Oathbringer (Stormlight Archive 3) by Brandon Sanderson

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#1
Well it's out folks. Start your reviews / impressions. Use the SPOILER tags please for those who have not yet read it.

I've got the audiobook ready to go and will have this one done in a week. Looks like some very positive reviews so far about it.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#2
Looks like some very positive reviews so far about it.
I can't imagine Sanderson getting many negative reviews. Too many fanboys for that.

Though I have to admit, I would probably chuckle to see a review of this by @Maark Abbott

My copy is on the way.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#3
Halfway through the audiobook and I have some thoughts to share:

1) Shallan is possibly more annoying than she used to be. She's just flat out rude for no reason to people of all stations. Pattern and decent plotting make her chapters surprisingly enjoyable anyway.
2) Dalinar's flashbacks are awesome!
3) The parshmen slavery thing is annoying to me. It's such a mild, almost inoffensive version of slavery. No rape or sexual exploitation, no domination/submission, no escape attempts and subsequent punishments, etc. It's only marginally worse than the Lost Cause version of slavery, with slaves happy for the care their masters provide them. There's the mention of broken families, but even that falls short of what real slavery entails, since it's not clear whether the humans had any reason to suspect that parshmen actually form families at all. Sanderson features slavery pretty frequently in his books, and even WoK showed the real suffering slaves like Kaladin endured. Hell, Mistborn opens with a slave girl being taken to the manor to be raped and then executed! This is the first example I'm aware of in Sanderson's work where slavery is given this PG-rated form. It's not clear to me that this version of slavery is even particularly immoral. No protest or complaint for a thousand years... It's more like it's just one big misunderstanding.
 

Hikerike

Owns a Ring of Power
#4
Halfway through the audiobook and I have some thoughts to share:

3) The parshmen slavery thing is annoying to me. It's such a mild, almost inoffensive version of slavery. No rape or sexual exploitation, no domination/submission, no escape attempts and subsequent punishments, etc. It's only marginally worse than the Lost Cause version of slavery, with slaves happy for the care their masters provide them. There's the mention of broken families, but even that falls short of what real slavery entails, since it's not clear whether the humans had any reason to suspect that parshmen actually form families at all. Sanderson features slavery pretty frequently in his books, and even WoK showed the real suffering slaves like Kaladin endured. Hell, Mistborn opens with a slave girl being taken to the manor to be raped and then executed! This is the first example I'm aware of in Sanderson's work where slavery is given this PG-rated form. It's not clear to me that this version of slavery is even particularly immoral. No protest or complaint for a thousand years... It's more like it's just one big misunderstanding.
I think this version of slavery is kind of interesting and i feel like he hasnt explored and given it proper time to flesh out. I mean they were kind of dead inside with no will or mind of their own. They lost their culture, we see that different parshmen adopted different cultures depending on where they were enslaved, alethi parshmen behaved alethi and theylen parsmenn behaved according to that culture. I mean that is huge, a culture almost extinct. The parshmen from shattered plains had their culture but most of them are dead. Comming from two different cultures i have some experience with clashes of culture and i find this very interesting but this subject is barely touched upon. I hope Venli gets a more central role in the upcomming books
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#5
Still not quite done, maybe 10% left, but I think you were right about the slavery. There were facets I hadn't listened to yet. I'd gotten through Kaladin's travels with the freed Parshmen, and this was what left me uncomfortable with this vanilla and blameless slavery, but I hadn't yet gotten to the Dawnchant translation or the meeting between Dalinar and the Parshman in one of the Stormbringer's dreams.
 

Zyodes

Helped Logen count his fingers
#6
I've very mixed feelings about this book.

Dalinar is excellent as the focus of this book, his past is far more interesting than that of Kaladan or Shallan in the first two. He is a man who willingly changes rather than one who is changed by circumstance, making him much more pro-active than the other two.

