I’ve read a lot of Brandon Sanderson. I believe that his writing style has evolved and refined over time and continues to develop. You can almost literally watch it happening because of his other great quality: consistency of output. I feel like he forced himself to get through projects and put them out. In the beginning, I could almost see a kind of methodical, craftsmanlike approach to putting paragraphs and stories together. I did not love it from a literary standpoint. But the story ideas and worldbuilding were good enough to keep me engaged. And it just kept getting better and better (in my opinion).
I was not a huge fan of his Wheel of Time contributions, although like you I really appreciated that he did it and I felt he got done what needed to get done. I guess I think the ‘spirit’ of his story-telling is just really different from RJs. Jordan feels very Southern. Spinning a yarn. Lingering over details. Smoking a pipe. Obsessing lovingly over details of battles and military history. Unhurried and Unrushed. Those qualities just kind of come through his (Jordan’s) writing. The character in his books Loial (the ogier) also seemed to represent the kind of patient, stolid, slow, but martial energy of Jordan. (Of course, Jordan has his own points that people criticize as well.)
Sanderson’s style is more visual and cinematic. Like other authors of his generation, (Peter V. Brett comes to mind). People who grew up with movies, television, and MTV. Their sense of timing just works differently, I think. Patrick Rothfuss is somewhere in between, I think. He’s more lyrical, poetic, and literary in how he approaches writing. But he also takes a much longer time than Sanderson. I’ve learned to appreciate the systematic approach that Sanderson takes. Sanderson seems to be into building and refining an algorithm and once he gets it right, he’s pretty much got the game licked. I think he’s more or less there now.
Anyway, I’m now a great fan of Sanderson and am happily looking forward to his Rhythm of War to be released in November of this year. Before the reading the last installment, number 3 in the series, I went back and revisited the previous books in the chronology. Hmmmm…if I’m going to do that again, I may need to start now. haha If I were to restart now, I might be done just in time.