I feel like I’ve just walked out of an emotional highstorm. Forgive my language, but damn. Sanderson just surprises me every time; I always expect is quality to slip, but instead I find myself caught up in his books all over again. Anyways, here the blurb, though I think I posted it earlier:
In the first volume, we were introduced to the remarkable world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war. Among those caught up in the conflict are Highprince Dalinar Kholin, who leads the human armies; his neice Jasnah, a renowned scholar; her student Shallan, a brilliant but troubled young woman; and Kaladin, a military slave who, by the book’s end, was beginning to become the first magically endowed Knight Radiant in centuries. ~From Goodreads
I don’t know where to begin at really; I just know that I didn’t want the book to end, and didn’t want to read anything else when it did. The world Sanderson has built is truly impressive. The setting changes depending on the characters, but every time it does it is lush and original. The most constant setting is “The Shattered Plains” which is a habitat much like one you would expect to find in Midwest America, though it is built completely out of plateaus, hence the “shattered” effect. However, the plant life is very similar to what you would find in an ocean, and the animals are much like crustaceans because of their exoskeletons and jaw shapes. But as I said before, the Shattered Plains is not the only setting you will find.
The characters, as always, feel like real people put into impossible situations, and in this book we are actually allowed a glimpse into the world of the Parshendi, a fascinating race of people who use song to form an almost hive mind. I relate most to Jasnah’s student, Shallan, who has a smart mouth that covers up an enigma. She takes on a greater role in this book which allows for her to grow from a character I was almost annoyed with in Way of Kings. I fell in love with every character in this book, as I was afraid for each trial they faced and overjoyed at each triumph. I can’t help but appreciate how Sanderson moves between characters allowing us to eavesdrop on completely different thoughts and feelings.
Where the magic was left an almost frustrating mystery in Way of Kings, this book picks it up to encompass the epic of the tale. It has a philosophical taste to it that leaves my mind whirring. There is also quite a bit more action to this book than than its predecessor, and at one point I had to stifle the urge to cheer as it a filled a need that you don’t realize Sanderson is picking at. (You’ll know it when you get to it). Everything is coming together in Words of Radiance, and that is exciting in itself. He is really changing the way epic fantasy works. By the way, he wrote an essay about that which you can find here.
My review doesn’t really do this book justice, but hey, I’m still pretty new to this. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I would love to find some other Sanderson groupies! Until next time, happy reading/sword fighting/ spell casting!
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