Sunday, December 30, 2018

White Sand, Volume 1 by Brandon Sanderson

White Sand, Volume 1 (White Sand, #1)White Sand, Volume 1 by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My son got these graphic novels by Brandon Sanderson for Christmas, so it was my turn to take the first one for a spin. I don't usually pick up graphic novels. I read a few comic books as a kid, and the drama levels were usually too high for me, but given my fanboy status for Sanderson products I decided to put that aside and give this graphic novel a chance. I pulled on the beanie I got for Christmas with a shash mark on the forehead, and sat there in my new t-shirt featuring Kaladin and Sil, and dug in. Sanderson is a prolific novelist, so his stuff had to read different than a pictorial soap opera, right?

Well, the story and the world are well done. In Arcanum Unbounded earlier this year I had gotten a glimpse of this world, and the extension in this book did not disappoint. However, I did not find the graphic format helpful. Sanderson does a great job of creating his worlds with words, and I've never felt like I was missing anything. Here, I had detailed color graphical representations of his world and characters, and I felt like I had less. The characters looked too similar, and I ended up relying on the dialogue to figure out who was who. While you can get immediate details on scenery, and a feel for the environment, I just didn't get the feel of an arid desert, the way I would have had he described the characters experience.

In creative writing there is the maxim to "show, don't tell" which is good advice. As a writer your primary medium is words, and you want to tell the reader everything you want them to know. Instead you are supposed to hold back and show them what is happening in a scene, and let the reader learn what they need to know. While not a frequent reader of graphic novels, I think the opposite might be true here, to a degree. The primary medium seems to be the art, where you are showing everything rather than telling, and the pendulum might be swinging the other way. I felt starved for description and detail, even though I had more concrete images to help me visualize what was happening.

Again, I'm out on a limb here, not being a frequent consumer of this format, but I'm just sharing my opinion. It is still a solid story, but if I had a choice, I'd ask for the full text version.

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