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Sanderson can do better...
am 3. Mai 2011
After finishing the book there is surprisingly little left. You close it, put it back in the shelf and directly pick a new book to read. There is little to no time spent pondering about the freshly experienced story. and, there is actually no desire at all to read the further volumes of the potential series, if Sanderson chooses to write more books employing this setting.
Don't get me wrong: Reading the book is fun. Sanderson makes use of a beautiful language and some epigrams are really witty. The book does not even have lengths or boring passages. It just isn't that interesting at all. I began to care less and less about the princess and her troubles, Idrian's fate was nothing that interested me after a while. Again: It is not boring to read the book, just a bit distant and, somehow, sterile.
Another drawback is the crappy magical system. Otherwise Sanderson's biggest strength and talent, the system used in this book not only does not make sense at all it furthermore appears as if taken out of some second class computer game and it seems once in a while as if the protagonists are wondering when they might gain a new level. There is no connection at all between breaths, colour and animating objects and each time magic is used one tends to thump one's head rhythmically against a wall.
There is, however something that really makes the book enjoyable:
Lightsong, a god being in doubt about his own divinity and religion.
It really pains me, that the best character Sanderson has invented so far, is condemned to being part of his worst book. The way he embodies a perfect paradox is charming and refreshingly different from anything one might have encountered so far in modern fantasy.
His verbal duels with the other gods and his priests are fine prose, nearly poetry, and it might just be that one accidentally quotes some phrases, just because they are awesome.
If you are a fan of Sanderon's work, you really should read "Warbreaker". If you have not read anything of him yet, rather choose the Mistborn Trilogy or Elantris, then maybe come back to this novel thereafter. And simply be it to meet Lightsong.