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on 4 December 2015
I've known about Brandon Sanderson for a long time, and finally got around to reading him.
Well, that was quite a shock. I'd assumed that Sanderson, apparently being one of the hottest fantasy authors on the scene right now, could write properly. And that his editors would... well, edit.
Instead of a page-turning plot, blistering wit and snappy writing, I was subjected to a book that was boring and annoying until the last seven or so pages. The premise, of a bunch of humans suddenly gaining powers, isn't the most original, but Sanderson should have been able to handle it better. What really bogged things down from the start and ensured my impatience was the dull writing and the really, REALLY bad editing. Sanderson uses the word "softly" on almost every page. Sometimes twice on the same page. Once I saw two with only a sentence in between them. Adverb repetition is one of the worst, and most obvious, writer mistakes. The book felt like something an eighteen year old boy might write, but even an eighteen year old boy surely wouldn't make slip-ups like this.
Back to the plot. It trundles along in a formulaic manner, sprinkled with action scenes that make your eyes scan instead of read. Many (what should have been) fast-paced moments are broken up by paragraphs of introspection and info-dumps. There is a certain playfulness to the names that Sanderson has given his Epics, their random powers, and the totally random rules about their powers, but they're squashed flat by the utterly uninspiring story.
David, as our protagonist and narrator, is boring. He spends a lot of his time thinking up crap metaphors (usually at moments when his life is in danger), which I guess is meant to enamour the reader to him, but it doesn't. Megan, his love interest, is a different matter. She's annoying AND boring. Although she does get interesting further down the line. In fact, the only reason I gave this book two stars instead of one is because of the two great twists in the last few pages of the book. But those cool twists weren't enough to save this boneless blob of a novel. Not nearly.