Best Brandon Sanderson fantasy?

Brian G Turner

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#1
I haven't tried any of Sanderon's fantasy as yet - any suggestions as to which one would give a best sample of his best writing? :)

Ideally, the first book in one of his series. :)
 

Juliana

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#2
I love Sanderson's work. As for where to start, much as I loved his Mistborn books, I would go for The Way of Kings, the first in his Stormlight Archive (the second came out this year, so still a 'young' series). It's very good.

If you just want a taste of his work, the novella The Empreror's Soul s an absoloute gem. :)
 

Kylara

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#3
He's great, grab any of the first ones, Mistborn is complete (and also very interesting concept wise), Stormlight is not complete (think it is supposed to be 10) :p depends how much you dislike waiting! Alcatraz is a YA series, and he has a few newer ones which are stand alones or awaiting sequels. I love his work and he is on my list of authors who I won't buy until the whole series is out (I didn't realise how long Stormlight was going to be and I have the first one, I may be tempted to buy as they come out and just strop when I finish each one!)
 

Shams

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#4
Well,

He wrote Elantris to be an introduction to himself and his work. He speaks quite often about the investment readers make in authors, and that he didn't want to ask anyone to commit to reading a series before trying a standalone book.

However, he has come a long way since writing Elantris. You can try some of his YA work in, 'The Rithmatist,' or, 'Steelheart.' If you're looking for a short piece, 'The Emperor's Soul,' is a good one.

But, if I had to pick which of his books I'd read first, had I never read any of his work, I'd pick, 'Warbreaker.' It's a great standalone piece, a wonderful read, and a gentle introductions (he writes heavy tomes!) to Sanderson's work.

-Shams
 

Brian G Turner

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#5
I ended up picking up Mistborn as I figured it would be more polished than his earlier writing...

It's certainly got my interest so far - fascinating setting, and the ability of Allomancy.

Only niggles so far: dialogue sometimes runs a little long, and Vin needs to start showing agency - but am only partway through Chapter 4 so plenty of time for that to unfold.
 

Jo Zebedee

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#6
I think he's an excellent dialogue writer, actually, but if you're not keen on dialogue rich stories, he mightn't be for you. I enjoyed Mistborn but felt it lost urgency after the first book.

killing Kelsier didn't work for me - he was the strongest character I felt and Vin became wearisome without him to metre her and the love interest's sappiness. I'd have stopped at book one in retrospect
 

Brian G Turner

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#7
EDIT: I used to be very chatty in my own writing. Teresa kicked that out of me. Now I tend to shrink at any suggestion of chattiness. :)

It's a niggle, though, and just something I notice from the writing side.

I'll save the spoiler until after I've finished. :)
 
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Jo Zebedee

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#8
EDIT: I used to be very chatty in my own writing. Teresa kicked that out of me. Now I tend to shrink at any suggestion of chattiness. :)

It's a niggle, though, and just something I notice from the writing side.

I'll save the spoiler until after I've finished. :)
I think it depends what the chatty is for. The good dialogue writers contain a lot of their character development and a lot of their voice in it. I'd rather read a chatty scene that gives information, especially with a sprinkling of humour or conflict or pathos, that read a scene of internal exposition which I have limited tolerance of. I think, for me, Sanderson's balance of the two was about right - I certainly found the story rocketing along nicely. I wonder - forgive me for being rude - if Teresa's feedback on your own dialogue has left you overtly sensitive to it in others' writing? I know I'm much less tolerant of lack of description now having been pulled up on it so many times!
 

Brian G Turner

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#9
No rudeness at all. :)

At the end of the day, Brandon Sanderson is an accomplished author. Personally I would have liked some of the dialogue in Chapter 4, which I'm currently reading, to be more direct. I was just raising an honest niggle, than trying to launch a broadside into him. :)
 

ratsy

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#10
I've read everything by Sanderson (with the exception of a new novella or two). To be honest I've loved them all, but I think I've forgotten more than I remember about a couple of them. I even went so far as to read all the the WOT just so I could read his three books.

Mistborn was a great book, although as many state, it is better than the 2nd and 3rd book.

The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance take fantasy to a new level in my opinion. The world is immense with so much possibility that is teased to us throughout the series. He mixes magic, with world building, with character development and dialogue so well in it.

I think I remember reading somewhere that Elantris was his first book published but it was his 6th or 8th completed novel?

Just goes to show you that even one of the biggest guys out there had plenty of struggle to start.

His YA is really enjoyable too. Rithmatist was a great concept that was a very fun read. Steelheart, was a little older, and it was full of action and again...a great premise.

