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Jaerid

Am I missing something about Mistborn? I'm really not seeing where all this praise is coming from...

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Look: I like Brandon Sanderson as a person. The dude is very cool and very smart and plays Magic the Gathering with his fans (who the hell else does that?). He probably is an amazing Dungeon Master to boot. I like his magic systems as they are very clever and imaginative, and I like his world-building (even though I think that world-building is a huge crutch that authors have been using, but that's a discussion for an entirely different time). What I don't like? His writing. Personally, you can have the most creative and cool fantasy book ever, but if thw writing is incredibly mediocre, dude . . . I'm not biting.

I don't hate this guy, so stop coming off with the feeling that I do. But... this book is nowhere near as good as people have been pushing it as. This book is not amazing. It's not great. It's barely good. It's average. It's designed and written to sell copies. Many people are going to tell me that every author writes to sell copies and blah blah blah. Bull. Shit. You let me know when Cormac McCarthy starts banging out two books a year and I'll start to believe that. Mind blowing concept here: most authors write to build a reputation for being a good writer, not to be the guy that plays around on the NYBSL every time he releases even though the book is mediocre. As a matter of fact, Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss (If I recall correctly) had a little competition as to who's book (Way of Kings and The Wise Man's Fear, respectively) would stay on the NYBSL longer. Case in point: that's their primary motivation. Want to know why he writes so many books? Bingo. Brandon isn't here to wow people with his prose or poetic sentence structure (he even admits this on his blog multiple times). He isn't here to make any sort of profound statement. He's here to entertain and to make money. He does it well. Stop trying to make it anything different. It isn't. This is what it is. So it goes. That's what she said. Etc.

I had just finished re-reading NINETEEN-EIGHTY-FOUR and BLOOD MERIDIAN and for the first time MATTERHORN. Great books. So, I've been looking around on here for something a little different to read. There have been some seriously circle-jerk recommendations for Brandon Sanderson, perpetuated by his Amazon and Goodread reviews, especially his MISTBORN TRILOGY and WAY OF KINGS, on Westeros, Goodreads, and Reddit. According to the readers, it is supposedly so amazing and creative and people have even gone on to say that his writing is superb. This very much piqued my interested. Creative? Good Writing? I'm all over it. I've even seen on reviews on Amazon from people that are totally literate –and have alledgely read thousands of books over the course of their lives– saying Brandon Sanderson is the James Joyce of fantasy (if people actually believe this, then the fantasy genre is officially dead)

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding.

I have got to pick up this book.

So, I read the FINAL EMPIRE in a day or two as I had nothing to do. My initial reaction: What? As I was reading it, I started to notice these annoying little details that just started to bother me. They weren't so horrible as to detract from the book, but they were seriously getting there. Some characters seemed to sigh or raises their eyebrowsalmost continuously. Sometimes even up to four times on a single page. Other characters would have their own actions like snorting or coughing or whatever else. This sorely reminded me of the cheap tactic that all of these fantasy writers have been using since Jordan and that's all of this padding. Okay, Epic fantasy books are supposed to like... be these huge door-stoppers, right? What's an easy way to pad the page count? Add stuff exactly like this. Cheap. It reminds me of when kids would try to increase their page count by double-spacing between every word, or fooling with indents. Whatever. Anything to increase the length of the paper was fair-game. This is exactly the same. But, see, this is my take on this: If I were 15 years old and I had just got off my DRAGONLANCE/FORGOTTEN REALMS kick and someone handed me a copy of MISTBORN, I would probably jizz my pants and say he's the best author that ever lived. I was in this same position a long time ago when I read BELGARIAD. Wow, it was amazing at the time. I had just gotten into reading and this dude was like my godsend. Someone handed me some FEIST and I had to change my underwear.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the cliches. You have Ham, he's like the big tough guy that has a tinge of irony because he likes philosophy. But wait, he doesn't really like it in a formal sense. Vin is the kick-ass girl that grew up on the streets and is inherently flawed and doesn't think she is really quite good at what she does because she is flawed. She must be a better Mistborn! Why isn't she as good as her amazing tutor Kelsier?! And then you have Elend and he, like... doesn't like his dad. He's a super-rebel. He reads a lot of books and like... he hooks up with the protagonist and blah blah blah blah. Every single thing is this book is such a walking cliche and dead metaphor. The story feels incredibly manufactured to sell copies and get on the NYTBSL. People tell me he's so prolific and writes something like 2 books a year. I almost felt like the book took on this very formulaic structure of writing:

The turned the corner. He was there. To Kill. (Make sure you include plenty of sentences like this.)

"What do you want?" he asked.

