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The excitedly waited for sequel to the # 1 New York Times bestselling Words of Glow, from impressive dream author Brandon Sanderson at the top of his game. In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity deals with a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as fantastic as their thirst for vengeance. Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting success at a horrible expense:
The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the when tranquil and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by people.
While on a desperate flight to alert his family of the risk, Kaladin Stormblessed should come to grips with the truth that the freshly kindled anger of the parshmen may be completely justified. Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the marvels of the ancient fortress of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets prowling in its depths.
And Dalinar realizes that his holy objective to unify his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together– and unless Dalinar himself can face that past– even the repair of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the doomsday of civilization.
It will be hard to examine this without spoilers, but I will do my best. See, Oathbringer is a tome that readers that have actually been waiting on because mid-2014, practically 4 years earlier. The 3rd novel in Brandon Sanderson’s juggernaut, his magnum opus The Stormlight Archive, Oathbringer gets right after the destructive ending of Words of Radiance, and catapults readers into a world starting to fall. Since now, there’s no hiding from the truth. The Everstorm circle the world, bringing with it the spren of crimson lightning, waking the docile parshmen. And as they waken, the Knights Radiant need to once again speak the ancient oaths, and work to protect humankind from Odium.
Sanderson loses no time in bringing readers back into his huge, complicated world of Roshar, where superstorms sweep now from horizon to horizon. Kaladin, empowered from his oath at the end of Words of Radiance, races the home of see his parents, and if possible, find the awakened Parshendi, and find out what their strategies are. Shallan, now able to admit her dreadful reality to herself, has a hard time to keep a grip on truth, as her abilities as a Lightweaver begin to seduce her. And Dalinar Kholin– when warlord and soldier, now a leader having a hard time to live a tranquil way– is bonded to the shadow of a god, the Stormfather, and should unite a world that has only ever understood him as a tyrant. And these are all simply the tipping point, as Sanderson quickly deciphers the status quo for each character, requiring them into tough, uncomfortable, and often unsafe scenarios. Kaladin’s journey throughout the book is remarkable, as he has a hard time to find the next oath within a warzone. Similarly, Shallan’s arc is unexpected however totally in keeping not only with exactly what we know of her, but also of who she wants to be. But of the three of them, this is Dalinar’s book to shine.
Each book’s backstory is committed to a specific character, and Oathbringer comes from Dalinar– so called for the shardblade he won in his youth. A male whose past has typically been shrouded in secrecy and shadows, both purposeful and wonderful, Sanderson finally starts to peel away the shell around Dalinar Kholin, and what we see is not exactly quite. Much as Kaladin and Shallan were formed by tragedy, so too was Dalinar. Sanderson works a really stunning result: readers pertain to discover about Dalinar’s previous along with the character, as memories are gone back to him unbidden from the ether. These memories stack layer by layer till they reach their natural conclusion: Dalinar should come face to face with the male he was, and choose exactly what kind of guy he wishes to be. It is a gorgeous moment, and Sanderson knocks it out of the park.
And, naturally, it would ruin to say much of what else takes place in the novel, but are sufficient to state, there are mysteries responded to and even more questions raised. There are characters who return for their time in the spotlight, and others who come out of nowhere and demand the spotlight on their own. There are bit players who now have complex, three dimensional narratives, and others who fade to the back, to make space for their compatriots. There are minutes of victory where I whooped with happiness, and there are moments of jarring terror, where whatever seems as though it will crumble. There was one minute halfway through the book where I stopped everything, and my heart flew to my throat in shock at what Sanderson had simply done. We hang out in brand-new cities, and we meet new good friends, brand-new types of life, and those who live by their own rules. And we see old bad guys in new lights, and wonder if we can ever actually forgive them.
Sanderson also makes efforts to tackle essential subjects in these impressive dream books. As much as we would like to know the oaths and find out more of Odium, I was exceptionally happy and happy to see Sanderson taking on the larger, important concerns: when an enslaved people are now complimentary, how do you inform them to go back? How can you? Exists a course forward when the oppressed have been devoid of their shackles? How do you resolve your regret for participation in an oppressive system, and how do you work to help those beaten down by it? Not simply that, however Sanderson also tries to engage with and discuss sexuality, gender, and identity in this unique more than the others before. And while some of the above moments can come off a little awkwardly, or often exist more to hang a lampshade on important questions, I’m extremely pleased that Sanderson is aiming to deal with these problems more than he has previously, and extremely delighted to see him exploring representation more in this series.
