Tag Archives: The Stormlight Archive

Book Review: ‘Words of Radiance’, by Brandon Sanderson

wordsofradiance_cover-1My first book finished of 2017, and what a book! I loved The Way of Kings massively, and was worried that there was no way it could go but down. What I got blew me away however. The truly epic scope of the series really came to the fore, with new PoV characters (including a parshendi) being added. It was fascinating to see things from the point of view of the savage enemies of the first book, although I have to admit I was disappointed with the direction Eshonai’s story ultimately took. Another aspect I found really interesting was the idea of the Diagram, but for spoiler reasons I don’t really want to say more than that.

The incredible care clearly taken over the design of the world means that there are almost too many subplots to count, and this means that, although the main plot may always be progressing at the speed I would’ve liked, there is always something happening, and invariably, they seem to matter more in the late stages of the book than I would have guessed. Having said this, perhaps what struck me most upon finishing the book and having a while to consider it, is the habit Sanderson has of coming at fantasy tropes slightly differently. All the main ones are present: the (un)likely hero; the big baddy; and the world-ending apocalypse, but they’re all slightly skewed, and they all seem to come at unexpected points in the series.

I will finish this review by saying that, if this is book 2 of 10, I am incredibly excited (not to mention impatient) for the remainder of the series.

‘Words of Radiance’, by Brandon Sanderson is the second in The Stormlight Archive.

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Book Review: ‘The Way of Kings’, by Brandon Sanderson

thewayofkingsWhat I decided very early on was that I’m definitely not a fan of audiobooks, though I am willing to concede that this one is done well, with a female reader for the female PoV chapters and a male reader for all the male PoV chapters. While one might think this a superficial detail, I found it made the whole experience significantly more immersive. Having said that, it took a little while to get used to, and I found it a little jarring to begin with. Once I got used to it however, I found myself enjoying it, though there were a few instances of different pronunciations between readers.

Having been introduced to Brandon Sanderson later (partly due to the end of The Wheel of Time, but also largely due to the desire to read The Stormlight Archive), I have by no means read all of his works, starting with the Mistborn Trilogy last year, before trying Elantris earlier this year. Both had a certain flavour to them, and while the subject matter was in places very dark and grim, I felt the overall tone was light and fun, and I suppose a little innocent. I think the best characterisation of how I personally feel about the books is that they came across a little more as YA (albeit incredibly dark YA) in style and tone.

By contrast, I thought that The Way of Kings seemed considerably more mature, far darker (in perhaps a less obvious way), and far more cynical. As well as this, there was a lot more of an explicitly military focus, which I always love, and the scope was, as is common in Sanderson’s work, epic beyond belief. The plot gathered momentum like a tide, and I found the final battle and its immediate aftermath so gripping I listened to almost the last hour in a single go. I particularly enjoyed the numerous teases seeded throughout for the rest of the series. There is a lot to think about, and even more to be excited about for the coming series.

‘The Way of Kings’, by Brandon Sanderson is the first in The Stormlight Archive.