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[OB] POLL: Ranking Oathbringer

How Good Is Oathbringer?   106 members have voted

  1. 1. How does Oathbringer compare to Way of Kings and Words of Radiance?

    • Best of the three!
      49
    • Middle of the pack.
      31
    • The other two were better.
      27

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33 posts in this topic

I've seen extremely varied opinion on how Oathbringer stacks up against the earlier entries in the Stormlight Archive. What's your vote?

There is already a poll to rate it on its own. I'm interested in how you feel it compares.

Edited by ccstat
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Better than TWoK, not quite as good as WoR. But it is close.

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Honestly I like them all pretty equally. They are all needed for the story to progress. BS is heads above any other author so I feel like it is splitting hairs to put one extraordinary book above another extraordinary book.

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Right now it's tied for first (with WoR), so I'm voting that, but I'm pretty sure the rating will change once I finish my second read.

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My opinion is that this book will feel incomplete untill book four comes out because of all the plot threads we expected to be resolved in this book being delayed due to the already INSANE length, but once that issue is resolved, more people will prefer this book.

This book is my personal favourite, but it could have been maybe 160% of the length to help it out to make more or less every single person alive give it a 10/10

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It's easily the weakest of the series so far for me.  Too many minor flaws with pacing, POV multiplication, major characters feeling pushed to the sideline, a rushed conclusion and multiple emotional reaction events being almost entirely ignored.

It's also simultaneously the best fiction book I've read this year.

[Insert Hoid's monologue about the dangers of high expectations here]

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This is hard for me, it's like picking which is your favorite kid. All of them are important but in different ways. 

Ill say though that right now I think WoR had more OH MY GOD moments for me, like discovering Urithiru, the Chasms with Shalladin, Kal and Adolin vs 4 Shardbearers, Szeths first attack on Dalinar, Kals third ideal... the list goes on. 

OB doesn't have as many of those cinematic moments yet for me, but it might be because it's new and still fresh. Like certainly Dalinar's speaking of his third ideal gave me HELLA GOOSEBUMPS, and I absolutely lost my mind when both Evi and Elhokar died, and the ENTIRE last scene, but I don't think there are as many big amazing scenes as WoR had. But I'll give it time to digest, it's a lot to process in less than a week lol

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41 minutes ago, Subvisual Haze said:

It's easily the weakest of the series so far for me.  Too many minor flaws with pacing, POV multiplication, major characters feeling pushed to the sideline, a rushed conclusion and multiple emotional reaction events being almost entirely ignored.

I had the same reaction. I definitely enjoyed this book, but I felt like there were minor issues I had while reading, which I don't really remember having during either tWoK or WoR. One thing that bothered me especially is in scenes where multiple people are present, but not everyone is accounted for right away. It happened a few times, but it was mostly in Shadesmar. A good example of this is when they're on the Honorspren boat, and Kaladin and Shallan are talking (I realize that's vague, I'll have to get a chapter number sometime). Everyone else is mentioned, except for Adolin (and the Deadeye, who doesn't move around in this part of the book).

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I think that for me, Oathbringer was not the best from a Roshar/series perspective, but from a Cosmere perspective it was the best and very exciting. I really enjoyed the character and world development and possibly even plot development in WoK and WoR more than that in OB. But. OB brought so much together and Cosmere things make much more sense now. Along with that, Dalinar's amazingness, Hoid's Hoidness, Nightblood slaying evil, and ties to the rest of the Cosmere (among other things) made up for this decreased depth for me... and while it's hard to articulate my feelings for any of the three in so few words, I think OB is the best overall.

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WoK remains my absolute favorite, and OB didn't manage to beat WoR in my chart, so I chose the last option. I hope the trend doesn't continue :ph34r:

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To clarify, I finished my 2nd, slower, read of Oathbringer today. Issues that I had upon my 1st read were more pronounced and the positives were more withdrawn. I find myself liking it less. This is odd for me as I always enjoy Brandon's books more on the 2nd read.

