Words of Radiance

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Words of Radiance

by Brandon Sanderson

Tom Doherty Associates | March 4, 2014 | Hardcover

Words of Radiance is rated 5 out of 5 by 2.
Brandon Sanderson''s The Stormlight Archive sequence began in 2010 with the New York Times bestseller The Way of Kings. Now, the eagerly anticipated Words of Radiance continues the epic story and answers many of your questions.

Six years ago, the Assassin in White, a hireling of the inscrutable Parshendi, assassinated the Alethi king on the very night a treaty between men and Parshendi was being celebrated. So began the Vengeance Pact among the highprinces of Alethkar and the War of Reckoning against the Parshendi.

Now the Assassin 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.

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.

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.

The doors of the Stormlight Archive first opened to us with The Way of Kings. Read that book – now available in all formats – and then Words of Radiance, and you can be part of the adventure every dazzling step of the way.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 1088 pages, 9.45 × 6.36 × 2.6 in

Published: March 4, 2014

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0765326361

ISBN - 13: 9780765326362

Found in: Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I am left stunned and in awe of what Sanderson accomplished here I finished the last 200 pages of Words of Radiance yesterday in style, stretched out on the back deck with that massive 1100 page hardcover resting heavily upon my chest. I don't often get to relax like that with a book, so it was nice to have the opportunity to properly enjoy the climax of Brandon Sanderson's latest. The only problem with finishing it like that (or at all) is having to somehow wrap my head around how to approach a review. Well, let's step back for a moment and put things into context. As excited as I was by the book's pending release, and as hard as I lobbed for an advance review copy, I was a bit hesitant about diving in. I thoroughly enjoyed The Way of Kings, and am a big Brandon Sanderson fan in general, but A Memory of Light left me with some concerns. I felt that was a big, bloated book that really struggled from the effort to stretch what Jordan planned as a final novel into a trilogy. As much as I knew that was likely more of a marketing decision than a creative one, I still came away from that book tired, frustrated, and disappointed. Even knowing that Words of Radiance was a personal epic, far closer to Sanderson's heart, I still had to wonder how much of that bloat and padding might be responsible for the book's size. I am delighted (not to mention astonished) to say that is most certainly not the case. Sandserson described Words of Radiance as "an entire trilogy of novels bound together into one volume" and that sums it up perfectly. Yes, an 1100 page novel is massive, but when you approach it as an omnibus edition of three smaller novels, you get a much better sense of just how carefully and tightly plotted the entire thing is. There's a lot going on, but very little in the way of wasted pages, and almost nothing of the narrative bloat I had feared. With all that's going on here, I won't even try to summarize or even touch on all the elements. Instead, I'd like to talk a bit about the pair of characters who lie at the heart of the story - Kaladin and Shallan - and the ripples they cast upon the larger sea of words. As heroes go, Kaladin is appropriately frustrating. It's hard to call him a reluctant hero, but that is (in essence) what he is. Yes, he's an eager soldier, a passionate leader, and proud warrior, but his past is constantly gnawing at him, preventing him from revealing too much of himself. He knows he's a hero at heart, and he longs to embrace that role, but he spends most of the book holding himself back. Rather than be frustrating, however, the ways in which Sanderson explores the internal dilemmas is fascinating. Yes, he still spends a lot of time wallowing in self-pity, but we get to watch as Kaladin's shell begin to show cracks, forcing him to confront those feelings while turning him into a far more well-rounded character than we've known in the past. Even more interesting is the way in which his loyalties are tested, with him honestly struggling between what he knows to be right, and what he wants to be right. His scenes with Shallan add some much-needed levity to his character; the ways in which is awkward sparring with Adolin evolves from mutual mistrust to almost friendship is a key element of the tale; and the finale in which he resolves his conflicted loyalties regarding Dalinar and Elhokar is nothing short of brilliant. I was a bit concerned for a while, when it appeared Sanderson was going to let him off the hook and free him from making the big decision, but when his relationship with Syl is significantly altered, it becomes clear that he is going to have to man up, own up, and suck it up in making the hard choices. Knowing that Shallan would be a main character here had me cringing a bit, as I didn't particularly care for her role in The Way of Kings, but she really steps things up here. She is a character who grows and evolves as well, most significantly through her role as the criminal conspirator, Veil. I wondered how Sanderson would approach her courtship with Adolin, and was pleasantly surprised to see that dance bring out new facets to both characters, making them both far more likable to the reader. As we find out, Shallan clearly has a massive role to play in the fate of the world, one that goes far beyond merely being Jasnah's student. Unlike Kaladin, she's very much an eager hero, anxious to prove herself and fulfill the work that Jasnah, regardless of cost, and that sets up a crucial series of events that really drive the climax into the next volume. Her presence changes the entire tone of the story, and helps to shift not just Dalinar's plans, but the entire plot, pushing things towards the long-simmering conflict we've been waiting to see realized. Although she comes to the plains as an outsider, she quickly immerses herself in her adopted world, insinuating herself into plots far and wide. Admittedly, I was concerned that her role Veil was just a convenient way to bring her up to speed with the politics of the camps but, as we find out towards the end, that role will have significant consequences in the next volume (and possibly beyond). As I mentioned earlier, her scenes with Kaladin are fantastic, and their flight through the chasms, chased by chasmfiend and highstorm alike, marks a turning point for all. She is also responsible for one of the grandest set-pieces in the entire saga to date, but to say much more about that would be to spoil the climax. Aside from the characters, I think what really amazed me here as the way in which Sanderson brings all the threads of the overriding mythology together. Up to this point it's all been hints, suspicions, and contradictory assumptions. We knew about the Spren, the Voidbringers, the Knights Radiant, the Parshendi, the Stormfather, the Shardblades, and so on, but it was never clear just what exactly they were or how they were all connected. The back story to all of that was a challenge, to say the least, but we start getting some answers (and some big answers) here. Clearly, there is still more to be revealed, but what Sanderson offers here is enough 'ah-ha' and 'oh, wow' moments to really flesh out the magic of the tale, and to drive home the true 'epic' nature of the narrative. Upon turning the final page, I was left stunned and in awe by what Brandon Sanderson accomplished with book two of The Stormlight Archive. Not only was Words of Radiance nothing like I'd feared, it was everything I hoped for . . . and far, far more. Sanderson really does take the story to the next level here, offering some satisfying resolutions to several story threads, while spawning (and twisting) new ones beyond its pages. Things happen here - events of consequence - all leading up to a climax that really does resolve the core plot line of this second volume in an incredibly satisfying manner. At the same time, we've only just skimmed the surface, and the final chapters ably demonstrate just how much more story there is to be fully revealed. At over 2100 pages into The Stormlight Archive, we have some clearly defined story arcs resolved, some stories well told, and more yet to be experienced.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly anticipated book well worth it I really like Dalinar/Adolin's viewpoints in Way of Kings, but Shallan's arcs blew me away in this book. We learn a lot more about where she comes from, as well as the history and background of a few other key characters. There was a lot going on in the story, and though it wasn't difficult to keep track, there were a few odd moments where the pacing seemed off; or the timeline was going so fast that Sanderson didn't have time to explain and explore like he did in Way of Kings. Lots of things to love in this book, and enough material to go back and reread :D
Date published: 2014-04-03

