Chaos

White Sand Vol. 2 Reactions

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In theory, White Sand Vol. 2 is out today, so here's a reaction topic. Several people have reported their copies from Amazon are out for delivery. Google Play still says February 21st.

But hey, it's essentially out. What did you think?

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Well, my general impression is that this one was slightly better than the first volume... I just read through it once, but at least in my first reading it seemed to flow a little more smoothly than the first one and it was easier to follow what was going on. So at the very least I didn’t feel disappointed after reading this one, though I will admit my expectations weren’t very high to begin with.

The thing that weirded me out the most was that the artwork totally changed in the last chapter. It’s much less sketchy, which I like, but in a few places the faces look pretty weird, so I don’t know how much of an improvement it will be. I’m hoping the new artist is here to stay, though - on the back page it says that Julius Gopez, who has been the artist up until now, “lives and works in the Phillippines.” So that might explain why it took like forever for this volume to come out. Hopefully if this new artist (Julius Otha) does volume 3 it will come out faster.

One last thing, I’m not exactly sure how Drile made it onto the cover (I’m pretty sure that’s Drile, right?). After all, he only appeared on like one page. If it were up to me I would have put someone else there, like maybe the Lord Admiral or Nilto.

Edited by Fatling
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Definitely better than the first. Definitely still has some issues.

In general, I really enjoyed this volume. The story was more interesting to me. A thing that came up once or twice in the recent WS volume 1 Shardcast was that all of the politics here might not work very well as a graphic novel. I thought they handled it very well. The characters and interactions were interesting, and somehow I actually felt like there was MORE action than in volume 1. The story is getting more complex, which I also liked. Volume 1 was pretty straight forward from one chapter to the next. Here we had characters juggling multiple things on their to-do lists, and I think that kept me engaged. I definitely think we got a lot more worldbuilding... at least for Kezare and Lossand. That was much appreciated. The sand mastery was much more visually striking, which was also nice.

As for issues... I still felt several cases where the artwork was sloppy, or even where it didn't match what I read very well. I'll see Kenton's sword flip from one hip to the other between panels. I'll see Kenton complain about Ais/Khriss doing something, and yet have no visual clues. I'll read a conversation about how sand ribbons work while the artwork does nothing to aid in comprehension. Things like this are all over the place. (granted I don't think it was as bad as volume 1 in this regard) The artwork change in chapter 6 was very jarring. The original/main art doesn't seem to get much love, so I suspect most people will like the chapter 6 art. Personally, I felt like it was a bit lacking in detail. In any case, I thought it was really odd for them to give us a totally different artist for JUST the final chapter of the book. Makes the book feel... unpolished. Like the first artist ran out of time and they needed someone to help get the art done. Would prefer if they had given us the last two chapters that way. Or the last 3. Or perhaps every other chapter? Just something to make it feel like there's not one random oddbal chapter.

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I definitely liked it better than Vol 1. And I agree, the art change in the last chapter was disconcerting, and I actually wish all the art had been that style. It's way less "noisy" and easier to follow along what's happening.

 

The foreman of the builder crew whose team got trapped sure has an interesting name...

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I'll try not to get my hopes up too high but the more positive reaction makes me want to make a special trip to go pick it up.

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I'll post my reactions later, but I want to link to the ebook copy on Hoopla. If your library has a Hoopla subscription, you can read it there.

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I'll have to re-read it more in depth, I sped-read through it last night. First impressions:

This is going to be really nit-picky, but I absolutely hate the binding on the physical copy. The first book was smyth sewn (or some variant), which means the pages lie flat. For some inexplicable reason, volume 2 was made with a cheaper perfect (glued) binding, which means the pages don't open as flat. This is annoying in general, but much more so in a graphic novel/comic, where there no margins and you have double spreads, meaning every millimeter counts.

Story wise, I think they handled pacing better. But clearly the biggest thing to talk about is the artwork. I do think the artwork is better, but I'll echo what jofwu said about confusing. I think the sand parts were the most confusing, because the artist is adding some glowing effect. Kenton should be able to use three streams at this point, but it's really not at all clear how he's manipulating the sand or what a stream is.