With that said, I thought Oathbringer was poor. I loved the book because the stormlight archive is my favorite series, and I have been breathlessly waiting for it's release for 3 years, but it was not an exceptional book as I have come to expect with Brandon Sanderson. It has many specific issues that I have highlighted in multiple posts on 17thshard since it's release. I just genuinely wish that Brandon would stop messing around with all of these others series and would instead solely focus on giving us his best for the stormlight archive. He's taken on many projects since writing WoK & WoR and I speculate that this may have something to do with OB being so underwhelming.

I love Brandon's books and I want them to be exceptional, and I have every faith that he will be able to turn it around for book 4. But I do have to say that I am quite disappointed.

As it stands I rank them:

1. Words of Radiance

2. Way of Kings

3. Oathbringer

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(There's another similar thread, in case you want to check it out: http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/62606-ob-ob-opinion-poll/ )

I loved Oathbringer, but admittedly I'm prejudiced as Dalinar is my favefavefavorite cosmere character.

I think a lot of the difficulty we have is similar to the middle book or movie in a trilogy ("The Empire Strikes Back," etc.) - we want more resolution at this point than Brandon is giving (yay us! it's a sign of true fan-dom!), and it's challenging to keep in mind that there will be, not just one more book, but seven.

 

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10 minutes ago, old aggie said:

(There's another similar thread, in case you want to check it out: http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/62606-ob-ob-opinion-poll/ )

He actually linked that, but wanted this thread to be about Oathbringer compared to WoK and WoR, while that thread is more generally about Oathbringer compared to *general other books*.

Edited by Leyrann
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4 hours ago, Blacksmithki said:

My opinion is that this book will feel incomplete untill book four comes out because of all the plot threads we expected to be resolved in this book being delayed due to the already INSANE length, but once that issue is resolved, more people will prefer this book.

 

I agree with this. After finishing I was disappointed how the ending was handled, it did not feel right. After pondering it for a bit, I came to the same conclusion. Hopefully more will be answered in book 4. Guess that is why it is a series after all.

Overall I would put it behind WoR and equal to WoK. But they are all close and my favorite BS  series. Oathbringer does a lot of good things. It is much bigger on scope since the first two were mostly contained to the shattered plains. We even get to go to Shadesmar. Lastly I enjoyed the extra POVs and more attention to the other characters.

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Here is how I think they stack up:

1. Oathbringer

 

 

 

 

 

2. Words of Radiance

3. Way of Kings

Oathbringer is my favorite book of all times, and the Stormlight Archive is my favorite series of all times.

Way of Kings is a great book, but it suffers somewhat from the repetitive nature of how much you have to see Kaladin beaten down. His swearing of the first ideal is better for the build up, but it's also a slow slog through it when you re-read it or re-listen to the audiobook.

Words of Radiance was amazing, it still wasn't my favorite book of all times, but it was close. Shallan's story arc was awesome in WoR, her infiltration of the ghostbloods, her betrothal to Adolin (the shardplate discussion at the restaraunt at the end of the high storms is still one of the comedic high points of the whole series), but you also have plot lines that at the time were important, but are also somewhat tedious on a second reading or second listening (the investigation of the King's snore strap, I mean horse strap, what a snoozer, and Shallan's childhood is painful to wade through multiple times).

Oathbringer is amazing. Absolutely amazing. Each part is this would have been one of the best books that I have ever read on it's own, the climax to part 1 with the battle with Reshephir is how a very great writer would finish their book. That's just the end of part 1 in Oathbringer.

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I put it third. My order is 

  1. Way of Kings
  2. Words of Radiance
  3. Oathbringer

My favorite part of any book, no matter what genre, is the characters. To truly love a story, I have to feel what they are feeling and be emotionally invested what happens to them. I live the story through their eyes. The first two books had wonderful character development and I felt everything from joy to anger to despair to a sense of wonder, right alongside the characters. It's what sucked me into this story so deeply. I also love character interactions, how they relate to each other and respond to interesting or shocking situations. 

