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Brandon Sanderson; Becoming the Top Fantasy Novelist

By Edited Jun 23, 2016 1 0

From Unknown to Famous

I remember the terrible day the news reported that Robert Jordan passed away.  Robert Jordan is the author of the epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. I was sad that such a great writer died but I also couldn't help feeling despair that the 11 book series would never be finished.  The authors family commissioned another author to finish the series and at the time Brandon Sanderson was unknown to me.  To me, Brandon Sanderson did not seem like a great pick to finish such a popular series.  The books he had published at this time were few. 

While waiting for the next book in the series I looked into Brandon's work and came across the Mistborn Trilogy.  Any concern I had about Brandon Sanderson not being a good successor for The Wheel of Time was completely erased.  The Mistborn Trilogy is an amazing work of literature and I will say more below.

Since Mistborn was such a great story my apprehensions about Brandon finishing The Wheel of Time were fading and when the series was complete I was very pleased with how he blended his style with Robert Jordan's story.  It was a perfect fit.  By the end of the 14th book in the series I was content and ready to try more Brandon Sanderson.

Structure and Grammar

Brandon Sanderson used to be an editor, he also teaches literature at a university.  The man is very experienced in grammar and writing styles.  He has a podcast called writing excuses where him and some other professionals give advice to future authors.  It picks up a decent size group of listeners. I mention these things to give emphasis on his technical ability as an author.

When reading Mistborn I could tell right away that Brandon developed a structure for the series. The book maintains an order in writing that keeps the reader from getting confused and introduces a myriad of creative ideas and description.  His other novels do not disappoint in these areas.  His sentences are simple and clear but that does not mean his writing is juvenile.  He is definitely and adult author.

Unique Magic Systems

If you are tired of the magic fireballs and wizard staffs then Brandon Sanderson is just the respite you need.  In every book he writes his magic systems are complex and new.  In Mistborn, the heroes have the power to burn metal that they ingest to enhance their bodies.  The Rithmatist uses a magic system from something like chalk drawings on a sidewalk. 

Unique magics and landscapes fill the worlds that Brandon creates.  His worlds are not just the normal walk through some trees and find an elf.  For example, in The Way of Kings much of the book takes place on plateaus with deep and wide chasms as far as the eye can see.  His description of such worlds allow the reader to really picture it in their mind.  His landscapes describe terrains with large rock structures, abundant wildlife and natural weather events.

Mysteries and Surprises

It's common to find mystery and fantasy get mixed in the shuffle.  Jim Butcher's, Dresden Files are all about a private detective that is a wizard.  Brandon Sanderson doesn't do mystery like detective stories but there is still plenty of mystery and questions that need answering when you read one of his books. 

The Mistborn Trilogy provides a wonderful mystery of how the world became.  It also has some great surprises.  He left clues in the first book that don't resolve till the third and while reading you will be hoping to unlock the clues after every page turn. Some of the clues to the surprises are hard to find and you gain a great appreciation of Brandon's ability to tell a story and to structure that story in shocking ways.

Visual Action

Brandon Sanderson can make reading a fight scene seem like watching it in a movie.  The action super hero story Steelheart, has fight scenes that are so vivid that I actually moved my head trying to dodge an assault that was non-existent in my world but was so well described in the book that I forgot where I was.

The battles in The Way of Kings not only offer a lot of suspense but you can feel the emotion involved with the warriors.  The characters don't just absent-mindedly and expertly kill, there is power, fear, and revulsion in the fight scenes.  When I read these battles I can't help but wonder if the feelings the characters share are similar to what happens with soldiers in life.  The author makes it seem so real.

Future Projects

It is obvious to his fans that Brandon loves to write.  I remember reading or hearing a story that while he was on vacation he took some time to work on a side novella because it was relaxing.  His website has a steady update for how much work he is doing and what level of progress he has reached. 

He has several projects going on at once so don't worry about getting through one book and not having anything more for later.  Brandon doesn't keep up with my reading appetite but it hasn't been a year in 10 that I haven't read one of his books.  I think that is really good production. 

Take some time to look him up, especially if you are into the fantasy genre.  Brandon Sanderson doesn't disappoint.  I would suggest that you start with the Mistborn Trilogy.



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