White Sand Volume 1 by Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, and Julius Gopez – graphic novel review

"White Sand" volume 1 by Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, and Julius Gopez.
“White Sand” volume 1 by Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, and Julius Gopez.
I had heard Brandon Sanderson talking about White Sand Volume 1 for years, so it was great to finally be able to read it. The main character, Kenton, is considered a disgrace by his sand master father. He can barely handle the most basic sand manipulation, and he barely survives the attack which left dead—including his father—most of the sand masters.

The story is pretty straight forward: a young man who believes himself to be good for nothing. He can’t control sand magic to the same degree as his father, and has to try to find his place after everything he has known since childhood is destroyed. He has to deal with fellow sand mages who don’t believe in him, the taisha wants to disband his diem (basically a guild), and he has to learn to trust a Darksider (a person from the dark side of the planet).

The art was very well done in White Sand Volume 1. Julius Gopez produced a very detailed depiction of the world of Taldain. The planet is half in perpetual darkness and half in perpetual sunlight, and Gopez did a great job showing the differences in clothing and building for the two sides. Ross A. Campbell did a good job making the images work well with his color choices.

At times, I found some of the images too detailed and busy in White Sand Volume 1, making it harder to tell what was happening or what expression was on a character’s face. This was especially true in the battle scenes. Every so often (it was pretty rare), a character would be in a pose which shouldn’t be anatomically possible.

Other poses seemed as if action figures had been lined up and the artist drew them just the way they appeared. It was almost as if Madonna’s “Vogue” was playing in the background. You can see an example below:

Detail from "White Sand Volume 1".
Detail from “White Sand Volume 1”.

Some of the battle scenes were a bit bloody, but since this volume is aimed at teens and older, that’s not surprising. However, it’s not even as gory as a Lord of the Rings film. The only other disappointing part was how short this volume was. Just as I was finally beginning to understand a little bit of what was going on, the volume ended. Sanderson hasn’t said yet when the next volume will be out, but hopefully it won’t be too far in the future.

I enjoyed White Sand Volume 1, and I am looking forward to the next volume. The few quibbles I had were not enough to seriously impact the quality of the story. If you have been waiting for another part of Sanderson’s Cosmere to come out, this is a good one. If you enjoy solid graphic novels, you should enjoy this volume. I recommend it!

Release Date: June 28, 2016 (USA)
ISBNs: vol.1 1606908855 (9781606908853)
Publisher: Dynamite
Language: English

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 100%


Alcohol/Drugs: 0
Language: 0
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 0
Violence: 1 (poisoning, some brutal violence, battles, death)