My 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.
I’ve always thought The Twilight Reign series has been one of the most underrated fantasy series around. I’m not sure I’ve talked to anyone else who has read it, let alone enjoyed it (although as far as I’m concerned, they are the same thing).
In the series in general, I massively enjoy the world created by Tom Lloyd, with the innovative take on elves, as well as the concept of white-eyes, and the expansive cast which includes everything from common soldiers to full-on gods. Alongside this, the system of magic is simple and effective. Many magic systems in modern fantasy books become over-ambitious and spiral out of control such that holes can easily be found, but I really enjoy the ease of comprehension of the system created by Lloyd.
As the conclusion to the series, there is a certain amount of hype for it in my mind. When one combines it with what has been a fantastic series, there is certainly a lot for it to live up to. Its predecessor, The Ragged Man, finishes with a near-apocalyptic battle scene to cap off a book which is one of my favourite fantasy books of all time (up alongside A Memory of Light, The Deadhouse Gates, A Storm of Swords and Prince of Thorns), and the way in which Lloyd continues the story, picking the cast back up after arguably one of the bloodiest battle scenes in fantasy literature is nothing short of amazing.
As well as this the conclusion of the book and therefore the series did not disappoint. It seems inevitable that when I read a series of books, I develop a sense of how it will all end, or at least how I would like to see it end. The last chapters of The Dusk Watchman were completely different to anything I expected, but they did not disappoint. This was a fantastic book, and I will continue to recommend the series to anyone I meet.
‘The Dusk Watchman’ by Tom Lloyd is the fifth in The Twilight Reign Series.