Overview (No Spoilers):
Wow. Just wow. I can’t say enough how much I am enjoying Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series. Sure, I’d gushed like a fan girl over The Way of Kings and have since been rather vocal to all of my high fantasy loving friends, regarding encouraging them to pick up this intriguing series. However, when it came time to pick up Words of Radiance, despite having previously been impatient to dive in, I found apprehension taking hold as I started this followup novel. Doubts crept in as to if I’d tricked myself into over exaggerating the plethora of elaborate detail employed within creating this unique literary world realm. Needless to say, any lingering reservations were quickly disbarred as I was almost immediately drawn back into the story and found I could hardly bear to put down the audiobook. Thoroughly absorbed into the harrowing adventures of the members of Bridge 4, Shallan Davar, and the Kholin family, I found myself vocalizing distress or laughing aloud at certain situations, whereupon I would startle to awareness looking around to see if any coworkers had overheard me. When I within the last two hours of the book I was desperate to see how the story would play out, whereupon Luke, being the wonderfully indulging husband he is, acquiesced to listen to the end of this novel while on a long car ride to my parents, despite knowing little, to nothing about the premise of the novel. Although, I’m a bit chagrined to admit, he may have been under the impression that there was 45 minutes to an hour left in the reading, instead of the full two hours. Regardless, the Words of Radiance was everything and more that could have been wished for in a followup to The Way of Kings. Sanderson continues in his delightfully excessive descriptions and world building, while simultaneously filling in character depth by interweaving flashbacks to youth with present day dangerous tribulations. Overall, my resolve is being thoroughly tested by Sanderson as I attempt to stick to my self-imposed rule of never reading books in a series back to back. Thus far The Stormlight Archives series is making a real case for claiming a seat among my top tier favorites of high fantasy literature.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- What will Szeth do now that he knows he was not Truthless? What will be the repercussions of the last scene of him being resurrected?
- Similar to A Song of Ice and Fire, I enjoy that it is not clear cut who is good or bad. In each situation whether with Dalinar or King Taravangian both parties are convinced they have the world’s best interests at heart. Who actually has the right of it? What does King Taravangian’s Diagram mean? Is it the ravings of a mad man or brilliant insight?
- The Stormfather is bound to Dalinar! And Renarin is also a Surgebinder! What futures does Renarin see? Does Adolin have any powers?
- Jasnah is alive! I can’t express how excited I am for her to be back. When will she be reunited with her family?
- Although with Jasnah indisposed, it was entertaining to see Shallan come into her own and embrace her powers. Another twist though is Shallan joining the Ghostbloods. Initially I found this side plot rather annoying, however it grew into its own intrigue.
- We also know that Wit has some role to play with the Surgebinders and that he has some power himself. What is Wit’s story? How did he know Shallan’s oldest brother? How did he know Shallan had power when she was so young?
- What will happen when Shallan realizes that Kaladin killed her brother?
- How could Adolin kill Sadeas? What will the fallout be?
- Is Eshonai really dead after falling off the cliff?
- How will the Knight’s Radiant all join together since so many of them are spread out? Why is the strange man hunting Lift? What role will Rysn play? So many pawns have been glimpsed it is hard to imagine them all coming together.