My rating: 4 of 5 stars
No secret that Brandon Sanderson is a master at world-building, creating new creatures and magic systems from scratch. The book is riveting and the characters are compelling. I recommend this to anyone looking for a new high-fantasy series to follow.
Shallan, as a character, is initially derivative. She is presented as an intelligent and quick-witted, albeit often insecure and shy, redhead who doesn’t realize how attractive she is. The trope is overdone. Due to Sanderson’s ingenuity, I was soon over this initial disappointment, and I fell in love with the character and her story.
Sanderson follows the contemporary broad-world style of character jumping, each chapter showing a new perspective. I feel at times he does this too frequently, and while the technique can be employed well in order to spur the reader on from cliff-hanger to cliff-hanger, there are many parts that only served to frustrate me, breaking my involvement with the story and causing me to close the book in disinterest. I always came back, of course, but would much prefer a more fluid narrative to a chopped-up amalgam.
Many characters, locations, wildlife, flora, structures, and magical aspects are introduced very quickly, and in a manner that I’m sure is crystal clear in the author’s head. I would caution the reader to just bear with many of these descriptions, because as the story progresses (and as illustrations are revealed) a pretty clear picture does eventually form.