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River of Souls: A Review and Analysis of Brandon Sanderson's Short Story Set in The Wheel of Time



Brandon Sanderson River Of Souls: A Review




If you are a fan of fantasy novels, you have probably heard of Brandon Sanderson, one of the most prolific and popular authors in the genre. He is best known for his epic series The Stormlight Archive and Mistborn, as well as for completing Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time after his death. But did you know that he also wrote a short story called River of Souls, set in the same world as The Wheel of Time? In this article, we will review this hidden gem and explore its themes, characters, and connections to other works by Sanderson.




Brandon Sanderson River Of Souls.epub



Introduction




Who is Brandon Sanderson?




Brandon Sanderson is an American fantasy author who was born in 1975 in Nebraska. He grew up reading books by J.R.R. Tolkien, Orson Scott Card, and Isaac Asimov, among others. He started writing his own stories when he was a teenager, and published his first novel, Elantris, in 2005. Since then, he has written over 30 books, including standalone novels, novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and children's books. He is also a professor of creative writing at Brigham Young University.


What is River of Souls?




River of Souls is a short story that was originally published in 2013 as part of an anthology called Unfettered, edited by Shawn Speakman. It is set in the world of The Wheel of Time, a series of 14 books by Robert Jordan that span thousands of years of history and feature a complex magic system and a rich mythology. Sanderson was chosen by Jordan's widow to finish the series after Jordan died in 2007. He wrote the final three books based on Jordan's notes and outlines.


River of Souls is a deleted scene from the last book, A Memory of Light. It focuses on one of the secondary characters, Bao the Wyld, who is also known as Demandred, one of the main antagonists. It reveals his backstory and motivations, as well as some secrets about the world and its magic. It is considered canon by Sanderson and Jordan's estate, but it is not essential to understand the main plot of The Wheel of Time.


Why should you read it?




If you are a fan of The Wheel of Time, you should read River of Souls for several reasons. First, it gives you more insight into one of the most mysterious and powerful characters in the series, who plays a crucial role in the final battle. Second, it expands your knowledge of the world and its history, especially regarding a continent called Shara that is rarely mentioned or explored in the main books. Third, it showcases Sanderson's skill as a writer and his respect for Jordan's vision.


If you are not familiar with The Wheel of Time, you can still enjoy River of Souls as a standalone story. It has enough exposition and context to make sense on its own, and it introduces you to some fascinating concepts and themes that are common in Sanderson's works. You might even be tempted to read the whole series after reading this story.


Summary of the story




The setting




The story takes place in Shara, a continent that lies east of the main setting of The Wheel of Time. Shara is a mysterious and isolated land, ruled by a secretive and oppressive regime called the Ayyad. The Ayyad are a group of channelers, people who can use the One Power, a form of magic that draws from two opposing forces: saidin and saidar. The Ayyad control the population through fear and propaganda, and keep the channelers in a strict hierarchy based on their strength and gender.


The characters




The main character of the story is Bao the Wyld, who is also known as Demandred, one of the Forsaken. The Forsaken are 13 ancient channelers who swore allegiance to the Dark One, an evil entity who wants to destroy the world and remake it in his image. The Forsaken were sealed away by the Creator, the opposite force of the Dark One, along with their master, but they were freed at the beginning of The Wheel of Time. They have been plotting and scheming to bring about the Last Battle, the final confrontation between the forces of light and darkness.


Bao is one of the most powerful and cunning of the Forsaken. He was once a nobleman and a general in his original world, but he grew jealous and resentful of Lews Therin Telamon, the leader of the forces of light and the Dragon, a prophesied hero who would be reborn to fight the Dark One. Bao joined the Dark One in hopes of surpassing Lews Therin and proving himself as his equal or better.


Bao has been hiding in Shara for centuries, posing as a simple wanderer and a healer. He has been manipulating the Ayyad and the Sharans, using his knowledge and charisma to gain their trust and admiration. He has also been fulfilling various prophecies that foretell the coming of the Wyld, a savior who will lead Shara to glory and conquer the world.


The other characters in the story are mostly Sharans who follow Bao or oppose him. They include:


  • Shendla, Bao's lover and a powerful Ayyad. She is loyal and devoted to him, but she also has her own ambitions and secrets.



  • Graendal, another Forsaken who has infiltrated Shara as an Ayyad. She is a master of manipulation and mind control, and she has been working against Bao for her own reasons.



  • Mora, a young Ayyad who is fascinated by Bao and his teachings. He is curious and rebellious, but also naive and impressionable.



  • Yanet, an old Ayyad who is suspicious of Bao and his motives. She is wise and experienced, but also rigid and conservative.



  • Shanal, a Sharan warrior who serves Bao as his bodyguard. He is brave and loyal, but also violent and ruthless.



The plot




The story begins with Bao leading a group of Sharans to a hidden valley where he claims to have found something important. He reveals that it is a portal to another world, called Sindhol. Sindhol is a parallel dimension where time flows differently, and where souls go after death. It is also where the Dark One's prison is located.


