Published: November 14, 2017
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Series: The Stormlight Archive #3
Length: 55 hr 2 min
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Timesbestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.
Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.
Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together–and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past–even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.
It’s almost hard to believe that it’s been more than 3.5 years since Words of Radiance was released, but here I am having finished up Oathbringer a couple days ago. I attribute this to the prolific nature of Brandon Sanderson’s writing – he’s always releasing a new book and it’s always a good one. I have to say, The Stormlight Archive and the Cosmere as a whole is probably the most impressive creation that I’ve come across in the fantasy world and as such the books are among my most anticipated releases. I pre-ordered the audio version of Oathbringer and then bought the hardcover too because have you seen those endpapers, the embossed cover, the jacket art, or perhaps the interior sketches? Yeah. It’s a gorgeous book and it needed to be on my shelf and even if you don’t plan on buying or reading it you should take a peek at it next time you’re in a book store.
I remember some years ago, this book was intended to focus on Szeth and, if I recall correctly, had the working title of Skybreaker. This for whatever reason didn’t work out that way and instead focuses largely on Dalinar and his past and present. As with each of the previous books there’s plenty of screen time for other favorites like Shallan and Kaladin – YAY! There are a ton of characters in these books and as the series progresses more and more are added, leading to more subplots. I really loved how this book filled in the outline we had of Dalinar – his past is brought to light one segment at a time and we really begin to see why he was/is considered such a formidable warrior and why others are baffled at his change in character. Dalinar’s story weaves seamlessly into the main story arc of Oathbringer and his personal struggles were very moving. The theme of reconciling with one’s past was heavily prevalent in this book and I think every single major character dealt with this – particularly the Radiants. This was a solid theme that was easy for readers to connect with and inspired excellent character struggle and growth.
Oathbringer is the most wonderfully complex story – so many plots and subplots!! I LOVED EVERY PAGE OF IT. The setting changed on several occasions, from Urithiru to Kholinar to previously unvisited areas of Roshar which was a refreshing change from the Shattered Plains and the war camps that featured so prominently in the previous book. The impact of the Everstorm on the people of Roshar was well explored – the devil’s in the details, you know? Some countries were devastated, while others had a chance to prepare, even if it was short notice. The subject of the sudden loss of the main labor force was also well discussed considering all the other stuff that needed to be in this book. Did I mention the shocking and potentially life changing revelations that happened in this book??? That’s not even touching on the plot twists that happened. Sanderson knows how to write an engaging cinderblock sized book, that’s for sure. If he released the entire Stormlight Archive series at once, I would buy it and gladly spend 500 hours listening to the audiobook because his stories just never get old or tiresome.
I don’t think I could have asked for anything more from this book! I am beyond thrilled at how amazing it was and that fact that I never once got bored during the entire 55+ hours of audiobook. Once again, Michael Kramer and Kate Reading had an outstanding performance with plenty of emotion and excellent differentiation between the characters. I loved how the good vs. evil theme has become even more prominent but the lines between just and unjust have blurred – who’s actions are justified? Do the Radiants have a right to do what they’re doing and do the Parshmen have a right to enslave humans in recompense for their past treatment? There are deep themes here and anyone that says fantasy is shallow or all the same has clearly never read fantasy. I have no serious issues at all with this book and would only like to say that I found Shallan somewhat irritating on occasion due to her many faces and personalities. I wholeheartedly recommend this series and am eagerly awaiting the next installment!