Brian, I look forward to seeing how you enjoy his works. But for you being an epic fantasy guy, you really need to read the Stormlight books
 

Ashaman

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#11
Brian, do try The Way of the Kings mate. It's really good and for me , better than his Mistborn series. I was amazed actually on how much Sanderson changed between Mistborn and Stormlight Archive.
 

Brian G Turner

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#12
I did enjoy Mistborn - towards the end I couldn't put the book down - but it was a struggle to get into. The character experience began too shallow for me - there were far too many scenes of Vin simply sat around listening to other people talk. This was typified for me with Chapter 4, which I mentioned above - 7,500 words of Vin just sat listening, barely reacting. IMO it is a major technical error to turn a main character into a passive observer in their own viewpoint scenes.

Vin only came to life for me in Chapter 12, at her first ballroom scene and that was wonderful - suddenly the character experience came rushing in with her doubts, fears, and aspirations all spilling into the prose. But Kelsior's POV scenes felt like they could have had more depth, especially considering his own background struggles - and a lot of his character experience was related through dialogue rather than internalised.

There was a sense of the book being light reading, though, and aimed very much at the YA market - the world-building, plot, and characters were simple, but made for easy reading.

The whole topic of Allomancy was brilliant, though, and imaginatively handled. The build up of pace was very good, but it was frustrating that none of the characters figured some things out earlier. There was still a decent surprise or two near the end.

Even though it sounds like I'm being critical, it's hard for a book to maintain my interest these days - there are so many I put down and probably won't continue. This was nearly one of them, but it finally picked up enough to pull me back in.

I've checked out the sample for Way of Kings on Amazon, and the prose in Chapter 1 does look more rich - more sense of setting and detail, which appeals, so I'll probably check that out at some point in future.
 

G.D. Lascelle

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#14
I enjoyed Mistborn, but probably had similar niggles to you. In the end it came down as you said to it having a YA Fantasy feel about it. The Stormlight Archive on the other hand is quite a different kettle of fish. This is Brandon Sanderson at his epic, multi-layered best. These books have depth and intricacy, not only in terms of the plot, but also in terms of the world-building and characterisation. We are only two books into what I believe is supposed to be a 10 book series, but if he manages to keep up the quality, I believe this might actually be one of the very few (IMO) genuine stand the test of time classics in the genre.
 

Ashaman

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#15
I really hope he doesn't go for the 10 book series for the Stormlight Archive. I don't think he can pull it off without getting lost on the way as most writters do when trying to use a book's success. Look at Jordan and WOT and what happened to it after the 6th book and till the 11th!!
 

Juliana

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#16
Asha, I seem to recall he has planned two separate but linked five-book series, making up a a ten-book one. But I can't remember the source...
 

Ashaman

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#17
Hey Juliana. Thnx for the info. I do really hope u r wrong or if u r not, that he manages not to write just to sell but because he really has something that needs 10 long books to be told!!
 

AndrewT

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#19
Well,

He wrote Elantris to be an introduction to himself and his work. He speaks quite often about the investment readers make in authors, and that he didn't want to ask anyone to commit to reading a series before trying a standalone book.

However, he has come a long way since writing Elantris. You can try some of his YA work in, 'The Rithmatist,' or, 'Steelheart.' If you're looking for a short piece, 'The Emperor's Soul,' is a good one.

But, if I had to pick which of his books I'd read first, had I never read any of his work, I'd pick, 'Warbreaker.' It's a great standalone piece, a wonderful read, and a gentle introductions (he writes heavy tomes!) to Sanderson's work.

-Shams
Elantris had some points in it's favor such as the contrast between the dual religions with the same root that reminds the reader of religious tensions in the real world. I thought that was kind of unique and interesting. But Warbreaker really did not do anything at all for me. It had a very plastic, contrived feel to it. I could not connect with the characters at all, especially Lightbringer, whom other readers seemed to like so much. So these warm up books so far have not given me the best overall impression of the author. But I may try some of his other works later.
 
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#20
That's difficult for me. I've loved every Sanderson book I've read. My favorite is probably Words of Radiance. It was 1,000 pages long, and I was never bored. That's an amazing accomplishment. While I loved The Way of Kings in the end, it took a while to get there, and I stuck with it because I already trusted Sanderson. I'd read Elantris at the time, and Hrathen is still one of my favorite antagonists ever.

As for Mistborn, I felt the first and third books were great, while the second was just really good. Warbreaker had a bit of a different feel, as there was a lot more humor in it.

I loved Steelheart and the Rithmatist. I think they're YA titles that can appeal to readers of any age. The only (slightly) disappointing Sanderson book for me was his novella Legion. It was still good, but it felt too short.

I'm not too worried about the length of the Stormlight Archive. Sanderson has shown an ability to plan his books well and not stretch them out unnecessarily. I trust him to avoid the problems that have plagued Robert Jordan and George RR Martin.
 

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