“What was the most important step a man could take?” Spoiler-Free Review of Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

This massive third volume to the Stormlight Archives not only introduces a lot of new information about all the characters, but releases the past of Dalinar and leads him into finding the true answer to the question, “What is the most important step a man could take?”. Reaching the answer to this question is not as easy as it may seem, and WOW the answer written by Brandon Sanderson will blow you away!

Oathbringer deals with many real-world issues including drug addiction, alcoholism, depression and Dissociative Identity Disorder. This book really holds for me the reason I love fantasy so much. I love the way it tackles these kinds of issues in such a relatable way especially for someone like me that lives with Bipolar Disorder and Depression. I also am close to celebrating 2 years of being sober from alcohol and 3 years of being clean from any kind of drug use. These are very serious issues and the most serious thing about these issues is how widespread they are. So when an author like Brandon Sanderson writes such an eloquent book concerning these things, it lifts my spirits knowing that somebody is okay with talking about this in such an open way. I have no idea if Brandon Sanderson has ever experienced these things, but he is giving people like me a chance to feel like a hero. If the men of Bridge four can overcome, then honestly I think I can too.

In this book, we also get a peek into the thoughts of the members of Bridge Four, and I believe this is one of the best parts. I especially love this quote from Rock,

Some days, it seemed you couldn’t break Kalidin Stormblessed with all the stones on Roshar. Then one of his men would get wounded, and you’d see him crack.”

Rock, Oathbringer, Brandon Sanderson

Kalidin is one of my favorite characters. He deals with an almost constant depression and feelings of guilt based on events that were not in his control from his past. It is so refreshing to see the viewpoints of his men in Bridge Four.

Okay so this next quote is a bit of a spoiler… so stop reading if you havent read Oathbringer yet. Teft was by far for me the most break out awesome character in this book. He actively struggled with a real addiction, something that hasn’t been spoken of before in a Sanderson Stormlight Archive Novel. I truly relate to these words and I have to share them with anyone who has gone through a mental helath issue, addiction, or alcoholism… yes, Teft says the Words…

I will protect those I hate. Even… even if the one I hate most… is … myself.”

Teft, Oathbringer, Brandon Sanderson

WOW. Yes Sir, Mr. Sanderson, that pretty much sums it up for me. I have to admit I cried at this point. It was a deep struggle for Teft this whole book and when it got to this point… my emotions got the better of me.

I already knew that Dalinar struggled with alcoholism in his youth but its an amazing reveal when I got to live through some of his darkest days. We see deep into Dalinar and truthfully this is his book. You may be able to surmise that by the title alone, Oathbringer, the name of his Shardblade, which we also get a history of. The ending with Dalinar is unreal and gave me such a strong feeling of hope. Brandon Sanderson seems to know that hope is vital to his readers. Do not worry! Sanderson sums everything up beautifully no matter how dark it seems while reading.

I wish I could thank Brandon Sanderson personally for this journey through the Cosmere I have taken. It seemed like he was writing for me personally at so many points. I have gotten so much more from this series of series than just a joyful jump into a gorgeous fantasy world. I have received real hope from his wise words and his characters that will now always be in my reach and always in my heart.

The next book I am reading is Dune by Frank Herbert. I am so excited to finally sink my teeth into this exciting world of sand, massive worms, Spice and the possession and protection of a very important resource, WATER. Thank you for reading and please follow for updates on my thoughts on my current read!

Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson, Spoiler-Free Review

Arcanum Unbounded is a one of a kind short story collection by the author Brandon Sanderson. It includes nine short stories that are based in six different systems in the Cosmere. These systems include the known Selish System (Elantris), the Scadrian System (Mistborn), the Taldain System (White Sand), and the Rosharan System (Stormlight Archives). The lesser known systems that are included are the Threnodite System and the Drominad System. There are also detailed pictures of each system and a descriptive picture before each story. This is definitely a great way to enhance your knowledge of the Cosmere but be warned! This book is not Spoiler free for all of the systems involved and definitely is best read after reading the whole of the works mentioned above.

