Mierinx

[OB] The problem I'm having with the series

41 posts in this topic

Hello everyone.

Last week I started reading The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance; so I can read the Oathbringer for the first time. As much with anything else, reading something for the second time made see things from a different perspective. I'd like to share some of them and mostly negative things.

Reading the books was a challange in itself because they are huge and extensive. Maybe that's the reason I am seeing some gaps in the books. It might be related to how Sanderson writes and wants to build the series, but I cannot help but think that the gaps should not be there. Spoilers ahead.

First book, as we all know, focuses on Kaladin. We look into his past and his character in detail. And we ignore the rest. Shallan is moving to meet the rest of the team, Dalinar is trying not to be a tyrant. In the book, they are side characters.

Second book should be focusing on Shallan, but truly, it focuses on Kaladin again. The rest, again, are just side characters. If the book looks into Shallan's past, where are the details? The details we should know like we learnt about Kaladin? Sudden changes in her character (especially in the flashbacks) are not credible. Her involvement with Father, Mother and Brothers are just irrelevant to her present character. 

What does she know about Jasnah's work? How much does she know? How does she feel about Adolin? What was she doing when Adolin was locked up in the prison with Kaladin? 

Eshonai.. I'm having the same problem. She's progressing too quickly and without reason. She's created to be a dynamic hero, but she's just changing so she can match the time line. Not credible again. 

There are too many Divine Interventions in the book, and I must say that they feel..forced.. to keep the story going. 

I'll start with Edgedancer tonight and move onto Oathbringer. Maybe some of my questions will be answered but there are still 6 more books to come and I can only hope that Sanderson will pull the story together in the end. 

 

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I know this is a common retort, but reading Oathbringer will really answer most of your questions here.

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10 minutes ago, Vissy said:

I know this is a common retort, but reading Oathbringer will really answer most of your questions here.

Some of them, at least.

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And those that aren't, there are threads for that too in the spoilers section. ;)

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Oathbringer really won't answer for the fact that Kaladin feels like the main character of Shallans book though. I am personally in agreement with you about that being a mistake. Unfortunately, Kaladins story in WoR needed the page-time (mostly) but he still has a tendency to be stealing spotlight. 

As for Shallans flashbacks lacking... I can see your point. I always prefer the main narrative over the flashbacks (the OB ones are the best of the bunch this far though) but Shallans flashbacks are very focused on one single event, namely her family. Kaladin has more stuff going on, and I think that is what it boils down to. Brandon was at the point of writing WoR not willing to show or reveal stuff that would have been interesting, and could have made the Shallan chapters more varied (Lins connections with the Ghostbloods, Shallans bond with Pattern, her mother and who she was, Helaran). Had we gotten more of that I think we would feel a lot better about the flashbacks, since they would have been delving deeper into Shallan, her surroundings, and General Lore, which we all love.

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I have just finished Edgedancer and I must say that Sanderson is just writing so he can drive the plot forward...again..

Each line made me think that Sanderson does not really know what's gonna happen in the very end.

My problem with the "sudden" changes within the character. Kaladin has seen much so it's understandable how he transformed and keeps transforming throughout the series. Shallan's transformation is forced. We're not even given enough details as to how or why she experiences what she experiences. 

Considering all, I'll start OB tonight, but I'm not really enthusiastic. (not to mention that we have to wait for at least two years for the next installment)

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If it helps, I believe Shallan gets the most screentime in OB according to the OB Statistical Analysis.  And you get to see a lot of her inner thoughts and...issues.

And Brandon definitely knows how SA is supposed to end.  I think he's said that he's already written the ending, and that how it's going to end is hidden somewhere in the first two books.

 

OB statistical analysis (Possibly spoilers)

https://coppermind.net/wiki/Oathbringer/Statistical_analysis

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I think you might be looking for things, rather than just enjoying the story--not to mention you seem to be missing the mounds of foreshadowing that make it clear almost everything happening in the story is there for a reason. At least in Way of Kings, just about every line becomes more significant upon reread after the later books.

Remember, it is ten books. There's a lot of backstory that will be covered that hasn't been covered yet. Not just the flashback character for the book--we also get short memories and explanations for behavior outside the flashback characters. We learn a little more about Kaladin's past in OB, for example. Just hang in there and don't be on the lookout for problems! The man has a plan.

