"OATHBRINGER: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive," by Brandon Sanderson, Tor Books, 1248 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)
There is fantasy and then there is epic fantasy. Clocking in at 391,840 words across 1,264 pages, epic is the only word for fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson's latest tome, "Oathbringer."
I enjoyed every moment of it.
"Oathbringer" is the third installment in Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series, an ambitious project with 10 planned books. Set in the fictional world of Roshar, Sanderson has created a lived-in world whose inhabitants are unique, yet relatable and familiar.
In "Oathbringer," though, Roshar is changing. The new Everstorm (also called the "True Desolation") has arrived, leaving destruction in its wake. Ancient enemies, the Voidbringers, have returned to wage war not just against the kingdoms, but humanity as well. The Desolation, a foretold destruction of the world, has begun.
Those who have read Stormlight Archive books one and two, "The Way of Kings" and "Words of Radiance," have likely already preordered "Oathbringer," counting the down the three years, eight months and 10 days for book three's release. To them I simply say: It was worth the wait.
"Oathbringer" met and exceeded all of my expectations. Sanderson explores new parts of Roshar, introducing new characters while progressing the stories of those fans already know and care about. But most importantly, the interactions between his characters are what drive the narrative of this book, particularly in the moments between Kaladin and his soldiers in Bridge Four, between Shallan and her magical spren Pattern and between Dalinar and Navani.
To celebrate the release of "Oathbringer" we asked Deseret News readers who their favorite Stormlight Archive characters are, and the variety of their responses speaks to the breadth and depth of the series.
Favorites included major protagonists: Kaladin, the son of a surgeon who becomes a soldier and Windrunner; Shallan, the young scholar who becomes a Lightweaver; Dalinar, the Highprince of War; Jasnah, the stern historian and Elsecaller; Adolin, the Shardbearer; and Lift, the thief and Edgedancer.
Reader favorites also included other characters: Lopen, the one-armed Herdazian who is always smiling; Syl, Kaladin's spren who flies in the wind; Wit, the court jester and Worldhopper; Rock, the jovial cook for Bridge Four; Szeth, the assassin in white; Sebarial, highprince of Alethkar; Pattern, the cryptic spren; and Sadeas, the scheming highprince who can't be trusted.
But for reader Douglas Archibald, his favorite was clear and simple: Stick. The stick that is resolute in its identity of "I am a stick."
For those who haven't read the Stormlight Archive series, it might be time to listen to the fans and give "The Way of Kings" a try. It's only 387,000 words long. Sure, that may feel intimidating, but Sanderson's compelling cast of characters, combined with his fantastical world building, makes this series more than a destination to finish, but a journey to remember.
Content advisory: "Oathbringer" deals with serious subjects and has references to violence but contains nothing graphic.