Brandon Sanderson – The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings

I think I’m a little bit in love with Brandon Sanderson. Scratch that. A lot in love.

I honestly can’t believe that one man could write such epic stories again and again and again and never leave me disappointed. I’d love to see what goes on in his head, blooming amazing! And honestly a genuinely nice guy, when I met him to get my book signed he was so lovely and friendly.

I’d actually been putting this book off for quite a while since it was over 1000 pages long, but with Oathbringer coming out, I wanted to get on with it so I could catch up. Although it was 1000 pages long, it didn’t feel a thousand pages long. I was skipping through pages so quickly determined to find out what would happen next and the book flew by.

The book was set from a few different perspectives, and for the first chunk of the book, I was finding it hard to see how they would all fit together, they seemed like such separate stories, but as we drew towards the end, things started slotting into place.

My favourite character (probably predictably) was Kaladin. A tortured soul, I was desperate to find out what was plaguing him and what secrets from his past were driving him in that way. But he was such a forceful personality, determined not to let his circumstances define his character.

I also loved Shallan, although she had treachery on her mind, she felt like an endearing character and I found myself drawn to her for some reason. I’m sure she’ll come into power as the series progresses.

The one thing that took me a while to get used to was that there were so many names that felt quite similar to me and it took me a while to get them straight in my head.

I was ill when I finished reading this book so I didn’t write the review straight away, and I don’t feel like I’m really able to do it justice, but all I will say is I’m so looking forward to Words of Radiance. I’m going to leave it til the new year with it being so long and me being so far behind on my reading challenge, but I can’t wait!

My Rating: 5/5
Year Published: 2010
Number of Pages: 1008
Format: Paperback
Date Read: 31st October 2017 – 17th November 2017
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.64
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Brandon Sanderson – The Rithmatist

The Rithmatist

*sigh* Brandon Sanderson. Is it even possible for him to write a bad book? I’d love to take a glimpse inside his head, his creativity is just endless.

I love the fact that every Sanderson book you read has a different world and a different magic system, but it’s always introduced so well that it’s not confusing or hard to understand.

In this book, the magic revolves around something called Rithmatics. These are people who have the power to make chalk drawings come to life. They can draw chalklings on the ground which have specific powers, and give them instructions for what they should do. Some chalklings are straightforward lines, but some have more power depending on how much detail they have been given. Some chalklings even have the power to hurt people, like the dangerous ‘wild chalklings’. There are eight rithmatic academies in the United Isles, all training Rithmatics to go fight on the front line in Nebrask to keep the wild chalklings at bay.

But interestingly, the main character in this book is not a rithmatist, rather a teenager who dreamt all his life of becoming one but wasn’t selected by the Master at his inception as a young boy. But when Rithmatic students from the school start going missing, Joel finds himself at the centre of the race to find who is responsible for the kidnappings and put it to an end.

His unlikely sidekick is a lovely flame-haired girl called Melody, who is actually a rithmatist, albeit a very poor imitation of one. She doesn’t like Joel very much to start with, especially since he is infinitely better at drawing the rithmatic lines than she is, even if he doesn’t have the power to make his drawings actually do anything, unlike Melody. As the threat starts to move closer to home, they have to work together before it’s too late.

Apart from the incredibly detailed magic system that Sanderson developed for this book, my favourite part was the relationship between Joel and Melody and the way their friendship grew throughout the book until they were able to work like two halves of the same person. And unlike some books I’ve read, Sanderson didn’t feel the need to add any romantic tension between the two characters, they could simply get on with the tasks that needed to be done.

(Spoiler alert) I also loved the fact that Joel doesn’t get everything that he wanted. He ends the book still craving the exact same thing he desired so much at the beginning. It makes a change from most books where the ‘hero’ seems to get every wish granted to him in some way or other before the close of the book.

And it may just have been me being completely oblivious, but I had no idea how the end of the investigation was going to go until I read it. I’d made my own guesses about who was responsible, but I was way, way off. Kudos to Sanderson for being able to keep the ending such a surprise.

