Review: White Sand

Graphic Novel Review: White Sand (Sanderson, Hoskin, Gopez)
wht_sand Book title White Sand
Series/standalone White Sand #1
Author Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, Julius M. Gopez
Pages 160
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Graphic Novel | Fantasy
Rating 3.5 star

Official Summary

A brand new saga of magic and adventure by #1 New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson. On the planet of Taldain, the legendary Sand Masters harness arcane powers to manipulate sand in spectacular ways. But when they are slaughtered in a sinister conspiracy, the weakest of their number, Kenton, believes himself to be the only survivor. With enemies closing in on all sides, Kenton forges an unlikely partnership with Khriss — a mysterious Darksider who hides secrets of her own. White Sand brings to life a crucial, unpublished part of Brandon Sanderson’s sprawling Cosmere universe. The story has been adapted by Rik Hoskin (Mercy Thompson), with art by Julius Gopez and colors by Ross Campbell. Employing powerful imagery and Sanderson’s celebrated approach to magical systems, White Sand is a spectacular new saga for lovers of fantasy and adventure.


Disclaimer: I received a digital copy from the publisher via netgalley.

Any long-time visitor of this blog would know that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. Some of the things I admired the most from his writing is his solid worldbuilding and innovative magic system. Naturally, when I heard that one of his older work – part of Cosmere world nonetheless – was going to be adapted into graphic novel, I jumped at the chance to download an e-galley.
It’s always interesting to look back to an author’s earlier work after reading one of their more recent, polished works. Astonishingly, Elantris, Sanderson’s first published novel, is still a good piece of fantasy even when compared to Mistborn or the Stormlight Archive. White Sand was written around the same time as Elantris, and so I held it to the same standard as the latter. So how did it fare?

Continue reading “Review: White Sand”

REVIEW: ELANTRIS by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Book title Elantris
Series Elantris #1
Author Brandon Sanderson
Pages 638
Year published 2006

Elantris—Brandon Sanderson’s first published novel—was every bit as promising as a great fantasy debut should be. Now I know why he made it this far.

Official Summary

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.


My introduction to the cosmere world—the fictional universe within which nearly all Brandon Sanderson high fantasy books are set—began with Mistborn: The Final Empire. Only after I read three more of Sanderson’s books, did I go in search for his debut novel. I have to admit, I was worried that Elantris will disappoint me after reading Brandon’s masterpiece that is The Stormlight Archive (will be referred to as Stormlight for the rest of this review).

I should not need to worry. Elantris—notably has less pages than each book in Stormlight—is a solid fantasy novel. Note that I call it a solid fantasy novel, not a solid debut fantasy novel. It was a pleasant surprise. Sanderson has always been a strong in worldbuilding and Elantris is a prime example of it. It has arguably less extensive worldbuilding than The Stormlight Archive, but this “weakness” can also be seen as Elantris’ strength in the sense that Elantris is much more edible and easier to understand than the giant that is Stormlight.

For those who have read Mistborn, some might be disappointed in how the story progressed, at least in the beginning. Sanderson took his sweet time setting up the scene. It was 20 chapters in when I realized I was hooked. After the pace picked up, the book was impossible to put down. The story took many twists and turns to finally arrive at quite satisfying conclusion.

Having sung all the praises for Elantris, I now have to discuss the weaker points of the book. The characteristic of Brandon Sanderson’s books has always been fantasy interspersed with science fiction. Elantris is not an exception to this. Since I have read Mistborn and Stormlight, I could not help but compare Elantris to the two series (as you might have already realized). I found Elantris to be the slightly weaker book in terms of writing. THIS is a good sign because it means that Sanderson has only grown better in writing. I also found the explanation regarding some fantasy/sci-fi elements to be rather lacking, although I do hope it’ll be explained more in the planned sequel. But let’s be real, I probably wouldn’t understand them either way. :p

The book was told from multiple POVs, namely Sarene, Raoden and Hrathen. From these three, at first I enjoyed Sarene’s the most, but as I read more, I became enraptured in Hrathen’s. What bothers me about the characters in Elantris is that some of them are quite similar to the characters in The Stormlight Archive. This is not Brandon’s fault per se. I mean, he didn’t know I would read Stormlight before Elantris. Truth be told, if the order was reversed, namely I read Elantris before Stormlight, I probably wouldn’t notice the similarity. The problem is I feel like I have come to know Stormlight’s characters more intimately thanks to Sanderson’s painstakingly detailed storytelling in Stormlight. Having known Kaladin and co, I couldn’t help but feel that some of the characters in Elantris are the less interesting version of them. This is also why I found Hrathen to be fascinating, as his internal conflict is something I haven’t encountered in my short time being a Sanderson reader. His journey is the one that touch me the most, even though he is not a likeable character.

Overall, however, all three POVs offer an interesting insight into the story. I like that the bad and good is not written as black and white. Sanderson masterfully showed us how one’s good intention might be seen as malice to others, depending on whose POV are you looking from.


Elantris is perfect for people who enjoy high fantasy, detailed worldbuilding, and solid characters development. It often cross my mind that Sanderson highest priority is character development, with fantasy took a close second. It absolutely doesn’t mean the fantasy wasn’t there, it’s just that he dedicated so much time developing his characters. Hence, patience is of utmost importance if you’re going to read Elantris.

