God or No God, Brandon Sanderson is the Current King of Fantasy - The Fantasy Review

God or No God, Brandon Sanderson is the Current King of Fantasy

This is not an article about the article published by Wired – you’ve watched and read enough about that nonsense. If you haven’t, I will leave some interesting links at the end of this post.

In this article we are looking at how and why Brandon Sanderson is the undisputed king of the fantasy genre, with essentially no contenders to the throne. Is this about him being the best fantasy author? No, because he is not the best, but there is no doubt he is the most popular.

Sure, there are going to be arguments made for George R.R. Martin to be here instead. That might have been a worthy conversation a few years ago, but for now it’s Sanderson wearing the crown.

God or No God, Brandon Sanderson is the Current King of Fantasy

Sanderson’s Easy-Going Writing Style

If we were going to rebut some of the nonsense from that Wired article, we would probably start by talking about Sanderson’s writing style. Having a preference for a particular writing style is a personal preference, with some people fawning over the poetic prose of Patrick Rothfuss, or delighting in the endless descriptive passages of Robert Jordan.

What most readers agree on is the delight and ease in reading books written in plain, simple prose. Most of those fiction books you see on best sellers shelves in the supermarket? Plain prose. All those YA books that sell in the millions? Plain prose. The crime fiction that explodes off the shelves? Plain prose.

Why? Because, almost universally, we read to relax. Even readers who enjoy being challenged or want to experience the beauty of painstaking literature like to chill out on a beach with an “airport novel”.

An article by the Guardian describes these types of books well: “read for pace and plot, not elegance of phrasing”.

Brandon Sanderson has mastered the “airport novel” and improved upon the formula. Not only are his books easy to read, filled with fast pacing and exciting plots, but they also have a little extra which makes them special: they have heart and scope.

The heart is in the characters, themes, and intriguing worlds. The scope is in the interconnected nature of his stories, mostly taking place in The Cosmere, Sanderson’s fictional universe. 

I challenge anyone who has read books by Sanderson to say that they were not drawn in by his worldbuilding, or emotionally engaged with his characters, even once the book was finished. This is why Sanderson is the current king of fantasy – anyone can read and enjoy these books because there’s nothing complicated about the prose. They are designed to be digestible by all readers; and once you’re one book in, you are hooked, spending the rest of your life attempting to catch up on The Cosmere while Sanderson writes and publishes at a fantastic pace.

The Successes

Obviously, the first thing we thing of when it comes to recent successes for Brandon Sanderson is his Kickstarter campaign for his Secret Project novels. This campaign became the most successful in history, finishing with 185,341 backers pledging $41,754,153.

Nothing else can prove the hype the monarchy of Sanderson can drum up as much as this recent explosion in the fantasy genre – actually, no – in the book industry! This has impacted the industry as a whole in a way no one could imagine, with so many independent and traditionally published authors starting their own successful Kickstarter campaigns, whether they are for new books or special editions of books already out.

This is only the beginning for Sanderson’s reign. With the possibility of upcoming adaptations of Mistborn and the endless potential of adapting more of The Cosmere, this could be a dynasty that rivals even Tolkien – whether that is in the next decade or one-hundred years from now. 

We are itching for something new in the adaptation realm. Comic book films are more commonly a disappointment than they are a good investment of a few hours. Fantasy adaptations for TV have not been as good as we would have liked, despite the odd success. 

Sure, we have Percy Jackson and the Olympians and an Eragon show to look forward to over on Disney plus, but these titles do not have the scope of The Cosmere, and quite frankly, they also lack the ever-growing loyal fanbase of Sanderson. 

That Wired Article

I promised not to go on about that Wired article, so I won’t. But here are some people who did:

Daniel Greene

Merphy Napier

Elliot Brooks

Petrik Leo

Hot Takes Discussion

Related to: God or No God, Brandon Sanderson is the Current King of Fantasy

Owner and Editor of The Fantasy Review. Loves all fantasy and science fiction books, graphic novels, TV and Films. Having completed a BA and MA in English Literature and Creative writing, they would like to go on to do a PhD. Favourite authors are Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson.

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