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5 minutes ago, RShara said:

And Brandon definitely knows how SA is supposed to end.  I think he's said that he's already written the ending, and that how it's going to end is hidden somewhere in the first two books.

I think that's worse.. because the whole thing is dragged to one particular ending. I'm not saying that I don't like the series or how Sanderson is writing the work;

I'm just trying to say that I'm feeling ambushed into a series of events...

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Just now, Mierinx said:

I think that's worse.. because the whole thing is dragged to one particular ending. I'm not saying that I don't like the series or how Sanderson is writing the work;

I'm just trying to say that I'm feeling ambushed into a series of events...

Hmmm okay.  I guess I just don't agree, because I like how the series is working out so far.  Different tastes, I guess :) If SA isn't your cup of tea, no worries :)

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Some of these are real issues, but really blaming the problems in WoR on Kaladin getting too much screen time is wrong.  Kaladin got probably just about the right amount of screen-time, it's just that Shallan's screen-time is so poorly used.  Well, her scenes with Adolin are pretty good, but her scenes with pretty much everyone else, especially any involving Kaladin, are just...they have issues.

A good chunk of the problem is the forced and awkward love triangle.  But it's mostly problems with Shallan as a character and the Lightweavers as an Order.  Partly it's the pacing of her story (not explaining in her flashback book how she attracted Pattern definitely seems questionable), and certainly several characters had to be holding the idiot ball for her to be accepted in high Alethi society at all.  The main problem, though, is that Radiants without Ideals just fundamentally aren't as interesting as those who have them.  Shallan's Truths are a very poor substitute.  I fully expect this problem to continue plaguing her for the remainder of SA, or at least the remainder of the first five books.

Shallan's no better in the first half of Oathbringer than she was in WoR, maybe even worse; but if it's any consolation, her story improves significantly in the second half.

As for Eshonai, I thought Eshonai was fine in WoR but didn't like her story in Oathbringer at all.  But, on the other hand, if you didn't like her much in WoR, maybe you'll like her OB plot line better.  So there's some hope for you there.

I think Oathbringer as a whole is rather worse than WoK and WoR though still a fine read.  Still, a good part of my disappointment, though by no means all, is due to Eshonai's plot line; so if her story works for you in OB then maybe you'll have a better opinion of it.  Just don't expect too much.

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1 hour ago, Mierinx said:

Each line made me think that Sanderson does not really know what's gonna happen in the very end.

1 hour ago, Mierinx said:

I think that's worse.. because the whole thing is dragged to one particular ending.

Kinda sounds like you're determined not to be happy with the books.  

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I wonder why anyone would think that 'each book focuses on a different character'? Because Sanderson said so? It's almost impossible to have a coherent storyline if:

- THE major character (of each book) keeps falling off the face of the earth to become a bit player for the rest of the series; and

- We only get the story from the new major players perspective

I guess Sanderson could have used Dalinar/Jasnah/Taravangian/Hoid etc to tie the story thread together, and keep Dal/Jas/Tar etc bit players...but...he planned on some of them having their own flashback sequences..

 

Shallans character does to me seem rather less substantial than Kaladin's. I don't think that Sanderson could have done huge amounts with her flashbacks. Being broken by your family is quite different (to write about) to being broken by your own principles / your brothers death / slavery / bridge running. Same with character development - Shallan dealt with being broken by burying it and putting on a face - it is so much harder to relate that to character development than Kaladin's open/honest/truthful perspective (you see the difference right?). But even Shallan's scenes for 'advancing' are much less dire/imminent/impactful than Kaladins. To me WoR makes Shallan a little properly interesting, but it is only OB where Shallans character becomes more interesting. I think Sanderson did an alright job, but painted himself into a corner with Shallan's character type. In many ways, during the first two books, she reminded me of the girls in Wheel of Time (that's not a good thing in my view). In comparison, Jasnah is currently much more interesting, even though she gets so much less screen time. 

 

Edited by vikorr
correct wording
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22 hours ago, galendo said:

and certainly several characters had to be holding the idiot ball for her to be accepted in high Alethi society at all. 

Based on the "outdated" notes from Jasnah.. again, to keep the story moving. 

22 hours ago, Scion of the Mists said:

Kinda sounds like you're determined not to be happy with the books.  