If you’re looking for an Introduction to Brandon Sanderson Books, you might be better off with Mistborn: The Final Empire because it’s more fast-paced or alternatively—as I was told—Steelheart, but I haven’t read that one.

For people who have read Brandon Sanderson’s books before and wondering if Elantris is any good, well I have four letters for you: R.A.F.O.


Final Score

4 stars (out of 5 stars)

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News round-up

book news round-up
Hello people! I hope you’re all well.
This week, I found out about some book news/updates that I’m excited about and I just have to post them here! I also got some news regarding my blog so stay tuned for that too.

Book News & Updates

First of all, The Stormlight Archive update. It’s not exactly news, but an excerpt has appeared in the wild. During his Shadows of Self tour, Brandon Sanderson has graciously read a part of an ongoing Dalinar chapter in Book #3 of The Stormlight Archive. It offered us a view of younger, more bolsterous Dalinar, hungered for the Thrill, and very very good at battle. Read it or hear Brandon read it to you here. Anyhow, Book #3-currently titled “Oathbringer”-should be released some time in 2016 even though I need to read it now.

Another thing I’ve learned about this week was “A Gathering of Shadows” Fanart Contest. You can send in fanart in form of painting, drawing, sculpture, or even cosplaying. What’s the prize you ask? Why, it’s only a SIGNED ARC of A Gathering of Shadows, among other wonderful things. Unfortunately for me, it’s only open to US and Canada residents (not like I’m going to win anyway). Learn more about the contest here. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab will be out on February 23, 2016.

Speaking of wonderful things, the lovely Cassie Clare has announced that the first book in The Dark Artifices, Lady Midnight, will have special first edition. These first edition books will have stamped rune on the first page and an exclusive short story about the characters from TMI and TFTSA. Lady Midnight’s release date is currently set for March 8, 2016.

Blog Updates

Because of I am so excited for A Gathering of Shadows, I have decided to re-read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. It is one of my favorite books in 2015 and since I never gave it proper review, I will instead do a weekly re-read post on my blog. I am thinking to do it by part and there are 14 parts in ADSOM which means I will have finished it on the first week of February (just in time for the second book!). I am going to post a short summary and a short (or long) commentary rambling about each part starting next week.

You are very welcome if you want to join me reading A Darker Shade of Magic. I promise not to post spoiler for future chapters so you can join in even if it’s your first time reading the book.

I will be posting my pick for November releases and TBR tomorrow. See you!

8 Reasons Why You Need to Read Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive

I was writing a review for The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, an epic fantasy series set in the world of Roshar. Three paragraphs in, I realized that I was just raving about how great it was, so I decided to make that list of awesomeness instead.

1. The characters.
Sanderson has a knack to create characters you would not only root for, but also love or hate passionately. And it’s not limited to the main characters. In fact, many people, including me, have secondary character as their favourite.

2. The number of pages.
If the earlier books in Game of Thrones series felt too short for you, or if you’re unfazed by the number of pages in the whole Lord of The Rings series, good news! Each book in this series (there are two books out so far) has over 1000 pages. ONE THOUSANDS. Even better news? There’ll be 10 books in the overall series, which means we could expect over 10.000 pages of awesomeness. *cries tears of joy*

But, if the number of pages seem scary to you, please do not let it stop you. You wouldn’t even realize that you’ve read that much, it’s THAT good.

3. The secret. The revelation.
Sanderson drops secret on you casually. Fall asleep on one paragraph and you might miss it until you encounter it again 500 pages later. Casual, sneaky revelations that blew people minds were revealed passingly. Good news is there are many of those. Good luck spotting all of them.

4. The theories.
How do fabrials work? How does one bond with a shardblade? If you like discussing theories and plot twists, you’re in luck. There are many Sanderson fans out there, and they even have an online forum where you can discuss plot twists and characters, and found answers to many of your questions. And believe me, you’ll have many of those when you finished reading the first two books.

5. The rating on goodreads.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to trust my fellow goodreads-er (goodreader? goodreadser?). Currently, the first book is sitting comfortably sipping wine on its shelf with 4.61 stars rating from over 100.000 votes, while the second one is a 4.76 star book from over 60.000 ratings. Sure, not all the reviews are positive, as in all things in life.

6. The multiple POVs.
Multiple POVs is definitely not a new thing, but rarely it’s executed as well as in this series. Besides the main characters, you also get interludes from other characters’ POVs. It’s said that these interludes provide introduction to characters that will play major roles in upcoming books.

7. The flashbacks.
In the beginning of every chapter, Brandon inserted a short paragraph which acts as citation from references in the series. Through these citations, you could learn a lot of things not mentioned in the main story, such as the different types of knights radiant (if you’re not interested to know about this, it’s because you haven’t read the book *winks*)

8. R.A.F.O.
a.k.a Read and Find Out

On the other hand, I must warn you. The first couple of chapters might daunt you. There are so many new terms you have no idea of and these are just mentioned passingly without any explanation. My suggestion: keep calm and read on, you’ll understand these in time (or not. I still haven’t understood much of it, but it doesn’t make the series any less awesome).