The artist change in the last chapter is a bit jarring. The artwork is more "simplistic." I do like it because I think it's more clear and conveys action / intention better. For example, I feel like it's easier to distinguish people with the new art style. On the other hand, even though I hated the old art style, I feel like it contained a lot more detail. I suppose that's a toss-up, though, since it also contributed to the "busy" feel and difficulty in discerning people/action in the artwork.

Overall, this volume is better than the first one (aside from the terrible binding), but I can't feel as if the series overall was done a disservice in the graphic novel format from the bad/confusing execution.

Edited by SAMWAF
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As others have said, the art shift was incredibly jarring. 

I thought that most characters got a lot more development in this one, though that might just be because it's the second volume and there's more time for that stuff. Standouts for me were Khriss and Baon. Exceptions were Jon Acron and Cynder who somehow managed to be even less distinguishable in this volume than the last one. 

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I don't have much to add here but I really hope Brandon doesn't do any more graphic novels for material that doesn't have an official written form published. Graphic novels are fun for telling stories and I've enjoyed quite a few before these. But, Brandon's work is done a disservice when the detail is represented in images instead of words in my opinion. It feels like Brandon's work is meant to be discussed in great detail and there's just a certain amount of detail that cannot avoid being lost in the graphic novel format. Maybe these are enjoyable to some other people, but I just felt mostly annoyed reading it. I'm really unsure what my opinion would be if I hadn't read the prose version first. 

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3 hours ago, Harrycrapper said:

I really hope Brandon doesn't do any more graphic novels for material that doesn't have an official written form published

So, I had some thoughts about the future of cosmere/Sanderson graphic novels and we had a brief conversation about it on Discord this morning... 

It occurred to me that an unpublished book like White Sand was actually a perfect way to test the waters on this. I'm sure that this has been a VERY new experience for Team Dragonsteel. I think Dynamite specifically wanted something new and not previously published, but this actually works really well for Sanderson. If they were to attempt something published we would all have higher expectations and more of us would have our eyes on the project. White Sand is able to slip under the radar a little bit in a way that a Mistborn graphic novel could not. Imagine how rough it would be if Dragonsteel's first attempt at a graphic novel was something with HIGH levels of attention and hype? I'm sure it's also nice that they have the ability to adapt White Sand slightly as needed. Probably makes their lives easier as they navigate these waters. That's something they can't do with a book that's already been published.

All that to say... While I'm hopeful we eventually get graphic novels of things that have been published, it was probably for the best that they used White Sand to test the waters.

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I agree that graphic novels will never be able to completely capture a story like Brandon’s, but it’s nice to see a part of the cosmere that we wouldn’t get otherwise. The artwork and detail are amazing, although the shift in Chapter 6 was fairly annoying. They should’ve put a note between chapters explaining why they flopped between artwork. Plot wise, this book was far better than the first, with lots more character development and interesting moments. Two scenes left me amazed: When Kenton wondered aloud if overmastering over and over was the key to getting stronger. And when the leader of those builders revealed his very interesting name, Trell.

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9 hours ago, Jofwu said:

So, I had some thoughts about the future of cosmere/Sanderson graphic novels and we had a brief conversation about it on Discord this morning... 

It occurred to me that an unpublished book like White Sand was actually a perfect way to test the waters on this. I'm sure that this has been a VERY new experience for Team Dragonsteel. I think Dynamite specifically wanted something new and not previously published, but this actually works really well for Sanderson. If they were to attempt something published we would all have higher expectations and more of us would have our eyes on the project. White Sand is able to slip under the radar a little bit in a way that a Mistborn graphic novel could not. Imagine how rough it would be if Dragonsteel's first attempt at a graphic novel was something with HIGH levels of attention and hype? I'm sure it's also nice that they have the ability to adapt White Sand slightly as needed. Probably makes their lives easier as they navigate these waters. That's something they can't do with a book that's already been published.

All that to say... While I'm hopeful we eventually get graphic novels of things that have been published, it was probably for the best that they used White Sand to test the waters.

