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JenniferL
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Put me on the side of the negative reviewers.  I would be reading and come across a section that made me wince and say "that's definitely not RJ".  I'll still read these final books but with nowhere near the enjoyment that I would have gotten if RJ had written them. 

 

 

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Put me on the side of the negative reviewers.  I would be reading and come across a section that made me wince and say "that's definitely not RJ".  I'll still read these final books but with nowhere near the enjoyment that I would have gotten if RJ had written them. 

 

 

 

Yes indeed.

Of course, we could never get the story as it should have been. It is strange, but it wasn't until I read this book that it truly dawned on me that Mr. Jordan had passes away.

 

Of course, I do believe that Mr. Sanderson was the best man for the job, and I also respect him very much for all his effort in giving us these final chapters.

 

But that said, despite the impossible task and the insurmountable difficulties, we also must be able to see this book as it is.

 

And, frankly, it didn't feel like a WoT-book.

I enjoyed several chapters and there was indeed some truly powerful moments that made me gasp. But I will not look forward as I have in the past for the next books.

 

I don't know if we who think like this are relatively few (in some sense, I hope so; all those who thought TGS one of the best WoT-books, I can say nothing than that I envy you); but more should point out the parts that lacked quality.

 

Hopefully then, Mr. Sanderson can adjust in time for the next books...

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It can for instance limit the EU's legitimacy on grievances that occurred before EU existed, locally. Some crimes do not grow old, but property loss surely.

 

Hmmm. AI must have read a different book from many here. While I agree that Mat was a bit off especially in his first chapter I found the rest of the characters pretty true to themselves. Unlike some I believe that Nyneaves' defense of Mat was spot on and exactly what I would have expected. I also do not see where some hear claim that the character's were indistinguishable.

 

I also believe that much of the criticism has more to do with the fact that some of the action took turns that specific readers had invisioned rather than the quality of the writing being poor.

 

That said I agree that the author's voice is different from Robert Joprdon's. Of course we were told well in advance that Sanderson was not going to mimic or parady Jordon so it should not have come as a big surpirse to anyone. Further much of the criticism seems to be quite petty: for instance the terms "for lights's sake" etc., have been used before in the series. Further as another poster has mentioned the phrases that people seem to object to are derivative of those often used in WOT before; and as anyone would acknowledge in real life commen sayings are often shortened or slightly changed in usage.

 

As for Talmanes I found the change in his character to be an evolution not a drastic change as others would assert. He becomes the foil for much of Mat's scenes and as such becomes a more important character than he was in previous books. The fact that he seems to have a dry and sly sense of humor which was not previously encountered has to do with the fact that in this book he is serving a different purpose than in previous books and his character was much more fully fleshed out. Nothing that he did or say is contrary to previous books, it simlpy that we now are seeing a side of his character that we were not previously exposed to.

 

Finally, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. died in 2007, noone could have written the books as he would have. Sanderson however has, I believe, done an outstanding job of reinventing his own writing style to fit within WOT. It is not the same as RJ's but it would have been unwise to have attempted to parady another's writing style.

 

Overall I found the book quite good. Except for the slow start with Matt I see no real problems and even there I found that by the end of his sections I was not noting the differences.

 

as an aside:

 

My problem is that the humour Mat was displaying was witty word banter, and that's not really him. He's irreverant, but he doesn't twist language to create humour. That type of humour is too post-modern--its writer humour, not something a character would say.

 

While I agree that this type of humor does not really fit in with Mat's character I totally diagree that the humour is post-modern or not what i real person would say. Jane Austin basicly is considered among the greatest of writers in the english language mainly because she used this type of humor and she was writing 200 years ago.

 

 

 

 

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While you may disagree with my point of view (and I disagree with some of yours), I wouldn't expect anyone to say that I was being "petty". I think, especially in a literary tale, that how people communicate, the words they choose and the actions they take are a very large aspect of who the character is.

