This was my first ever Brandon Sanderson read, and while I had heard good things about his writing knowing how long his books were I put me off reading this book, well any of his books for a long time. I thought it would feel like it took me forever to read it especially as the rest of the series is of a similar length of book. In my Aims for 2021 I said that I was aiming to read 50 books this year and while I am tracking it (and currently on track) I was worried that tackling longer books will impact on how many books I can read. I may have to pick up a few smaller books to help my books read count.
This book follows a group of people whom despite their chequered past of heists are now working on a plan to over throw the Ruler of the world. We learn about their social hierarchies and some of the politics of the complex world. We also see our main character learning about the magical system and growing more into herself.
The characters are wide ranging and they all have clear motivations for what they are doing. The main character Vin is a resolute character who has survived a lot of hardships growing up as a street urchin in a harsh world. Vin is constantly on alert for someone to turn on her before this experience she has never had to anyone to trust and she is waiting for those around her to turn on her.
The dynamic of the characters is really interesting as the crew that Vin joins all know each other really well and have worked together previously which is why they can all trust each other so easily. As the book continues we find out that the group all have their own history and powers.
Brandon Sanderson is a very talented writer. Despite the length of this book I would have been happy to sit and read this in one sitting (though unless you have a few days spare I wouldn’t advise this course of action). I read it as a buddy read which let us discuss the book as we went along but also highlighted how much I was enjoying this book as I had to pace myself inline with my reading buddy. I was concerned that reading such a long book would make me feel as though all I had done was read but it was certainly worth it.
The world that Brandon Sanderson has created is very immersive and the rules of the magic system are clear and well understood, at least as far as the characters understand them. The politics and social hierarchies are easily understood.
One of the themes explored in the book is trust. As I shared above Vin has a lot of reasons to not trust in others, but this group make a point of showing her that you can trust others who you are working with. Often when you are working with a group you share a common goal, in a study group it could be to pass your exam or course, in a workplace it is usually the goal of the organisation, in a book club it is to discuss a variety of books. In all of these examples you need to trust those that are around you, in the case of a study group that everyone’s self interest in passing the exam will mean that they are willing to support others who struggle in areas they are strongest in return for support in areas they struggle. The group of characters manages over time to show Vin that this is possible.
Another theme is fighting a force larger than you. Working towards a goal when you feel you are rolling a rock up a hill multiple times is tiring you never feel like you are getting anywhere. The rebels within the book all know that the rebellion has been going for 1000 years with limited success. The group know that what they are doing could be a lesson in futility but if you believe in something you don’t just give up at the first difficulty.
This book was a whirlwind read, though it did feel as though I didn’t need to read the next one as it felt like it could have stood alone despite everything not being perfectly completed. It felt like you could see the trajectory of the lives if you wanted to.
I am giving this book 5 stars as it was phenomenal. I have the second one on my desk ready to read once I have finished this book review!