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Rhom

Oathbringer: Stormlight Archives 3 (Spoilers)

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Saw a couple of posts in the generic thread needing the spoiler tags, figured I’d go ahead and start the thread.

I picked the book up today and should start on it this weekend.  

Spoil away.

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Book's a step down from Words of Radiance.  Too long and narrative tension falls completely apart at the end, for no discernible reason - on paper the stakes are high but the characters never seem in danger compared to the middle of the book - Dalinar relapsing into alcoholism and the Kholinar sequence are both much more compelling.  The Odium-Dalinar confrontation really needs to have been rewritten.   Odium acting so obviously like a supervillain in those scenes made it clear that Dalinar would pull through.  I don't know how Sanderson should've done it, but it needed to be better than it was.  

Similarly, the Oathgate scenes never conveyed the characters were in danger.  Why? Because there were too many important characters there.   No reader is going to assume Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin, Syl and Pattern were in danger.  The situation can't go wrong, because if it did we'd somewhere between 1-3 (4? Syl, I think is a major character) characters would go nowhere.  Sanderson isn't bold enough to do that and the audience knows it.

Aside from that, the book answered a good amount of questions and mysteries.  And it's more evidence on the pile that Hoid/Wit/Cephandrius/Topaz/Midius is trying to reconstruct Adonalsium.

 

Open questions:

1. Odium shouts "We killed you!" when Dalinar does his thing.  Is this a reference to Odium mistaking Dalinar for Honor? Or for Adonalsium?  I lean towards the latter because of "We."

2. What is the deal with Dalinar's non-Honor visions?  Did he spiritually Connect with Nohadon's soul?  Or was that someone else using Nohadon's appearance?  I'm leaning towards someone else - but that someone else could be either another Shard or Adonalsium itself. 

My preferred answer to these two questions is that it's Adonalsium and Dalinar hearing "Unite them" isn't referring to humanity but the Shards.  Of course, if Adonalsium is really God, then the Shattering shouldn't really be a big deal for someone that's Omniscient and Omnipotent.  The Iri religion in the books supports the idea that Adonalsium shattered itself (suddenly Sanderson is Bakker).  So from that angle, Adonalsium wanting Dalinar to reunite the Shards doesn't really jive. 

3. Why does Shalash refer to god as Adonalsium and Hoid as Midius (his oldest name from Sanderson's unpublished Liar of Partinel)?  Were Shalash and therefore Jezrien from Yolen?

4. What was the dagger Moash used to kill Jezrien?  Was it an Awakened dagger similar to Nightblood - it leaked black smoke, after all?  Or is it one of the mythical Dawnshards?  If it is one of the Dawnshards - why is it weaker than Nightblood?  Or conversely, why is Nightblood so powerful?

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On 11/17/2017 at 3:31 AM, Ajûrbkli said:

Book's a step down from Words of Radiance.  Too long and narrative tension falls completely apart at the end, for no discernible reason - on paper the stakes are high but the characters never seem in danger compared to the middle of the book - Dalinar relapsing into alcoholism and the Kholinar sequence are both much more compelling.  The Odium-Dalinar confrontation really needs to have been rewritten.   Odium acting so obviously like a supervillain in those scenes made it clear that Dalinar would pull through.  I don't know how Sanderson should've done it, but it needed to be better than it was.  

Similarly, the Oathgate scenes never conveyed the characters were in danger.  Why? Because there were too many important characters there.   No reader is going to assume Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin, Syl and Pattern were in danger.  The situation can't go wrong, because if it did we'd somewhere between 1-3 (4? Syl, I think is a major character) characters would go nowhere.  Sanderson isn't bold enough to do that and the audience knows it.

Aside from that, the book answered a good amount of questions and mysteries.  And it's more evidence on the pile that Hoid/Wit/Cephandrius/Topaz/Midius is trying to reconstruct Adonalsium.

 

Open questions:

1. Odium shouts "We killed you!" when Dalinar does his thing.  Is this a reference to Odium mistaking Dalinar for Honor? Or for Adonalsium?  I lean towards the latter because of "We."

2. What is the deal with Dalinar's non-Honor visions?  Did he spiritually Connect with Nohadon's soul?  Or was that someone else using Nohadon's appearance?  I'm leaning towards someone else - but that someone else could be either another Shard or Adonalsium itself. 

My preferred answer to these two questions is that it's Adonalsium and Dalinar hearing "Unite them" isn't referring to humanity but the Shards.  Of course, if Adonalsium is really God, then the Shattering shouldn't really be a big deal for someone that's Omniscient and Omnipotent.  The Iri religion in the books supports the idea that Adonalsium shattered itself (suddenly Sanderson is Bakker).  So from that angle, Adonalsium wanting Dalinar to reunite the Shards doesn't really jive. 