Bao explains that he wants to enter Sindhol to find an artifact called Sakarnen, a powerful sa'angreal that can amplify his channeling abilities. A sa'angreal is a rare and ancient device that was created by the Age of Legends, a civilization that existed before the Breaking of the World, a cataclysmic event that destroyed most of the world and its wonders. Bao says that he needs Sakarnen to fulfill his destiny as the Wyld and to defeat Lews Therin, who has been reborn as Rand al'Thor, the current Dragon.


Bao also reveals that he has been preparing for this moment for a long time, by gathering loyal followers, spreading rumors and prophecies, and killing anyone who might oppose him or expose him. He admits that he is not really the Wyld, but rather Demandred, one of the Forsaken. He says that he does not care about Shara or its people, but only about his own glory and revenge.


Some of his followers are shocked and betrayed by his confession, while others are awed and inspired by his power and ambition. Bao orders them to follow him into Sindhol or die. He then enters the portal with Shendla, Mora, Shanal, and some others.


```html Analysis of the themes




Identity and memory




One of the main themes of the story is identity and memory, and how they shape our actions and choices. Bao is a character who is obsessed with his identity as Demandred, and his memory of his rivalry with Lews Therin. He has spent centuries trying to emulate or surpass him, and he has sacrificed everything else for his goal. He does not care about the people he uses or hurts, or the consequences of his actions. He only cares about proving himself to the world and to the Dark One.


However, his identity and memory are also challenged and questioned in the story. He learns that some of his memories are false or manipulated by Graendal, who has been spying on him and influencing him. He also realizes that he has developed some feelings and attachments to Shara and its people, especially Shendla. He wonders if he is still Demandred, or if he has become Bao, or something else.


In contrast, some of the other characters in the story have different views on identity and memory. Shendla is a character who has multiple identities and memories, as she is a reincarnated soul who can remember her past lives. She uses this knowledge to her advantage, but she also struggles with her sense of self and purpose. She loves Bao, but she also fears him and his plans. She wants to be free, but she also wants to belong.


Mora is a character who has a curious and open-minded identity and memory. He is fascinated by Bao and his teachings, and he wants to learn more about the world and its secrets. He does not blindly follow Bao, but he also does not reject him. He questions everything, but he also accepts everything. He is willing to change and grow, but he also stays true to himself.


Fate and free will




Another theme of the story is fate and free will, and how they affect our destiny and outcomes. Bao is a character who believes in fate, and that he is destined to be the Wyld and to fight Lews Therin. He thinks that everything that happens in his life is part of a grand plan by the Dark One or the Pattern, the cosmic force that shapes reality. He does not believe in free will, or that he can choose a different path or outcome.


However, his belief in fate is also challenged and tested in the story. He learns that some of the prophecies he has fulfilled are fake or manipulated by Graendal, who has been creating false signs and events to deceive him and others. He also faces unexpected obstacles and setbacks in his quest for Sakarnen, such as the interference of other Forsaken, the resistance of some Sharans, and the unpredictability of Sindhol. He realizes that fate is not as certain or clear as he thought.


In contrast, some of the other characters in the story have different views on fate and free will. Graendal is a character who believes in free will, and that she can shape her own destiny and outcomes. She does not follow any prophecies or plans, but rather makes her own schemes and plots. She uses her power and cunning to manipulate others and events to her advantage. She does not care about fate, or what others think or expect of her.


Shanal is a character who has a balanced view on fate and free will. He follows Bao as his leader and savior, but he also makes his own decisions and actions. He respects Bao's authority and vision, but he also challenges him when he disagrees or doubts him. He trusts Bao's fate, but he also protects his free will.


Death and rebirth




A final theme of the story is death and rebirth, and how they relate to our existence and meaning. Bao is a character who has experienced death and rebirth many times in his long life. He has died physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and morally. He has been reborn as different personas, roles, names, and identities. He has seen the world change around him, while he remains unchanged.


However, his experience of death and rebirth is also explored and questioned in the story. He enters Sindhol, a place where death and rebirth are literal and constant. He sees souls being devoured or recycled by the Dark One's prison. He encounters his own soul, which is different from his current self. He faces the possibility of his final death, or his ultimate rebirth.


In contrast, some of the other characters in the story have different experiences and views on death and rebirth. Shendla is a character who has a natural and positive experience of death and rebirth. She remembers her past lives and deaths, and she embraces them as part of her cycle and growth. She does not fear death, but rather sees it as a transition and a renewal.


Yanet is a character who has a unnatural and negative experience of death and rebirth. She is killed by Bao, but she is brought back to life by Graendal, who uses her as a puppet and a spy. She does not remember her death, but she feels its effects on her body and mind. She fears death, but she also fears life.


Comparison with other works




How does it fit in the Cosmere?




One of the most interesting aspects of River of Souls is that it is not only set in the world of The Wheel of Time, but also in the Cosmere, a larger universe that connects most of Sanderson's works. The Cosmere is a concept that Sanderson created to link his different series and stories, such as Mistborn, Stormlight Archive, Elantris, Warbreaker, and others. The Cosmere consists of multiple planets and realms, each with its own magic system and history. The Cosmere also has its own rules and laws, such as the three realms of existence (physical, cognitive, and spiritual), the Shards of Adonalsium (fragments of a god-like power that influence different worlds), and the Hoid (a mysterious character who appears in different forms and times).


River of Souls is one of the few stories that explicitly references the Cosmere and its elements. For example, Sindhol is described as a cognitive realm, similar to Shadesmar in Stormlight Archive or the Cognitive Realm in Mistborn. Sakarnen is implied to be a Shardblade, a weapon that can cut through anything and is connected to a Shard of Adonalsium. Bao mentions that he has visited other worlds in the Cosmere, such as Scadrial (the planet of Mistborn) and Sel (the planet of Elantris). He also hints that he has met Hoid, who he calls Cephandrius.


River of Souls is a rare example of Sanderson combining his own original ideas with Jordan's legacy. It shows his respect for Jordan's work, but also his creativity and vision. It also shows his ability to create complex and coherent worlds and systems that can appeal to different readers and fans.


How does it differ from Wheel of Time?




Another interesting aspect of River of Souls is that it is not only set in the Cosmere, but also in a different version of The Wheel of Time. The Wheel of Time is a series that has its own rules and laws, such as the Wheel of Time (a cyclical concept of time that repeats itself), the Pattern (a tapestry of reality that weaves the lives and actions of people), the One Power (a form of magic that draws from two opposing forces), and the Ta'veren (people who have a strong influence on the Pattern and events).


River of Souls is one of the few stories that deviates from or contradicts some of these rules and laws. For example, Sindhol is described as a place where time flows differently, and where souls can be destroyed or altered. Sakarnen is implied to be a weapon that can cut through the Pattern itself, and affect the Wheel of Time. Bao mentions that he has visited other worlds that are not part of the Wheel of Time, such as Scadrial or Sel.


