You probably already know this if you’ve read my Mistborn review but I’ll just re-iterate that Brandon Sanderson is awesome. Yes of course his writing and his books are great but he does so much more to give back to his loyal fans. For example he does writing excuses pdocasts, he posts all kinds of cool writing lessons on his YouTube page, including video recorded lessons of the creative writing course he teaches at BYU, and he will personally sign copies of his books at bookstores at airports. All of this free of charge!!
Ok, enough about the mancrush I have on Sanderson and let’s talk about Words of Radiance, book 2 in The Stormlight Archive series. Finally Shallam’s character has some merit. In book 1 she was so far out of place that her entire character arch was boring. For the amount of time she received in book 1, her character didn’t really produce much. Actually I shouldn’t say that because she was used as an info dump.
And just as I say that Shallam makes what I would consider a boneheaded decision. The boat she is in is attacked by assassins so she decides to make the bottom of the boat disappear so everyone, including herself, fall into the ocean? It actually makes no logical sense. I understand she is new to her powers and she was under a lot of stress at the time and just underwent an extreme shock but come on now.
Kaladin had been made captain due to his actions from the previous book. His entire bridge 4 crew had been freed from slavery but had decided to stay with Kaladin and help protect Dalinar and his family. Kaladin is warming up to the idea that he is a radiant and has agreed to Teft and his crew to start training his abilities.
Szeth-son-son-Vallano, Truthless of Shinovar, again makes an appearance in Words of Radiance. The assassin in white comes after Dalinar. The three soldiers – Kaladin, Dalinar, and Adolin attempt to defeat this Windrunner. I guess we can call it a draw, for now. The fight does however make Dalinar and Adolin suspicious of Kaladin’s abilities.
In Words of Radiance we get to see some of the Parshendi culture and language. Parshendi is a human term, they refer to themselves as listeners. As some of the humans suspected, they are far more than simply mindless savages. Their songs are how they communicate. We learn all this through the viewpoint of Eshonai, their one remaining Shardbearer. It seems the Parshendi can only be in one form at a time. Forms include warform, dullform, mateform, workform, nimbleform, and the recently rediscovered stormform. There were once more forms that were created by their gods but have since been lost. There is a fear that if other forms are awakened it will invite their gods back which they ran from in the first place.
Here is an interesting quote from the book where, although funny, is quite out of place for Dalinar. This is more of a Shallan quite, but she can’t very well speak to herself and Wit was not in the room at the time.
“What I’m having trouble understanding is why anyone would want to be closer to Sebarial than they need to be” – Dalinar
“Oh, Uncle Sebarial is quite tolerable, once you get used to him. Like a very annoying noise that you eventually learn to ignore.” – Shallan
Like The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance is actually the title of a book in the story. Apparently it is a book about an order of the Knights Radiants known as the Lightweavers. Just like with The Way of Kings, the book is statistically very long but in fact a very nice and quick read.
Great, great book. Must read.