I’m reporting in this time with the latest installment of the Stormlight Archive, recently released in November 2017. Before embarking on this 1,200 page adventure I followed the author’s advice in the preface and read a (relatively) short novella titled Edgedancer. I do highly recommend reading that as well, though my review from here on out will focus solely on my thoughts regarding Oathbringer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but do have to say that I found it slightly slower to get into than the others. I think what threw me off initially was Kaladin being apart from the Bridge Four crew. I’ve grown accustomed to their banter being a major part of the story and its absence gave the early chapters a slightly different feeling than the other books. However, by the time Kaladin, Shallan, and Adolin arrived in Kholinar the story had quickly ramped back up. Their subsequent journey home through Shardsmar and the Battle of Thaylen City that closed out the book were both off the charts exciting, ending this part of the story on an exhilarating high. In the midst of all that action, there was also a pretty major revelation about the history of Roshar and the people who inhabit it. It certainly changed the perception of some past events and I am very curious to see what additional info comes to light in the next book.
Speaking of Roshar’s inhabitants, the characters were once again strong throughout the book. The main trio of Dalinar, Kaladin, and Shallan were as engaging as ever, though this time around the arcs of Dalinar and Shallan received the most page time. It was really interesting to learn Dalinar’s backstory and see how he became the person we presently know him to be following the impulsive violence of his youth and its consequences. His flashbacks served as an excellent illustration of why the other nations are so reluctant to trust his calls for an alliance. As for Shallan, she faced some demons of her own this novel. Determined to repress and escape her own traumas and insecurities, she spent a large part of the book using her Lightweaving skills to create new identities whenever she deemed her original self inadequate. The progression of her transformations was really quite fascinating to watch as she teetered on the edge of losing herself.
What made this story truly epic, though, was how enjoyable the secondary characters were. A book on this large a scale can’t get by on its main characters alone and happily this story featured so many other interesting people that I have to force myself to stick with only my absolute favorites here. Most notable for me, was finally learning more about (and meeting!) the three Shards on Roshar; Honor, Cultivation, and Odium. Also, much to my delight, both Lift and Wit made a number of memorable appearances and managed to steal whatever scene they were in, regardless of the situation. Rounding out my list, I am additionally looking forward to seeing what happens regarding the strange spren bonded to Renarin and Venli as well finding out what is in store for the various members of Bridge Four; Teft, Rock, and Moash in particular.
At this point I am sad to say that my time in this universe has to be put on hold. Looking at the author’s anticipated release schedule, book four in this series isn’t planned for release until 2020! That in conjunction with the next Mistborn novel being slated for 2019 means I’m going to have to look for my Cosmere fix elsewhere. I’m thinking Elantris is next.