This week was the release of Brandon Sanderson’s first graphic novel, book one of White Sand. The appeal of this book for Sanderson fans is the prominent connection to the Cosmere. Which is the shared universe that features all of Mr. Sanderson’s adult fiction. I have talked about the Cosmere a few times with my review of Warbreaker, and the Mistborn Monday mini-blogging-event, here, here, then here. White Sand was the first work written to connect this universe but went unpublished, until Dynamite approached him about doing a graphic novel. And so, White Sand has been adapted, to be released in three books, yet uncertain when volume 2 will be released.
The world of White Sand, Taldain, stands very different from Mr. Sanderson’s other fantasy works. There are two suns that are in fixed positions on opposite sides of the planet. With one side transfixed in a darkness, the other a dry desert in the constant light. In the first volume released, we have yet to see the dark side, travelling to a few important places on the light. Giving the books illustrations a bright, achromatic look, that helps pieces and characters pop off the page.
Of course, when talking Brandon Sanderson, we are talking unique magic systems. In this work the magic is based on a connection of water and sand. Using sand to attack, defend, or lift its user off the ground; leaving the sand and user dehydrated. The sand that has been used turns from white to black and takes hours to return to its normal state. The user has to stay hydrated or be extra cautious not to use the ability to much. The stronger the user, the more ‘ribbons’ of sand they can control, with the most mentioned being around 24. This same magic has appeared elsewhere in the Cosmere, adding to the connection of stories.
There were plenty of characters introduced in this first volume, each with their own plots and parts to play. The main protagonist is a strong willed young Sand mage, with a serious problem with authority. He is saved early on by a group of travelling researchers from the dark side. The difference between the two parts of the world is evidenced by the appearance of the Darksiders, and the clothing/equipment they use. A third p.o.v. is introduced of an officer or investigator, that you know will be important down the road.
This is a different type of graphic novel, actually, this is a different type of story. Only typical for what we expect from Sanderson, and that is, new and exciting. Another unique fantasy world, with elements that not only work, but make sense. In this first volume we have learned about the land, culture, and magic, preparing us for a big plot. I will hold off on rating White Sand, until all three volumes are released. It is a great new style for comic books, and a must read for Sanderson fans.
Thanks booknerds, stay hydrated.