Book Review

Long Wait for a Long Book: “Oathbringer”

“Oathbringer: Stormlight Archive #3,” by Brandon Sanderson

Oh man.  This book.  I went a little more than slightly crazy in my anticipation of this one.  I briefly reviewed books 1 & 2 of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive here, revealing it as my “New Harry Potter” because Oh my goodness–I love these books!  I rated the first book at a full 5 stars, the second book at 5.5 stars because I love it that much, and now the third . . . it’s still awesome, but it’s taken me a bit to warm up to it.  Let me explain why.

The Anticipation

So, Tor (the publisher) decided to taunt and tease us with early releases of 3 chapters a week, starting in September until it was released in November.  I thought “Maybe I should wait, and read them all one week before the release, like my husband…”  Yeah, I began after the second week, and re-read them several times as I waited for the next week’s release.  My husband asked me not to spoil anything for him which was ridiculously hard because I wanted to talk about it!  Since I couldn’t talk with my husband, I read over the comments made by other readers.
All the theorizing got to my head and I jumped on the wrong relationship-ship.

Then the midnight release finally came.  I went into full Harry Potter read-a-thon mode.

I stayed up till 6AM and woke up again 2.5 hours later to read more.  Good thing I only had a 4-hour work shift that day, because my brain was in Roshar and by the time 3 o’clock hit, I started acting loopy.  After work, I read more until 3AM and slept for 6 hours before my 6-hour work shift.  At +1,200 pages (hardback), I still wasn’t done after another 3AM reading.  The last day, I hardly ate, used the toilet as necessary, and only showered because we planned to go OUT for dinner.
My husband had finished it, but at the time of going out to eat I had paused at a very depressing moment.

My husband’s favorite spoiler for anything (whether it’s true or not):
Everybody dies!

This was a problem.  Pausing there gave me time to think on how depressing it was.  When I started again and ten pages later awesome things happened, I still felt hollow.

Maybe because Kaladin’s my favorite character (seriously, who doesn’t love Kaladin?).  This book, he actually took a step back from the spotlight for more Shallan and Dalinar (as Dalinar’s past is reviewed, that only makes sense).  There’s even an entire Part where we don’t get anything from Kaladin’s perspective.  We still see lots of him through Bridge Four which is interesting, but, well, I’m going to quote Syl and say “I just want him to be happy.” 😛

The Character Cycle

In reading this book and trying to define why it doesn’t satisfy me the same as the second, I realized something.  I thought I loved the other books because the first book set up these interesting characters, then in the second, they all come together and it’s hilarious.
But it’s more than that.  In book one, all the main characters are held back from exploring their full potential.  In book two, they have freedom.  Kaladin has literal freedom and can train as he wants.  Shallan isn’t held back by Jasna’s wardship.  Adolin can duel to his heart’s content, and Dalinar trusts his visions and works openly with the king.
In “Oathbringer,” they regain limitations.  Kaladin’s trapped by his confusion of the Oaths, Shallan’s thumbed down by Jasna again, Adolin is burdened with a heavy secret, and Dalinar struggles to bring Roshar together.  Dalinar’s actually hit twice with his memories and struggles against the man he used to be.

Required Reading

Also (not that it’s a bad thing, but just be aware), this book had a LOT more Cosmere mixing.  There’s a reference to “Elantris,” hints at “Mistborn,” but mostly large points from “Warbreaker.”  If you haven’t read “Warbreaker,” I highly suggest reading it before jumping into this third book.  It’s not my favorite of Brandon Sanderson’s, but it’s free online anyway. 😛

After All is Said and Done

So that’s why I didn’t write this review right away.  If I had, it probably would have only received ****4.5 stars*****.  Maybe.  However, as I’ve gone back through it and bookmarked my favorite scenes, I realized I have favorite scenes in almost every chapter.  So, okay, make it a 4.8.  Still not a perfect 5, but who knows, maybe it will be in a few more months. 😉

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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