"To kill you" he replied.

"Why?" he asked (make sure you keep up the he asked or he replied so readers don't get confused)

"Because I want to" he replied. (keep driving your point home. Maybe readers need more repitition to get the point? Shit, I don't know. Acts as page padding too.)

She raised her eyebrows. (insert actions like this as much as possible. Every character needs to have his own action. This gives pads the word count and also makes it very Jordanesque)

He sighed.

"So, why do you want to?" he asked

"Because I do" he replied

He raised his eyebrows (repeat actions as much as possible, possibly up to 4 times per page)

She sighed.

Insert 10 page action scene (very akin to DragonBall Z)

Rinse & repeat.

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Your not getting a "circle jerk" of love for Sanderson around here. He writes interesting magic systems, and has his fans on this board, but he also has many detractors. Every thread I have seen that talks Sanderson has a group of each discusing his work.

So....

Where you going with this? Just a hate thread?

Personally, I put Mistborn in the middle of the road mind candy. Easy fun reads, not classics by any means.

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Prose isn't really Sanderson's strong point. He writes tremendous magic systems, creates interesting worlds and is strong at plotting novels in a way that rewards a reader who pays close attention to the story.

As for the 'circle jerk', take a look at the thread for THE ALLOY OF LAW. More poo-pooers than fans there, it seems.

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No, your not missing anything.

I love it, many don't. Different people have different tastes. Personally, i feel that while the prose is not great, it isn't so awful that i cannot read it, and i like enough other things about the books that i can enjoy them.

If you disliked it, don't bother with the next two. The first book is the best, followed by the third, then the second.

That said, if prose was the only thing you disliked, then try some of Warbreaker, or the upcoming Alloy of Law. His prose improves noticably every time he releases a new book.

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I think someone gave you a false impression on Mistborn, Jaerid. As others have mentioned, they're middle-of-the-road books with a creative magic system and fast plotting.

I don't mind Sanderson's prose. It's nothing special, but it's also not difficult to read. That may have kept me going in some of his earlier books, whereas a book with more annoying prose might have led me to stop.

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What Aidan said. IMHO Sanderson has great ideas, and middling execution. When I read his books I always feel as though there's something missing somewhere. I do admire the logic of his magic systems, though. That takes a lot of imagination and.....I don't know....careful thinking?

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Like everyone esle is saying it is his world building and magic systems which make him interesting, not his literary execution. I'm quite impressed by most of his sytems though I have yet to read the Way of Kings. Plus he's got something like thirty years of ideas in a cohesive universe with a really cool interlocking mythology planned.

Perhaps if you read other things and come back in five or six or even ten years when the Stormlight Archives is more established and we really can tell if its worth getting into a massive series.

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Perhaps if you read other things and come back in five or six or even ten years when the Stormlight Archives is more established and we really can tell if its worth getting into a massive series.

Well, I see it this way: If I can't stand his books now, what the hell would convince me to read a 10-book series of his? Is he going to undergo some sort of profound literary development during those years? I don't think so. I'm not a masochist. That's all you, dude.

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I really enjoyed the first book in the Mistborn series, not so much the second book. I, then, read the two Wheel of Time novels that he co-authored, and I thought they were pretty good. Not great, but decent. Not bad. I read interviews with Brandon regarding his most recent novel, Way of Kings, and I thought I might give him another chance because of the two WOT novels. So, I read Way of Kings.

After reading Way of Kings, I realized that I just don't enjoy his books for many of the reasons already mentioned above by other posters, particularly Pat.

I think Brandon Sanderson is great for fantasy. I enjoy his interviews, he is friendly and accomodating with readers and his fans, and I have listened to his podcasts about writing and found them quite informative. I just don't like his books.

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Well, I see it this way: If I can't stand his books now, what the hell would convince me to read a 10-book series of his? Is he going to undergo some sort of profound literary development during those years? I don't think so. I'm not a masochist. That's all you, dude.

Careful, you'll find a lot of sympathy around here with your thoughts on Sanderson, but in your second post being a bit confrontational and insulting to others around here will win you no friends and have dismissed as a troll.

As for Sanderson - I like his writing for what it is. But whoever or wherever you got that bit about the James Joyce of fantasy from is just ridiculous. (I can see someone like Hal Duncan earning that, though it would be debatable). Anyway, it sounds like Sanderson is exactly what you aren't looking for in fantasy. So, forget it and don't bother with any of his other stuff. But, you should be able to some good recs on where to go from here.

