Words of Radiance Review


I’ve been (half-heartedly) complaining my goal of 60 books in 2018 will be hard to hit if I keep picking up 1000 page epics, but that didn’t stop me from going from The Way of Kings right into Words of Radiance.  Both are by Brandon Sanderson and are part of his Stormlight Archive.

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

FYI: That summary is as long as some of my reviews.  You get a longer summary when it is 1087 pages long.

In my review of The Way of Kings, I mentioned the prologue.  It was a very awesome fight scene and dropped me right into the action and the event that sparked the rest of the story.  The prologue in the second novel isn’t as fast-paced, but far more fascinating in its own way.  Reading these books is like reading a series of mysteries.  Only with swords, of course.

It was while reading this novel I realized the author has a unique ability.  In every novel of his I’ve read, there has been at least one person I really, really, really wanted to die.  A good novel leaves me awake at night wondering what will happen to the hero; I guess a great novel leaves me awake at night wondering when the bad guy(s) will die.  This book is full of people who should probably die sooner rather than later as they are terrible for the characters I like.

I’ll admit this book had me so stressed out, I went online and spoiled myself as to the main plot points so I could sleep as I can’t read it all in one sitting.  Unfortunately, the spoilers didn’t tell me if one bad guy in particular died.  AND THEN HE DID NOT.  He yet lives.  Which means I’ll need to read the third book soon.  Hopefully, he gets his in that one, because this is a ten book series and I don’t know if I can wait.

These books have layers upon layers upon layers.  The details are incredible and everything is connected.  It is truly an immersive experience.

Fun Fact: My Kindle gives me the ability to highlight passages, but I rarely do.  In these first two books, I only highlighted a single sentence.  If you know me, you’ll understand.  “But it was important to be rational at all times, not just when calm.”

Questions for You!
Have you read this book?  What did you think?
There are three books out in this series so far.  Have you read them all?
What book(s) should I read next?

More Information
Author’s site
The Coppermind – comprehensive wiki about Brandon Sanderson, his novels, and the cosmere
17th Shard – the official Brandon Sanderson fansite

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