That’s exactly what my wife said. Interesting that two intelligent people felt the same way as far apart as California and Indiana.
Yeah that sounds similar. We did learn a lot about the broad strokes of WW1, as well as the specifics of trench warfare, but not in a military history sense, in fact, I didn’t really understand how trench warfare ACTUALLY functioned, like tactically, militarily, until well after I left that school.
It was a similar story re: WW2. I knew a shit-ton about WW2 vehicles and weapons (especially aircraft) from obsession when I was 9-10, but almost none of that was really relevant in what we were actually studying (beyond me correcting the teacher a couple of times).
Back on books, continuing with Oathbringer.
So like we have this battle, which is not particularly exciting or back and forth, and which lasts probably 200 pages (I dunno, I was listening to it on Audible but it went on forever), and just like I was saying, people endlessly saving other people from dire fates, to the point where you could basically be rolling dice “Adolin is saved by… [rolls d12] Lift! Ok that works…”. It’s really problematic because the pattern is so obvious, and also because so many people save so many others, it sort of lacks any real meaning to the saving. When one character is saved by his brother, it should kind of say something, and would in most books, but here’s just a yet another “My kewl powerz allowed me to save you!”. It’s practically Dragonball Z with an even more excessively huge cast.
And that cast JESUS WEPT, it just keeps getting bigger. Sanderson has like, dozens of characters he could easily kill off, and does he? Nope. He kills off a tiny, tiny number. It’s like, kill your darlings dude. For every one character he kills, five more join the story!
It’s like NO, that’s not how drama works. I mean, he’s playing the long game in a sense, because he’s apparently planning a total of 10 books (we’re on 3, I have no idea how I would survive reading two more of these, let alone seven, they’re not really offensive like Malazan, or terrible like Wheel of Time, but god they’re hard work and not in a good way), but you add the characters in, then you kill them off or otherwise remove them from the story until the end, when the stage is empty.
And at this point totally obvious things have been “shockingly” revealed - “humans are the REAL voidbringers and not native to Roshar”, I’m sorry if you hadn’t worked that out about 1/3rd of the way into book 1 you obviously weren’t thinking very hard! - or - “Taravangian is up to no good! Yeah no shit” - and the bad guys are getting increasingly dull and obvious, what with most of the complex bad guys already being dead on the floor from book 2.
Talking of bad guys, there battle is just confusing because a major bad guy turns up, goes on about how he has this awesome insured back-up plan, like some sort of Xanatos Gambit, and… then half-way through the battle he just leaves and the back-up plan is apparently never triggered despite his side losing, and it kind of looks like Sanderson might just have forgotten about it.
Can I just also repeat an earlier point about how very dull and un-dramatic it is if your characters always make the right decisions? Book 2 ended on a high note because it looked like a goody-two-shoes made a VERY bad decision and the drama of that significantly improved how the book felt and reverberated into book 3, but we’re nearly at the end of book 3 (which seems to be ending with a wedding - not the first of the book!, like any good comedy, though there is still time for it to end in tears), and oh god every moral fucking dilemma good guys make the good choice, no matter how painful and it’s like “YAAAAAAWN”. You have to have people fuck up, or at least face REAL adversity, not just endless “Oh I am about to die! Oh noes! Oh, you saved me! Yay!”.