I didn't feel much of that in Oathbringer. As many have mentioned in other threads, several key scenes between characters seem to be missing: Jasnah's arrival in Urithiru, Szeth showing up on Team Dalinar, Navani and family learning of Elhokar's death, the Helaran conversation between Kaladin and Shallan, Adolin killing Sadeas, Lifts's interactions with the rest of the cast, the radiant road trip to Thaylen City, etc. These scenes would have brought the reader more emotionally into the story, and I missed having that feeling of closeness with the characters. Especially Shallan, I felt like I couldn't relate to her at all in this book due to the extended depth of her identity issues. By the end of the book I have no idea if she's getting better or worse, nor have any sense of where she goes from here.

That said, the magic and worldbuilding in this book are tremendous, and those are are my second and third favorite qualities in a fantasy book. Unlike many others, I loved the Shadesmar sequence and the look into the lives of the spren. This partially makes up for lack of character depth, but it still leaves me feeling a bit empty at the end, like I watched a ton of cool stuff happen, but I didn't feel much of it.

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5 hours ago, Blacksmithki said:

My opinion is that this book will feel incomplete untill book four comes out because of all the plot threads we expected to be resolved in this book being delayed due to the already INSANE length, but once that issue is resolved, more people will prefer this book.

This book is my personal favourite, but it could have been maybe 160% of the length to help it out to make more or less every single person alive give it a 10/10

I'm not sure I understand your logic here.  If Book 4 later resolves all the dangling plot threads and incomplete character arcs from Oathbringer, wouldn't that just make Book 4 a great book while Oathbringer continues to feel like a stunted individual novel?

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I still maintain that The Way of Kings was the best. Kaladin's time in Bridge 4 is such an amazing story. I've never, in reading anything of any genre, been so on the edge of my seat (for 40 hours!) to find out how someone would get out of such a hopeless scenario that just kept getting worse and worse despite all his efforts to save everyone else who was in the same boat. Later books have had more magic, cooler individual moments, But nothing in the series has matched the journey you go on with Kaladin in that first book.

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@Bacon, @Starla, I agree with you both. The Way of Kings was my favourite as well, because I loved how much time we got to spend with the characters. I normally prefer books with a lot of character over books with a lot of action, and the fact that Stormlight 1 and 2 managed to combine both, and turn the amazing action scenes into a triumph for the characters (the entire Tower sequence) makes them some of my all-time favourites.

In this book I felt the characters were in such a rush to catch up with the plot, where things just kept happening, in 5 or 6 different locations. That said, I mostly feel that way because my preferred balance in books is simply a bit more towards character journeys, and only Dalinar really got that. And even he was constantly trying to catch up with the politics going on. I did really like the book, it was just.. a lot. Rereads will help me, probably.

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What are people's issues with the pacing? (I have to say whilst I find pacing a big issue in films- looking at you, Snyder-, I've rarely been bothered by it in books or even TV or games. Except for a few.)

 

I thought it was an excellent book, best of Stormlight, with more nuanaced character work, appropriate continuing mystery, lots of high octane moments, more drawing together of the Cosmere (which I like), improved humour and a flourishing mythology. It had flaws, but I think it's a less one dimensional book than any of Brandon's other works, and continues to explore some of the issues his series previously touched whilst exploring new ones and not feeling especially cluttered. The flashbacks were so raw.

 

It could have balanced POVs between characters better, it was over the top at times and was maybe too optimistic (in the end) for a book 3 of 10 (then again, it's a Wheel of Time parallel and Book 2/3 of that matches up quite closely in many ways). 

 

It was remarkly similar in tone and soul to Thor Ragnarok for me, actually. 

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14 minutes ago, Willow said:

@Bacon, @Starla, I agree with you both. The Way of Kings was my favourite as well, because I loved how much time we got to spend with the characters. I normally prefer books with a lot of character over books with a lot of action, and the fact that Stormlight 1 and 2 managed to combine both, and turn the amazing action scenes into a triumph for the characters (the entire Tower sequence) makes them some of my all-time favourites.

