Dec 31 2018

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson

I mean…

I knew this was going to be insane but I didn’t know how much. I cried at least twice, over several different characters, and I laughed out loud so many more times. On its own, it’s just a rip-roaring good time, well-written, great action sequences, terrific plot twists, incredibly well-thought out universe (and with really gorgeous illustrations!) It even explained the greatest failing of Book Two for me, the somewhat rushed ending. Honestly, the only bad thing about this book is that it is A Lot. You absolutely have to have read the thousand plus pages each of Books One and Two and hopefully have a lot of that tucked away in your brain still, or at least access to the first two books so you can look stuff up, as I totally did.

But more than any epic fantasy novel, Oathbringer really sits down and examines morality in a way that progresses beautifully from its predecessors. This is a book about what to do when you thought you were the good guys but you find out that you’re not (is that even a spoiler? I thought it was fairly obvious.) It’s a thoughtful parable of justice and retribution and how to work towards restitution. It’s not a perfect template of any of our earthly politics, but it does allude strongly to modern issues and suggest ways to solve them, without ever losing sight of its fantasy setting. It’s also a great parable for How To Be Good. It’s okay to make mistakes. What’s most important is accepting responsibility and then doing better.

It’s really hard to review this 1200+ page book with any coherence, but I really loved the fact that this was another installment in a series with such moral clarity that you could 100% use it as a template for living in the real world. I totes want to be a Knight Radiant (funny aside: I occasionally use a variation on the name Radiant when I’m skulking around the Internet, taken not from the alter ego in this book but from Magic The Gathering’s badass if possibly unhinged Radiant Archangel) but will settle for trying to be a Good Person.

That said, I still feel bad for Eshonai. Tho, I’m super happy that, unrelatedly, the nice guy won! Brandon Sanderson always chooses the right couplings, IMO.

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