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The Dark One graphic novel by Vault Comics came out on ebook on the 26th. This story is not a cosmere story, so there hasn't been too much hype in the fandom on this one. Perhaps you're waiting for the hardcover (which comes out in August). Maybe you've been burned by the White Sand graphic novels, which could never reach their full potential because the story wasn’t written for a visual format to begin with. Even then, I wouldn't say a cosmere fan has to read White Sand. It's mediocre at best. So, on that level, I can see anyone being apprehensive about another graphic novel. Let's cut to the chase: is Dark One worth getting? Yes. I wholeheartedly recommend it, and I'm almost surprised to say so! I always have a personal issue getting into new stories, even if it's from an author I love. There's just a big inertia for me against reading new stuff. You have to get invested in new characters and a new setting. It's easy for me to put a book down. I'm not sure I would have picked up Dark One rapidly unless it was for this site, if I'm being honest. Maybe you have the same problem on getting into something new, or maybe you're worried about another Brandon graphic novel that isn't great. But everyone: Dark One is definitely worth your money. The art is excellent and the story has interesting twists and turns with the hallmarks you'd expect from Brandon, like clever worldbuilding and plot. It's a quick read, even though it's 200 pages long, and now that I'm done, I'm very invested in this universe and I can't wait to see what's next. Dark One is tailor-made for the graphic novel medium, unlike White Sand which started as a prose novel, and you can see how much of a difference it makes. Characters are introduced briskly with their motivations established immediately, so you're never confused as to why anyone is doing something. The art has a lot of color and diversity, communicating in a panel or two far more than pages of dialogue or thoughts in prose could. There is worldbuilding in the art, if you're paying attention. It's put together in a wonderful, clever way that I think really shows what graphic novels can do. The world has some standard fantasy tropes, a Dark One rising and a Destined One fated to meet them, but there's this undercurrent of the Narrative which drives the machinations. Some characters chaff at the Narrative and its designs, and some work against it, even though its said to be futile. It's pretty cool, and it harkens back to Brandon playing with those ideas of prophecy and the foretold hero back in Mistborn Era 1, which I always thought was fun and there are so many ways those fantasy tropes can be used. You'd be surprised at how much depth in the worldbuilding there is, with single lines holding a lot of implications for the past and the future. If you didn't know, Dark One is a portal fantasy story, where our main character, Paul, comes from Earth and he's transported to a fantastical world (Mirandus), where he becomes the prophesied Dark One. This isn't a premise that gets me too excited on paper, but in application it is executed wonderfully well here. Both Earth and Mirandus matter, and their connections are part of the intrigue. Really, all of the story just feels smooth in a way that I didn't expect. The plot moves exceptionally quickly. I think part of this is that it is a graphic novel, where we don't need to spend time on establishing shots because we can simply do a two-page spread on a new locale and call it good. I love tightly plotted stories, so this worked great for me. The ending is quite a Sanderson avalanche, and it might feel too quick to some, but I enjoyed it a lot. There are two twists in particular that I found extremely clever and I absolutely loved it. I'm a guy who loves my sweet endings, and I am a very happy camper with Dark One. Now, you need to know that this is the first book in a series of graphic novels (I believe three of them). This graphic novel does have a satisfying conclusion, but I also need the next things in the series immediately. I wouldn't say this is a "standalone" per se. Still, I think you'll be satisfied with this first one, but I sure hope we can get more of these quickly. I do not want to have to wait twelve months for each installment. That's about it. It's tough for me to get into new stories, but Dark One hooked me very effectively and I am now super invested in this universe. When Dark One was announced, it was said to be a multimedia project with a graphic novel, TV show, podcast, and novels. We already got hints of audio originals for Dark One, and I couldn't be happier. More please! One last thing: if you're trying to get friends or family into Brandon books, but the long novels are a harder sell, this might be a great place for them to start. Thoughts from Others at 17th Shard: Argent I finally feel like I understand the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel. [Dark One definitely felt like a novel to me, key scenes were given room to breathe, and the characters and the world alike had depth to them. Probably my favorite thing about the entire graphic novel is how real most of the characters feel - like real people, with real motivations, and no easy “good” or “evil” label being applicable to them. But the art is also really neat, and the visual language is strong and consistent, and… I guess the rest is spoilers. But I would absolutely recommend this! FelCandy Dark One was a highly anticipated graphic novel for me because I saw the potential for a visual accompaniment to Brandon Sanderson's writing. Because the story was written for the medium, I feel like the worldbuilding and character development was enhanced by the artwork rather than just illustrated. The artists' use of color and dramatic framing really immersed me into the world of Mirandus and the minds of the characters. The story is truly epic in scale, and even though it is in a less wordy format, fans of Sanderson's prose will not find the story lacking in lore and depth. Last weekend we got so excited about Dark One that we recorded two Shardcasts on it. The more we discussed, the more we realized how much depth was there. Our first one will be out Friday! You can discuss Dark One on our forum or our Discord server!
