I know I said the next time we met it’d be to talk about Lansdale’s Savage Season, but I ended up staying home with a bit of a back injury today. In my invalid time, I read White Sand cover to cover. At 160 pages, it wasn’t difficult to do.
This is Sanderson’s first tale told in the graphic format, and I have to say that it was pretty good. I’ve been reading more graphic novels lately, and I would say that this one was solid. Not genius level like Saga, but come on, what is?
The story follows Kenton, a Sand Master. Or, well, a wannabe Sand Master. He’s been in training for eight years, and he pretty much sucks at controlling sand. A terrible shame for the son of the Lord Sand Mastrell, aka the leader of all Sand Masters.
So, Kenton is a hard headed young man, determined to prove his worth despite his fizzling and unreliable abilities. All to spite his father who wants Kenton to give up and move on with his life.
Too bad the guy doesn’t live long enough to see Kenton’s dreams come true. The Sand Masters are attacked, and only a handful survive. Kenton is one of them, his father is not. So now he’s left in his father’s place, and suddenly able to command the sand like he never has before.
But, the government is sick of paying for the Sand Masters. They’re an aloof and elitist bunch, who’ve now worn out their welcome. Kenton has two weeks to unite the Sand Masters behind him, and to convince the council to reconsider their decision to dissolve the Sand Masters entirely.
While Kenton deals with all this, two other characters are followed. Khrissala, the duchess of a kingdom on the other side of the world. She’s on the dayside seeking the fabled Sand Masters in order to appropriate some weapon that her deceased fiancé was after. Though they traveled together for a time, it’s not until the last page that Khrissala learns what Kenton is.
And then there’s Trackt Ais. She seems like a government sanctioned bounty hunter. More likely some sort of detective. She’s hunting for a man called Nilto, who she believes is actually Sharezan. Who that is and why she’s after him, I have no idea.
Overall, this was a quick and fun read. I think the characters are great, the magic is awesome as usual, and the artwork is really delightful. But… and this is hard for me, but the world building is kind of flat. Maybe it’s the format. Maybe it’s just too difficult to build the world with such limited text. I mean, the artwork does a bit of it, but there are a lot of things that just get glossed over and filed away with only a contextual understanding. I’m hoping that the future volumes will flesh things out a bit more, but there’s only two more to go, so I won’t get my hopes up.
I wonder if adapting the graphic novel from an actual novel is part of the problem. This work was not originally intended to be told in a visual format, maybe the world building was part of the sacrifice to get it to work well as a graphic novel.
Either way, this story is still great. I’m ready for the next installment, whenever that will be.
Next time we meet, it should be about Savage Season. Jemisin’s newest book is coming along well, and I can’t wait to finish it and talk to you all about it. My listen of The Martian hit disc 7 today. There are only 9 discs, so that will be over before you know it. Then it’s on to Coraline.
Basically, I’m doing all I can to make up for all the lost reading time over the last two years.
See you soon Blogland,