Oathbringer is whatever you require out of a Stormlight Archive novel. It has magic in bounds, and secrets by the minute. It has characters growing and changing and learning, and simply as typically, failing and messing up or making the incorrect option. It has tradition for days, and deep histories that just get more tangled the much deeper you go. It has responses to your concerns, and most of the time, more concerns after that.
It is a triumph of an unique, and if you’ve delighted in the very first two, you’ll certainly delight in Oathbringer. I never ever understand where Sanderson is going to take us, in this world of storms and blades, however I am more than pleased to continue along the journey with him.
After all, it’s journey before destination, is it not?
The eagerly waited for continuation of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series has gotten here. OATHBRINGER is everything you want it to be. It’s big (1233 pages!) and continues the fantastic stories from THE WAY OF KINGS and WORDS OF RADIANCE. Buckle in your safety belt, folks.
For those of you who need a refresher about exactly what came in the past, have a look at Tor.com’s “Before Oathbringer” article.
The first lead-in chapters attempt to gently set you back into the world, which is gentlemanly of Sanderson, particularly thinking about the cataclysmic occasions of the last chapters of WORDS OF RADIANCE. Instead, we get to begin off with a wedding event and a little housecleaning as the Alethi settle into their brand-new digs.
The city of Urithiru takes spotlight here, as our heroes invest the majority of their time in the empty city they found in WORDS OF RADIANCE. While on the surface the structure seems uncomplicated, there’s more to it as the story unfolds: it was created from the mountains, even preserving the striations of the rock, but without any apparent indications of human structure methods; there are tunnels and vents that they don’t understand, other locations where possibly furnishings or columns when existed but nobody can guess exactly what they’re for; there is a public bath but they cannot determine ways to stream water in; and etc. Thankfully in spite of its odd design and function, it shelters the refugees from the Everstorm which presently raves throughout the world, leaving it a wake of destruction. The Everstorm is different than the highstorms since it doesn’t recharge the gemstones and likewise affects any Parshendi it comes in contact with. This storm is a video game changer.
Early in OATHBRINGER we discover the Voidbringers and where they come from– as teased in the ending of WORDS OF RADIANCE. The genuine issue here is less how the new Knights Radiant must handle the approaching damage and more with a desire to end this problem so it never ever happens once again, since they discover that the Heralds merely sent to prison and didn’t destroy the Voidbringers. Obviously, it’s more made complex with that, particularly as exactly what we understand about Voidbringers modifications as the novel progresses– in really surprising ways. Including the understanding that the Parshendi usage spren to alter their kinds, however there’s still more to be exposed (I won’t ruin it for you).
As for other worldbuilding, previous books invested a great deal of time on the animals and ecology of the landscape, and while there are some information here, we rather spend more time finding out about Urithiru, spren, Heralds, and Knights Radiant (it’s specifically intriguing to me how they deal with the limitation of utilizing stormlight). It ends up there’s a lot more to spren and the magic of this world than we found out in the very first 2 books. Maybe Adolin discusses it best: “The world is the very same as it’s always been … These things we’re finding– beasts and Radiants– aren’t brand-new. They were just hidden. The world has actually always resembled this, even if I didn’t understand it” (pg 884). And it appears like we’re going to spend OATHBRINGER and the next books learning exactly what was concealed. Spren become a huge part of the story and I think that we’ve only seen a suggestion of the iceberg.
Again we get a lovely Whelan cover that teases about book events. There’s also fascinating interior art, consisting of the back of the dustcover with the world map, and interior covers with some of the characters. Some of the within art was a little dark (that made it hard to see well), and a few of the art pages in the middle of the book were tough to see near the spinal column since the book doesn’t lay flat because it’s so storming huge. Small issues.
