Have you ever found yourself wondering what would happen if in one of these fantasy stories like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings - the Dark Lord won?
What if Dark Lord Sauron said to Frodo, at the end of his long journey through Mordor, "Hey, that's my ring. Thanks for bringing it back. I've been looking for it. (Brandon Sanderson) If so, then author Brandon Sanderson's books are for you.
Sanderson is a prolific writer of fantasy fiction. His library of works contains stand-alone novels, eight series, several graphic novels, award-winning novellas, and several outstanding short stories. Most of his books are in the adult fantasy genre, but he has written one young adult series (The Reckoners) and one children's series (Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians).
Brandon Sanderson is a writing machine, churning out magical stories at a breathtaking pace. There's always something new to read when you're a fan of Sanderson.
He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1975. As a child, he enjoyed reading, but he quickly lost interest until an eighth-grade teacher gave him a copy of Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. Sanderson raced through this book and then discovered other great authors such as Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey, and Orson Scott Card.
In fact, he liked epic fantasy so much he decided to try writing his own. Epic fail.
But he persisted and decided to major in English while attending Brigham Young University. During his undergrad years, he attended classes during the day and worked at a hotel as a desk clerk at night (they let him write while working) to pay for his education.
His social life was dim, but he finished seven novels. Finally, in 2003, while working on his graduate degree in creative writing, Sanderson's efforts paid off, and his first novel, Elantris, was published. Since then, he's written dozens of stories and won multiple awards, including a Hugo Award for his novella, The Emperors Soul.
Magic System Created
Sanderson has become known as the "magic system guy because of the carefully constructed magic systems he creates in all of his novels.
Interestingly, Sanderson coined the terms hard and soft magic, now used throughout the genre. Hard magic is controlled and explained, and worlds that revolve around its rules can be created, while soft magic is not clearly defined but creates a sense of wonder for the reader.
All magic systems in fantasy fall somewhere on this spectrum. Additionally, he developed Sanderson's three laws of magic for fantasy stories:
An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic.
Limitations are greater and more interesting than powers.
Expand what you already have before you add something new.
And one bonus law:
Always err on the side of awesome.
Sanderson teaches these laws and other secrets of great fantasy writing to his students each year in the creative writing class he teaches at BYU. He loves to encourage new writers, and much of his website is dedicated to offering writing advice.
“Remember, your goal isn't just to write a great book, its to become the type of person who can consistently write great books. You become that person through practice. It isn't ideas, but a familiarity with your own process born out of consistent effort, that creates a writer. Set aside time and practice.
When he's not practicing his writing, Sanderson hosts podcasts, enjoys time with his wife Emily, and plays with his three children.
Let's take a closer look at some of the work of Brandon Sanderson.
The Cosmere is a universe Sanderson created where many of his books and series exist. Cosmere books share a single creation myth and a single unifying theory of magic though different characters and worlds exist. The Cosmere books include the following:
While the series all stand alone and do not need to be read in any particular order, it is recommended that books within a series be read in order.
One of the Cosmere series is The Mistborn Saga The Original Series. In Mistborn, the magic system involves supernatural forces divided into three disciplines: Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy. All three are based on metals that give individuals specific abilities.
Magic aside, the Mistborn books are a delight to read. The plots are engaging, the characters are relatable, and the pacing makes it impossible to put down. There's humor, sorrow, intrigue, and suspense in addition to the elaborate world-building that fantasy readers love. If you're new to Brandon Sanderson, this series is a good place to start.
If you want to give Brandon Sanderson a try without committing to a series, then pick up Elantris, his first novel. It's a gripping novel offering everything great fantasy readers crave, as well as the added benefit of being gloriously complete all by itself.
You'll love this book; it has something for every reader. There's magic, of course, as well as mystery, romance, and heroism. It's also a perfect place to appreciate Mr. Sanderson's ability to demonstrate the differences between good and evil, even in a realm where good and bad guys are hard to tell apart.
The Wheel of Time series is a fantasy series conceived and written by Robert Jordan. The series includes 14 novels, one prequel, and two companion stories. Prior to completing the final book in the series, Mr. Jordan passed away. He left extensive notes about how he planned to end the story, and his widow chose Brandon Sanderson to write the final volume.
After considerable thought and planning, it was determined the ending Mr. Jordan envisioned was too much for one book. Hence, to finish the series, Mr. Sanderson wrote three books, The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light.
It's appropriate that Brandon was asked to finish this series, as The Wheel of Time was one of the first fantasy series he read as a youth that pulled him towards the genre; he was first a fan and then a finisher. Books eight through fourteen were New York Times bestsellers, and the series as a whole was nominated for a Hugo Award.
It is one of the best-selling fantasy series of all time, and it has spawned a video game, a card game, and a roleplaying game. In addition, a TV series based on the books premiered on Amazon in November 2021.
Discover Brandon Sanderson
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