 

Mat's choice of vernacular in this book was very different than any previous book. He is a rogue, not a jester. How many times has Mat said that he didn't read very much, or didn't have much to do with books? This is the same person that invented characters and wrote pages of backstory for each?

 

Honestly Mat's behavior, the way he was written and the way he said things are perhaps frivolous independently but the character is a sum of the whole, not just the individual parts. When taken together, all of these items compose a different character that who Mat is. A parody.

 

I'd've expected that sort of thing out of a piece of comical fan fiction, not an actual Wheel of Time book. I have no problem with BS using a different "voice" than RJ. I expect the writing style to be different. I expect the description to be different. I expect the characters to retain the same spirit. I expect there to be continuity in who the characters are.

 

I simply feel that while BS was spot on with many characters, he was off with Mat. To a lesser extent, with Verin and Nynaeve. A lot of people share my opinion to one degree or another about Mat. Many don't. There's nothing wrong with that. :)

 

I hope BS takes the criticism constructively and adjusts for the next book.

 

Oh, and I challenge you to find an example of someone saying, "Bloody Ashes" or "For Light's Sake" in the books before The Gathering Storm. I can't remember any (that doesn't mean they don't exist) but I'll be the first to say I was wrong about that if they exist before TGS. :)

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Oh, and I challenge you to find an example of someone saying, "Bloody Ashes" or "For Light's Sake" in the books before The Gathering Storm. I can't remember any (that doesn't mean they don't exist) but I'll be the first to say I was wrong about that if they exist before TGS. :)

 

.............really? People are complaining about "Bloody Ashes"?

 

I'm pretty sure that not using a word or phrase not used in a previous book in the series is not a requisite for writing a good sequel. Who cares if BS threw in a phrase that's slightly different from ones that have been used previously. Both fit in perfectly with the world that Robert Jordan created. *sigh*

 

edit: I do agree with you about mat being a bit off in general though. Those just aren't the examples I would've used.

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Yes, really, I'm complaining about that. :)

 

I did say when I originally brought it up that it was nitpicky but I didn't like it. What's so hard for him to stick to the norms already established and put in "Blood and" instead of "Bloody"?

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While I agree that this type of humor does not really fit in with Mat's character I totally diagree that the humour is post-modern or not what i real person would say. Jane Austin basicly is considered among the greatest of writers in the english language mainly because she used this type of humor and she was writing 200 years ago.

 

Which is why post-modernists study Jane Austin in detail--just because Baulldriard and Focoult and the rest formalised the discipline doesn't mean it didn't exist before. But that wasn't the point I was making, that sort of humour, the witty manipulation of words, is not the humour Mat would utilize. That's not to say its something that people wouldn't readily use--consider the success of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which turned this into an artform--its just that it was ill-used with Mat.

 

As I said it felt contrived. Like Brandon went 'I need Mat to be light and irreverant' and then used the writers fallback--words.

 

Generally speaking I didn't have a problem with the rest--Cadsuane perhaps overused 'boy' and 'child'. Didn't bother me. I found it incongruent and a bit cheesy that a sul'dam would be saying 'Your name is now blah, and you will be a good damane!' in the middle of either a battle, or a flight on a to'raken. Didn't stop me from feeling horrified at Adelorna's plight, or from cheering when Egwene killed the damane--much less from dancing round in glee at Elaida's future.

 

And honestly I don't get the problem with the Aiel, Verin or Nynaeve. I actually thought Nynaeve and Aviendha were amongst the strongest and best written characters in the book.

 

But I dunno--Mat's dialogue... I was actually skipping past it. But still that's one minor gripe out of a book of good things I have to say. And lets keep in mind that it can take time to get into a characters voice. Rand and Egwene, who had the strongest PoV's, were amazing. Perhaps in Towers of Midnight, which will assuredly have tonnes of Mat, Brandon will have eased into his boots a little more.