I was so disappointed to get to the end of this book and find out that there’s no sequel yet. I really hope there’s another book as it ended with so much potential for a follow-up and I’d love to find out what happens to Joel and Melody next!

 

My Rating: 5/5
Year Published: 2013
Number of Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Date Read: 23rd June 2016 – 1st July 2016
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.23
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Review: Brandon Sanderson – The Alloy of Law

WP_20141101_001I reserved this book at Waterstones while I was reading Hero of Ages, and I was very surprised when I went to pick it up that it was so short! The other books have been 700+ monsters, and this one clocked in at just over 300 pages. Let me tell you, my shoulder was very glad for a rest!!

The book itself took a little while to get into, the only real common element with the previous 3 books was the elements of Allomancy and Feruchemy, the book was set far in the future from Vin and Elend, and since they destroyed all the cities when they rescued the final empire, even the cities in this book were different.

However, once I got my head around how different it was, I loved it. I’m used to fantasy books being set in worlds which seem quite far back in time, with pretty much no technology, so it was intriguing for this one to be set around the time of the invention of electricity.

The main character in the book is a man called Waxillium, he’s just returned to Elendel after the untimely death of his Uncle. Once an unofficial lawmaker out in the roughs, he’s now in charge of an entire noble household and all that entails. But when women start going missing in strange robberies, he finds himself interested in the goings on, and when his future wife-to-be Steris is one of the kidnapees, he has to get involved with the help of his old partner-in-anti-crime Wayne.

Now in this future world, there are certain people who have an allomantic power and a feruchemical one. Certain combinations can make you very very powerful indeed. Wayne, for example, can allomantically create a speed bubble that slows down time for everyone inside the bubble, letting him conduct entire conversations in what seems like seconds to the outside world, and he can feruchemically heal himself using health stored inside his metalminds. Quite a useful trick when you’re in the midst of a gunfight!

All through the book, we’re reminded by Lady Marasi (Steris’ half-sister), that her powers are useless. After all, why would anyone want to create a speed bubble to slow down time so that everyone in the outside world is going at normal speed while you’re sat in super slow motion. However, with the number of times that this ‘useless’ skill is mentioned, it’s obvious that it’s going to come in extremely handy at the end.

Talking of the end, it was left on quite the cliffhanger, definitely setting up for further books in the series. I would be very disappointed if Wax ended up with Steris instead of Marasi, but Sanderson always has a twist up his sleeve so who knows what will happen!

Once again, a superbly written book by Brandon Sanderson. I have to wonder what goes on inside his brain to allow him to write something so complex and superbly detailed, which each character having such unique characteristics and the world described in such vivid detail that you could almost be there!

Sanderson is fast becoming one of my favourite authors!

5/5

Review: Brandon Sanderson – Hero of Ages (Mistborn 3)

WP_20141023_002Well I would just like to say that this has become my favourite fantasy series. I thought I’d loved reading Game of Thrones, but this was soooooo much better! (Warning: spoiler alerts below)

I didn’t realise quite how attached I had become to the main characters until things started happening to them and I wanted to help so badly and couldn’t!

Poor Sazed has lost faith in his study of religions, along with just religions and study and life in general, following Tindwyl’s death. He just can’t bring himself to believe in any God who would let the love of his life die. Sanderson’s compelling portrayal of what it feels like to lose hope and faith and then find it again was one of my favourite parts of the book. In fact, I would say that faith is the strongest element running through the book.

TenSoon was willing to risk his life for his belief in Vin as the Hero of Ages and his sacrifice to try bring the truth to the Kandra First Generation showed true faith in her ability to save the final empire. And even though he doesn’t succeed at first, when he manages to escape and bring Sazed back to the homeland, the Kandra first generation’s unfailing faith in what Sazed is telling them leads to them destroying their entire kind for the sake of the empire. If that’s not faith, I don’t know what is.

