Ask me who my favorite authors are, and Brandon Sanderson will make the list. I was introduced to him last May through Mistborn, and from there I delved into The Alloy of Law, The Stormlight Archive, Elantris, and Steelheart. All of these, especially Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive, became favorites, and I can’t recommend him enough to fantasy fans. Here are five reasons why you should read his stuff:
I love the details of Sanderson’s worlds—everything from exclamations (Storms! By the Lord Ruler! Oh, Calamity!) to myths to money (the spheres of stormlight in SA are so cool). There are appendices in most of his books, from the Aons in Elantris to the metals in Mistborn. Oh, and don’t forget his magic systems, of which Allomancy is my favorite. It’s incredibly unique, practical, and detailed. If you want to dive into a world that’s fleshed-out and vivid, look no futher.
2) Deep Issues
I love how he explores deep topics, from what constitues faith in Elantris to the tension between Elend’s idealistic dreams of a democracy and the emperor he must become in Mistborn. Or in The Stormlight Archive: Can killling protect? What if the rightful king is doing a bad job—can you get rid of him? Is anyone truly honorable? Was Szeth responsible for all those assassinations? These books certainly aren’t fluff, and the issues that Sanderson confronts make them rich and rewarding.
3) Secrets Within Secrets
As Kelsier (pictured above) says in Mistborn, “There is always another secret,” and that’s part of why I love Sanderson so much. His plots are amazing—just when you think you know everything, he throws in a new twist, whether it’s new information about that world, a side of a character you haven’t seen yet, or a secret someone’s been hiding. His books are never predictable, which makes them so exciting and mind-bending.
I don’t mind fun fantasy, if you know what I mean—Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga, for instance (although it takes on a more serious tone at the end) or Donita K. Paul’s Dragonkeeper Chronicles. However, nothing thrills me quite like the grand, end-of-the-world plots of more serious fantasy books—Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, The Inheritance Cycle, etc.. Sanderson definitely masters that epic feeling, with plots with the highest possible stakes. You want epic? Read Sanderson. (And if you want Epics, read Steelheart and Firefight.)
I read somewhere the people will read a book with horrible pacing, cheesy dialogue, and no plot as long as it has good characters. I don’t know if it’s true, but I can say this: Sanderson has some great characters. Each is distinctive and complex, and even the strongest have a weakness or a fear—and the weakest always have something to offer. There’s David, with his goofy metaphors (which are actually usually similes), Kelsier the cunning who refuses to stop smiling, Kaladin whose lost everyone he’s tried to protect … from their personalities to their clothes to even the way they talk, they are all unique and real.
So, there you have it. Five reasons to read Sanderson. If you’ve read some of his stuff, what reasons would you add?