 

 

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On Nynaeve: I think that her character is growing, just as a real person would. She's coming to realize that her actions make the difference, not bullying. It shows in how she condescends to help Rand by submitting to Cadsuane (despite the treatment she receives from the sister) I thought her rant at Tuon was exactly on key, because though she would be fine speaking badly of Mat until she was blue in the face, she certainly wouldn't let anyone else do it. I don't think that this was merely a change because the book has changed hands, Nynaeve was on her way to transformation at the end of KoD when she sent Lan to the Borderlands.

 

I thought Avhienda was well done too. She was believable, and I was glad to see her get more air time. And as for Elayne being left out of the book, this isn't the first time this has happened with a character. Robert Jordan left Mat out of one of the earlier books, though I'm having a hard time remembering which one, maybe 8? and I believe Perrin was only given a tiny mention after in one of the earlier books as well, so its not exactly unheard of.

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While I agree that Mat's dialog was a bit off, I think him staying up the entire night to create his convoluted background stories fit in with his character. He was rightly paranoid, throwing him a bit off of his jaunty and cocky manner, about a darkfriend looking for him, so he invented reasons and personalities for his most trusted men to infiltrate the town and discover who it was and what they wanted him for. For me, that part was not out of the realm of possibility for his character. The whole women are goats or whatever he said in that whole rant was kind of off for me.

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I can definitely see the point about the characters essentially being the same with different names. I do feel like a lot of their individuality was toned waaaay down in this book.

 

One part that stuck out to me was Nynaeve's ardent defense of Mat to Tuon. I simply couldn't believe it. Nynaeve would have been much more begruding or at least much more ... I dunno ... condescending, even if she decided "outlanders can't besmirch two rivers folk" ... and that line of thought would have been pointed out to the reader that it was why she decided to praise Mat.

 

But really, she'd never have praised him that much. Or that vehemently.

 

 

Ummmm, she's standing right next to Rand.  The ta'veren who makes Sea Folk captains admit all kinds of things they'd never say, either.  She even has a small, "Why did I do that? moment later.

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I really loved the book.  I bought it Wednesday and finished it Thursday.  It's the only WoT book that I've read that fast.  I tihnk Sanderson has breathed new life into an aging series.  He obviously only wrote small parts of this book but likely editted the whole thing at length.

 

I used to find Rand the most boring, irritating character of the entire series.  On previous re-reads I would just skip through large sections of his emo ranting.  Rand actually becomes cool in this book.

 

I also liked the Egwene bits, but felt they were a bit drawn out.  The scenes of her high above in the tower fighting the Seanchan and of her riding her horse across the bridge to Tar Valon felt very cinematic.  I was relieved she didn't spend the whole book prattling on about how to manipulate this person or that person.

 

The Mat sections had no substance, they were just of him walking through a forest for the most part.  Perrin's were the same, but I don't like Perrin so that didn't matter.

 

The book was really a juxtapostion between Egwene and Rand, and I think that kept it nice and simple.

 

Verin's part was absolutely amazing.  That was brilliant.

 

I am glad that the series has finally killed important characteres off, instead of just minor people.

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Overall, I loved the book.

 

During the series I had come to dislike Egwene's character immensely, and when I heard that she was going to be a major focus of this book, I gritted my teeth and prepared myself for a long, frustrating read.  I am pleasantly surprised to say after reading the book I enjoyed every chapter containing Egwene.  She became the Amyrlin that would inspire awe, fear, and obedience from non-Aes Sedai and Aes Sedai alike. 

 

Mat's character was a disappointment however.  For me, Mat had transformed from the whiny, self centered, foot in mouth jerk in the beginning of the series to one that while hilarious and spontaneous, had become more mature, a leader/hero/general, and frankly my favorite.  To see him complaining for pages about how he isn't going to stop gambling and drinking bothered me.  It made me feel like Sanderson didn't "get" the character.  The good thing is that because Mat's plot wasn't advanced too far in this book, so he can hopefully be salvaged in the future. 

 

Minor points-

When did Aludra fall in love with Mat?  I didn't remember them having a romantic relationship other than some flirting.

