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The Stormlight Archive #2

Words of Radiance

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2014)
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.

1088 pages, Paperback

First published March 4, 2014

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About the author

Brandon Sanderson

399 books203k followers
Brandon’s major books for the second half of 2016 are The Dark Talent, the final volume in Alcatraz Smedry’s autobiographical account of his battle against the Evil Librarians who secretly rule our world, and Arcanum Unbounded, the collection of short fiction in the Cosmere universe that includes the Mistborn series and the Stormlight
Archive, among others. This collection features The Emperor’s Soul, Mistborn: Secret History, and a brand-new Stormlight Archive novella, Edgedancer.

Earlier this year he released Calamity, the finale of the #1 New York Times bestselling Reckoners trilogy that began with Steelheart .

Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested to him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This changed when an eighth grade teacher gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.

Brandon was working on his thirteenth novel when Moshe Feder at Tor Books bought the sixth he had written. Tor has published Elantris, the Mistborn trilogy and its followup The Alloy of Law, Warbreaker, and The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, the first two in the planned ten-volume series The Stormlight Archive. He was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; 2009’s The Gathering Storm and 2010’s Towers of Midnight were followed by the final book in the series, A Memory of Light, in January 2013. Four books in his middle-grade Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series have been released in new editions by Starscape, and his novella Infinity Blade Awakening was an ebook bestseller for Epic Games accompanying their acclaimed Infinity Blade iOS video game series. Two more novellas, Legion and The Emperor’s Soul, were released by Subterranean Press and Tachyon Publications in 2012, and 2013 brought two young adult novels, The Rithmatist from Tor and Steelheart from Delacorte.

The only author to make the short list for the David Gemmell Legend Award six times in four years, Brandon won that award in 2011 for The Way of Kings. The Emperor’s Soul won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella. He has appeared on the New York Times Best-Seller List multiple times, with five novels hitting the #1 spot.

Currently living in Utah with his wife and children, Brandon teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University.

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Profile Image for Obaid Haroon.
162 reviews103 followers
September 20, 2017
This is it. The review no one was waiting for. First thing I must say, I have never given any book 5 stars. Because that would mean it is perfect. And that's a tall order. But I couldn't give it any less. Because it was phenomenal. Like "holy shit" amazing. On to the review. Needless to say...spoilers ho!

The book was too large (not complaining) and there were too many insane parts (definitely not complaining) to do a blow by blow for each character. So I'll stick with the best five. Since it was obviously Shallans book, we will start with her.

5. Mapping the shattered plains on the fly
This was a pure scholar moment. One where every neurone lines up and the answer screams at you. SYMMETRY!! And who would've thought the inspiration would come from an assassin that almost killed her. So there goes my theory that something landed in the centre and "shattered" the plains. But alas it's merely another geometrically perfect natural occurrence that is so common place on Roshar. Either way, proving every single scholar wrong in the space of 5 heartbeats...Jasnah will be proud. She basically walked in, said her piece, dropped the mic and walked off. Great moment.

4."How do you poop?"
Not only was this a hilarious moment. But it was a damn good question at the perfect moment. Adolin is doing what he does. Playing the brave soldier, impressing the ladies and everything is going as usual. And then Shallan throws him a curveball. She knew what she was supposed to ask but this was the man who she'll be spending her life with (supposedly). So she shows her true self. And in my own humble opinion, because it is my review after all, that is the moment where Adolin begins to fall in love with her. Aww

3. Kaladins boots
Another great moment for her. We all know she's not one for confrontation or lying. And when she does both it's gonna be damn good. The whole part where she meets up with the con artist was interesting. I wasn't a fan of her influence over Shallan because I could see this leading to losing her Radiance but she stayed cool and used her lessons for good. And by "good" I mean petty larceny. Then she killed and avenged her former teacher. Stay classy Shallan.

2. Becoming a spy
Bourne Identity mixed with high fantasy. Learning espionage from herself and working for the Ghost Bloods to accomplish her own aims. You have to respect that. Have to respect her. Also what the hell is the deal with MaskFace? The way Shallan had her committed was genius. Now she's a member and things are only going to get more convoluted. And that just makes me salivate.

1. Finding Urithiru
The mythical city. The focus of Jasnah's research. Some guy walked there but you can't find it? Kind of a slap to the face. So much work was put into hunting down the last repository of untainted knowledge of the Desolations. And she did. Centre of the Plains, Shallan manages to find the key to the portal to the secret city and saves the army from destruction. All. By. Her. Self. Number 1 moment indeed.

