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Great Classic Fantasy
on August 15, 2014
(a few minor spoilers)
This is an epic and classic fantasy tale by Brandon Sanderson. This is not Game of Thrones. Outside of the violence in the book this would be rated PG as there is no swearing and no sex. I call it a classic fantasy as it has mystical elements, strange creatures, magic, gods, religion and the characters are largely black and white. The good guy IS a good guy, much like The Lord of the Rings. I don’t have a problem with this. While it’s not a gritty tale it’s a very interesting one. There are two things I desire when reading a fantasy book – interesting characters and mystery. This book has both while maintaining a good and believable story (within its context). While many characters seem unconnected initially you start to see the web as the book rolls on and the mysterious events start to make sense.
This book is long at just over 1000 pages but I wouldn’t have cut any of it. I don’t like it when a book feels rushed. There are plenty of action scenes and while there are large stretches without battles the interactions, characters and story were more than enough to intrigue me. I finished this book in two weeks and really enjoyed it. While there are plenty of characters I never felt confused like some large ensemble books can be.
So what is this book actually about? One set of characters (Dholin family) focuses on the assassination of their King, the vengeance with regards to his death and finding out why. One main character (Kaladin) details his life and how he is betrayed by a superior and forced to live out a miserable life while trying to realize his potential which is great. One girl (Shallan) is trying to save her family and stumbles into something she doesn’t expect – mystery, magic and scholarship with an interesting tutor (more interesting than Shallan actually). One man (Szeth) is an assassin who uses magic to kill with special powers (I envision Neo in the Matrix at times) against his will as he must follow his master’s orders. All the characters are interesting. The history and legends of the Gods and protectors of this world are intriguing and there is so much left to explore after this book despite a satisfying ending.
Magic system? There aren’t wizards running around with magic wands but some people have Soulcasters that allow them to change things from one form to another. There are magical swords and armour that have great power. Some people have the ability to absorb Stormlight which gives them greater strength and abilities to fight. This is secondary to the characters and plot themselves imo.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While nothing completely blew me away I couldn’t stop reading. The second book is a must read for me.