 

There is no way that Aviendha would have stayed completely away from Rand.  After months of being separated?

 

Why isn't there an Aes Sedai making sure Perrin will laugh?  He is as bad as Rand!

 

Noticed that there was alot more detailed violence on Sanderson's part.  Egwene's detailed memory of Sheriam being beheaded was shocking in the WOT universe. 

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I love the book and for 90% of it, I was completely not disappointed. But my concern is not so much with the story as with the actions. As some people said, 'saidared it' is not something Mat would say, or anyone else for that matter, it's not just part of 'WoT'. Also, the real gripe for me is that while Mat is a bombastic character, he is subtle in his bombastic-ness, if I can be melodramatic for a moment, he's a man beset by imagined(and the occasional real) inequities on all sides. What made Mat funny was his actions and thoughts, never what he said. Also, his dialogue with Joline where he was basically downright rude to her, I get the impression that Mat would have refused but he wouldn't have been rude. But who knows, he was not among the primary characters in this book and that could change in ToM.

 

No, that could be explained by a new author getting used to the material and first time mistakes, and aside from the character backstory bit, it's alright. The characters who really changed radically are Talmanes and to a lesser degree Mandevwin. For Talmanes, he is the strong, silent type, he is Mat's friend, certainly, but he simply does not joke and he is very much a reserved person, this Talmanes was...well very different. And Mandevwin, why was he behaving like a childish twit? And why was he calling Mat 'Mat', from little we saw of him previously, I had this image of him seeing and referring to Mat as 'Lord Mat'.

 

Another concern is just how much these characters are thinking in the book. It seems to me that there weren't as much "thought bubbles" although I'm ok with this for the most part since it's a new author. And I liked Nynaeve's parts in this and Aviendha's too.

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As people have said before, Rand, Egwene and Cadsuane were very well written.

 

Mat not so much. I didn't like the 'saidared it' thing. That kind of killed the chapter for me.

Mat's tendencies to make overt jokes or the whole cliched extensive cover story was just plainly not amusing. It was like he was being used for purely comic relief.

 

Perrin and Faile on the other hand, despite getting nothing done again, became a lot cooler to read about. Especially Perrin, who's finally realized what a retard he was for the whole kidnapping arc. This book also makrs the return of characters TALKING to each other - Siuan/Bryne, Gawyn/Egwene(kinda), Faile/Perrin and Nynaeve/Min/Rand/Tam/Cadsuane(a bit of stretch but it counts).

 

I didn't really like Tuon's new name. I didn't like her meeting with Rand either.

 

And I really don't see how this book ends on a dark note. The Shadow's definitely losing now! No Semi, Grandael, Rand knows about reborn Forsaken, united tower, saner Rand, BA killed, Perrin less annoying...

 

Hell, apart from the food and some other minor weird stuff, TG should be a walk in the Park. Oh, and i also think that Aviendha's story could've been cut down a little.

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Would everyone stop complaining about the characters being "different".

 

What did you expect?  It's a different author.  He can try to stay the close to Jordan's style, but ultimately, Sanderson isn't Jordan, he never will be.  That isn't a knock against him, he's actually a pretty good writer and there are influences of his in this book that I really enjoyed (shorter chapters, faster action, more focused on advancing the overall storyline).

 

Did Mat's "Saider it" comment bug me?  Not one bit.  Perhaps I'm not as picky as the rest of you, but I thought his character was written well, especially for not really contributing to the overall storyline in this book.  Of course he's a little different, but I wouldn't blame Sanderson for that as much as I'd blame Jordan for leaving the series unfinished.

 

Sanderson's done our community a great favor, he's stepped in where Jordan left off and agreed to finish the story for us.  He's agreed to take us those final few steps so that we can see the full extent of Jordan's vision.  Perhaps the writing will be a little different.  Perhaps the story won't be told in the exact same way and some of the details will be different.  But different doesn't mean bad.  At least we're going to get to finish the story.