Nope, I'm hyped and looking forward to more stuff; I'm just trying to understand why all of these events take place. Some parts I question while some other parts I question first before enjoying them. Isn't that the part of reading?

19 hours ago, vikorr said:

Shallans character does to me seem rather less substantial than Kaladin's. I don't think that Sanderson could have done huge amounts with her flashbacks. Being broken by your family is quite different (to write about) to being broken by your own principles / your brothers death / slavery / bridge running. Same with character development - Shallan dealt with being broken by burying it and putting on a face - it is so much harder to relate that to character development than Kaladin's open/honest/truthful perspective (you see the difference right?).

 

That's the point. The reader is involved in the character development for Kaladin. That's of course understandable because of the immensity of things happening to him. 

What happens to Shallan? I'm not really happy with how her story turned out; the bonding, the murders, the relationships... 

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On 4/12/2018 at 4:06 PM, Vissy said:

I know this is a common retort, but reading Oathbringer will really answer most of your questions here.

Why did I read this and hear "Mwuahahahahahahahah!!!" in my head? Must be me.

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Just started OB and now 250 pages into the book. 

I still have the same feeling... Action happens to keep the story forward. 

While reading, I ask myself "Why does THIS event happen at THIS point in time?" 

I think I'll keep reading and find out what the world will come down to...

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1 hour ago, Mierinx said:

Why does THIS event happen at THIS point in time?" 

I really don't get what you mean here. Do you find the events forced? Can you explain a little more clearly, maybe?

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My observations about Sanderson books are that pretty much everything in them happens for a reason. Sometimes though you don't know the real reason until the end of the book or even the next one. As for the Shallan flashbacks - She deals with her problems by avoiding them and pretending they are not there. By covering herself with lies. By pretending to be someone else. Although I agree that this is visible more clearly after you read Oathbringer and how she deals with problems.

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On 4/17/2018 at 4:30 PM, Toaster Retribution said:

I really don't get what you mean here. Do you find the events forced? Can you explain a little more clearly, maybe?

Halfway through the book as I am writing this.

We get a lot of insight into the minds of Bridge Four. I understand that in the first or second book, they were kind of irrelevant to take a solid place in the stage but now we're diving into their minds. 

Spoiler

We have Jasnah back... She died, but she "faked" her death. When I first saw her death, I thought "of course, she had to die; or Shallan would always be in her shadow, never developing as a character. Instead, she is back. May I ask why and how? That part of the story is blank.

 

On 4/19/2018 at 9:51 AM, Xelian said:

 As for the Shallan flashbacks - She deals with her problems by avoiding them and pretending they are not there. By covering herself with lies. By pretending to be someone else. Although I agree that this is visible more clearly after you read Oathbringer and how she deals with problems.

In the first book, she had more motives to do what she was doing. Second book gave her similar incentives... And in the third book, she doesn't know what she wants... She still has a thousand things she's responsible for and is capable of doing, and NOW, she feels "lost" ?

I'm really enjoying the series, but some things do not click and the gaps just annoy me. I might have those gaps filled in the upcoming books (if at all), but right now, I have more questions in my mind and simply cannot enjoy the book :) *fingers crossed*

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On 4/13/2018 at 0:36 PM, RShara said:

If it helps, I believe Shallan gets the most screentime in OB according to the OB Statistical Analysis.  And you get to see a lot of her inner thoughts and...issues.

And Brandon definitely knows how SA is supposed to end.  I think he's said that he's already written the ending, and that how it's going to end is hidden somewhere in the first two books.

 

OB statistical analysis (Possibly spoilers)

https://coppermind.net/wiki/Oathbringer/Statistical_analysis

I had not heard that he stayed that how it is going to end is hidden in the first 2 books. Now you are going to force me to reread them.

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1 minute ago, Palindrome said:

I had not heard that he stayed that how it is going to end is hidden in the first 2 books. Now you are going to force me to reread them.

:D

Quote

Questioner

So do you know quite a bit about what the end of the <Stormlight series> is going to be?

Brandon Sanderson

I do.  I do indeed.  I've actually written the epilogue of Book 5.  

Questioner

Oh yeah?

