Let me preface by saying that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors of all time and before reading this catastrophe, I have never given any of his works anything below 4 stars. Honestly, there’s no point to reading this – I mostly did it so I could complete the Cosmere collection, and I’m still conflicted whether it was worth it.
Goodreads Synopsis (Volume #1)
A brand new saga of magic and adventure by #1 New York Times best-selling 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.
White Sand brings to life a crucial, unpublished part of Brandon Sanderson’s sprawling Cosmere universe. The story has been adapted by Rik Hoskin (Mercy Thompson), with art by Julius Gopez and colors by Ross Campbell. Employing powerful imagery and Sanderson’s celebrated approach to magical systems, White Sand is a spectacular new saga for lovers of fantasy and adventure.
I honestly just don’t even know where to begin. As I mentioned before, I love Brandon Sanderson. I RAVE about Brandon Sanderson, and yet here I am, writing a rant review telling you how much this series has been a waste of paper. If I didn’t feel the desperate need to finish every book in the Cosmere, I honestly would have tossed this one in the recycle. When I posted on Twitter how much of a chore it was to read this series, the overall reactions from fans were about the same, that this work is not good.
Let’s start with the plot or lack of plot:
The first 30 pages of Volume 1 were really good. We learn about how Kenton made a name for himself by working hard, honing his gift, and withstanding the odds (some of my favorite Sanderson characterization tropes). But…that was the best part of the entire series. From there on out, there was literally no plot. I mean, I understood some of the characters’ motivations, but it felt like a lot of things were just happening for the sake of happening? From reading his previous works, I personally think this is because Sanderson excels at building multiple layers of plot that naturally come together (I mean have you seen the length of the Stormlight Archives?), but when he tries to condense his ideas into a graphic novel, there just wasn’t much real estate for him to work with. So ultimately, his characters felt shallow and underdeveloped, which then in turn made the plot felt very flat.
There are so many characters dumped into this series that I couldn’t even keep track of everyone introduced. They were all drawn to have similar features, written to have the same personalities, and the plot moved so quickly that I wasn’t able to fully comprehend their stories. Even though I was picking up this book every day (not because I was engrossed, but more because of obligation to finish), I still found myself asking who Kenton was by the middle of Volume 2…and he’s the main character! But that just shows how forgettable all the characters were, even though characterization has always been one of Sanderson’s strengths! And when the characters are underdeveloped, it makes some of their dialogues awkward and cringy at best.
As a casual manga reader for the past 10+ years of my life, I love to see good artworks and this series did not disappoint! The landscape and battle scenes were fantastic! Sanderson mentioned that this magic system was one of his best to display visually, and I completely agree. I loved physically seeing the unique rock formations in Dayside and the sand masters’ powers in action. In fact, I wish there had been more fighting scenes because nothing substantial happened in Volume 2.
For all the big Cosmere fans out there, it was also really nice to finally see Khriss’s backstory 😉
White Sand (#1-3) by Brandon Sanderson
Rating: average 2 / 5 Stars
Volume 1 – 3 / 5 Stars
Volume 2 – 1 / 5 Stars
Volume 3 – 2 / 5 Stars
Genre: epic fantasy
Pages: 160 pages for each volume; total 480 pages
If you have read this or are planning to read this, let me know your thoughts! (Rant with me!)