by Garrett Thomas, Founder of The Game Master’s Stash
The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson Review
I’m going to try and keep this review as spoiler free as possible, while at the same time trying to condense Sanderson’s over 1 million words in the series so far, and that’s just the first three books of the proposed ten he is wanting to write.
1) Unique World- Sanderson has created a very unique world, that feel very real. The cultures, currency and especially the flora and fauna all are incorporated into a seamless environment that, while wholly alien is still relatable. The books also have illustrations scattered throughout to help people envision the alien plants and animals.
2) Compelling Characters- The books focus on three main characters. A young man who is trained as a surgeon but is very good at killing people and how he has to come to terms with that dichotomy within himself. A young woman who lived a sheltered but heartbreaking life as a lesser noble, who is now out in the world and trying to experience everything and getting caught out of her depth rather easily. Lastly a Warlord who through special circumstances has decided to change his life and try to be an honorable general and an example to his sons.
3) Great Magic System- Once again Sanderson comes up with an interesting and new magic system. This magic is not just a background concept but plays a vital role in the plot. Like most of his magic systems the Magic of Stormlight is well thought out and can be described as a “Hard Magic System” meaning it has rules and limitations that the audience is made aware of.
4) The Size- The sheer size of these books is astounding, each one is close to 400,000 words by itself and each audiobook is over 50 hours. The size of these books means Sanderson can delve into characters and the world without making you feel like the plot has been sidetracked. Each book is able to progress naturally and with the scope of the story the size of each book is needed to make it not feel rushed.
1) The Size- These books are BIG there is no doubt about it. This can be a huge hurdle for some readers, for those not able to invest hours each day to reading/listening then these books can easily take months to finish.
2) More to Come- Only three books in the series are out so far. This along with the size of the books and the fact that Sanderson if working on other books at the same time means that there will be long waits between books. If you don’t want to wait a year or two to read the next in the series I don’t suggest starting the Stormlight Archive anytime soon.
3) Real but not Gritty- If you are looking for Game of Thrones type of adult grittiness these books are not what you are looking for. There is death, war and allusions to abuse but no explicit sexual encounters or other R rated content.
Anyone who wants a break from the run-of-the-mill dungeon crawling, dragon slaying fantasy books. Those who enjoy BFFB (Big Fat Fantasy Books) and want books that will take some time to get through, with many more books to come. People who enjoy unique and detailed magic systems and those who love the idea of a world that is very one of a kind.