Spoiler-Free Reactions to Beta Reading Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer

Here we are once again, oh friends of the Cosmere, this time eagerly anticipating the release of Oathbringer, third volume in The Stormlight Archive. Brandon Sanderson has outdone himself yet again, I think you’ll agree. As we await the day when this brick arrives on our doorsteps, e-readers, and audio players, here’s another bit of entertainment for you: reactions from those who have read, carefully freed of any spoilers. Not, however, free of teasers…

SECOND UPDATE: THE COMMENTS ARE NOW OPEN FOR SPOILERY GUESSING!
Spoilers are allowed in any comments after #85. If you want to enter guesses and haven’t finished the book, skip down and make a comment without reading the others first. You can come back and see who agreed when you finish the book. 

UPDATED: 10 more reactions!!

With permission from the beta community, I have combed through the spreadsheets for a selection of amusing, teasing, insightful, or otherwise interesting reactions. In some cases I have cherry-picked from a handful of comments and strung them together as one; in others, I have given a sequence of comments all reacting to the same event; and in many places, of course, I simply chose one that I particularly liked.

Ground rules:

These are deliberately mixed up, not in the order you will find them in the book. If you want to make guesses at what might have been happening, enter them in the comments – we all enjoy a little more entertainment, right?

Some of them will be completely impossible to deduce, and you’ll just have to guess. Others will (or I think will!) be fairly obvious once you read the passage.

Some of them will be from Part One, which has been serialized here on Tor.com, so you may recognize them immediately. Please flag and/or white out spoilers from these sections, so that those who chose to wait for the whole book will be able to join in the fun right away.

Within a day or two after release, we will allow spoilers for the entire book; until you see that announcement added to the post and entered in the comments, please be kind and don’t spoil the book for those who haven’t read as far as you.

Finally, sometime about two weeks after the release, we’ll post the answer key, and you can see where you were right.

With that… The Reactions!