In this book I felt the characters were in such a rush to catch up with the plot, where things just kept happening, in 5 or 6 different locations. That said, I mostly feel that way because my preferred balance in books is simply a bit more towards character journeys, and only Dalinar really got that. And even he was constantly trying to catch up with the politics going on. I did really like the book, it was just.. a lot. Rereads will help me, probably.

I genuinely think every character with screen time (all the mains bar Szeth) had a much better and more well defined character development than they did in previous books. Even Kal and Shallan. They had fascinating problems and real, realistic, interesting growth for me. They fleshed out into characters that relied on less pastel-toned emotions and traits.

 

But that's just me!

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1 hour ago, Subvisual Haze said:

I'm not sure I understand your logic here.  If Book 4 later resolves all the dangling plot threads and incomplete character arcs from Oathbringer, wouldn't that just make Book 4 a great book while Oathbringer continues to feel like a stunted individual novel?

The main issue i see people expressing with oathbringer is the number of plot threads left incomplete that they expected to be covered in this book. I'm assuming, and it's not much of a stretch considering what an amazing author Brandon is, that most of these threads will be picked up in book four in such a way as it seems like that was the natural progression of that plot thread and that "of course he didn't cover it in book three", so we no longer see them as missing or ignored in this book. So for example, people are annoyed that Adolin didn't have much in the way of consequences for the murder of Sadeas, i'm saying that in all liklyhood book four will not only cover it but make it seem like the natural progression of that thread when looking backwards.

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26 minutes ago, IndigoAjah said:

I genuinely think every character with screen time (all the mains bar Szeth) had a much better and more well defined character development than they did in previous books. Even Kal and Shallan. They had fascinating problems and real, realistic, interesting growth for me. They fleshed out into characters that relied on less pastel-toned emotions and traits.

I haven't read Oathbringer enough to say that their character development was better than in the first two books. It built on their earlier development, which always allows for more interesting growth than the first book. I do agree that they did have character development. This is my personal taste in literature, but I felt that the big events happening were simply too prominent, and the character development and interaction was secondary.

That doesn't mean the development wasn't there, just that this book had a lot of events, attacks, worldbuilding, mysteries, politics, etc. I just prefer for the priorities of these things to be switched around. For example, I loved the first part of tWoK, though a lot of other reviews I've read seem to think it started a bit too slowly.

 

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23 minutes ago, Blacksmithki said:

The main issue i see people expressing with oathbringer is the number of plot threads left incomplete that they expected to be covered in this book. I'm assuming, and it's not much of a stretch considering what an amazing author Brandon is, that most of these threads will be picked up in book four in such a way as it seems like that was the natural progression of that plot thread and that "of course he didn't cover it in book three", so we no longer see them as missing or ignored in this book. So for example, people are annoyed that Adolin didn't have much in the way of consequences for the murder of Sadeas, i'm saying that in all liklyhood book four will not only cover it but make it seem like the natural progression of that thread when looking backwards.

In which case Book 4 would be very well received and Oathbringer would still be a less complete novel...

Nobody is disputing that the Stormlight Archive on the whole is an amazing series, but the purpose of the thread is to compare how the individual books compare against one another as individual books.  The first two books are better in my opinion because they function as independent, self-enclosed narratives.  There are still hooks to keep you interested in future developments, but I never really felt like plots or arcs were incomplete at the end of the first two books.  If Oathbringer requires space in a future book to retroactively make it feel complete, it calls into question why those future book scenes weren't in Oathbringer itself.

If anything, Oathbringer's struggles just drive home how remarkable Words of Radiance was.  That was a middle book in a series that still managed to feel self-contained and satisfactorily resolved.  That's incredibly difficult to accomplish, so if anything I appreciate WOR all the more after finishing Oathbringer.

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