Spoiler Free Summary: Words of Radiance is the second book in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. My review for Book One is here. As Shallan Davar prepares to make her way to the Shattered Plains, her plan gets ruined before they even have a chance to begin. She’ll need to find her own way, and in the process, she’ll have to confront her greatest secret and her biggest lie. Meanwhile, Kaladin has escaped the oppression of the light eyes, choosing to align himself with the only honorable lighteyes in the world, maybe. The more he works with them, the more he fears what he thinks is their inevitable betrayal. Just as everything comes to a head, he discovers a plot that puts him on the wrong side of his oaths. What effect would breaking his oath have on Syl?
NOTE: This is my second read of the book. I usually re-read books in a series like this before the new one comes out. I was still working up to this blog site, so I don’t have access to the original review.
Character: Kaladin is one of the most awesome characters in epic fantasy fiction today. His arc is amazing, and his role in this book is a big reason this remains my favorite book in the series. However, this book focuses on Shallan, who I found came into her own a bit here. When I first read the series, I couldn’t stand her. I’ll admit, this second time through, reading more carefully, her arc was satisfying, if not the type of story I normally look for. Her past and intrigue are fascinating.
Exposition: Sanderson doesn’t tend to rely on this too much. He avoids most of it via flashback sequences that coincide with the plot. Each time something happens, we usually see a flashback that helps put the action we just saw into perspective. I’m sure he had some, but I don’t honestly remember much.
Worldbuilding: If you love amazing, deep, complex worlds, this is the book (and series) for you. The scope of it is frightening! How Sanderson manages to keep everything aligned is a mystery. I’m not normally a fan of too much world building. I think Way of Kings got a bit carried away with it in some points. But, one book into the series, WoR lets us follow along without any overly drawn out tangents.
Dialogue: This is Sanderson’s usually, snappy work. Sanderson is a master at building conflict and character through dialogue. It’s a joy watching these character talk (and more often than not argue) with each other. It’s just fun.
\Description: This flowed well. I love a book that gives me the details I need and then lets my imagination do the rest. I have a cast in my imagination and a HD visual dreamscape made for this kind of book. I can’t say it enough, Sanderson creates something here that’s stunning to imagine.
Overall: Even better the second time around. I can’t believe how much I missed the first time I read it. Honestly, it’s embarrassing the number of things I just whiffed on. I’d be reading something in Book Three, and I’d be like, “Oh MY GOD!” Then my brother, who also reads this series would say, “Dude, Matt, they learned that in the last book.” I’ll confess, it took a while for Shallan to grow on me. It feels like I just skipped her chapters entirely. I didn’t do so intentionally, but I’d forgotten pretty much everything she learned in the book. I got most of it down now though! Even after reading Book Three, which I’ll post a review here for next week, this is still the best book in the series. It’s simply perfect in any way that matters to me (although I’m sure someone out there can gripe at it). This is the book that made me commit to this series. (Who am I kidding? I’d read anything Sanderson writes, but this is the book that has me frustrated at the wait for more. Frustrated, but understanding. I’ll also post about that (the wait for new books in a series) later on down the road.)
Thanks for reading,
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