And Spook. He seems to have developed an unfailing faith in the Survivor. He’s gone from a quiet and ignored young man to the saviour of a city. He believes that he’s been granted extra allomantic powers by Kelsier and has complete faith in the things that ‘Kelsier’ is telling him to do, but it turns out that he was being controlled by Ruin. I loved how Ruin twisted and turned everything throughout the book, You were so sure about how or why something was happening, and it turns out that everything you knew was wrong and was actually being manipulated by Ruin.

And of course, Vin and Elend. They keep getting themselves into sticky situations, particularly Vin. With her belief that she is the Hero of Ages, she’s taking more and more risks to save the empire. And even though Elend is now mistborn too, she won’t take him with her, which leads to him taking risks and getting himself into trouble too. He feels the weight of the empire resting on his shoulders, and only faith in his friends and companions can pull him through.

I don’t really know what else to say to this book, because the ending truly truly shocked me. I won’t give away what happens, but let me just say that I wasn’t very happy when I read it! I can understand fully why it happened and I think it was a brilliant end to the book, but I don’t think anyone reading it could possibly have expected what was coming. So bravo to Mr Sanderson for that!

In fact, I think that has been my favourite thing of the trilogy. I just can’t predict what is going to happen next. Sanderson’s plot is so brilliantly and intricately executed that even if you think you’ve guessed what’s going to happen, you flip the page and you’re wrong again!!

I’ve just bought the final Mistborn book, Alloy of Law, which I believe is set far far in the future of the empire. It’s way shorter than the trilogy were, which will give my shoulder a rest from carrying around 700+ page books in my bag!

If you’ve got to here and you haven’t read this series yet, go read it! I hesitated when my friend recommended it to me and I shouldn’t have because it truly was superb! I can see a lot of Brandon Sanderson on my Christmas wish list this year!

5/5

Review: Brandon Sanderson – The Well of Ascension (Mistborn 2)

Brandon Sanderson - The Well of Ascension (Mistborn 2)They tend to say that the second book in a trilogy can usually be a bit slow – you’ve already got through the introduction to all the characters and the plotline, and you’re waiting for the dramatic ending to the final book in the series. But I’m very glad to say that it wasn’t true for Mistborn. I’ll warn you now, there will be spoilers below so look away now if you don’t want to ruin the surprises for yourself!

The book seemed like non-stop action throughout, it made the book very hard to put down. We left the last book with Kelsier dead and the Lord Ruler overthrown, so we’re coming into this book with Elend as King with his ideas about making a fairer government (of sorts) to rule over the Skaa. And obviously now Kelsier is dead, Vin has a lot to learn about the strength within herself and confidence that she can do this without her mentor, the one who taught her how to be herself and use her natural powers.

We’re not far into the book before the drama starts, and two armies arrive on the doorstep of Luthadel. Immediately, it doesn’t look good for Elend, especially considering one of the armies is led by his brutish father. And things start to go downhill from there. Elend’s kind and honest nature sets him up for trouble when the Assembly decides to overthrow him and he’s written the new constitution in such a way that there is no way he can stop it. And when he has the chance to lie and keep his crown, he just can’t do it. Forced to take a backseat to a new king who seems determined to hand over the city to Elend’s father Straff, how can the crew stop this from happening?

The book was full of tension, I felt scared throughout that Elend, Vin and the crew were going to fail in their mission and Luthadel was going to go back to it’s Skaa-oppressing ways.

I gained a lot of love for Sazed throughout this book. He’s put himself in a difficult situation by helping with the take-down of the Lord Ruler, and he decides to do it again when he uncovers what he believes may be an interesting piece of information about the Well of Ascension and the supposed Hero of Ages. His relationship with Tindwyl is unwrapped bit-by bit, until you can see the true love and genuine deep-seated affection that they have for each other, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when she is killed in the battle to save the city from the huge Koloss army.