– More About This Product –

Words of Radiance

by Brandon Sanderson

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 1088 pages, 9.45 × 6.36 × 2.6 in

Published: March 4, 2014

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0765326361

ISBN - 13: 9780765326362

Read from the Book

1 SANTHID     To be perfectly frank, what has happened these last two months is upon my head. The death, destruction, loss, and pain are my burden. I should have seen it coming. And I should have stopped it. —From the personal journal of Navani Kholin, Jeseses 1174 Shallan pinched the thin charcoal pencil and drew a series of straight lines radiating from a sphere on the horizon. That sphere wasn’t quite the sun, nor was it one of the moons. Clouds outlined in charcoal seemed to stream toward it. And the sea beneath them … A drawing could not convey the bizarre nature of that ocean, made not of water but of small beads of translucent glass. Shallan shivered, remembering that place. Jasnah knew much more of it than she would speak of to her ward, and Shallan wasn’t certain how to ask. How did one demand answers after a betrayal such as Shallan’s? Only a few days had passed since that event, and Shallan still didn’t know exactly how her relationship with Jasnah would proceed. The deck rocked as the ship tacked, enormous sails fluttering overhead. Shallan was forced to grab the railing with her clothed safehand to steady herself. Captain Tozbek said that so far, the seas hadn’t been bad for this part of Longbrow’s Straits. However, she might have to go below if the waves and motion got much worse. Shallan exhaled and tried to relax as the ship settled. A chill wind blew, and windspren zipped past on invisible air cur
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From the Publisher

Brandon Sanderson''s The Stormlight Archive sequence began in 2010 with the New York Times bestseller The Way of Kings. Now, the eagerly anticipated Words of Radiance continues the epic story and answers many of your questions.

Six years ago, the Assassin in White, a hireling of the inscrutable Parshendi, assassinated the Alethi king on the very night a treaty between men and Parshendi was being celebrated. So began the Vengeance Pact among the highprinces of Alethkar and the War of Reckoning against the Parshendi.

Now the Assassin 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.

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.

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.

The doors of the Stormlight Archive first opened to us with The Way of Kings. Read that book – now available in all formats – and then Words of Radiance, and you can be part of the adventure every dazzling step of the way.

About the Author

BRANDON SANDERSON grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He lives in Utah with his wife and children and teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. In addition to completing Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time®, he is the author of such bestsellers as the Mistborn trilogy, Warbreaker, The Alloy of Law, The Way of Kings, Rithmatist, and Steelheart. He won the 2013 Hugo Award for “The Emperor’s Soul,” a novella set in the world of his acclaimed first novel, Elantris.

 

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Way of Kings

“I loved this book. What else is there to say?” —Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

 

“This is a great choice for fans of Robert Jordan and Terry Brooks.” —Voice of Youth Advocates

“The best part…is the compelling, complex story of Dalinar, Kaladin, and Shallan as they struggle though emotional, physical, and moral challenges. Fans and lovers of epic fantasy…will eagerly await the next volume.” —Library Journal

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