I took a look at the last chapter again and I think my opinion has been slightly modified. I think my problems have mostly been with the style of the original illustrator. I was so concentrated on how disappointed I was with most of the book that I didn't consciously notice the change in chapter 6. I think that the style, while more simplistic, is a lot more visually appealing and is exactly the change I wanted. I don't know what it is about the original style but it just seems really scratchy and tried to be more realistic and three dimensional but just ended up being distracting. If the next one is done in this new style and they do justice to the final duel between Kenton and Drile, I think this series will have been vindicated. 

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If Brandon published these as a traditional novel, we'd just have to wait longer for the next Stormlight/Mistborn/etc. book.

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I just read my copy today, and while I agree that the new art style in chapter six was much cleaner, it was so much more cartoonish and it really bothered me. The art style before had its issues but I much preferred it to the new style. 

The pace picked up more though, and we actually got to know some of the characters a little better, and I’m excited to see some of the loose ends start to be tied up in the third graphic novel. I really hope White Sand can get a written version in the future though to smooth out some of the issues. The graphic novels don’t really feel canon in the Cosmere, even though they are currently the official published story. 

Edited by Fakeout
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The artist change was really jarring, but maybe they lost the original artist (left/quit, family emergency, etc.)? Amazon did push the release date out a couple times, so maybe this is why. Still, at the end of the day, changing artists is common in a series, but not in a graphic novel. Still, the foreman name drop and the political intrigue were enough to save it for me.  Looking forward to WS3! 

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On 2/23/2018 at 8:23 AM, Who Sharded? said:

If Brandon published these as a traditional novel, we'd just have to wait longer for the next Stormlight/Mistborn/etc. book.

I don't understand why this is even an argument, to be honest. I'd like a polished White Sand Prose just as much as I'd like any other Cosmere book. And if it pushes out the Cosmere one or two more books... oh darn more Cosmere. 

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I liked it better than Vol. 1, in that the sense of disappointment was much vaguer and less palpable this time.  EDIT: Credit where it's due, however, I did like the second artist.  I hope they keep him going forward.  

Edited by Landis963
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I loved Khriss’s analyzing of the sand, and the comment that overmastery was the key to improvement. More magic development in this one, which was nice. Also, I was under the impression that the art style change was to indicate a change in the narrative. You think it was just because the old artist left?

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I felt the flow of the white sand volumes are weak compared to other graphic novels. I thought volume 2 was definitely better than 1 but was still pretty choppy. I think the sand mastery could be shown a lot better than dynamite have done. I also think the story line is the weakest of all the Sanderson Cosmere stories so far. However I do still find them really fun to read. 

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On 2/23/2018 at 9:23 AM, Who Sharded? said:

If Brandon published these as a traditional novel, we'd just have to wait longer for the next Stormlight/Mistborn/etc. book.

Agree, and I'm already partly resigned that I won't live to see SA10 or Dragonsteel. (sigh) Not getting involved in any more series where the author is so much younger than me! ;)

But re: WS2 - Like many other commenters, I liked the simpler art style much better - less distracting from the story. With the scratchier style, I was constantly trying to figure out if Aarik was wearing a tan shirt or if he was shirtless, and stuff like that - way confusing.

To me, the graphic novel fomat makes it harder to follow what's going on in the story. Example: I re-read the part with Khriss and the "science" equipment several times and it just doesn't make sense to me - it's like it's explained wrong or it skips a bunch of stuff. (FYI - I have a background in the hard sciences; maybe that's why it bothered me.)

There's only supposed to be one more volume, right? and there are a boatload of loose ends to clear up. I know Brandon can do it ... will a "sander-lanche" work with this graphical  format? Time will tell!

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On 2/21/2018 at 0:05 AM, The Anamnesor said:

I definitely liked it better than Vol 1. And I agree, the art change in the last chapter was disconcerting, and I actually wish all the art had been that style. It's way less "noisy" and easier to follow along what's happening.

 

The foreman of the builder crew whose team got trapped sure has an interesting name...

I agree with both of these statements... Is it possible that Trell is a worldhopper as well?

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I might be alone on this, but I like the older style. Other than that, it was better then the first one.

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13 minutes ago, John Flamesinger said:

I might be alone on this, but I like the older style. Other than that, it was better then the first one.

I feel wired because I did not notice the difference.

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