3. Why does Shalash refer to god as Adonalsium and Hoid as Midius (his oldest name from Sanderson's unpublished Liar of Partinel)?  Were Shalash and therefore Jezrien from Yolen?

4. What was the dagger Moash used to kill Jezrien?  Was it an Awakened dagger similar to Nightblood - it leaked black smoke, after all?  Or is it one of the mythical Dawnshards?  If it is one of the Dawnshards - why is it weaker than Nightblood?  Or conversely, why is Nightblood so powerful?

I kind of think Oathbringer really built up the tension well. The characters never felt in real danger (except Shallan and her mental health) but this book isnt about characters and their fate - the biggest danger isnt that Kaladin might die or Dalinar might die. The biggest danger is that Odium is too powerful for Dalinar or anyone else to fight. And I thought the book really built on the sense of despair really well. Towards the end when literally everything fell apart and Dalinars alliance gets broken, Kaladin cant say the words, The skybreakers defect, Amaram's army defects, Urithiru is attacked etc. the sense of doom and tension are clearly there.

1. Might be Adonalsium but I dont see how a being like Odium could possibly mistake Dalinar holding a sliver of honor as Adonalsium. IMO he thought Honor was back. "Unite them" could refer to uniting the splinters of Honor. As for "We killed you" - tinfoil hat - I believe Cultivation helped Odium kill Honor. The fight between Honor and Odium was destroying the world - desolations were coming every few years (months towards the end). Civilization could not grow - and Cultivation likes to see things grow as her name might suggest. Maybe she thought Odium would leave if Honor died - who knows.

2. No idea about that one. Maybe some other sliver of Honor (not the stormfather) is sending the visions. 

3. I think the heralds predate Humanity's arrival on Roshar. After all according to Vorinism the heralds led them to Roshar after the fall of the Tranquiline Halls. So maybe they are from Yolen. 

4. No idea about that one - I havent read Warbreaker and that gives me the feeling I missed out on a lot in this book. Have to go back and give it a try.

 

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32 minutes ago, Barty said:

1. Might be Adonalsium but I dont see how a being like Odium could possibly mistake Dalinar holding a sliver of honor as Adonalsium.

Dalinar's spirit-web is connected to three shards - Odium, Cultivation and Honor.  So if Dalinar were using his connection to three shards' to do what he did, it could've startled Odium by resembling Adonalsium.

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Finished Oathbriner. I am totally disappointed and think that it was a step down from the previous books. For a start, it should have been 400-600 pages long, not 1200 with the first 2/3 of the books being totally pointless bar Dalinar's memories. The ending was nice, and the twists were as good as ever (though they are starting becoming predictable), but it sounds more and more like Wheel of Time middle books when nothing happens until the climax of the story.

Oh, and I love Lift. For once, Sanderson has created a really funny character.

Odium was nowhere as terrifying as I thought he would be. He even looked to me as a cheap copy of Ruin.

Saying that, I think that this is the first Cosmer book that is actually starting to connect different stories. For most part, until now the Cosmere has just been some Easter Eggs in the shape of Hoid, but now things have started getting connected. Most likely there will be things that we won't know for decades, but at times this felt more as a part of a greater story rather than just Stormlight Archive.

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I rather liked it, principally for Dalinar and Shallan's character threads. Shallan in particular was quite surprisingly good especially compared to the previous books.

Also this book got in a lot of worldbuilding and loreconnecting. It also made me feel very excited for more Szeth and Nightblood.

Odium was your typical cartoon supervillain - take over the world/destroy the world... bla bla bla, but the champion fight being Dalinar against himself via the Thrill was interesting. 

Also I loved Jasnah. She was the low key badass in the background, getting work done. Also she made the best use of the explosion of Stormlight. Weaponised Soulcasting is awesome to read and there should be more of it.

The Bridge 4 PoVs were great. More could have been done with Moash. A quick PoV switch when the Parshendi die and he killed Elhokar would have been perfect.

I was never really worried that Kaladin was in physical danger, I was terrified that he would lapse into depression again after the end of part 3.

 

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I'm a little over 200 pages in... for a Mistborn book, that'd be a really good chunk!  For this one, I feel like I've barely left the prologue.  :lol: 

I've taken to having to read with my phone next to me so I can look up something on Coppermind or at the 17th Shard to keep up with who everyone is.  So many things I had forgotten like Dalinar being in possession of the Honor Blade.  :stunned: 

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1 hour ago, Rhom said:

I'm a little over 200 pages in... for a Mistborn book, that'd be a really good chunk!  For this one, I feel like I've barely left the prologue.  :lol: 

I've taken to having to read with my phone next to me so I can look up something on Coppermind or at the 17th Shard to keep up with who everyone is.  So many things I had forgotten like Dalinar being in possession of the Honor Blade.  :stunned: 

Yea, I'm probably around the same, maybe a little more. Nothing has really happened. I'm fine with it for now though.