At the same time there is some character regression which i will discuss under a spoiler tab.

I feel that Shallan in particular regresses to a state that she passed in the previous novels, her personas get more and more distinct and she seems to lose control even if her oathes in teh previous book should have made it easier for her to control them. In a slightly less bothersome example of regression Kaladan falls into the same depression he has faced in the past. My problem with this is that his entire arc in Words of Radiance was about conquering this depression.

The final part of the book is damn excellent, providing exactly what fans of the series want but in a way that is quite unexpected so it doesn't feel like pandering. On the downside the final part feels very much like a retread of the original mistborn trilogy as it pertains to gods and defying them.

All in all I'd rate this an 8/10 as opposed to the 8.5 or 9 of the preceding novels in the series.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#7
The final part of the book is damn excellent, providing exactly what fans of the series want but in a way that is quite unexpected so it doesn't feel like pandering. On the downside the final part feels very much like a retread of the original mistborn trilogy as it pertains to gods and defying them.
I have a long way to go to get to the end but thanks for the honest assessment. I imagine I will probably feel similarly. I feel that there are a lot of retreads in Sanderson's work (many comparisons could be made among Mistborn/Elantris/Warbreaker, as an example) so what you've said isn't a surprise.

I really ought to pick this up again but I get so sleepy at night I just can't get very far.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#8
I thought Kaladin stayed pretty upbeat throughout the book, considering all the terrible shit happening in the world? Which depression were you referring to? I thought Shallan's thing was a new development; now illusions don't just change her appearance, they transform her into someone with the skills and mindset of a rogue or warrior. Maybe I'm forgetting something similar from WoR?

The last 8 hours or so of the audiobook were incredible. IMO it's the best thing Sanderson's ever written, and if the rest of the books can maintain this level of quality, SA will be widely considered the best fantasy series of all time.

10/10 from me :cool:
 

Zyodes

Helped Logen count his fingers
#9
I thought Kaladin stayed pretty upbeat throughout the book, considering all the terrible shit happening in the world? Which depression were you referring to? I thought Shallan's thing was a new development; now illusions don't just change her appearance, they transform her into someone with the skills and mindset of a rogue or warrior. Maybe I'm forgetting something similar from WoR?

The last 8 hours or so of the audiobook were incredible. IMO it's the best thing Sanderson's ever written, and if the rest of the books can maintain this level of quality, SA will be widely considered the best fantasy series of all time.

10/10 from me :cool:
For the most part I agree with you, about the final 8 hours 100%, that is the best part of the series so far. I was listening in my car and litterally cheered when Szeth arrived. I just felt that Shallan's arc didn't so much involve her losing control due to overwhelming circumstances but rather her willfully giving in to the personae she created. To me that undid the third ideal she spoke in the previous novel, she established control over her own past by doing so and that was partly undone. Kaladin was mostly upbeat, moreso than the previous books, and that is why his lapse felt off. Like Shallan, Kaladin grew in the past book, in his case conquering his melancholy and apathy in the face of adversity. In this book it came back rather unexpectedly, though I understand the doubts that caused him to waver I felt that the actions he took were no longer in line with his character progression.
 

Maark Abbott

Journeyed there and back again
#10

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#11
I can't imagine Sanderson getting many negative reviews. Too many fanboys for that.

Though I have to admit, I would probably chuckle to see a review of this by @Maark Abbott

My copy is on the way.
I’m on page 1,055 of 1,236. I just want to yell “enough already”!! I’ve been at it 19 days now. As of now I would say that it was “good”, like 8/10 at this moment and yet I feel it’s also been grueling getting through it. I’ve only read a couple of posts in this thread so far because somebody always lets something slip. Anyhow, at least the big picture is getting clearer.

Whether or not you decide to finish it is your call, of course. I would say “ it is worth completing but you aren’t missing anything earth shattering if you decide not to finish the book”.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#12
Completed. Parts seemed to drag. Same stuff over and over. Liked the end.