Obviously the ususal Joe Abercrombie or Scott Lynch recommendations apply, but in reality they are only a couple of steps above Sanderson and perhaps not what you are after either. If you haven't tackled Martin yet that's obvious. Bakker and Erikson should be the next recommendations coming and either or neither may be what you are after. I'd suggest going after something like China Mieville, Nnedi Okorafor or some of the newer Guy Gavriel Kay.

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Heh, I feel similar about Blood Meridian. Punctuation is not optional.

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What I find curious is the very high ratings Sanderson gets on Goodreads. Of the 400 odd books I have listed on Goodreads, Way of Kings is the single most popular one, (beating, among others at a quick glance, A Storm of Swords, Deadhouse Gates, the Harry Potters, Ted Chiang, A Deepness in the Sky, Night Watch, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Tigana and Cryptonomicon) which I find completely baffling. I can accept that lots of people liked that book more than I did - but that the collective opinions of rather lots of people somehow judges it better than all of those is almost perverse. (my working theory is that it's such a slog that you're left with a kind of cognitive dissonance of effort vs. enjoyment and so convince yourself it was really great, they way you convince yourself awful food at an expensive restaraunt is good.)

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I like Sanderson but I honestly don't think I would like him as much as I do if I read his books expecting the next Tolkien. His books are fun and their worlds are interesting but he's not a literary genius.

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I do find Sanderson somewhat overrated (not on this board, but on others I frequent and generally round the 'net he seems to get huge amounts of love) but even his most ardent fans are generally aware of the flaws in his work and anyone describing him as the James Joyce of fantasy is just insane.

If you're looking for the high king of fantasy literature, look no further than Gene Wolfe.

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I thought Mistborn had noticeably bad prose to the point that it affected even how characterization and worldbuilding came across. It made everything bland. There was this story that wanted to be all dark and dramatic and full of despair but the writing style combined with Sanderson's Mormon sensibilities nipped that in the bud. The book would have been so much better if it had been written by Stephen Donaldson.

The magic system is widely praised, but it felt overly mechanical to me. It would be really easy to turn that into a roleplaying game with classes and levels. Maybe more evocative prose would have helped; I dont know.

I thought Warbreaker was written quite a bit better than Mistborn and was overall a fun book though nothing special. Dialog in particular was much improved. It helped that Warbreaker was at heart a far lighter story than Mistborn while Sanderson also seemed to have gotten just a little bit more able to handle adult material.

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I had just finished re-reading Nineteen-Eighty-Four and Blood Meridian and for the first time Matterhorn. Great books. So, I've been looking around on here for something a little different to read. There have been some seriously circle-jerk recommendations for Brandon Sanderson, perpetuated by his Amazon and Goodread reviews, especially his Mistborn Trilogy and Way of Kings. It's supposedly so amazing and creative and people have even gone on to say that his writing is superb. Clearly I have to pick this thing up.

Not on this site. Most of his fans here have cooled quite a bit on him, because he's a one trick pony (cool magic systems). But even his most faithful fans here agree that his prose is pretty much crap. He's also very rarely recommended on this board lately.

Look, If I were 15 years old and I had just got off my Dragonlance/Forgotten Realms kick and someone handed me a copy of Mistborn, I would probably jizz my pants and say he's the best author that ever lived. I've even seen on reviews on Amazon from people that are totally literate –and have alledgely read thousands of books over the course of their lives– saying Brandon Sanderson is the James Joyce of fantasy (if people actually believe this, then the fantasy genre is officially dead)

There's your problem. 95% of reviewers on amazon are total idiots, and the person comparing Sanderson to James Joyce is either the biggest idiot of them all or is having a laugh with you.

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I thought Mistborn had noticeably bad prose to the point that it affected even how characterization and worldbuilding came across. It made everything bland. There was this story that wanted to be all dark and dramatic and full of despair but the writing style combined with Sanderson's Mormon sensibilities nipped that in the bud. The book would have been so much better if it had been written by Stephen Donaldson.

Yes, this. It just doesn't ring quite true.

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Well, if Donaldson had written Mistborn, they would at least say shit. . . :P

Patrick

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Is the search function working yet? I never know on here anymore

If it is, search the Sanderson threads. We all went through this struggle you seemed to be starting. Let me save you the trouble. If you have /nothing/ else to read, Sanderson will do in a pinch. Don't expect too much though, he's the McDonalds of the fantasy genre.

We have gone round and round about his prose, lack of profanity, fade to black intimacy, one trick ponyness, and gimmicky 'interconnectedness' (although for me this seems to work for Richard Morgans stuff, but with Sanderson it seems cheesy).

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and gimmicky 'interconnectedness' (although for me this seems to work for Richard Morgans stuff, but with Sanderson it seems cheesy).

What is this?

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