Brandon Sanderson

Just to get into my head.  I wrote it out.  Peter, my assistant, sent an explanation point after he saw that appear in the Wiki and stuff.  So yes.  And actually the ending of the entire series of the ten books is somewhere in those two books, just like with Mistborn it was in the first page.  It's not on the first page but it is in those two books.  

source

 

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7 minutes ago, RShara said:

:D

 

This WOB happened several years ago and someone in the fandom has not figured out where the ending is hidden? Is there a thread on this?

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Nope, we haven't yet.  It's a tough one!

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On 4/20/2018 at 0:59 PM, Mierinx said:

Halfway through the book as I am writing this.

We get a lot of insight into the minds of Bridge Four. I understand that in the first or second book, they were kind of irrelevant to take a solid place in the stage but now we're diving into their minds. 

  Reveal hidden contents

We have Jasnah back... She died, but she "faked" her death. When I first saw her death, I thought "of course, she had to die; or Shallan would always be in her shadow, never developing as a character. Instead, she is back. May I ask why and how? That part of the story is blank.

 

In the first book, she had more motives to do what she was doing. Second book gave her similar incentives... And in the third book, she doesn't know what she wants... She still has a thousand things she's responsible for and is capable of doing, and NOW, she feels "lost" ?

I'm really enjoying the series, but some things do not click and the gaps just annoy me. I might have those gaps filled in the upcoming books (if at all), but right now, I have more questions in my mind and simply cannot enjoy the book :) *fingers crossed*

Bridge Four is the first group of people aside from our central characters who begin to glow. Teft mentions the glowing to Kaladin and we begin to see Lopen's particular pursuit of glowing when he begins to heal his arm at the end of WoR. It follows then that we should should see the mindsets of these people as they are able or not able to progress. This gives us a better understanding of the Windrunners and what their particular Ideals actually mean.

Jasnah actually comes back in the very final scene in WoR. I didn't notice at the time, but have since had it pointed out to me that Jasnah was a surgebinder and as a surgebinder she likely always had a bit of stormlight in her. Stormlight in turn lets people survive ridiculous injury and what better way to fool assassins than to play dead up until the very edge of death at which point her other hinted at ability of traversing realms allowed an escape.

Shallan is hard to deal with. As others have said she tends to deal with hard truths by burying them and covering them up. Her final scene in WoR is Pattern forcing her to confront an incredibly hard truth which throughout her life has led to dissociative episodes and inability to interact with reality. So Shallan being forced to confront this Truth and being unable to truly hide from it any longer is more than enough reason for her behavior to be erratic.

Maybe this will help to bridge some of the gaps you've found, but whether it does or not, I hope that you can continue to enjoy the world Brandon is presenting to us. 

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I finally finished OB... a couple of days ago... been digesting what I read before I came here to write I'm feeling and thinking in the end.

This was a journey. The book was complex, complicated and not-so-thorough. The gaps that I felt while reading the first two books...widened.. 

You said that the reader is given the perspective from Windrunners through Bridge Four. We saw them in the late in the book and some at the end. I don't think they were any different from what Kaladin went through. After all, they are all Windrunners... There's nothing specific there. 

What did Jasnah do in the third book? What did she achieve that no one else but Jasnah could? The only thing that I can pinpoint is the scene with Renarin at the end, but it could have been someone else at that point. If she "returned from death," I would like to know more about that process. Where did she come from? What did she do? How is her psyche effected by this experience? How does her spren react to all this stuff? 

My biggest problem had been Moash, I guess. Among others... We saw him through an internal conflict for about 2-3 chapters. He doesn't want to face the shame/disappointment of letting Kaladin and Bridge Four. The reader feels empathy. So far so good; then he "changes." and this changes happens for no reason. He suddenly turns to vengeance; and starts training the Parshmen. Then we don't see him or the Parshmen he's training for like half of the book until he shows up at the end. How did they do the training? Do they really trust Moash now? Was Moash's transformation so completely finished that the reader was not given another chapter into his psyche? Or was it enough to set him on a vengeance path? 

I have a question: In the first book, through one of the Interludes, we saw 3 people looking for a man named Hoid. What happened to them? Some interlude characters may be repetitive, and the characters develop there. What happened to those 3 man? and the man they hired to look for Hoid? What happened next? 

Overall, I'm thrilled to read the series as it took me three weeks to read the three books from scratch. Now I have to wait 2 years for the next book. Or I may wait for ten years for the tenth book. Maybe I'll be more patient when I reach my fifties :)

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