Because it was a whole thing. The build up from book 1. Realising that they're buildings not rocks. Realising the Shardblade was the key to opening the portal. And realising a few other things I've probably forgotten. It was the culmination of a journey she started as a child. And it was perfect.

In Way of Kings, Shallan was an interesting character. A nice read but nothing special. That all changed here. A depth was added to her as the deepest darkest secrets of her life were laid bare. And the true measure of her strength was made known.

Dalinar was as always the Blackthorn. A great man and a true soldier. After everything he has been through and has accomplished there is no one who will ever compare to him. His top five? Let's find out.

5. "Where is our honour?"
This wasn't a big bit of his but it was important. It was the moment he truly realised how far men had fallen. It was the moment he realised that the head of his Knights Radiant was a little bitch. Trying to jump in and save his sons sans plate and blade was pure Blackthorn. Noble and brave and suicidal. The right course of action was clear to him. Had it been anyone else, Dalinar STILL would have tried to help. But no one else would have. You've got a lot of work to do Blackthorn.

4. Admitting his visions
As Wit said, this was a powerful move. Standard psychological tactics. Embrace your weakness and make it your strength. And what a place to do it. Kings feast. One giant Shardplated middle finger to the whole of Alethi royalty. Like. A. Boss. Once again a moment where he shows himself above the games and pettiness. The only adult amongst children. He raises the bar and invites people to join him.

3. Banishing Amaram
This wasn't what we wanted to see but it will suffice for now. Amaram. Acting like he didn't slaughter the entirety of Kaladins squad just for a fancy piece of metal. The look on his face at the duel when he realised who Kaladin was? Priceless. Then denying it and blaming Kaladin? What a dick. Didn't work did it you douche? Dalinar figured you out. And banished your ass. That was a big moment. Kal prepared to apologise for Dalinars sake. Dalinar prepared to alienate an old friend because Kaladin was right. Heartwarming as hell. And it wasn't just an afterthought. Oh no. He set a trap!

Let's focus on that for a moment. The Blackthorn. A warrior. Despiser of politics and intrigue. Set a trap! Is there anything he can't do? No. Moment over.

2. Leading a force against the Parshendi
Does he have any idea where they are?
Does he have any idea how long he'll be gone for?
Does he have any idea what kind of forces they have?

Does he fuck. But he doesn't need to know because he is the Blackthorn. Bold move. Risking the Highstorms and striking out at the heart of the Parshendi. Fulfil the Vengeance Pact once and for all. A move that would either see him rise to the top of Alethkar, or see his body fall beneath it. Yet he didn't do it for the potential gain. He did it simply because it needed to be done. Deal with the Parshendi before the desolation comes. Working with few resources against a deadline. A necessary move to give them the best chance of victory. Didn't quite work out as expected. But he did what he could. And that is why he was chosen to recreate the Knights.

1. Bonding with the Stormfather
This was, without a doubt, an amazing moment. The Stormfather himself. The legend of the whole world. Wherever the Highstorm lands, the Stormfather is known. Charged by Honour himself to pass on the message. He hates humanity. He despises their weakness. And what does Dalinar do to this most widely know of spren? Binds him to his side in a moment that will never be forgotten. No fanfare or anything, just business. Dalinar...I salute you.

Now that we know the fates of the past spren, we know that this has never been done before. Never in all the Desolations before has anyone bonded with the Stormfather. Now the last Desolation is here and the Blackthorn will wield the Stormfather against the Voidbringers to reclaim the Tranquiline Halls.

Adolin. Such a great guy. Always trying to do the right thing. Defend his father, his brother, his aunt, his king and his girl (whoever it may be at the time). Now for his best moments.

5. Cologne? In prison?
The fact that Adolin imprisoned himself in protest of Kaladins punishment was amazing. Yeah we've always known he was a good guy. But this? Kaladin threw himself into a Shard duel with nothing but a spear. And earned Adolin's loyalty. He couldn't overrule the king, obviously, but he did the next best thing. The son of a Highprince. In prison. For a Bridgeman. The honour is boundless. Yeah he bathed. So what? He's not an animal.