  1. You smug SOB… You prideful chull! (Sorry, I swear a lot in my head when I’m critiquing so these are my actual reader reactions.)
    HA! I HAD NO IDEA MY SWEAR WORD WOULD GET CHANGED TO CHULL THAT IS HILARIOUS.
  1. “You little whore!”
    I feel like Brandon could be taking direct comments from prior beta reads as dialogue here. :D
  1. At the end of [this chapter], I stood up, calmly placed my laptop aside, then proceeded to pace around my living room waving my arms and swearing a blue streak. Husband, baby and dogs all stared at me like I’d gone crazy.
  1. [redacted] IS THE HERO WE ALL DESERVE ALSO I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT [redacted] IS CONFIRMED IN CANON. THE ALMIGHTY IS REAL AND HE HAS BLESSED THIS CHAPTER.
  1. This gave me goosebumps. I feel absolutely terrified at hearing this. Why don’t they speak of it? Because it was of great importance to her, but didn’t seem to be to them? I am really interested to learn more about this in the future.
  1. I am so scared. I am so scared. I am so scared.
  1. Every time I see his name mentioned now my heart starts beating a little faster.
  1. YAY! I thought it would work like that, but I wasn’t sure. It’s always cool seeing powers manifest in different ways between different worlds.
  1. He’s going to die, isn’t he?
  1. Can I just note how refreshing it is to have one character who can do this, and not worry about panic attacks in tense situations?
    Dude, I’m practically having a panic attack just READING this chapter.
  1. WHAT??? WHAT WHAT WHAT?????? Nononononononono.  (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
    Holy crap! I might be freaking out slightly. *tries to calm breathing* *fails*
    Holy f***ing s***snacks WHAT IS HAPPENING HOLY CRAP I CAN’T I CAN’T I CAN’T. I had to put this down and pace around my kitchen, that is the level of freak out going on right now oh my god no I’m crying I’m so scared.
  1. Oh no… that’s not going to be good for him at all. That’s going to be very bad for him, actually.
  1. As much of a jerk as you’ve been, this really cut at me.
    Fine. Now I’m crying. Despite yourself, you know what you need…
  1. It’s a little alarming when Nightblood is the voice of reason.
  1. Oh, you make me weep! You just don’t see anything wrong about him, do you, no matter how he treats you? You are far, far too good for him ::sniffles::
  1. This makes me super, super happy that I recently did a reread of Warbreaker.
  1. I like that he’s feeling like this. It seems appropriate. There’s good reason for both emotions. Maybe neither should prevail.
  1. The manner of [this event] was one of the things that I always wanted to know but could never come up with a satisfying theory. This is something I had never considered but it is perfectly horrible. It is what it needs to be for the story, but storms is it hard to read.
  1. WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE’S DEAD IN A DITCH?
  1. My feelings about [this character] have been all over the place throughout the series thus far, but this was almost a ‘WHOOP!’ moment for me. I’m… I don’t know about happy, but certainly pleased for him.
    Big WHOOP!! moment for me too! I’m loving the journey from “OMG THIS DUDE IS BAD NEWS ” to “oh wait I kind of love him??? and want him to be happy???”
    Same here. I have such mixed feelings about him. I love him and he scares me.
  1. Chuckle. Well that’s one way to get a ride. I’m looking forward to learning more about this Princess business.
  1. This is just… really beautiful. *cries*
    This!!! All day this quote. It is basically a deeper more poetic version of the life before death oath. This hit me really hard. I loved it. Another way to express my life views.
  1. Oh god, this is terrifying. Everything is happy. Everyone’s getting along. Oh no, don’t do this. I know a Hope Spot when I see one! I can feel the plot twist coming! I can feel Taravangian’s machinations about to ruin everything and everyone’s just SO HAPPY right now! AUGH!
  1. WHAT.
    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
    ERRRR MAHHH GAWWWWD yessssssssss!!!!
    ^^ Not only is this reaction extremely funny, but it’s also ironically accurate. lol!
  1. Bwahahahaha. This is like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon and I love it.
    We’re Wile E. Coyote right now.
  1. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE/THINK ANYMORE THERE IS ONLY READING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
  1. What?!!! Wait… NOOOOOO!!!!
    Excuse me while I pick my jaw off the floor.
    WHAAAAAAAAAT
    ACTUALLY FREAKING OUT OMG OMG NO NO NO NO BAD BAD BAD
  1. I’ve been waiting for this conversation for so long and spent the entire section internally screaming and I’m sooooo glad they finally talked about things and AAHHHHHHHH
  1. Pattern is a Vulcan.
  1. WHAT?? Why did they lock her up, the poor thing??
    That’s what I thought, soon followed by “Oh.. that’s surprisingly considerate, then.”
    This is more depressing than it really should be to me
  1. Oh, nice. That’s profound… more people should consider the question seriously.
    There’s ALWAYS a cost, dude. You already know that.
    This is so simplistic of you. It sorta fits with the Vorin religion, but… it’s just not true.
  1. OMG man be MORE of an asshat why don’t you?
  1. Lump. In. Throat.  I loved this moment.
  1. Shudder…my stomach is in knots right now. Traps people walk into deliberately are much more suspenseful.
  1. This gave me the chills. I could envision it so clearly, and what a horrible, horrible concept.
  1. Oof. Powerful and well written. I’m always amazed at what you can do with the restrictions of the Ketek form.
  1. *sigh*. I’d throw my iPad across the room if it would help.
  1. I AM CRYING AND SMILING AND IT HURTS BUT IT’S AMAZING
    I knew he could do it!
    YES! YESYESYES! Whooping and laughing and crying and OMG, this character is wonderful!!
    THANK GOD/THE ALMIGHTY/THE STORMFATHER/WHATEVER omg
    RESOLUTION!!
  1. HAHAHAHA Worldhopper jokes!
  1. I really liked this completely incorrect assumption that [redacted] makes. Nice dramatic irony and shows how innocent/naive s/he was.
  1. NO!! NO NO NO! THAT CANNOT BE THE END OF THE CHAPTER!!!! NO NO NO NO NO! *stomps, kicks, flails, jumps, tantrums* Darci is laughing at me and says, “”Wow! I wish I had recorded that!”” She wipes a laughter tear.
  1. “OH SH*T. Eeeek. Yeah Dalinar he’s super great… Oh no.”
    “Ruh roh.”
    “NO! IT’S A TRAP!”
    “OH CRAP NO”
    “Oh My God.. No…..”
  1. I almost broke my iPad because it stopped scrolling. Nuff said?
  1. Oh crap! Anti-Radiants & stormlight. Stormlight? Stormdark. Stormshadow? Everlight? Ahem. Well, that cannot possibly be good at all.
  1. She’s CREEPY! I wasn’t expecting her to be creepy…
    ^^ I expected creepy, just more humanoid creepy, not mist-like, incorporeal creepy.
  1. Instantly tears welled up in my eyes. I spent the next few minutes battling tears of joy.
    This was SO POWERFUL. He never ceases to amaze me, and this is just one instance of that. LOVE.
    I loved this part. SO good.
    Yeah so [redacted] is starting to be tied with [redacted] as my favorite character.
    AWWWWWWWWWW! Seriously, so many have been waiting for this since the first time we saw [redacted].

And just one more superb reaction at the end of the book:

“Forget everything you think you know about what’s really happening on Roshar. Oathbringer changes EVERYTHING!”

Well, is that sufficiently cryptic for you? Have fun, play nice, and don’t forget to mark spoilers!

And note the added reactions! (37 – 46)

Spoilers are now allowed in the comments, beginning with #86! Have fun!

Alice is a beta reader and rereader of any Sanderson work she can get her hands on. She hopes you are enjoying all the hype some small fraction of the way you’re going to enjoy the book.

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