Arcanum Unbounded begins with the short story The Emperor’s Soul which is based in the Selish System. This is one of the most intriguing stories in the whole book mainly because it deals directly with the idea of what all would go into the actual creation of a soul. There are some more frivolous seeming creations that are discussed in this short story but they still deal with the “soul” of the object itself and convincing it to change into something better. I would like to share a spoiler free quote that relates the struggles of the main character, Shai, with creating a soul:

He hadn’t understood. There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person’s life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn’t take one step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off a path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn’t led you better.”

Brandon Sanderson, The Emperor’s Soul

This quote really shows how introspective this short story is to the inner workings of what makes us human. Like I mentioned before, it also gives a sense of life to the objects that are changed as well, as if they have a choice to make in the result of the change. I think Brandon Sanderson masterfully creates a conversation of the hidden depths and secret stories not just about an individual, but about what surrounds us in our daily lives. I think this quote gives a good example of this idea:

People, ” Shai said, rising to fetch another seal, “by nature attempt to exercise power over what is around them. We build walls to shelter us from the wind, roofs to stop the rain, We tame the elements, bend nature to our wills. It makes us feel as if we are in control.

Except in doing so, we merely replace one influence with another. Instead of the wind affecting us, it is a wall. A man-made wall. The fingers of man’s influence are all about, touching everything. Man-made rugs, man-made food. Every single thing in the city that we touch, see, feel, experience comes as a result of some person’s influence.”

Brandon Sanderson, The Emperor’s Soul

As you can tell, this simple short story holds layers of meaning that go way beyond simply creating or changing aspects of an object or an emperor. This is the basic idea that I have come to believe about Brandon Sanderson and his writing. Whatever I am reading, look deeper! There is meaning here that can show me a new way to not only view the world that Sanderson is so good at creating, but a new way to view my personal world and the people I interact with on a day to day basis.

Arcanum Unbounded is full of another 8 stories that will not only entertain but possibly give you a new perspective on the world around you. There is so much to discover, and as Brandon Sanderson hints, there is more on the way concerning the systems that do not already have a foundation in an individual novel.

I am continuing my journey with The Stormlight Archives with Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer (and yes, I am very excited). Please follow my blog to read my review of this gorgeous and massive novel in the next few weeks. Thank you for reading!

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson Spoiler-Free Review

I realize that I am joining the Sanderson fan club late, but this is the perfect time in my life to become enveloped in the Cosmere. I started earlier this year by reading the Mistborn Era 1 and Era 2 sagas which I can only say are fantastic and full of page turning excitement. As the year progressed, there were some personal and family related issues that would begin to overcome my life, leaving me in a desperate place looking for hope wherever I could find it. And that is when Brandon Sanderson entered the scene again, I picked up Warbreaker and followed that with The Way of Kings which led me to read Elantris to learn more about the start of the Cosmere’s journey. Now I have completed the second book in the Stormlight Archives, Words of Radiance, and I want to share my thoughts on Sanderson’s marvelous continuation of this epic story.

The Way of Kings was really a foundation for Brandon Sanderson to not only create these character’s backgrounds but to build the story firmly from the ground up. Words of Radiance is much faster paced and also has much within its pages that literally made me laugh out loud at some points and at others want to scream in excitement. There is a joy to this book that overwhelms the seriousness of the first in the Stormlight Archives and it was exactly what I needed at this moment in my life.

We get to read about Shallan’s past in Words of Radiance as opposed to Kalidin’s in The Way of Kings. This is perfect timing considering the story line that Shallan is going through during the present of this book. Her past certainly holds many secrets and the most interesting and exciting of these secrets are not revealed until the end. We also see some different sides to Shallan in this book. We get to read about her interacting with some interesting characters in only a way that she can and it creates some of the most fun scenes.

Kalidin’s story also picks up right where it left off and goes through some moody and emotional up’s and down’s that took me from feeling hopeless to feeling ecstatic with joy. Kalidin is a character I really can get behind, I understand many of his internal struggles and that is definitely something that is highlighted in this book.

One of my great joys is Adolin’s character, especially now that we get to see Adolin interact with Kaladin. As you can imagine, this is not a perfect relationship, but it brings up many thought provoking ideas about the differences and how these characters act about the differences of being “light-eyed” and “dark-eyed”.