At that point in the book, I was worried that Sanderson was about to go all George R. R. Martin on us and start killing off every character that we hold dear, but thankfully he stopped before it got to that point. However, I did want to scream a couple of times, like when the aforementioned Tindwyl was found to be dead by Sazed. He’s such a lovely man that has done everything he can to save the empire, and this is how he is rewarded?!

And when it looks like Elend is dead, I could have cried for poor Vin. I think I would have been tempted to just give up on the series if that had happened, what would be the point of reading any further when such a sweet, honest and giving man could die.

I found the changes in Elend and Vin’s relationship interesting throughout the book. At the start it looks like they are closer than ever, and then thanks to some horrid tricks by Elend’s half brother Zane (another Mistborn), it looks like Vin could be considering leaving Elend for someone who understands her true nature. And when Zane engineers a situation which forces Vin to kill someone rather brutally in front of Elend, it looks like it could all be over for their relationship. Vin believes that Elend hates her for what she has done, and that he can’t stand to look at her after seeing the horrific things that she is capable of. But the truth is that Elend believes that Vin is truly amazing, he describes her as ‘a force, like thunder or wind‘. He believes that she couldn’t possibly love him anymore since he can’t even keep hold of his throne, especially since he wrote the very laws used to depose him. So they’re both tiptoeing round and avoiding each other, when they both really love each other more now than ever before. I just wanted to knock their heads together at this point!

The book ends in such a way that leaves it open to a lot of intrigue as to what will happen in book three. Vin has just unwittingly released something terrible on the empire, the very thing that she thought she was preventing. So what is this ‘deepness’, which seems to be able to change your thoughts and the written word? And can Elend keep the kingdom safe from this terror, and the Koloss armies that are still terrorising the outer dominances? Looks set to be a thrilling finale!

5/5

Review: Brandon Sanderson – The Final Empire (Mistborn 1)

Brandon Sanderson - The Final Empire (Mistborn 1)After having this book heavily recommended to me by my best friend, and then also recommended to me by the waiter at Nando’s who spotted my ‘Read Harder’ t-shirt and sparked an awesome conversation about all the books I should read, I had high hopes for this book.

At 650ish pages, it’s not exactly a short book, and I found it kind of slow to get going, which led to me spending the first 100 or so pages thinking that the book would go on forever. But once I got used to the strange concept of Allomancy and the plot started picking up, I was completely and utterly hooked.

When I first read about Allomancy I thought it sounded a bit too weird for my tastes, burning metals to get extra powers. But now I think that the concept is brilliant. I loved the way that it was introduced, us learning about it at the same time as Vin. (Spoiler alerts from here onwards). It kind of made me feel a weird sense of pride in Vin when she turned out to be one of the best Allomancers around, pulling off tricks that even her mentor Kelsier wasn’t capable of.

The book toyed with my emotions more than possibly any book I’ve ever read. The quote on the front seemed like a massive spoiler:

“What if the Dark Lord won?”

Every time something started going awry for Vin or her crew members, my heart was in my mouth hoping that the front of the book wasn’t about to come true. And let me tell you, my heart was up and down like a yo-yo. I’d like to meet Brandon Sanderson and shake my fist at him for playing with me like that.

Especially since way too many things happened that shattered my heart into tiny pieces, for myself and for Vin. After the terrible start she’s had to her life, it all looks like it might be working out for her; she’s found a good crew that treat her right, and shock horror, they even respect her opinions. And then Sanderson cruelly rips holes into her newfound safety blanket and she’s plummeting right back towards the life of a Skaa street urchin again.

But Vin is a vital part in the plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler and free the Skaa from a life of drudging slavery. As I mentioned before, she’s got the makings of one of the greatest Allomancers around, if she can just learn enough to survive.

I don’t really want to give away too many more spoiler alerts because if you haven’t guessed, I’m a little in love with this book and I really think that if you haven’t read it, you should back away from your computer and start reading it immediately.

Also selfishly, the quicker I type this review, the more time I have to start the second book before bed, so I guess that’s it. Read it or miss out on something awesome. I can see this being picked up as another blockbuster film very soon!

5/5