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. – Goodreads Synopsis
(This review covers both Vol 1 and Vol 2)
I have never read a graphic novel or a comic book in my life; this was my first introduction into that world. At first, it took me a few minutes to get the hang of the order that I should read things in next. With panes being on all sides it looked like some scenes should go first, but are in an awkward position and should actually be read after. I was confused in the first few moments with the speech bubbles, and the order that I should read them. Once I got that down, everything began to flow pretty smoothly.
Being in part of Brandon Sanderon’s Cosmere universe, I knew that I had to get around
to reading this series eventually. I waited until I get get all of the hardcovers to add to my Sanderson collection. There are a few hints that link this story to the cosmere as a whole, with some shard name dropping that might be missed if you do not know what the name is already.
However, the story does feel a bit rushed. I suspect this is because a graphic novel is not the normal length of the bricks that Brandon is usually writing. (Oathbringer was 1248 pages!) There are scenes that just hop around back to back, which is almost just as fast as the action that is happening to push the plot forward at breakneck speed. (I wasn’t even wearing a seatbelt!) I much prefer the tomes where I can read through at a leisurely place up until the Sanderson avalanche.
It seems that with graphic novels, dialogue is where the bulk of the story needs to be told. The art is what will have to drive some of the world building and narration that is usually found in the more typical book format. Once you get that rhythm down of reading the speech bubbles, the dialogue plays out a lot more naturally.
The magic system in this novel fits right in line with how Brandon Sanderson usually does things. It is crafted well, and always with some sort of limitation. This limitation happens to be when you use the Sand Powers (OoOoOo) it also dehydrates your body.
The art in this graphic novel seems to be done very well. I do not have any other graphic
novels to compare to, but it did enhance the storytelling. The art perfectly captures the fight scenes to add that extra flair. The magic system is visually appealing and is a perfect choice to be captured in this type of media form.
Right at the end of Vol 2, the art direction suddenly shifts with no notice. It is like they stopped and hired someone else in the middle of putting together this novel. It did not really break the story for me, but it makes it seem like something definitely went wrong during the project plan. The characters you have seen for the past volume and a half are now looking a little bit different.
I enjoy the main character Kenton, but I feel like even though he lost everything at the beginning of Vol 1, he has not lost much since then. Every fight he somehow manages to come out on top with some new type of mastery. He is crossing into “Mary-Sue” territory at that point. For whatever sadistic reason, we enjoy seeing people fail before they make it.
All in all it is a good additional to the cosmere, and there are similarities between the magic systems. You can tell how the investiture is connected, and you get to meet someone who has been on other worlds before!