Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: The Stormlight Archive #3
Publisher: Tor Books (November 14, 2017)
Length: 1233 pages
My Rating: 5 stars
Having recently finished a binge read of the first three novels in The Stormlight Archive, I can honestly say my mind is filled with this intricately detailed, amazingly epic story, so much so that I am finding it difficult to put into words my feelings for this series and, specifically, its third installment: Oathbringer. Mainly, this is due to the distinct originality and uniqueness of this book, which is hard to adequately describe. The world of Roshar far different from Tolkien’s LoTR, Martin’s ASoIF, or even Jordan’s WoT yet still terribly familiar. Roshar’s characters seemingly the normal standard bearers of legendary epics until Brandon Sanderson’s molds them into very different configurations. The plot here following the tried-and-true fantasy tropes only to turn them upside down, sending a reader flailing about in delightful ignorance of what is coming next. And due to all this, I believe the best way for me to summarize my feelings about Oathbringer is to merely say it is one of the most magnificent fantasy books I’ve ever read and leave it at that.
For those unfamiliar with The Stormlight Archive, it – like so many epic fantasy series – is centered upon the coming end of the world, as the cyclical Desolation Event comes upon the world of Roshar once again. The heralds of this cataclysm (the Voidbringers) having appeared along with the forces of Odium, and our band of “heroes” called upon to somehow, someway hold back the end of the world. Dalinar Kholin, Kaladin the Stormblessed, Shallan Davar, and Adolin Kholin finding themselves in far over their heads, no matter their pedigree and experience.
Where The Way of Kings was centered upon Kaladin and Words of Radiance focused on Shallan, Oathbringer’s main character is Dalinar. This novel spending a great deal of time comparing and contrasting the Dalinar of the present with the Dalinar of the past. The honorable, noble and principled would-be savior of Roshar revealed to have been a far different, more ruthless individual in the past; this history going a long way in explaining the reaction of so many people to Dalinar’s attempts to make of them allies in his crusade against the Desolation.
This focus on Dalinar does not mean the other characters of the series are left out in the cold however. In fact, Brandon Sanderson finds page time to weave compelling stories for Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin and many more. Each of these individuals dealing with new roles, emotional issues, and tough choices with long term repercussions. Some characters embrace their new identities, dealing with depression and addiction, but there are others who can’t or won’t, which causes them to have to deal with the pain of failure and fumble around to find other ways to change and grow as the world around them forces them to adapt to the evolving circumstances. All of this character development very raw, very real, and even more poignant and compelling due to this realism.
As for the world building in Oathbringer, it is just as superb as you’d expect from Sanderson. The world of Roshar, its people, its places, and its secrets mesmerizing in the extreme. The author finding new twists to add to the mix, revealing even more epic places, and adding to the legends and lore of this immense world. There is even time spent continuing to evolve the nature of the Desolations, the Heralds, the Oathpact, and everything else touched upon in the tale up to this point, leaving readers with the firm assurance that there is still much they do not know about Roshar.
Without a doubt, Oathbringer has raised the bar even higher for the already amazing Stormlight Archive, making me desperately wish I had the next installment of the series sitting before me so I could dive into its pages right now. Yes, there has been some tense moments, epic struggles, and riveting reveals in the series up to this point, and maybe I need a break from it, but I do not wish for one, since I know there is still a long ways to go before this ride ends and many more amazing things to come. So everyone out there who hasn’t read this series yet, trust me, it is time to go ahead and begin your reading journey with The Stormlight Archive, because you do not want to miss out on this epic fantasy masterpiece!
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.