Dalinar is not exactly treated as a constant main character in this book as he was in the last one. But do not worry, that does not diminish is role as being an important figure-head in the least. I did love seeing Dalinar react to now not only Adolin but to Kaladin as well, and truthfully, I feel like Kalidin can almost be included in a family father-son role with Dalinar which proves interesting and heart warming in Words of Radiance.

I do want to include a quote that will not give away any spoilers but to show Brandon Sanderson’s caring writing style when it comes to some of the difficult situations that not only his characters find themselves in during past and present but that Readers can relate to,

The sensation- its not sorrow, but something deeper- of being broken. Of being crushed so often, and so hatefully, that emotion becomes something you can only wish for. If only you could cry, because then you’d feel something. Instead, you feel nothing. Just… haze and smoke inside. Like your already dead.”

-Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance

It is moments like this, after I have read something so brilliant and so gut-wrenchingly true and relatable for me, that I realize what a real powerhouse author Brandon Sanderson really is. His works, all that I have read so far, have touched me deeply on an emotional level. And this is what makes him great. Yes, his imagination, his world-building skills, everything he creates is above and beyond the typical. But this is where he really effects me. This is not something just any author can do. This is a real master.

I hope you have enjoyed my review. I am reading Arcanum Unbounded next and yes, I am very excited to continue my adventure into Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere. Please follow my blog for updates and for a review of my next read.

Elantris and Depression

This early work by Brandon Sanderson is incredible on so many levels, however, I found that the way this book touches on the struggles of depression in its abstract and yet unrelenting manner are simply Breathtaking.

As soon I started reading, I was introduced to the character of Raoden. Raoden is a prince not only in name, but also in his positive and caring outlook. Right at the beginning the reader realizes that something is wrong. Raoden, a handsome young prince, has been taken by the Shaod. The Shaod has the appearance of a disease; black spots on the skin, hair loss, and a wrinkled, lackluster graying of the normally pigmented skin. These signs mark one as being a member of Elantris, and Raoden is soon taken and placed within the disintegrating city. Raoden becomes a true Elantrian.

All of this happens in the very first few pages and I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible.

The reason I find this book to speak so eloquently of the struggles of depression is tied directly to the literal struggles of the Elantrian’s themselves. They seem to be captured in a state of stasis, a state in which their bodies are dead but they can still feel the pain of hunger and the worse pain of every scrape and bruise accumulated after becoming an Elantrian. This is not the way the once beautiful city and people of Elantris always were, however. They were once a silver skinned and shining, white haired people that were more like Gods and their city was a radiant, vast place full of sculptures, art, libraries and architectural magnificence. However this all changed 10 years before the start of this book when Raoden is taken by the Shaod and placed in the now decrepit city of Elantris.

The pain the Elantrian’s struggle through is so akin to the pain of depression. It is described as a constant physical pain that threatens to overwhelm the victim. Once the victim is overwhelmed they are then lost in the almost comatose state of The Hoed. However Prince Raoden, while in Elantris, tries his hardest to not only keep his positivity but to create a life that is more comfortable for those Elantrian’s that had seemed to have lost a sense of their humanity.

“No, my lord, I dont think it does. Those people gave in to their pain because they couldn’t find purpose – their torture was meaningless, and when you cant find reason in life, you tend to give up on it. This wound will hurt, but each stab of pain will remind me that I earned it with honor. That is not such a bad thing, I think.”

Saolin, pg. 272, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

This quote is one of my favorites and I think it is obvious as to why. As a person that struggles with Bipolar 1 disorder, I deal with depression frequently. I have learned over many years that one of the best ways to combat depression is with finding a way to live with purpose. There is so much to be said for having future plans to look forward to and goals yet to be accomplished. Depression is one of the most difficult and misunderstood subjects to live with and yet Brandon Sanderson seems to so easily sum up this constant and unnerving pain so easily and in such a comprehensible manner.

I highly, very highly, suggest this incredible novel to anyone that enjoys reading about a contemporary and abstract yet beautifully poignant view on real world problems that so many of us struggle with. It is an eye-opening outlook on the issues of depression that are so commonly glazed over and misunderstood.