In OATHRBINGER this time we get Dalinar’s backstory, which I had a lot of difficulty with because, geez, that man was bloodthirsty in his youth. Now his past behavior is returning to haunt him as he attempts to join the different countries and their leaders to get ready for the coming fight with the Voidbringers. Should they believe a man who in the past selected war over diplomacy? Who eliminated their kings and princes in an effort to broaden his brother’s territory and gain magnificence and spoils for himself? The Dalinar we understand now is a person tempered by experience, so the flashbacks were pretty painful, however likewise enlightening regarding the behavior of other nations’ leaders. However, the details of political maneuvering in books like this constantly bore me (individual peculiarity, I think), so I either got agonizing Dalinar past or dull Dalinar present. It was a double-edged sword. Ahem. Thankfully, there is a function to all this, you just need to be client for the benefit.
Shallan’s story arc is as prominent as Dalinar’s as she finds out more about her illusion powers. The very first quarter or so of OATHBRINGER follows her story as she uses her powers to reveal a mystery of murders in Urithiru. The result is less about the secret as it has to do with her own ghosts. If you recall, we learned in WORDS OF RADIANCE about her backstory and the troubling situations when her Radiant powers started to manifest. Those experiences tastes her approach to the city’s strange deaths, and she utilizes her impressions to produce what she thinks are stronger more capable variations of herself. While it suggests utilizing her powers for excellent, how she utilizes her magic begins to blur the lines of who she truly is. As a result of her past, Shallan has never ever truly appeared to like herself and being an illusionist Knight Radiant appears to be the very best way to hide the parts of herself she does not like. But there is fallout involved. Particularly after Jasnah returns.
And Jasnah returns in her normal dramatic fashion, sweeping into use her brains and large determination to find out what to do. Up to this point she’s invested all her time attempting to discover Voidbringers and the city of Urithiru, however with those appearing at the end of WORDS OF RADIANCE during her disappearance, all of a sudden she needs to use up a brand-new mantle now that her scholarship is almost outdated. And with her own distinct style, she does just that, but it doesn’t necessarily take her where she believes it will go. Also, she prefers to be flashy with her powers, which was rather enjoyable to check out.
Kaladin’s story was quickly my favorite, but we do not see much of it for the first third of the book, instead turning to politics … bah. If you remember, at the end of WORDS OF RADIANCE he hurries off– I mean, flies off– to alert his household and hometown about the Everstorm. At the same time he encounters parshmen, which on the Shattered Plains became Voidbringers in the Everstorm, however these parshmen didn’t, so that’s his own mystery to resolve. Naturally it doesn’t end there– there’s still a lot more story to cover, however I won’t spoil it. He experiences the least character arc over this book (Jasnah has to do with as static), but thinking about how far he’s come considering that THE WAY OF KINGS I’m not truly grumbling.
Sanderson does his best to make the all the book’s characters identifiable, specifically the variety of secondary characters, so I didn’t get too confused. We likewise get brief PoV chapters from numerous characters, as well as a few chapters from the men on Bridge Four to assist to complete the experiences of a strata of individuals, and not simply those in charge who decide.
OATHBRINGER is written in the normal Sanderson fashion, with a couple of (or swaths, depending on your sensibilities) unpopular blips, as well as a lot of his signature silly humor. You aren’t checking out these books always for charming prose (I’m not stating it’s bad, it’s just he’s more a meat and potatoes type of man, if you know exactly what I mean; but if it’s prose you desire, have a look at my recent review of THE STONE IN THE SKULL– EBR evaluation), however for the remarkably imaginative world, with all its history, characters, structures, environment, magic, and all that’s in between. The story moves at a speed normal of the first couple of books, with it beginning sluggish and constant, revelations dropping frequently as the story is developed. Up until you get to completion and everything takes off and you finally see the resolution he was leading you to, due to the fact that up till that point you aren’t 100% sure where he’s taking you.
There is a lot of develop. Possibly excessive. Sanderson is a little in love with his worldbuilding. If it were me, I ‘d most likely shave off an excellent third of the silly banter, half the politics, and fine-tuned Dalinar’s backstory. I understand that it’s impressive and all that, but 1233 pages is a bit much to ask the modern-day reader. Still, for those who delighted in THE WAY OF KINGS and WORDS OF RADIANCE, OATHBRINGER will provide for you precisely what you were hoping: an impressive story worth reading.