 

It's a far better result than the alternative.  When you move to post complaints and call this book a "disappointment", remember that there was always another possibility.  The book didn't have to be a disappointment.  It didn't even have to exist.

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Would everyone stop complaining about the characters being "different".

 

What did you expect?  It's a different author.  He can try to stay the close to Jordan's style, but ultimately, Sanderson isn't Jordan, he never will be.  That isn't a knock against him, he's actually a pretty good writer and there are influences of his in this book that I really enjoyed (shorter chapters, faster action, more focused on advancing the overall storyline).

 

Did Mat's "Saider it" comment bug me?  Not one bit.  Perhaps I'm not as picky as the rest of you, but I thought his character was written well, especially for not really contributing to the overall storyline in this book.  Of course he's a little different, but I wouldn't blame Sanderson for that as much as I'd blame Jordan for leaving the series unfinished.

 

Sanderson's done our community a great favor, he's stepped in where Jordan left off and agreed to finish the story for us.  He's agreed to take us those final few steps so that we can see the full extent of Jordan's vision.  Perhaps the writing will be a little different.  Perhaps the story won't be told in the exact same way and some of the details will be different.  But different doesn't mean bad.  At least we're going to get to finish the story.

 

It's a far better result than the alternative.  When you move to post complaints and call this book a "disappointment", remember that there was always another possibility.  The book didn't have to be a disappointment.  It didn't even have to exist.

 

That's not how it works. If it wasn't BS it could well have been someone else. You honestly didn't think Mat, Thom and Talmanes all sounded like a crappy comedy show? Rand and Egwene sounded the same, better even. Same for Perrin...Mat sounded like he got his old personality painfully amplified.

 

I'm actually well aware that BS is not RJ - I'm reminded of that everytime I open my book. But I do feel that someone - Tor, editors, his wife, whoever - should have guided BS through Mat better. I can't honestly look forward to Mat's ToM scenes if this keeps up.

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While I will agree that the plot moves well, the abrupt shifting of the POV continued to break my enjoyment of the story.  With RJ we got most of a characters POV in on lump with perhaps a bit coming later.  With BS we shift from character to character each chapter, sometimes two or three characters. 

 

I much prefer the previous.  I felt like I was watching the news; a few pages of fluff and an announcement that after the break I would learn something. Put the plots back together and get rid of the soap opera changes and it will be a much better book. ???

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Sorry guys but you're missing the point.

 

The story is accelerating.  Things are going to happen faster and faster.  Lots of story arcs to wrap up.  No time and no space for Jordan's, "I'll tell you why these three chapters are relevant four books from now." style.  There's only going to be two more books.  We either get it now or we don't get it at all.

 

Even with all that plot pressure, Sanderson manages to make Talmanes more of a person and less of a cardboard cutout in one chapter than Jordan managed in several books.  Still stolid.  Still reserved.  But, with a wickedly dry sense of humor underneath.

 

Mat's fine.  He's just starting to realize that he's in love.  And, that he's married.  He's freaked about it all and giddy besides.  He'll settle down and adjust.  He needed to change.  He needed to grow-up.  He's been stuck on 13 and totally boring as a result for most of eleven books.  Saidared is perfect.  It wraps up all of Mat's distrust of AS and everything they do in one neat little word.

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Would everyone stop complaining about the characters being "different".

 

 

This is the internet. If we're not complaining about something, our computers are broken.

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I think many of WOTs readers have set the bar too high for Mr. Sanderson.  The Wheel of Time has never been great literature. Its been great World building, great ideas and story arcs and mysteries that have left us breathless with anticipation over the years. Some of the books, FIRES OF HEAVEN and THE DRAGON REBORN in particular, are such great page turners that I can believe it when someone says they finished them in 1 or 2 sittings. Some of the latter books spent so much time weaving the various threads together that I would become bored at times. (Elayne sections, Galina, Sevanna sections) Everyone will have parts they dislike. Everyone will have parts they adore and read over and over. (Dumai wells--now Egwenes defense of the tower ) We need to just appreciate the fact that we are getting to see how Mr. Jordan meant his story to end. We are so blessed that Mr. Jordan had the foresight to extensively note and get onto paper all these great plot twists and turns.  