4. Ironstance
This refers to his first duel of the book. When he decided to stop playing games. These cretins were discrediting his family, his father and his house. And Adolin showed him what happens when you do something so stupid. You get a battering. This was a no mercy moment and it was fantastic. You could see Adolin accept the responsibility of guarding his family. Standing up to take the weight on his shoulders. The maturing moment. Love it.

3. Final battle.
This was a great moment. Not the greatest. But still awesome. Leading a battalion against the first Voidbringers of the Last Desolation? Too good. The entire charge was amazing. Going toe to toe with Stormform while the weather goes batshit crazy is a hell of a feat. AND THEN he manages to sneak a thousand guys round the back of the enemies line and single handedly stops them finishing their devil song. And while he's at it he kills their only Shardbearer. All in a days work. *Brushes off shoulder*

2. Killing that rat bastard Sadeas
We all wanted it. We all dreamed of doing it. No one cried. Everyone cheered. When Adolin wrapped his hands around Sadeas' neck and squeezed, we all went crazy. Parades were thrown and champagne flowed down the street. After what he did we all wanted him dead. Preferably at Dalinar or Kaladins hands. But given their new Radiant status it wasn't gonna happen. Enter Adolin. While I approve its gonna spell problems between him and Shallan especially since she is also a Radiant. Drama! But still, glad he killed him.

What I don't quite get is how Sadeas was that unstable. The Radiants have returned, Everstorm has returned and he is standing in the lost city of Urithiru. And he still wants to steal Dalinars power and position. Idiot.

1. 4 on 1 duel.
For me this was the greatest of all. A duel between Shardbearers is an awe inspiring thing. Then when Adolin proposed a 2 on 1 it was a thing of beauty. We were all waiting for the craziness to begin. Then it did. 4 fully armed and armoured warriors standing in front of Adolin. And we lost our shit. I still remember Zahels words "they're afraid of you...show them why". And he did.

That was the best thing. The honour! The courage! Anyone would have conceded the fight. It would have been the obvious thing to do. The smart thing. But not the right thing.

Attacking like the Whitespine, he showed no mercy and gave no quarter. And he held his own. For a while at least. Let's be honest, with those odds we all expected him to die but he survived. And won. Yes it was a group effort. Kaladin fought like a mad man and Renarin...was there. All in all. Adolin's best scene.

Kaladin...is Kaladin. Need I say more? No. I don't.

5. Riding the Ryshadium
This was a really subtle scene. First of all I'd like to point out that one of the greatest warriors alive can't ride a horse. Does that not seem odd? I thought he was of a high enough nahn to get riding lessons but I guess not. Back to the scene. Despite the fact he had only started riding horses about an hour earlier he STILL went and rode the Ryshadium. Well, he tried anyway. But the biggest thing was that he laughed. Genuinely. For a few moments everything was forgotten and there was a simple joy in his life. And for THAT I have made this a top five scene. Because even the greatest need to laugh every once in a while.

4. First flight
We all remember him practicing in the plains. Lashing himself from side to side. Jumping around like a monkey on meth. And then he did it. That which we have all been waiting for since we realised its possible. He lashed himself upwards. And he flew!! Oh my days was it amazing! Rising into the sky. Ascending unto the heavens. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this but it was superb. Soaring through the clouds with Syl and a whole group of wind spren. He was free of the shackles of gravity and understood that the limits of his power were of his own creation.

3. Killing the Chasmfiend
This was a hell of a fight. Two Knights versus one Chasmfiend. I can't be sure but I believe that the Chasmfiend was actually Voidspren possessed. A few choice moments during the fight, like the intelligence in its eyes and the red spren leaving it's body after. But that's later. Being hunted by a Chasmfiend through the cracks in the plains was amazing. The sheer desperation of the chase was exhilarating. The way Kaladin killed it was superb. Sword to the brain. From inside the mouth. Chasmfiend steaks for all!

2. "Honour is dead"
This was without a doubt an amazing moment. A surreal moment. Surreal in that I actually believed I was on Roshar watching this duel happen, and I STILL didn't believe it was happening. This scene has made it into the top 5 of 3/4 of the main characters. And even though Shallan was there it was Pattern that did the work. Plus she had better bits.

Leaping into an arena full of Shardblades is an act of supreme insanity. Unless you are Kaladin Stormblessed. With nothing more than a spear he leapt into a battle where each man counts as a hundred. But he is no man. He is a Knight. Weaving around strike after strike, he fought incredibly. A force of nature, long forgotten, now returned. Drawing Stormlight from his own reserves and the fractured plate itself.

