Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson: Book Review

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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. 

My Review

My Rating: 5/5

There will probably be some spoilers in this review, as it’s for the second book in the series.

Sanderson has a way of making his huge books incredibly easy to read. From the outset, over 1000 pages looks and feels like a lot, and it is, but when you’re reading it doesn’t feel like enough!

It’s fair to say that I loved this book. The second book in a series is often overshadowed by the first but I feel they are on equal standing.

Shallan was the focal point of the book, and I enjoyed reading about her past. It was different to Kaladin’s in the first book, but that’s not the main reason I feel it was the weakest part of the book. I was not sure what a lot of it added. Perhaps that is why there was not much written as flashback, unlike Kaladin’s flashbacks in The Way of Kings. The final scene with Shallan, however, proved me wrong in thinking that it was unnecessary. I look forward to her story progressing as I believe it is more complex now and has a way to go.

Dalinar became more settled in this book. I liked to watch him scheme but for the most part he was just repeating himself. That is not to say that I was bored by him, but it was his scenes towards the end and his conversations with Kaladin that I liked the most.

Adolin’s character greatly improved in this book. His relationship with Shallan helped to flesh him out a bit, and the duels also helped to solidify my feelings about him.

Renarin was interesting in this book. You could tell that something was happening, and the reveal at the end was okay but I’d already guessed. I do have a theory, however, that he might betray the other Radiants – we’ll see.

Kaladin’s storyline, as always, outshone the rest. You can tell that Sanderson created this character first and loves him. Much like the relationship between George R.R. Martin and Tyrion Lannister, Sanderson loves to make Kaladin so cool stuff! It’s not just that though. I appreciate the incredible lengths Sanderson goes to convey Kaladin’s depression and his struggle to do what he thinks is right, or even work out his own feelings. By the end of the book, Kaladin becomes who he was always going to be. I’m not sure how much his character can progress, but there is still much he can add to the story.

Overall, this was an incredible book and I look forward to reading Oathbringer next!


Review for Way of Kings

Reviews and General Discussion of Brandon Sanderson’s Works HERE

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