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“Words of Radiance” by Brandon Sanderson Book Review

Book: “Words of Radiance”

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: The Stormlight Archive book #2

1087 pages, Hardcover

First published March 4, 2014

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson Book cover

“Words of Radiance”, Book Two of the Stormlight Archive, continues the immersive fantasy epic that The Way of Kings began.

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.

Epic Fantasy

The second book in the Chronicles of the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson is a dynamic read. Unlike the first part, in which the author built the world of Roshar in detail, things moved very quickly here. A lot happened in those 1000 pages and there was definitely no time for boredom. Our characters grew and took their rightful place in the story.

In the very first pages of the book, we again witness the death of King Gavilar, but this time through the eyes of the princess. Jasnah Colin is just one of the surprises in “Words of Radiance”. What happened was devastating to me. Gavilar’s daughter searches for the truth and finds only questions without answers.

Kaladin – “Words of Radiance”

stormlight kaladin image jumping of a Kliff
Image credit: brandonsanderson.com

Unlike in the first part, where Kaladin was a character plagued by doubts, vacillating between depression and struggle, in this book he finally finds the right path. The vows he made must be fulfilled. The Sons of Honor must decide whether to accept the Stormlight Archive or remain in the shadows. The decision will cost him many comrades, his dignity, his truth, his vengeance, and even his honor.

The Sons of Honor

His subordinates from Bridge Four are behind him, and he relies entirely on them to train the new force of the Collin family. Kaladin must transform the wretched bridgemen from Sadeas’ camp into disciplined soldiers worthy of the army. The task is almost impossible.

The bridgemen are also given the heavy burden of protecting the lives of Dalinar, his loved ones and the king. Once again, this presents him with a moral choice. Although Dalinar puts his full trust in the Blessed of the Storm, Kaladin still refuses to believe that good lives among the higher-ups. Everything in his life has been taken from him and he will not trust any psychic.

He knows and sees Dalinar for what he is, but the wounds in him run deep and he cannot ignore his fears.

Kaladin makes vows that are mutually exclusive, and the consequences are dramatic. The Sons of Honor must decide whether to protect those they hate.

Shallan – “Words of Radiance”

Shallan experiences the greatest gradation for us. The girl we read about in The Way of Kings is gone! In her place, readers see a woman. A woman who can get what she wants. A woman who can find what is lost. In this book, her role changed and we definitely liked her a lot more. After her dramatic breakup with Jasnah, Shallan has become a strong, independent, radiant mistress. She revealed her true abilities and went from being the “prey” to the “huntress”. She has made it her mission to finish what Jasnah started. To do so, she must learn to balance truth and lies.

The Way of Truth

In “Words of Radiance”, Sanderson reveals to us the truth about Shallan’s past. What happened to her family was a mystery in The Way of Kings, but in the second book we learn what happened to her father and mother. The path the young woman takes to evolve from a frightened child hiding in her room to an independent Saiyan who needs no one’s protection captivated us even more.

Dalinar

We continue to sympathize with him. There was a point where we were undecided about his attitude towards Kaladin, but “The Blackthorn” proved his motives. In “Words of Radiance,” Dalinar’s image changed from a ruthless warrior to a skilled politician. He is no longer the diplomat who avoids duels. In this book, Dalinar has power in his hands. The king is now just a pawn at the table, carrying out the orders of the Blackthorns.

Dalinar also walks through this book as a confident man. The reader believes in the High Prince and believes that he is willing to lay down his life for Roshar. However, the truth is different – Dalinar is a small piece of the puzzle and all he can do is fight until his last breath, until his last encounter with the assassin in white.

roshar kingdom - "Words of Radiance"

Adolin

Adolin, the shining prince, seeks retribution for Sadeas’ betrayal. On the road to revenge, he finds the strength to trust an apparent bridge. In the second part of The Stormlight Archive Chronicles, we follow the two as they move from doubt to honor and even further in their relationship.

We enjoyed reading the chapters about Adolin. A very positive character who works hard to protect his family and maintain Dalinar’s honor.

My opinion on “Words of Radiance”

“Words of Radiance” is not only a worthy sequel, “Words of Radiance” is an epic adventure that delivers the suspense we have been craving. The suspense in the story and the revelations that occur between the pages impress readers, and one feels the need to dive in to Roshar and search for the answers. Sanderson doesn’t just make us consumers of the story, he brings everyone who reads the book into that world.

“The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson Book #1

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Dora

Hello, my name is Todora, but now also known as Dochka or Docheto. I have two wonderful dragons at home (boys ages 5 and 7) that I am trying to raise in the love of books. I was quite a chatterbox as a kid when I had required reading in school, and now I am trying to make up for it. I love reading fantasy, sweet endings are not my "thing". I love it when there are struggles, intrigue, and surprises in a book that shake you to your core. If I fell into paranoia that all the characters were traitors, my rating would be 5 stars. In short, I love to read and if one day I find a way to make this my sole occupation and get paid for it :D, I will have stumbled into heaven.

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