Anyone who read Dagger and Coin

Compare and contrast Geder’s horrific pyre to Dalinar’s. Geder was socially inept and had no clue. Dalinar’s was more personal and done out of spite. Yeah HE felt remorse and became a good egg but to me his crime was worse.I

My favorite characters are

Jasnah, Wit, Kaladin, and Syl. I guess Adolin gets the girl. She’s nuts though with all her personalities.Kaladin will end up with Syl who becomes real.or Jasnah.I think his parents have been killed.

The interludes bug me as do the blurbs before each chapter.

It took me bloody 22 days to complete so the $17 cost became a good deal. I’m glad I’m done but I will buy book 4 for sure.

Soooo...Ben requested a rating and I aim to please.
As Pattern would say “mmmm 8.2 / 10”
 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
#13
This one started very slow for me. Not much interested me in the first half of the book except Dalinar's flashbacks. Shallan's parts were back to boring like in WoK.

The second half of the book was great though. Szeth and Lift were great at the end. Kaladin and Dalinar were awesome.

7/10
I gave it 4/5 on GR.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#14
This one started very slow for me. Not much interested me in the first half of the book except Dalinar's flashbacks. Shallan's parts were back to boring like in WoK.

The second half of the book was great though. Szeth and Lift were great at the end. Kaladin and Dalinar were awesome.

7/10
I gave it 4/5 on GR.

Great point! I forgot. Lift is (ahem) “awesome” comic relieff.I like what he did with Szeth too. Although I’m a bit confused there.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#16
Sanderson has Skybreakers and Windrunners. Notice there are no Windbreakers? :stop: No mystery where THEIR power source would originate.

Is anyone else getting confused with
the whole radiant thing. Like who is who and what they are up to? It seems like they each have different names and disguises.

Probably just me.

What exactly IS
Lift?

I wish the maps on Kindle were easier to read. I really have no idea where one place is in relation to another.

Lots of characters but Sanderson does a pretty good job spacing the introductions. Still...

OK. All kinds of things have my head spinning. But I still feel like OVERALL I have a good grasp of what’s going on. Go figure.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#17
Some very minor spoilers ahead. This book was a disappointment. It was the longest in the series at over 1200 pages and yet had the least substance. Much of the book deals with political deal making and it’s not interesting. This middle book reminds me of the middle of the Wheel of Time. Too much about politics and not enough interesting things happening. Sanderson seems very intent on world building, talking of the many different cultures and explaining hair, clothing, speech, customs, etc. But with so much of the book told through the eyes of Alethi the information falls flat and I never cared about it. In the WOT we learned of a culture like the Aiel and got major characters to learn and care about it. This felt hollow and boring.

Shallan takes center stage for a lot of the first half and her schizophrenic personality is simply uninteresting. We sympathize with a lot of the characters but the constant pity parties can be over done. Thankfully the Dalinar story line is interesting, particularly the flashbacks. I’ve always enjoyed Kaladin and Adolin. I wished we had more Jasnah and maybe some other new characters.

I personally found Shadesmar weird. The magic system with spren and gods seemed to get more confusing but remains interesting. Thankfully the final 150+ pages were really good. I read them quickly unlike the rest of the book that took me two months because it didn’t grab me. The time it takes me to read is a strong indicator of how much I like a book so I have to score this a 3.5/5 and round down to a 3/5 for scoring on GR. The ending saved the book from feeling wasteful and a lower score. In all honesty I have no clue how this book is getting a 4.68 score on over 30,000 votes on GR. That is a truly elite score and this book is the weakest in the series imo.
 

Danica

Queen of the boards!
Staff member
#18
I am struggling. I’ve been reading every night and the better part of the weekend but Shallan is so annoying I can barely get through her chapters.

Too much politics and not enough moving the story forward. I’m beginning to remember why epic fantasy isn’t really my thing.