“Eshonai had always told her sister that she was certain something wonderful lay over the next hill.”First line in Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published: November 17th 2017
Series: The Stormlight Archive #3
I went into this book with the expectation that I wasn’t going to like as much as the other two books in the series. Several reviews had made me apprehensive about it and that was a good thing. You see, I agree with people who say this doesn’t match the level of the previous books, but because I was aware of that before going in, I’m actually not disappointed. It is still some of the best fantasy you can find.
I’m giving a MAJOR SPOILER warning here. The rest of the post will be discussing aspects about the book in detail. If you still want to read my favorite quotes, they’ll be at the bottom. They contain only mild spoilers.
Oathbringer is Dalinar’s book. Which means we’re off to a rocky start because I’ve never been that interested in Dalinar. He’s too honorable and boring in many ways. The flashbacks we got from him failed to keep my interest most of the time. All those battle sequences! I know it was trying to emphasize his love of fighting at that point in his life, but I don’t think I needed that many fight scenes to get that. That’s probably my main criticism of the book: too many unnecessary chapters making the same point over and over again. This book didn’t need to be this long. But back to Dalinar.
My favorite scene in those flashbacks was when Evi died (I know, I’m horrible). The way that was so obviously connected to his need for revenge and his bloodthirstiness. It’s literally what killed her and the implications for his character because of that were so interesting.
I had a problem with him in a specific, though probably insignificant, scene when he’s in Thaylen City. He’s sees a room full of wounded people and FORGETS THAT HIS SON CAN HEAL PEOPLE! Yeah, he remembers later after a he duels someone for no apparent reason (yay another fight scene), but why is that not his first thought when he sees people in need of medical attention? I mean, we all know Dalinar would sacrifice Renarin to a chasmfiend if it would gain him an advantage, but still, come on, man! I love Renarin deeply if that rant didn’t make it clear.
Moving on to Shallan… still not a character I really like and this book might have made me dislike her more. First I want to share the first thing I wrote down when I was making notes for this post:
- WTF is going on with Shallan?
Now that I’ve finished the book that is still my question, I guess. I didn’t care for the split personality thing for several reasons. Firstly, I’m not exactly sure what prompted it. She spends most of the book feeling sorry for herself because she realized she killed her abusive parents. In my opinion, she could have done worse than that so I don’t see why she’s behaving like some horrible thing happened to her. Secondly, the point in the end ended up being about people being more than one person and that we have different sides to us. I mean… duh. It’s really not that revolutionary. It doesn’t mean you have to create two entirely new personas! Thirdly, the fact that Shallan was in love with Adolin but Veil was in love with Kaladin. I’m sorry but that was creeping me out!
My main complaint about Shallan in Words of Radiance was that her actions and especially her mistakes didn’t seem to have any consequences. It is such a stark contrast to every other character in the series. That means that when she got that boy killed in Kholinar I was like: FINALLY! I had hoped it would prompt some interesting future thoughts about how to solve a problem… but no. She was very quickly comforted by Wit and never thought about that boy again.
I really want to talk about some characters I liked now, so Kaladin. He took a little bit of a step back in this one which is understandable (but still upsetting for me), because he was such a main character in the first two books. It’s also why I started to become a little confused when he was about to say the Fourth Ideal. He hadn’t exactly “earned” it throughout the book, but I was so pleased with how that was handled. That you actually see him fail to say the words. He’s in one of his depressive episodes at that point so it’s nice to see that he’s not invincible.
Another thing I really liked about Kaladin in this book is his friendship with Adolin. Like, it’s the best and most precious thing about this book. I need more of it.
And speaking of Adolin, he’s quickly becoming a highly interesting character. I’ve always liked him, not as a person but as a character with potential. It’s great to finally see him living up to it and evolving as a person.
The last thing I want to touch upon is best introduced by the notes I made when I read a certain scene in this book:
- MOASH YOU FUCKING HORRIBLE, DESPICABLE, DISGUSTING PIECE OF GARBAGE!!
Yeah, save to say that Moash earned himself a spot on my list of most hated characters when he killed Elhokar. And the way he did it! God, I’m so angry.
I really liked, though, how he was used as a contrast to Dalinar. When we’re with Moash, we see him telling himself that the things he’s done isn’t his fault. He had no choice. He takes no responsibility for his life and his actions. Amaram does a similar thing later on. Cut to Dalinar who defeats the enemy by saying “I did it. It was my choice.” Owning up to his mistakes and accepting the pain it causes. That’s what a strong person does instead of pushing the responsibility onto others.
To end this section on a positive note: the Bridge Four POV chapters in this book gave me life. Sanderson, please make that a thing in the next books as well.
The last part of this post is dedicated to my favorite quotes of the book, so enjoy.
Dalinar Kholin could make choosing what to have for breakfast look like the most important decision in all of Roshar.
And there you have Dalinar summed up in one sentence.
“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?”
Oh, Pattern. You’re so precious ❤️
The trick to happiness wasn’t freezing every momentary pleasure and clinging to each one, but in ensuring one’s life would produce many future moments to anticipate.
Is this Sanderson coming for the tourists who spend so much time taking pictures of everything they see? I like the sentiment that happiness doesn’t come from a single moment but from multiple.
Merely being tradition does not make something worthy. We can’t just assume that because something is old it is right.
*conservatives have left the chat*
This quote is too accurate but there are so many people who don’t realize that. Continuing to do something simply because it’s “tradition” isn’t always a justifiable reason.
Don’t deflect your evils by pointing out the faults of others.
When you’ve done something wrong, it’s very natural to point out that others have made similar mistakes. That doesn’t make your mistake any less wrong though. We weren’t talking about the others. We were talking about you.
Sometimes a hypocrite is nothing more than a person who is in the process of changing.
I really like this quote because I don’t think being a hypocrite is necessarily a bad thing. It can be but if a person is going through a learning process, don’t throw hypocrite in their face.
Maybe you don’t have to save anyone, Kaladin. Maybe it’s time for someone to save you.
I think I died…
Those were a lot of the thoughts I had while reading Oathbringer, a book that elicited quite a few emotions from me as you can probably tell. I’m now very ready for the fourth book to come out in November.
I would love to discuss my thoughts even further with you. Especially Shallan. I’m still confused about her storyline. See you in the comments!