Brandon Sanderson – A non-critique

I read Brandon Sanderson’s latest book this weekend – The Alloy of Law.  I quite enjoyed it.  I always quite enjoy Sanderson’s books.  He’s not in the top 10 authors I read by any stretch.  But he is dependable.  And he’s magic system building is second to none.  When a book he writes comes out, I know I’ll be entertained for a few hours.

I read this review of The Alloy of Law. 

Really most of the review is dead on.  But I don’t understand why the lack of cussing and having good, good buys are critiques.

I understand why folks might enjoy a book with more swearing.  Or one without made up cusses.  I do.  I read Fort Freak this weekend too.  There was certainly a lot of swearing in that too.

I can also understand why people might want a bit more grey in their setups and protagonists.  I love Noir myself.  I get that.  That is cool.

What I don’t understand is why Sanderson not having those things is bad.  Give me variety I say.  GRRM may be my current favorite author, but I don’t want all my fantasy to be A song of Ice and Fire.  (And there is a lot of ASOIAF rips out there right now.)

Sanderson provides something different.  And his dialogue and characterization is getting better with each book.

I read another article this week about how most fantasy is Western European based.  About how African or African American based protagonists weren’t accepted.  Or perhaps how it was African or African American authors who weren’t accepted.  It wasn’t the best article really.

Twenty years ago you could have said the same of female protagonists in Fantasy, or female writers.  Now we live in a post JK Rowling era.  Charlaine Harris and Stephanie Meyer are huge writers and paranormal romance a big sub-genre.  From my POV it seems that the statement stopped being true when it stopped being true.  But I’m fairly positive that it was through the efforts of many people trying hard to break in.

It turns out there is a market for female driven fantasy.  It is also true there is a market for African based fantasy.  And it is true that not all fantasy needs to sound as though written by Joe Abercrombie.

What we need is variety.  It is tricky.  It is easy to say, “This is different from what I really like.  It sucks.”  It is harder to say, “This is different from what I normally read.  There is something here to enjoy.”

My argument is a little bit diminished by Sanderson’s books being fairly fluffy.  But we need fluffy too.  We just don’t need a solid diet of fluffy.

Regardless, I recommend the Alloy of Law.  Enjoyable.  Not where I’d start reading Sanderson.  Maybe the first Mistborn book.

Hope you have something you are enjoying wherever you are.

(note: I enjoyed Fort Freak too.  But that is a far different book.  )


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