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Just finished up the first section finally.  I was out of town this weekend and hoped to get some good reading in.  Unfortunately, as I rode with 4 other people... the conversation did not allow me to read.  Then that evening in the hotel, I found myself more tired than I thought.  So where I thought I could potentially get in a good 10 hours of reading this weekend, I got maybe 30 minutes.

At that rate, I should finish Oathbringer sometime around Christmas of 2019.  :D

I'm digging the book so far.  The creepiness with the shadow monster was good and started answering some questions for me about Dalinar's old visions and the voidbringers that seemed to deflate when killed.  Also readlly enjoyed Taravangian's conversation by the "fire" with Dalinar.  Eager to see where things are going.

Edited by Rhom

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On 28/11/2017 at 8:44 PM, Rhom said:

I'm a little over 200 pages in... for a Mistborn book, that'd be a really good chunk!  For this one, I feel like I've barely left the prologue.  :lol: 

I've taken to having to read with my phone next to me so I can look up something on Coppermind or at the 17th Shard to keep up with who everyone is.  So many things I had forgotten like Dalinar being in possession of the Honor Blade.  :stunned: 

This is exactly why I had to re-read Words of Radiance before starting Oathbringer. 

On 18/11/2017 at 11:34 PM, TheRevanchist said:

Finished Oathbriner. I am totally disappointed and think that it was a step down from the previous books. For a start, it should have been 400-600 pages long, not 1200 with the first 2/3 of the books being totally pointless bar Dalinar's memories. The ending was nice, and the twists were as good as ever (though they are starting becoming predictable), but it sounds more and more like Wheel of Time middle books when nothing happens until the climax of the story.

It's definitely the weakest in the series so far, that was a tad disappointing, I did not thimk this would happen to SA since the previous two books were excellent.

As to the length, I agree part 1 is mostly filler. There's also a lot of deliberation in the Kholinar scenes it was annoying, he could've written everything in Kholinar arc in half the space he used. 

'Nice' is a good description of the ending, nothing exciting though, I'm not even desperate or very eager to read the next book, there's no urge unlike when I finished Words of Radiance or Way of kings. Too much deus ex machina and overpowered characters.

Edited by Yucef Menaerys

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I have such mixed feelings about Brandon Sanderson's work in general. His defining strengths are solid magic systems and storylines. Everything else is a crapshoot with him. I read things like a writer, so I tend to get a bit critical of things.

I agree that Shallan had the more interesting storyline this book, but it was a frustrating and incomplete one. Though Shallan supaposedly had two developed alter-egos she "became" Veil 95% of the time... so I didn't really buy Radiant as a comparable ego. And the ending of the book didn't really resolve her personality issues, so it isn't really a complete character arc. The fragmented personalities are unique to this novel and should have been resolved, one way or another, in this novel. He had both Wit/Hoid and Adolin affirm her Shallan self, so it's implied that she was supposed to learn to integrates her selves back into a unified Shallan... He skirted the issue entirely, so we don't really get any closure.

I agree with others: at least half of Dalinar's present-day chapters could have been cut without changing the story at all. I liked his flashback chapters but I really didn't think Evi was an effective character. She felt more like a stock character than someone I could really feel bad for. The only thing that was missing was her throwing herself on the ground, wrapping her arms around his knees, and begging for him to listen to her (e.g., like Selyse did to Stannis).

I agree that the tension was sorely lacking in this book. Sanderon's favorites are all pretty people with pretty personalities that are super talented at things. I will say that I thought Dalinar was actually in danger at the very, very end when Odium says he's the chosen champion... but otherwise there's no way Shallan, Kaladin, Adolin, Lyft, or Szeth (who was resurrected already anyways) would die.

Elhokar was always a underdeveloped character that didn't really affect me when  he died. The scene where he kneels to Dalinar and tries to give him the crown was so, so awkward. People don't just give power up like that. Elhokar almost becoming a Radiant right before he dies would have been much more effective if there was actually a reason to care about him. From book 1-3 he just got in the way and now we're rid of him.

What about Sadeas? In this book, Sanderson doubled down on the idea that Sadeas was no worse than a young Dalinar or Gavilar. His murder was treated in such a lazy manner... Adolin has a generic thought of guilt and then goes about business as usual. He tells Shallan and she says "good." He tells Dalinar and he says "it'll be fine." So much for consequences for people's actions...