This is my official review for Oathbringer, which I just barely finished. And so first off...... Holy crap. Brandon is a true artist of words. This most definitely one of the best books he has ever written. The plot is sound, and gives us new things to digest and think about all throughout the book. But looking at the number of pages now, I think it is safe to classify Oathbringer as a tome, not a novel. One of the things I deeply appreciate about Brandon's writing is the way he gets us to feel for his characters, even if they aren't major players. Now that may not be the case for his past novels, but Oathbringer definitely fits that mold. Every death wrenched at my heart. I was excited for Oathbringer when it was titled Stones Unhallowed because we were finally going to see Szeth's backstory. But when that changed to focus on Dalinar, I have to admit I was slightly disappointed. I love Szeth's story arc, and felt a little despondent that I wouldn't be able to see what his past was about. But my feelings quickly dissipated as I began to read Oathbringer. Dalinar never really appealed to me as a character until now. We finally saw why he acted the way he did, and why he felt hindered. Before Oathbringer was released, I had talked with several people who had also voiced my opinion that Dalinar was not a very good character. Well, my opinion has changed. I feel that Brandon moved Dalinar's story forward not only to make his vision real, but also to put Dalinar in the spotlight. Kaladin and Shallan are very well developed, and Dalinar's chapters felt like politics in the first two books. It was when he started interacting with other main characters like Kaladin that he got interesting. Oathbringer helped my unbelief. My favorite character in Oathbringer was actually Dalinar, which tells you how much he improved in this book. His arc shows us his emotional pain as he struggles with the returning memories. I love how Brandon makes you expect one thing, then switches it up. I thought his wife's name was going to be long, but it turned out to be a short, simple one. Evi. We feel for Dalinar as he sinks down into despair, but ultimately triumphs, Ascending and becoming a storming Shard. Another thing I really liked was the Bridge Four chapters. We saw Skar, a member of Bridge Four we haven't really seen, work his way to use Stormlight himself. We see a side of Teft we never saw before, as he struggles with addiction. He doesn't want to be a Radiant, but accepts the inevitable. One thing that really struck me was the parallel between Moash and Elhokar. Moash was a respectable soldier, Elhokar was a despised king. Moash chooses the path of destruction, ultimately choosing to serve Odium. Elhokar finally begins to become the king he should have been, rising to glory, but struck down at the last second, by Moash. That was the point where Moash could not leave the path he had chosen. He serves the Fused, kills Jezrien, and becomes Vyre. As I don't want to ramble, here is a list of things I loved: Kaladin's return to Hearthstone Dalinar's first meeting with Odium Cultivation and the Nightwatcher Vivenna/Azure Riino (who might be one of the Ire?) Adolin learning his Blade's name Renarin being the catalyst of the Diagram, and also him cutting off the thunderclast's hand Szeth's oath to Dalinar Nightblood The way Mraize drew Shalash out into the open Taln recovering (sort of) Wit Awakening the doll I could go on forever, but alas, not now. I'll post more things here later. Also, I will be analyzing the Letters. I love this book.
Welcome to the first weekly book review by Sharders, for Sharders! Come here to read critiques and discuss what everyone's reading this week. (To write your own review and contribute to this great community, Sign up here!) Applause goes to The Young Bard for organizing this group. To get the ball rolling, I'll share my review of The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, originally written a few years ago after I read the book the second time. And, if you've already read The Immortal Rules, you might be interested in my reviews of books 2 and 3 in the Blood of Eden trilogy, The Eternity Cure and The Forever Song. (SPOILER WARNING: My reviews of books 2 and 3 contain spoilers for previous books in the series.)