This man seems to be able to do no wrong with me. I can't even explain why I love everything he has written so much, but I think I am fangirling over him at this point.
This was a beautiful book. It had a kind of power that I can't really explain. The characters were not all good or all bad, there were unexpected twists, the main characters were not just likable but the sort of people you want to root for, that you want to believe in and you trust. They aren't just main characters, they are heroes, and I'm finding that to be kind of rare in fantasy lately. Perhaps I am just looking in the wrong places, but I enjoy knowing that I have characters I can trust to do the right thing in the end, who understand sacrifice for others and honor as a valid, living thing.
I'm fangirling again. I do apologize.
I have a horrible time writing about books I really love. Explaining why they touch me so deeply is almost impossible. I can rant and rave about things I hate, I can scribble up decent reviews for things I liked, but things I love, books that continue to live with me after I close them, there almost doesn't seem to be anything to say, or perhaps the real problem is that I feel like anything I do say won't do them justice.
This is not a cheery, happy book. There is some dark stuff going on here, and there are villains, though never one-dimensional ones. But there is light in that darkness with some of our characters, who take a bad situation and do their best to make it better not just for themselves, but for others as well.
There are several mysteries to sort out, including a few we are privy to that that the characters are not. There are hidden identities, hidden motives, plots upon plots, and untrustworthy allies. It is political fantasy, certainly more than epic fantasy. The quests are politically motivated on some level and there is little real "questing" done. But watching these characters solve these problems is a beautiful thing.
The other big reason I think I love Brandon Sanderson's books so much is that they somehow always feel like they are set in Vvardenfell, the setting of my favorite video game, Morrowind. They share a weird amount of odd details, and this one is no different. If you're familiar with the game and enjoyed it, you'll probably enjoy this quite a bit as well. Even if you're not, however, if you're looking for fantasy where things aren't quite as they seem, but you can trust the main characters, a fantasy where there is hope even in the darkest of moments and a magic system that is fascinating and makes sense, this is absolutely worth a read.