Hooooly crap. The first three quarters of Oathbringer are fairly slow. They’re still fascinating, building up more and more of the world of The Stormlight Archive, answering some questions while raising even more.
And then crap really hits the fan. I read the final several hundred pages in one session and wow a lot of things happen. Epic. Just epic. Read the book just for that and don’t put it down early.
Characterwise, I really like what Sanderson has done with Dalinar. He’s in a hard spot and trying to save the world with the best he has available to him… but he’s in way over his head.
I respect all oaths, the Stormfather responded.
“What about foolish oaths? Made in haste, or in ignorance?”
There are no foolish oaths. All are the mark of men and true spren over beasts and subspren. The mark of intelligence, free will, and choice.
Watching him grapple with the idea that his God is dead is interesting as well.
“I feel there must be a God,” Dalinar said softly. “My mind and soul rebel at the alternative.”
I want to see Dalinar and Jasnah sit down and have a discussion about theology. I doubt it would go well–they’re rather different sorts of people– but it has potential.
And all that memory he’s lost and that we get to rediscover along with him. Oy. Dalinar further reinforces that there are few if any truly good people in this world. Just various degrees of broken.
Shallan is… quite frankly a bit crazy. It’s interesting to see how she absolutely refuses to deal with the issues in her past and how she manages to keep going while her mind is quite literally breaking up. Also, just like the interactions of Dalinar and the Stormfather, those of Shallan and Pattern are great fun:
“Anyway,” Shallan said. “Pattern, you’re to be our chaperone tonight.”
“What,” Pattern said with a hum, “is a chaperone?”
“That is someone who watches two young people when they are together, to make certain they don’t do anything inappropriate.”
“Inappropriate?” Pattern said. “Such as … dividing by zero?”
I also like seeing Shallan interact with Hoid. Knowing that he’s very old and has been around the Cosmere, it’s interesting seeing him interact with someone as much as he does now. I really want to see him headline a book of his own, but it seems that might be a while coming yet.
It’s also really interesting to see Shallan’s relationship with Adolin growing. I think that they’re a good match for one another. In the end, I'm glad that she ends up with him rather than Kaladin. Kaladin needs something else methinks.
Speaking of Kaladin, he mopes a lot, but what else is new? He’s still probably one of the most practiced at his powers up until everyone just lets go in the final battle, but less changes for him than in The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance . He’s had enough change for the moment though.
Worldbuilding-wise… the humans were the Voidbringers all along . That was quite the epic twist, almost three full books in the coming. Going back, I see where Sanderson has been hinting at it all along, which is all the more impressive. Even more, it makes me wonder what else he’s done the same for…
Other than that, perhaps my favorite part of the book (besides and akin to that final battle) was the journey through Shadesmar. The idea of a three part universe and being able to travel through such a strange place as a realm of the mind is fascinating to me and it at once feels just alien enough and just enough like home to feel ‘real’.
Overall, this is a wonderful book. I do not want to have to wait a year or more (probably more) for the next, yet alone for the full 10 book cycle. But I guess I have to. At least I can re-read these first three when the next comes out…
Half side note: the parts with Azure were absolutely fascinating, given that she has been confirmed by Word of Brandon to be Vivenna , as were the parts with Szeth and Nightblood. As Sanderson goes on, the crossovers are getting to be more and more to the core of the stories, which I absolutely love. It’s something I’ve never seen done before… and Sanderson is doing it well.