I was impressed that he included dialogue/prose with sexuality embedded in it. That's a huge step for him. For me, characters in adult fiction start to feel like real people once you include some of our baser tendencies. He had the perfect opportunity to include a tasteful "and the camera pans away" implied sex scene between a newly wed Dalinar and Navani, but oddly chose to avoid that. This is problematic to me because of the level of violence he includes in his writing. He is essentially saying human sexuality is more distasteful than violence (i.e., heads bashed in, evisceration, daggers in eyes, etc.). How backwards is that?

And, of course, the dialogue... Oh god the dialogue can be so terrible sometimes. I'm still perturbed by the use of contemporary language (Shallan says "like", Lyft says "the awesomeness", etc.) throughout the books. It makes it read like teen fiction or urban fiction in a way that doesn't seem intentional. Shallan and Kaladin's banter is written to be funny but it isn't by any stretch of the imagination.The only time I laughed in the book was when Sigzil takes something Kaladin told him and throws it back in his face a paragraph or two later.

Also, most of the quotes at the beginning of chapters read really awkwardly. This element of the books didn't really live up to the "death rattles" (which were really cool) that we got in Way of Kings.

Edited by Traverys

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Yep Traverys, we are peas in pod here. I honestly have completely given up on finishing it. Lost my book mark and have no idea within 200 pages where I even was, it was that uninteresting for me. It's a bummer, it was one of my most anticipated novels of the year and the first time I've bought an actual hardback (instead of an ebook or using the library) since ADWD. Forgive me, I live in a closet in NYC.

Sanderson responded to an email of mine back when Elantris was brand new, and at the time I was totally floored. I've followed him as closely as most authors hyped up around here. Just the nicest guy, and I love his relationships with his fans. So it's with a heavy heart that I've pretty much entirely given up reading his books as of now. I've never had more jarring text than Shallan speaking like an awkward high school girl, then ranging back into more standard fantasy dialogue. Modern day young women don't speak the way she does, nor does anyone's idea of a heroic, strong-but-deeply-scarred spec-fic heroine. 

I'm just not sure if he sees his books, then reads a bit of, say, Abercrombie's Northmen campfire chats, Erikson or Bakker's dramatic speeches, Hobb's likeable-within-one-page side characters, etc, and sees no difference.

I feel like he's a supremely talented comic book artist who had a falling out with his writer, and decided he'd be just fine doing both. 

I apologize to Sanderson himself and you guys for bitching about this book for a month, but I'm honestly really disappointed. Maybe I'll try again in the depths of winter.

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I agree with all you've said and I've often thought that Sanderson's books would be a better fit for cinema (with someone else writing the script), vivid imagery and great innovative set pieces, but I suppose comic books would work well as well. If one thinks of his books in the style of Naruto or something similar contemporary action comic it fits very well. 

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Perhaps what Sanderson is really missing is a good editor? I wouldn't claim to know the full job description of an editor, but I feel like a good one is concerned with more than just grammar. But.. then again, how much can editor give input until they become a co-author to the text? If I were to edit for him and had to guide him through basic character arc structure, advise him to cut the excess chapters, and rewrite his dialogue for him... I mean, I've essentially transformed his book so I'd expect some kind of credit for that.

I just feel like there is a feedback channel he could be pursuing to help himself grow. It's frustrating to me that he has achieved so much success yet has become subpar when you consider how much he's published compared to how much he has not grown as an author.

I also like him as a person a whole lot. And his involvement in his fan base is inspirational. I feel terrible when people attack his religious beliefs, though I do suppose it's all fair game once you put yourself out there. I do feel like a good author can at least disguise their religious inclinations enough to not be obvious but he really does fail in that regard... I assume it's why sex and eroticism is so taboo to him. I've already mentioned how backwards that is when you account for how much violence he includes in his texts... Procreative act of humanity is more distasteful than wanton destruction?

Anyways, I'll continue to skim his Stormlight Archive series. I enjoy the magic system but don't expect him to really do anything revolutionary for fantasy fiction. It's quite a missed opportunity with how much of a following he has going for him. I got halfway through the first mistborn book a year or so ago and haven't felt a need to pick it back up. That's pretty much all the exposure I have to him.

My eldest brother loaned me all the Wheel of Time books, but there are some things about that series that really irk me. The constant "men/women are completely crazy/indiscernible" talk that plagues every chapter got really old by the third book. I can't empathize because I've never felt like that my entire life. I didn't mind the gender divided magic system because I saw the reference to eastern religions (yin and yang, essentially) and tipped my hat for thinking outside the typical fantasy box. Also just not a fan of Rand. Second book was glorious because he was hardly present.

The point is I doubt I'll ever get to the point where I'll read Sanderson's books that concluded the series. So Stormlight it is...

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