March wasn’t a very active reading month for me. There were almost two weeks in between finishing the last 400 pages of Oathbringer and picking up another book. Sanderson always puts me in a reading slump, plus I started my millionth Game of Thrones rewatch to prep for Season 8 (!!!!) so that took up most of my free time. Everything I read after Oathbringer was quick to get through.
All reviews (especially Oathbringer) have spoilers - you have been warned.
Oathbringer (Stormlight Archives #3) by Brandon Sanderson
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith series by Charles Soule
OATHBRINGER (STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES #3) BY BRANDON SANDERSON
Oathbringer is the third installment of Brandon Sanderson’s ten book Stormlight Archive series. After finishing #3, I am very grateful I read the Edgedancer novella (#2.5) first. It’s not necessary, but I highly recommend reading in that order.
I’m honestly not sure what to say about this series at this point. It’s quickly become one of my all-time favorites. Oathbringer focused on Dalinar’s backstory; which I loved, and I’m glad we got it in book #3 because it made “You cannot have my pain!” so powerful. It wouldn’t have been such a strong ending without knowing all Dalinar had suffered - but more importantly, all the suffering that he had caused.
I liked the humor in this installment. Kaladin worrying about Syl hanging around whenever he eventually got a girlfriend and he had sex, Pattern’s “No mating!”, and every single scene Lift was in were all really funny. I generally read with a resting bitch face, so if I crack a smile when reading that’s equivalent to actually lol-ing in real life. I smiled a lot.
Sanderson has got to the point where he writes mental illnesses very, very well, while at the same time managing to keep his character’s illnesses from being their one defining trait. Depression and alcoholism are prominent, but the one that was most interesting to me was Shallan’s issue. Dissociative identity disorder is probably the best term, but the most intriguing part is how it fits into the world building. Are all of Shallan’s order members like her? Is it really a “disorder” thanks to her upbringing, or is that just what happens to Lightweavers? Who is she, really? And most importantly - is she really worthy of precious Adolin?
Stormlight Archives is just…everything. I’m all caught up now and I’m dreading the long wait until book #4, but I trust Sanderson. Even though I’ve been emotionally damaged by other authors (cough GRRM), I have complete faith that Sanderson will see this through.
And for fun, a few quotes I thought worthy of marking:
“Hesina clutched her infant child in her arms, and her expression was one of pure delight, an awespren bursting around her head in a blue ring.”
-Page 90 (Y’all I cried at this moment.)
“Would you defend them, after what they did to you?”
“They’re my people.”
“That’s no excuse. If one of ‘your people’ murders another, don’t you put them in prison? What is a just punishment for enslaving my entire race?”
-Page 314 (Just to note if you’re reading this and haven’t read the series, “race” here isn’t referring to black or white humans. The speaker is non-human. Sanderson does a great job of making his story’s moral issues reflect the real world.)
“They will try,” Jasnah said, “to define you by something you are not. Don’t let them.”
“Relax, grandpa. Steal the rock. I can do that.”
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
ELEANOR & PARK BY RAINBOW ROWELL
I won Eleanor & Park in a Goodreads giveaway a couple years ago and figured it was high time I started it. After my Oathbringer reading slump, I didn’t want anything mentally taxing.
Eleanor & Park started out promising but about one third of the way into the book I lost interest. Every interaction between the two characters seemed the exact same. They never really progressed beyond “I have a crush and it’s exciting.” There were a few cute moments I loved, like the two sharing comics on the bus and excitement over their first phone call.
Some things weren’t addressed fully. Was Tina the one who flushed Eleanor’s clothes? It was never really confirmed. I guessed who was the writer of the creepy textbook notes about halfway through, and although those came into play at the very end they felt underutilized in 90% of the story. I thought that dynamic with the stepdad could’ve made the story better if it had been fleshed out just a bit more. Park being Asian was something else I had high hopes for but it would only be mentioned quickly and the characters would move on. I like reading about mixed race relationships, being in one myself, so I wanted more.
I hesitate to say “do not ever read this” because I know some people really like YA. I tend to like YA better if it has a fantasy or dystopian element to it; I think I just need to give up completely on contemporary YA. It does nothing for me, unless it’s something like The Hate U Give which I thought was great - T.H.U.G had a purpose and excelled at it. But if you like the YA genre overall and romance you’ll probably like Eleanor & Park better than I did.
Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars (Rounded to 3 on Goodreads)
DARTH VADER: DARK LORD OF THE SITH BY CHARLES SOULE
This is a different comic series than the one I reviewed previously. That series (Darth Vader) takes place between Episodes IV and V, while this one (Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith) takes place right after Episode III. Yeah, the names are confusing. I chose to buy Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith in the paperback volume version, so that I don’t get it confused with the other, which I bought in single issues.
I’ve only read the two Vader series, but I’m enjoying the new canon comics so far. They add a lot to the Star Wars universe and my man Vader is a badass in them.
My biggest complaint about this series is the artwork in Volume 1. It was very cartoon-y, almost a bit childlike. I mean, I know these are comics, but the art in the other series was wonderfully dark. Thankfully, Volumes 2-4 had a different illustrator and I was very happy with the change.
My favorite Volume was 4, because Vader’s fortress is just so evil and sinister; I loved getting the backstory on how he got it. The possessed Sith helmet was also an interesting idea that I liked a lot as a plot device as I was reading, BUT I’m THRILLED about it now that the Episode IX trailer has been released. Maybe that laugh we heard at the end of the trailer will come to us in a similar way? *chills*
Rating: 4 of 5 stars for Volumes 1 & 2, 5 of 5 stars for Volumes 3 & 4