Sanderson versus Martians versus Dresden

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#1
Ladies and gentleman of the board...
I was thinking about trying a new author and wanted thoughts on whether I should give Mr. Sanderson a go. If so, which one?
The covers do make me think Dresden a bit and if they're similar I think I'll stick with Harry for a book or two more before sampling.
Would I perhaps be better off giving The Martian a go if I wanted a new author / literary sorbet?

Enlighten me so that I may spend my crimbo Amazon gift card.
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#3
The Martian is a great book, and a quick read. The same can be said for Sanderson books. Haven't read the Dresden files, so can't comment on that.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#4
Haven't read The Martian yet. Have read some Sanderson (mostly older, nothing published in the past 2 years or so). Have read all the available Dresden books.

I'm not entirely sold on Sanderson. I like him well enough, but I put him more at the middle of the pack than the top, according to my own personal tastes. Especially with his early work, I felt like he was pretty repetitive (there are many similarities among Elantris, Mistborn, and Warbreaker, for example, and certain elements of Mistborn got repetitive by the third book). The books of his I have read are very "clean," for lack of a better term -- there's some violence but it's pretty tame if you've read any Mark Lawrence, Joe Abercrombie, GRRM, etc. Sex as an issue is skirted around, as well, as I recall. I thought a lot of elements of Way of Kings were silly (spren, spren, spren every other word, among others) and disjointed. I'm hoping he can redeem them in future books.

Dresden is a little more my style. There is some repetition, sure, especially in the earlier books when he is doing more mystery solving as opposed to having other adventures. But there's some stuff that I think is just fun/cool

like trashing a Walmart or riding around on a reanimated T rex

and I like the humor. I also like what Butcher does with a lot of fantasy tropes.

In the end, I'm not calling either one great literature. I will eventually catch up with my Sanderson reading, just not in a timely manner, and I don't think he should be avoided since he's such an integral part of the fantasy scene these days (and I do still like his books, just not as much as I like other people's books). But I know a lot of people here like Sanderson more than I do, and I just wanted to offer a bit of a different perspective. I would probably drop what I was doing to read the next Dresden book, though.

If you want to try Sanderson, start with Elantris. It's a standalone (without an effing talking sword like in Warbreaker) and would give you a good sense of the type of story Sanderson tells. (Or, it works as a standalone even if Sanderson is writing/has written more in that world.)
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
I couldn't recommend The Martian enough. Like Griff says it's not too long, so I'd go for that rather than starting with a Sanderson.

I'm kind of with SB on Sanderson. He's a very 'safe' writer, doesn't push the boat out too much. Saying that I do enjoy his books, and I'd also recommend starting with Elantris, missing out Warbreaker then reading Mistborn.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
Also, Dresden gets better later on in the series IMO, so you could always just crack on with them! :)
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#7
Dresden gets better later on in the series
I agree, I'm very much enjoying it. Exactly why I'm going to take my time with them. The middle books all blur into one as I tore through them (by my standards at least) and I want to enjoy the next few more fully.
I'm not feeling as much love for Sanderson as I was expecting. Think it may be the Martian...
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#8
I agree, I'm very much enjoying it. Exactly why I'm going to take my time with them. The middle books all blur into one as I tore through them (by my standards at least) and I want to enjoy the next few more fully.
I'm not feeling as much love for Sanderson as I was expecting. Think it may be the Martian...
Another vote for The Martian.
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#9
All of them :)
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#10
I liked them all without being too much in love with any of them, each for different reasons:

From Sanderson I've read the Mistborn trilogy, The Alloy of Law and The Rithmatist. Currently reading The Way of Kings.
Sanderson is a master storyteller with great attention to details and plot. Those are his good points. On the downside, I agree with what Sneaky and Tom said - yes, he's too clean. Yes, he's too safe. His books are not exactly YA but there's a definite YA vibe to them. It's not like I need a detailed sex scene or an especially gory vilonence scene, but still there's something lacking. Sometime it feels like he's writing to qualify for PG13 rating. Having said that, I'm currently 20% into The Way of Kings and so far it's great - I'm not overwhelmed with Sprens just yet. Out of those I've completed, I can recommend Mistborn - although I thought the first book was the best one of the series and the second one was a bit of a let-down. I liked the ending, though.

Out of the three, Butcher's writing style is my favorite. It's light, fun, and sometime wicked in a good way. I read the first 7 Dresden books and I'll probably read the rest sometime. But still, I've only read those half a year ago and already I don't remember the details in any of them, ecxept for a 2 or 3 unforgettable scenes. I enjoyed them a lot while reading but there's nothing memorable about the plot or any of the characters. Those were the downsides for me.

The Martian was a fun, action-packed book but it also had several disadvantages for me - like I mentioned in the sci-fi thread, I loved the first half but from there the story started to get a bit repetitive (hard to say why without spoilers). Also, like someone said and the January fantasy thread, there was one too many "Yay" in there, although thankfully the author cut back on those after the first 25%. Despite all those, it was fun reading it and the ending was also good. I was just having a rough patch in the middle.

So, to sum it all up, either read all of them - all of them are good in different ways - or forget about them and read Malazan. ;)
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#12
Let's put it that way ... "The Martian" is a quick read that fits well between the other series.

Which book are you on in the Dresden series?

Best regards,
Andy
 

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#13
I've just done Changes, and I'm savouring the cliff hanger. I don't like waiting for books to be released, but at the same time I do miss the old days of having to wait a week for the next episode of a fav tv show. So if I'm enjoying something I quite often deliberately take my time.
I'm doing the same with Abercrombie. I want to read more but I'm in danger of not appreciating the quality of his writing by chomping them down so they are on hiatus as well.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#17
Okay so here are my two cents.
It seems you have ordered the Martian so that's out of the way. I'll give it a peek after Abercrombies Shattered Seas.

Also, Dresden gets better later on in the series IMO, so you could always just crack on with them! :)
Couldn't agree more. Dresden's first two books are average/below average but from the third one onwards they are an exhilarating ride. One of my favorite series.

Sanderson is a mastermind, apart from Steelheart which I didn't really like (I'll read Mitosis and Firefight sometime but just for the sake of completion) so you can't really go wrong there.
 

João Ribeiro

Journeyed there and back again
#19
See? I was expecting a bit more of that kind of thing when I posted this, but he's not a universally liked as I thought. At least you weren't about to muddy the waters before I had ordered.
He isn't without his flaws, like I said, I didn't like Steelheart and I'm probably the only person you'll find that enjoyed Warbreaker more than Elantris, but still he is my favorite author. What makes me say he is a mastermind (apart from his speed delivering high quality stuff) is his overall plan for the Cosmere. To tie all those different series together is a mammoth task and a ginourmous plan.

One of the things that makes him not universally loved is probably the fact he isn't gritty at all. I've seen people state he plays it too safe. Well it works for me :)

I'm sorry I wasn't here on time to muddle the waters, it's always nice to have a headache to choose among three enjoyable things :D . Please let me know before your next purchase and I'll confuse you as much as I can.

Cough Cough Gentlemen Bastards cough cough
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#20
'm probably the only person you'll find that enjoyed Warbreaker more than Elantris
You are not the only one, I thought Warbreaker was better as well. That being said,I find both of those books of less high quality than his other work.


One of the things that makes him not universally loved is probably the fact he isn't gritty at all.
I'm the opposite, I would love for BS to at a little grittiness in his writing, or at least let his writing evolve a bit more. I've got the feeling his kind of stuck in the same, safe writing style and doesn't want to stray from it.