Brandon Sanderson - Shastrix Books

Brandon Sanderson

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Defiant

Defiant

Brandon Sanderson

22nd January 2024

The fourth and final main novel in the Skyward series see us join Spensa as the time comes for her civilisation and its new friends to take the battle to their oppressors.

It’s an action packed and fast moving adventure, which makes it feel to me much more like the first story than those in between, and that’s very positive.

There’s a lot of room still, while being aligned with Spensa, to witness a lot of character growth around the plot, and that’s a good touch to keep things interesting amid all the battle scenes.

As we reach the climax, there’s also a chance to see things from other characters’ perspectives, which we’ve had a little of before, and I loved how Sanderson took this to another level and we learnt new things about some of these characters even in the closing chapters.

A really great way to end the series.

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The Sunlit Man

The Sunlit Man

Brandon Sanderson

3rd December 2023

The final secret project is the most serious and most cosmere-y of them all. Sanderson says that of the four, this is the one written for his fans.

Without wanting to spoil things, let’s just say that there are a bunch of references to previous Cosmere works, and that this is set later in the timeline.

It is a standalone adventure - we follow a lone traveller who is on the run, as he arrives at a planet with unique properties, and finds himself in the middle of a local war.

Sanderson’s abilities at world building naturally shine through, and I love how he can make so many different experiences based in the same connected universe.

I found the character an interesting one to follow, and learning more about how various aspects of the magic systems I’ve already encountered work and will develop.

Another really good Sanderson to cap off a really good year.

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Yumi and the Nightmare Painter

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter

Brandon Sanderson

17th September 2023

I allowed myself to take this Cosmere story slowly, and only to read two chapters at a time, up until the traditional Sanderlanch ending kicked in and then I raced to the finish line.

It’s the story of two people with very different lives who are mysteriously thrown together, and into each others’ shoes, and have to work out who they are and what’s going on with them and their world.

The narrative alternates between the characters, although this format becomes more fluid as things proceed, and that follows the nature of the story and characters as well.

I really enjoyed this one. It’s nice to have a full-length stand-alone novel-length Cosmere story again, and to explore some totally new dynamics but with moments of familiarity.

The only weakness I think comes towards the end, where a lot of exposition ends up happening in a slightly clunky way, rather than smoothly through the narrative as I would have expected.

It’s a great trip to the Cosmere though, and another excellent bonus from Sanderson’s year of releasing secret projects.

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The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England

The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England

Brandon Sanderson

29th July 2023

The second of Brandon Sanderson’s secret projects is a standalone story about a chap who wakes up, with no memory, in a field… in something resembling mediaeval England, and with only scraps of his guidebook still intact.

The narration reminds me of Sanderson’s early Alcatraz series, which I haven’t ever managed to get into, though much more polished. It’s a very casual telling, but doesn’t quite achieve the same level of charm experienced in reading Tress, the first secret project.

The book (well, the edition I’ve got) is illustrated throughout. I think the secondary story that plays out through line drawings on almost every page is actually my favourite part of the whole construction.

Normally, one of the things I love about Sanderson’s worlds is how they are built. This one seems to be solidly constructed, but we are visiting it too early to really learn about that - and so I feel a bit like I missed out on something there.

A good book, but not up there with Tress as the best of the best.

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Tress of the Emerald Sea

Tress of the Emerald Sea

Brandon Sanderson

23rd April 2023

I finally found myself with a copy of Tress of the Emerald Sea, the first of Brandon Sanderson’s Secret Project novels (out of 4 being released throughout this year), and I savoured it.

I managed to mostly limit myself to three chapters each day, up until the end when the traditional Sanderson-style climax made me devour the final dozen or so chapters in one sitting as everything came together.

It’s a really lovely story, about a girl who lives on an island and would be quite happy staying there thank-you, if only she didn’t have to rescue someone she loved, and on doing so learn a lot more about the world, and the cosmere.

My copy is beautifully illustrated, and printed, in a way that feels extremely uncommon in novels and yet truly made this book feel worth waiting for. There are all sorts of delightful little things throughout which made the act of reading it a joy on top of the story.

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The Lost Metal

The Lost Metal

Brandon Sanderson

24th December 2022

The latest Mistborn novel (seriously you need a chart of work out what number this is) sees the wrapping up of the second era, following Wax and Wayne as they and their friends try to really understand what’s happening.

It took me a while to get my head into it - it’s a long time since the previous pair of novels and I had to pause to read synopses of them online to re-catch myself up. But once everything was properly loaded back in my reading sped back up.

This is probably the most Cosmerey of Cosmere books that Sanderson has output so far. I think it’s probably the least entry level novel - and there’s a lot that definitely works better if you’ve read the other Cosmere series to this point. And probably that also makes this novel required reading for everything else from here on.

A really good end to this era. I’m looking forward a lot to finding out what the next will entail.

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Skyward Flight

Skyward Flight

Brandon Sanderson & Janci Patterson

3rd September 2022

Sunreach

A shorter step back into Brandon Sanderson's Skyward series with this first of three novellas co-authored by Janci Patterson, focussed on secondary characters who don't get focus time in the main novels.

This one follows FM, a pilot, as she goes about her daily business of flying battles and investigating slugs, roughly in parallel to the third main novel.

It took me a few chapters to get back into the swing of the universe, but once there I was just as, if not more, hooked by the narrative. There's a subtly different tone to the writing I think which makes it easier to read, less choppy perhaps, and I'm not sure whether this is because of the shared authorship or a deliberate stylistic choice because of the change of focus character.

It'll be really interesting to see how the subsequent two novellas compare.

ReDawn

The second of Patterson and Sanderson's novellas set in this universe, we follow the story from a new cultural point of view.

As well as providing a new insight into known characters and factions, this provides for a fascinating bonus piece of world-building as we see an alien culture up close with many differences from the humans we've otherwise spent time with.

The plot surprised me this time by feeling far more integral to the overall storyline of the series. I was expecting these novellas to just be supplementary, but this really feels like it's necessary reading, and that everything here is going to come to affect the final novel.

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Other reviewed books

Dawnshard
Cytonic
Rhythm of War
Oathbringer
Starsight
Arcanum Unbounded
Words of Radiance
Skyward
Lies of the Beholder
Snapshot
The Way of Kings (part two)
The Way of Kings (part one)
Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians
White Sand volume one
Calamity
Secret History
The Bands of Mourning
Shadows of Self
Legion: Skin Deep
Warbreaker
Firefight
Mitosis
Elantris
The Emperor's Soul
Steelheart
Legion
The Rithmatist
A Memory of Light
Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia
Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones
The Alloy of Law
The Hero of Ages
The Well of Ascension
The Final Empire
Towers of Midnight
The Gathering Storm

Unreviewed books

Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens
Alcatraz vs. The Dark Talent
White Sand volume two

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