 

   Sure, Mat seemed a little off. Maybe Brandon needs to bone up on Mats POV sections in other books. Otherwise he did a fine job. Robert Jordan wasn't perfect either (how many times have we read that Vanin sat his horse like a sack of suet---too darn many) I thought some of the action parts more intense and personal than what we have seen in the other books.  Honestly, Rands encounter with Semirhad was horrifying and really had me on pins and needles. Egwene in the upper towers protecting the Novices from the Seanchan has to be one of the most exciting chapters in ALL the books (never been an Egwene fan but it had me pumping my fist). We also finally see where the Aes Sedai may have a fundamental advantage over Seanchan Damane in their ability to link. I imagine this may be the one thing that sways Tuon (oops, shes dead isnt she?) to try not using "chained" damane since they can't link.

 

   There were so many great revelations in this book. The bravery of Verin took me by surprise, though I long suspected her of being a darkfriend. (compulsion). I felt that Mats journey to the strange Mountain town was extraneous but fairly enjoyable. His story has long been my favorite (since he whipped Gawyn and Galad both at once with a quarterstaff), and I can't wait to see how he ends up.

All in all, I'm still surprised and chilled and excited by THE GATHERING STORM.    9/10

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Admittedly I found Mat's dialogue contrived in this book. The use of 'saidared' was the worst example, but it was consistant--the worst part I suspect was that Brandon used modern forms of humour in Mat's banter--adjusting words for humour has never had a place in the Wheel.

 

I was actually very disappointed in the writing.  Aside from the above, Sanderson had characters monologuing - either speaking out loud or thinking in explicit detail their internal motivations.  The worst moment in the book, to me, was the conversation between Rand and Damer Flinn about how much freer the regular soldiers are than he is.  Rand makes a comment, and Sanderson has Flinn go "really?  but you're a lord!  OMG!" [ok, I added the OMG - but that's the sentiment that came across].  At that moment, Flinn wasn't an actual character - he was a cardboard cutout prompting an utterly unnecessary explanation of why Rand was less free.

 

Sanderson also needs to know when less is more.  "Close, like an assassin breathing his foul breath on the back of your neck" works much better as "Close, like an assassin breathing on the back of your neck" or "like an assassin's breath on the back of your neck"(actually, that's a trite analogy and should have been scrapped altogether, but if it had to be in there at all . . ."  Or in the prologue, where the suldam turns away so they don't see the tears in her eyes - a great writer would just describe the tears, and trust the reader to fill in the whys.  Sanderson writes the whys in.  (It's the same underlying problem as the monologuing, IMO - Sanderson doesn't trust the reader to fill in the blank, so he spoon feeds us).

 

In the end, I think these are correctable flaws; the trust issue in particular is the mark of a younger writer.

 

(BTW, to give you an idea of what that trust is about, I just read a short story from Tad Williams where he described creating a character as the reader and writer joining to "make a baby":

 

Let's make a baby: a writer's child . . . If I write "our baby is small and dark and round cheeked, with green eyes shading to turquoise around the pupils, with hair as black and shiny as a silk kimono," I have begun to make a child, but you have not really done your part . . . If I say instead "our baby is small, with a face that will someday be beautiful, but is now only an admonition to a parent's love, with eyes faintly peevish and hair as soft as a whisper," I have sacrificed some of the hard edge of realistic description, but I have allowed you to do your part, to add your genes to mine.  The writer's child will now take on a shape even more particular to you - hair dark or fair, as you choose, eyes of any color that seems true at the moment that you read.  Thus, I sow, you nurture, and together we will make something that is unique to us two.

 

Sanderson's writing, right now, is too much of the former and too little of the latter to be great.  Good, yes - great?  No.)

 

That said, from a pure plot perspective, you'd have to be nuts not to like this book.

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