Now let's be clear on one thing. He was there as support. He was there to distract one or two while Adolin beat the others. That doesn't lessen his actions. Throughout this book he has been wavering between what he wants to do and what he should do. But when push comes to shove, he knows the right thing and he does it with no hesitation.

1. Resurrecting his Oath
This was an emotional bit. Sounds weird but it was. Just to be clear the number one Kaladin moment stretches from "Elhokar was Dalinars Tien" all the way to the renewal of his Radiance.

The revelation. He's injured. Weak, both physically and emotionally. And it's raining. Which is so very important. Tien would always cheer his big brother up during the rains. So in his vulnerable state it's no shock that he would think back to how his brother died. How Kaladin failed Tien. The guilt was weighing so heavily. His spirit close to breaking as he tried to justify killing Elhokar. Then the words come. Not the Radiant oaths but these were arguably more important. The words he uses to justify killing the king were the same ones that turned the lifeless body of his innocent little brother into a military strategy. And for the first time in a while, Kaladin was back. He realised that he cannot be that man who decides who to save and who to condemn. Then he realises that Dalinar loves his nephew like Kaladin loved Tien. And after that...nothing more need be realised.

Charging up to the palace. Injured and weak. All to save a man he despises. Uses a spear to take out two armoured guards. Finds Elhokar drunk and unconscious. Manages to rouse him and runs straight into Moash. Wearing the plate Kaladin gave him. What a dick.

In Moash's defense, tenuous though it is, he did try to get Kaladin to stand down. As far as Moash knows, nothing's changed. But everything has changed (Taylor Swift song. Good song). The battering Kaladin receives at the hands of those two is simply brutal. Add that to his pre-existing injuries and you wonder what is keeping this mans heart beating. Moash wonders the same when in awe he asks "Kal, how are you standing?"

The answer? He sees himself clearly. Truly. The pain burns the falsities away and Kaladin knows who he wants to be. A true protector. Syl and Stormfather arguing over him. She claims him. Say the words Kaladin. Stretch forth thy hand.

"I protect even those I hate so long as it is right"

There are no words to convey how insane I went at this point. My kindle was set down while I cheered silently but hysterically. Holy shit! He led us on such a ride. Even to the point of losing Syl. But he pulled through. He became a knight in truth.

And so concludes the top five for the main four. What follows are writings on minor characters.

Szeth. Ah man I feel so sorry for the guy. Lied to by his people and forced to become a murderer. His gentle nature broken by the weight of so many innocent lives. All because the Shin didn't want to admit that maybe things were about to get bad. Not only did they bury their heads in the sand but they decapitated the one guy who didn't. Dicks

His duels with Kaladin were amazing. Not only because it was Radiant vs Radiant but because they finally showed him the truth. That he was right all along. Also Kaladin healing his dead arm? The implications are staggering.

It was also good because that was probably the first assassination attempt where he failed to kill anyone. Ok on the plains not so much. The way he tried to kill Dalinar? Lashing him upwards just enough to ascend? That was amazing! True it might be my inner psycho talking but come on! And then it ends by him being resurrected to join the Knights Radiant as internal affairs. With Nightblood. Because that's gonna end well.

Tarovingian is a hell of a mystery. A fluctuating intelligence level? Obviously a gift from that Nightwatcher. Who I maintain is a splinter of Cultivation. But he's basically got a quantum diagram detailing the future and has folk acting on it to guarantee survival. Not victory. Survival. So there's obviously a very large part of the diagram detailing the extinction of humanity.

Whilst reading a few questions came to mind:
•is the desolation happening because Odium is returning?
•if he is returning, why? Honour is already dead and one must assume Cultivation is as well. Why would he kill one threat and leave another?
•how is being around Kaladin, awakening the Radiance in his bridge men?
•can Kaladin use Stormlight to heal other people?
•what does Taln reacting to Shallans magic mean?
•how will Alethi society change now that the major players are now in Urithiru?
•in the face of another desolation will the Radiants be welcomed?
•are the Parshendi the voidbringers or is it the spren that inhabit them?

I will admit that my words did not do justice to these fine moments. You want good words? Read the book. Until next time fellow Radiants.

