White Sand (White Sand #1) (Graphic Novel)

White Sand (White Sand #1) by Brandon SandersonARC releaseWhite Sand (White Sand #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Published: Dynamite Entertainment (Jun 28, 2016)
Posted: Goodreads (Jul 24, 2016)
4 Stars (4 / 5)

White Sand is New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson’s first graphic novel. While it’s based on his unpublished first novel of the same name, it’s been re-imagined and released in a visual form. The graphic novel is written by my favorite fantasy novelist, but does past success transfer to this medium?

White Sand takes place on the planet of Taldain, in the author’s Cosmere, the same “universe” as his Mistborn and Stormlight Archive series. Taldain is tidal locked, the darkside is a place of technological innovation while the dayside is a place of magic.

Terrific world building makes Taldain and its people seem larger than life.

One of the great aspects of White Sand is its story and delivery. The story tells the tale of the daysider Kenton, a wayward young Sand Master Acolent (acolyte). When tragedy befalls his community, located in the seemingly eternal citadel called the Diem, he’s forced to travel with a mysterious group of darksiders. There’s plenty of action, humorous exchanges and Sanderson-style chapter cliffhangers employed at all the right moments.

The hints of a religious tension between the Kerztians and the Lossandins is handled well. While Volume 1 doesn’t go too deeply into the details of the Skathan’s Dynasty, the reader definitely gets the impression there’s more in store.

I really liked the scenes with the Trackts Ais: her baggage, background hints and role in the story will make her interesting to follow in the future. The smart and mysterious Duchess Khriss is also a compelling character.

The art by Julius M. Gopez is good, but at times I felt like it was “too cartoonish” for the narrative. While magic, combat, and some certain multipart panels were great, more mood-setting panels depicting the world itself would have been useful. I really loved Gopez’s panel layout which resembled shattered glass. His black and white sketches in the footnotes were also really nice.

In the final analysis, while there’s plenty of things to love, the art style and lack of any real resolutions (or revelations) lead me to give it a 4/5. Does White Sand works as a graphic novel? I think it does and I’m eagerly anticipating Volume 2.

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