Book Review: The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson

According to Brandon there will be ten books in the Stormlight series, with five in the first arc, and the other five set at a different time. Book four has only recently been released, so I will have to wait a while to finish the current arc. Fortunately, Brandon is a slightly more prolific writer than say George R R Martin or Patrick Rothfuss. I was going to add that I don’t generally read books in the fantasy genre, but then I realised that I’ve read all of the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett, all of the Game of Thrones books and both books in the Kingkiller series.

Anyway, back to the Stormlight Archives, and it has taken me four months to read the four books so far, ignoring the two short books with minor characters that aren’t part of the larger series.

Each book is huge, as is the world where it is set. To be honest I can’t really start to describe it, except to say that most of it is about war, or various wars. Each book also has flashbacks for a specific character. In the first book this is Kaladin, a slave with a troubled past. While this first book is mainly about Kaladin, we do meet many of the other main characters.

The cosmere world where the story is set is very different, with dangerous storms that are so powerful anyone caught out in the open is likely to die. There are plenty of other worldly creatures along with ‘Spren’, who appear and disappear almost at random. Men are not allowed to read and women have to hide their ‘safe hand’ in a glove at the very least. I could go on.

I absolutely loved the first book, The Way of Kings, rushing through it in less than a week. I repeated this with the second book, although it wasn’t quite as good. The third and fourth books were more of a struggle, as I started to read other books at the same time. If I was to score the books, the first would receive 5/5, the second 4.5, with the third and fourth books about 3.5.

When the fifth book is released I will definitely read it, but it is doubtful that I will continue after that. Would I read other books by Brandon Sanderson? Probably, although there are plenty of other fantasy writers out there who I haven’t yet sampled.

This hasn’t really been a review as such, mostly because of the expansiveness of the whole series, and I wouldn’t want to give away plot lines from the later books if you haven’t read the first one.

Hopefully soon Mr Rothfuss will finish book three of the Kingkiller series, and then Mr Martin could publish the next Game of Thrones book. In the meantime I’m going to steer away from fantasy and read a few more travel and sport books, as well as my old favourite genre post-apocalypse.

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