. Sanderson’s first novel is self-contained,... Read More

Warbreaker: That was so good!

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

Warbreaker: Sequel, please!

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker is yet another strong showing from the author of the highly recommended Mistborn series and the stand-alone Elantris. Though not without flaws, the book’s problems are more than outweighed by its strengths, making it a highly enjoyable read.

Like his previous novels, Sanderson introduces a unique kind of magic, known as BioChromatic magic. Each person is born with a single “Breath,” which can be bought, sold, or given away freely (it cannot be taken). Having multiple Breaths allows someone to perform limited magic through a combination of spending Breath, leaching color from objects, and reciting Commands. One can, for example, imbue objects with a form of life by filling a rope with Breath and commanding it to hold a person. It costs a certain amount... Read More

Warbreaker on audio: I’m blonde with excitement

Warbreaker (on audio) by Brandon Sanderson

My fellow reviewers have sufficiently covered all of the important elements of Warbreaker (indeed, Bill Capossere’s review was nearly as long as the book) so I will briefly report my own reaction and then mention Recorded Books' version.

I really enjoyed Warbreaker for all the reasons that Bill Capossere and Kelly Lasiter did: Unique world and magic system, interesting twisty plot, agreeable humor, and great characters. I was slightly annoyed with Vivenna’s use of the word “ostentatious” and her constant concern about modest clothing (this reminded me a lot of The Wheel of Time), b... Read More

Warbreaker: Graphic Audio is like a movie in your mind

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

I made a mistake a couple of weeks ago when I gave Graphic Audio the credit for the Recorded Books audiobook I was reviewing: Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker. I incorrectly assumed that the rights for production were given to only one audio publisher and I had downloaded the book from Audible, so when I did the research to find out which audio company to credit, I first saw Graphic Audio and looked no further. Within a couple of hours of putting up the review however, Graphic Audio contacted me to let me know of my mistake and to offer a copy of their version, and several other titles, for review. (Heh heh — turned out to be a clever mistake, eh?)

When I looked into Graphic Audio, I di... Read More

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

The Emperor’s Soul: A great introduction Brandon 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

The Emperor’s Soul: Partially meets my high expectations

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

Shai is a forger, able to magically change any item by rewriting its history. For example, she can turn a battered piece of furniture into the beautiful object it could have been by bonding with it, understanding its past and how it sees itself, and then altering the past enough to change the furniture’s destiny. Unfortunately, forgery is despised by the empire because forgers often use their skills to counterfeit famous artists’ work. In fact, Shai is currently in prison for doing just this — she was caught trying to steal the emperor’s scepter so she could replace it with her own forgery.

Usually in a case like this Shai would be executed, but the emperor’s closest advisors decide they need her forbidden skills instead. The emperor has recently survived an assassination attempt, but his doctors were only able to save him by giving him a new brain. Now he lives, but his brain is empty — h... Read More

The Emperor’s Soul: This novella is a good introduction to Sanderson

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor’s Soul is a stand-alone novella by Brandon Sanderson, set on the same world as the MISTBORN trilogy but in a different society. The story moves briskly and Sanderson’s prose is graceful and lively as always. It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Shai is a Forger — a person who can magically change the nature of an object (or a person) by changing its history. When the Emperor Ashravan is left in a coma following a failed assassination attempt, Shai, who was imprisoned for Forging, is drafted into an impossible assignment. She must re-create the Emperor’s soul before anyone discovers that he is brain-dead as a result of the attempt. And she faces an impossible deadline: ninety-eight days, which is the time period the Emperor is said to be in seclusion following the death of the Empress.

Shai must also dodge the treachery of ... Read More

Other Opinions: The Emperor’s Soul

I enjoyed the world in which this novella was set, and found the story enjoyable. I’d love to read more set in this world, involving this magic system. (And no, it didn’t strike me as being the same world on which Elantris was set, though apparently that was the intention.) ~Terry


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…


Firstborn — (2010) Publisher: Of the son of a High Duke of the interstellar Empire, much glory is expected.  And expected.  And still expected, despite endless proof that young Dennison Crestmar has no talent whatsoever for war. But the life Dennison is forced to live will have its surprising lessons to impart…


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