Day 113. 129 pages, 58,244 words. Actually took a bit of a dip today because yesterday I deleted a bunch of stuff that it’s become obvious isn’t going to make it in, and moved a bunch of other stuff that will go in book 3, and I still wrote a bit to make up the balance.
While I’m on my little Destarion-story hiatus before jumping into the fourth part / novella of the sequence, I wanted to talk about Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive.
I’m a big fan of Sanderson’s. He did right by The Wheel of Time series, and that has earned him a lot of points with me. I’ve also enjoyed everything else of his that I have read, from his young adult Reckoners series (admittedly still only read the first one of those) to his short stories and everything in between.
 Which is now, what, definitely getting a TV series from what I see? Oh, we’ll definitely be talking about this again.
So when I say this, I know it’s just me. I’m not going to go and write an “UGH COULDN’T FINISH” review, because that would be shitty and unfair. Right now I am stressed out at work, super-busy writing quite literally my own Oathbringer in the form of Greyblade, and barely get through a paragraph of this massive tome in a sitting without being interrupted by kids. I read very poorly lately,and very slowly, and the damn thing is too cumbersome to carry to work.
 Or … literarily?
So there’s the grain of salt you have to take. When I get a good run-up on this book, and get through a whole chapter in a sitting, it’s good. It’s really good. The second book in the series was absolutely more of a page-turner – I recall being genuinely eager to see what happened next, and I’m not quite getting that feeling this time. It’s a more nebulous “this is heading somewhere, I just have to get there” pay-off, which as you might imagine I strongly connect with so I want to give it that chance.
The second book also ended with a lot of excitement and cool revelations, and this one seems anticlimactic because it takes a step back and deals with logistics and politics and buildup. Even that’s a bit unfair to say, because it makes it sound dull and it’s really not. There are genuinely entertaining sidebars to the main Dalinar-consolidating-support plotline. I was thrown by Kaladin not being a main point anymore too, but that’s fine.You’d better believe I’m on board with the idea that the thing you thought was the plot of the series actually isn’t, so adjust your expectations.
What I’m getting at is that, ultimately, what’s making me continue trying with this book and not give up and read something else is, I sympathise so much with the author. He’s putting together something really big, and while you can have all the little fun side-scenes you like, you also need to build up impetus. And I’m no scientist, but a big heavy thing generally builds up impetus a lot more slowly. There’s a lot of setup, and a lot more questions get raised even as the observant reader will find a lot of answers as well.
It felt familiar, that’s all.
Just to confirm that it was just me, and that I was being unfair, I went to see what the reviews were saying. I know! So uncharacteristic of me! Well, as it happens I only got as far as the top review on the list, because it basically confirmed exactly what I’d suspected (and what Mr. BRKN, for example, had also already hinted at): yes, Oathbringer changes pace and focus and that can be jarring, but it gathers speed and gets better in the second half. And even the “slow” parts are slow for a purpose. Because if you want to read an all-action-all-the-time story in thousand-plus-page volumes, you’re probably reading serial pulp shit.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s not what Brandon Sanderson is doing here.
So consider this a “250 pages in and feeling the doldrums” review, but I know that’s on me and I’m going to stick with it. Maybe it’ll get easier once I’ve got my own massive impetus-and-answers tome out from underfoot. Maybe I’ll give you a proper review then. In the meantime, “Beauty in Ruins” (the review linked above) really nailed it for me.
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while on the bus.