Hello dear readers! After I read Skyward by Brandon Sanderson a while back, I’ve been reading quite a lot of his other works. There are still a ton that I haven’t gotten to yet, but here’s four of the ones I think you should check out!
1. Skyward – YA
Skyward is book one of a science fiction trilogy (book three hasn’t been released yet) that takes place on a different planet. Main character Spensa longs to become a fighter pilot in the planet’s defense force, but her late father’s status as a coward and military deserter make her job pretty difficult.
The Characters. I can not convey to you in this post how much I love the characters in this book. There’s not a single one I didn’t at least like, and I was attached to all of them in different ways for different reasons. They’re all so unique from the other characters in YA stories. Spensa with her small stature, somewhat abrasive personality, extreme threats and believable motivation. Rodge, who learns to find his own passion and voice throughout the book. Jorgen with his strict rules and regulations, who is just trying to be the best flightleader he can be. M-Bot was hilarious. Doomslug was adorable. I could go on and on.
The Plot. The plot was exactly what it needed to be. It was well paced, and flowed nicely. But above all, it put the characters in the exact positions they needed to be in. It let them shine in certain situations, revealing their capabilities and passions. It beat them down at other times. This story didn’t pull it’s punches, and it left the characters questioning their beliefs, but also rising up to accept the challenges set before them. I do not cry easily when it comes to reading, and if I do it’s usually on rereads of series. However, on my first time through this book, I teared up several times.
The Setting. I admittedly don’t usually care a ton about world building. If its interesting, great. If its lacking it wont make or break a book for me. This world building was interesting, and I loved learning about being a pilot right alongside Spensa, as well as the unique challenges the planet presented to the characters.
2. The Rithmatist – Middle Grade/YA
This steampunk-esque mystery takes place in an alternate version of our world and features one of the most unique and intriguing magic systems I have ever read. Main character Joel as always been intrigued by the Rithmatists that share his school campus, as the duels they have by bringing chalk drawings to life. He wishes more than anything that he could be one of them, but he missed his chance. This book will eventually have a sequel, but for now is a satisfying standalone.
The Characters. Though I didn’t get as attached to the characters in this book as I did to the ones in Skyward, they were still interesting and fun. I really felt for Joel, and his interactions with Melody were hilarious. The two of them had a rocky start, but managed to become friends over the course of the book.
The Plot. As far as mysteries go, it did it’s job. I legitimately thought I had discovered who the villain was when I was about half way through the book. I was so very wrong. The twist was excellent and well earned. As far as endings go, the last scenes is one of my favorite conclusions to any book ever. It was so satisfying and adorable, despite not being romantic.
The Setting. This setting managed to combine the accessibility of a contemporary with the wonder of a fantasy story. It was truly masterful and very intriguing.
Elantris, though geared towards adults, is appropriate for teens as well. It is a little less accessible than the previous two books on this list, as the extensive world building and more complex magic system make it a more complicated read. Set in a fantasy world, it is told from the rotating perspectives of three characters. Raodin, a prince who “dies” in the first few pages and is sent into the city of Elantris. Sarene, the woman who was about to marry Raodin before he was sent to Elantris. And Hrathen, a priest who was sent to convert an entire country to his religion, before they are destroyed. This is a standalone with no planned sequel.
The Characters. Raodin was such a refreshing main character. A man who is truly a good person who attempts to make the best of a truly horrible situation. Sarene was also a great character, smart and stubborn and very capable. Hrathen was a little less interesting to me. I understood his motivations, but didn’t relate to him.
The Plot. The plot was unique and interesting, allowing the characters to shine and grow, much like Skyward. The mystery elements, though not the focal point, were very well handled, they kept me wondering and were resolved very satisfyingly.
The Setting. I wont say much about the setting, since learning about Elantris alongside Raodin was one of my favorite parts of the book, but it was interesting and really highlighted the story as a whole.
The Way of Kings – Adult
Disclamer: this book is huge. Its probably one of the biggest books I’ve ever read, and its definitely the most complex and intricate. Because of it’s size, I was worried it would be a slow book that didn’t keep me invested. I was very wrong. This book is an epic fantasy. Like Elantris, it’s adult category is not because of mature content, but rather it’s complexity. It is the first book in a series, in which three books have been released, with the fourth due to come out this year.
The plot is difficult to summarize, so here’s the official blurb:
According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed…
They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won.
Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself – and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.
On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few day a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight.
What happened deep in mankind’s past?
Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?
The Characters. There is a lot of characters, far too many to mention here, so we’ll just focus on the main character, Kaladin. His struggle is so real and raw. His past haunts him, pushing him to try his best to protect those around him, and to blame himself when he can’t. Remember how I said I don’t cry much while reading? Well Kaladin’s arc and struggle hit me hard several times, and he has become one of my favorite characters. Ever.
The Plot. Masterful. Intricate. So vast it’s hard to explain here, yet still remarkably easy to follow and to be invested in. It’s worth the time you’ll have to invest to read this book.
The Setting. This setting brings the “epic” to “epic fantasy”. Everything I said about the plot applies here as well. It’s intricate and vast, and I can’t wait to explore more of it as I continue the series.
I’ve really enjoyed reading these books, and I’m sure I’ll continue to love diving into Sanderson’s novels as I continue to check them off my TBR.
Have you read any of these books? Would you like to in the future? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,