```html of the established concepts and lore of The Wheel of Time. It also shows his ability to create diverse and interesting stories and characters within The Wheel of Time.


Conclusion




Final thoughts and recommendations




River of Souls is a short story that offers a unique and intriguing perspective on The Wheel of Time and the Cosmere. It is a story that explores themes such as identity, memory, fate, free will, death, and rebirth. It is a story that features characters such as Bao the Wyld, Shendla, Graendal, Mora, and others. It is a story that reveals secrets and mysteries about the world and its magic. It is a story that connects and contrasts with other works by Sanderson and Jordan.


If you are looking for a story that will surprise you, challenge you, and entertain you, you should read River of Souls. It is a story that will make you think and feel, and that will enrich your experience of The Wheel of Time and the Cosmere. It is a story that you will not regret reading.


Here are some FAQs about River of Souls:


  • Q: Where can I find River of Souls?



  • A: You can find River of Souls in Unfettered, an anthology of fantasy stories by various authors, edited by Shawn Speakman. You can also find it in Unfettered III, a revised edition of the anthology that includes additional stories. You can buy or borrow these books from online or physical stores or libraries.



  • Q: Do I need to read The Wheel of Time before reading River of Souls?



  • A: No, you do not need to read The Wheel of Time before reading River of Souls. However, it is recommended that you have some familiarity with the series, as it will help you understand the context and references of the story. You can read summaries or reviews of The Wheel of Time online or offline, or you can watch the upcoming TV adaptation by Amazon Prime Video.



  • Q: Do I need to read other Cosmere books before reading River of Souls?



  • A: No, you do not need to read other Cosmere books before reading River of Souls. However, it is recommended that you have some curiosity and interest in the Cosmere, as it will enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of the story. You can read more about the Cosmere on Sanderson's website or wiki, or you can join online or offline communities and discussions about the Cosmere.



  • Q: What are some other stories by Sanderson that are similar to River of Souls?



  • A: Some other stories by Sanderson that are similar to River of Souls are Mistborn: Secret History, a novella that reveals hidden events and secrets behind the Mistborn trilogy; Edgedancer, a novella that follows the adventures of a young girl who can manipulate friction and gravity in Stormlight Archive; The Emperor's Soul, a novella that tells the story of a woman who can rewrite the history and identity of objects and people in Elantris; and Sixth of the Dusk, a novella that depicts a world where people have bird companions and island predators in the Cosmere.



  • Q: What are some other stories by Jordan or other authors that are similar to River of Souls?



  • A: Some other stories by Jordan or other authors that are similar to River of Souls are New Spring, a prequel novel that shows the origins and backstory of some of the main characters in The Wheel of Time; The Way of Kings Prime, an unpublished draft of The Way of Kings by Sanderson that has significant differences from the final version; The Lions of Al-Rassan, a novel by Guy Gavriel Kay that explores the clash of cultures and religions in a fantasy version of medieval Spain; and The Name of the Wind, a novel by Patrick Rothfuss that follows the life and legend of a famous musician and magician in a world where stories have power.



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