Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: The Stormlight Archive book #3
1243 pages, HardcoverPublished
In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.
Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.
Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together–and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past–even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.
War is just around the corner…
Roshar, The Stormlight Archive, Knights Radiant, and magical armor, is on the brink of a new devastation. At the end of “Words of Radiance”, we witnessed the return of the Dustbringers. The new storm created by the Parshendi is wreaking terror and havoc all over the world. Roshar is torn apart and the Dustbringers are conquering new territories, enslaving people and driving them away. None of the nations are prepared for the devastation it brings. Faced with the threat of devastation and internal rebellion and unrest, the nations of Roshar must find a way to unite and resist the threat.
“Oathbringer” is a book of clashes that uncovers many of the mysteries of the first books. Brandon Sanderson skillfully juxtaposes the opposites and even lets us make very difficult decisions about the characters’ actions. The importance of morals and oaths and what should guide decisions. Many of the things we thought we understood in the first books turn out to be wrong. We rediscover the enemy and he is no longer a nation or a person. He is the evil that lives within us, regardless of our race or faith. The darkness that feeds on our fears and feelings and knows how to use them to its advantage.
The clash of past and present in the Oathbringer
The clash between past and present is strongest in the form of Dalinar. He is completely unraveled before us. The truth about him that Sanderson reveals to us is staggering. Dalinar’s past is bloody.
It is hinted at throughout the first books, but in The Oathbringer we learn all the details. Dalinar’s memories are slowly recalled and we get a glimpse of his wife Evi. The influence she has on him, and her violent death that breaks Dalinar. Sanderson breaks the character into a thousand pieces, each of which is a brutal revelation of the path he has taken and the deeds that haunt his dreams. We can imagine that many people would recoil from Dalinar in this book, and indeed the moral conflict here is very strong. On one side are his brutal acts as a tool to enforce Gavilar’s power, and on the other side are the doubts and conscience that are definitely alive in him. Should we accept that he followed orders like a soldier and acquit him, or should we condemn him and declare him a liar. For us, the character is still appealing and somehow, we find justification for his actions.
Beast or not?
Dalinar goes a long way through this book in his struggle to unite all peoples and prepare them for what is to come. The Blackthorn must unite Roshar. He does not need subjects, he needs allies. The peoples must abandon their enmities and face the common enemy together. In the Oathbringer, most events are political. We are confronted with a clumsy diplomatic conundrum. Dalinar’s past plays a big role in his attempts to gain the trust of the rulers and win them as allies.
Can we defend ourselves without killing?
The interesting thing about The Oathbringer is that, once again, the “enemy’s” point of view is defended. Many of the characters the author introduces us to help us rethink our hatred of the Parshendi. In fact, since “The Way of Kings” we have felt sympathy for the Parshmens “and were convinced that their fate was not just, and this feeling is even stronger now that we know the truth. Of course, Kaladin is someone who has sworn to protect those who cannot do it themselves.
The Oaths of the Child of Honor – Oathbringer
The Child of Honor is once again faced with a moral decision. Kaladin has been confronted several times with the truth about the fate of the Parshendi, and as a hero who has experienced slavery, he can understand their struggle. Through his eyes, we rediscover the enemy. The author skillfully introduces us to the life of the Parshendi and once again makes us doubt whether our judgment is correct. For two whole books we have tried to hate them and define them as “enemies”. The red eyes and pure malice towards humanity make us shudder. But the author forces us to see through their eyes as well. For millennia they lived as silent slaves, following the will of their masters. Unable to protect those closest to them. Bred and sold like cattle.
Ask yourself now, who is in the right? And who would you defend? Can we protect the innocent without killing those who are also innocent but under the wrong influence?
The Queen of Illusions – Oathbringer
You may remember what we wrote about Shallan in our review of The Way of Kings. Those who have read the series were certainly quite amused by the claim that she grabbed us with absolutely nothing. The image of the Lightweaver rose in our eyes in “Words of Radiance” and continued to grow in “Oathbringer”. It’s interesting how she went from a mediocre character in the first part to a driving force of the plot. She played an important role in saving the Alethi during the battle with the Parshendi in The Shattered Plains, and that role remains in this book. But Shallan is broken into pieces. Lightweavers has many faces. For each battle, she manages to construct an image that has the qualities necessary to accomplish the task. But she begins to lose her true self, and Shallan is less and less the main character, at the expense of Veil and Radiant.
Who is the real one?
The interesting thing about her is that she can’t decide who she wants to be. Shallan is weak and indecisive. She can’t even stand up to Jasnah. How can she prove herself to be a full Radiant and not a child who needs to be taught? Shallan rebels, thinking she is strong enough to step out of her mentor’s shadow. She finds her hiding place behind the image of Veil, but this causes her even more confusion. For Shalan, Veil is the strong and determined one and better suited to perform even the tasks set by Dalinar. She is an image that fits well with life on the streets of Kholinar. But understanding life on the streets and really growing up there are two different things.
Confronting the truth is the way she must go. She has to accept herself as she is, broken by her dark past and yet whole with her “illusions”.
The power to save
In the third installment of “The Stormlight Archive,” Jasnah Kholin returns to the story with a bang. The king’s sister knows she can be a scholar, a woman, a historian, and a Radiant. But people will continue to classify her by what excludes her from society. They want to define her personality mainly by what she is not or what she does not believe. Jasnah Kholin has always resisted this and will continue to do so in The Conjuring. The power that awakens in her at the end of the book is devastating. She is ready to defend family and country, even if it means making many sacrifices. Unwavering and unbending, Jasna becomes the starting point for everything that happens in Roshar.