May the words be ever on your lips.
Profile Image for Petrik.
675 reviews43k followers
October 8, 2022
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

Okay, this is finally happening. I’m ranking The Stormlight Archive as my number one favorite ongoing book series of all time, overtaking the throne previously held by Mistborn Saga, and I don’t think this will change anytime soon. The Gods of the Cosmere knows how much I love the original Mistborn trilogy but Brandon Sanderson really raised the bar for the epic fantasy genre sky high with this series.

Words of Radiance, only the second book in The Stormlight Archive series and the sequel to The Way of Kings, managed to build upon almost everything done by its predecessor and improve every element necessary to become a masterpiece. I’m certain the title of this book almost literally reflects its content; each word is structured to give radiance to your life simply from reading them.

The story still told from multiple POV and while still remaining mostly character driven, it's much more plot centered this time. Starting with the countdown mentioned in the beginning of the book, you're made aware that there will be a lot of twists and turns coming. The plot kept me glued to the book from cover to cover; it was so addictive to read and I couldn't wait to know more and see what happened with each page turned.

As I mentioned before, each book will shift its focus more on different specific main characters, and this time the focus rests on Shallan.

Picture: Shallan And The Chasmfiend, by emmgoyer7

Sanderson again managed to make me love a character who I wasn't the biggest fan of in their first book appearance. The first time this happened was with Steris from the Mistborn spinoffs, and now the same exact thing happened here with Shallan. Her character development in this novel is stunning, to say the least. She’s funny, lovable, and intelligent; it’s also really intriguing to see her relationship development with Kaladin, Adolin, Jasnah and Pattern. Her past is explored completely and the revelations in relating them to her current "smile" are very heartwarming.

Even though there’s a huge amount of development in and focus on Shallan, in my opinion the best storyline still comes from Kaladin’s POV; he's the main hero from The Way of Kings and from my perspective, the true main protagonist of this series. After seeing his background and development fleshed out in the first book, it’s really interesting to see how he develops into an even more amazing character by the end of this one, and Stormfather he did. Not only do the most intense and interesting plotlines come from his POV, but every single epic and badass moment literally involve his actions and existence.

Picture: “Honor is dead but I’ll see what I can do” by Vargasni

The world-building level improves again as there are more creatures, mythology, lore, and magic systems explored in this book. The scale of the world remains as grand as ever, and by now I think I know more about Alethkar, the Shattered Plains, than I know about my real country and its history. (I wish this is an exaggeration but it's not.)

The magic systems this time are explored in much more detail than in the previous book, especially in regards to the classes Windrunner and Lightweaver. I won’t give too many details on the magic system itself, because the book could do that for you. To simplify it, Windrunners deal with manipulating gravitational pulls and Lightweavers focus on creating illusions. A great example of the Windrunner ability could be seen from a PS4 video game called “Gravity Rush”. Look it up if you want to strengthen your imagination, or if you think the magic system will confuse you somehow, but here's an image preview of what I'm talking about.

Knowing the premise of the magic systems and simply from looking at the front cover of the book, you can predict there will be epic action sequences. There is much more action this time and nothing can even compare to the climax of this book. It’s honestly one of the craziest and most epic climax sequences I’ve ever read so far, even better than The Hero of Ages from the Mistborn trilogy or The Way of Kings. There are so many things happening in the last 150 pages of the book that I’m surprised I could still write a review for this. Remember my praise for the climax to The Way of Kings? Well, this one is superior by far, so prepare yourself to be mind-blown completely. Here is the front cover art of the Bulgarian version of Words of Radiance if you need more convincing.

Like in the previous book, the only con I have about this book is again, it’s not long enough and the sequel to this book is not out yet. 1090 pages long and filled with a whopping 400k word inside, and yet when I flipped the last page and closed the book, I still craved for more. When the realization that the sequel isn’t here yet dawned on me, I was crushed.

Binge reading this series inflicted me with a symptom which I called “The Stormlight Archive's Hangover”. Basically, it means I can’t start another epic fantasy other than this series for a while without the implication of giving them an unfair rating. My heart and soul still remain in Roshar, with the characters I care about deeply because of Sanderson's writing; which always made every detail so vivid and immersive.

Words of Radiance is the perfect example of the kind of experience I’m looking for in a book. It’s the reason why I read and why epic fantasy will always be my favorite genre. The epic fantasy genre has The Lord of the Rings in the past, A Song of Ice & Fire in the present, and for the future, this genre has The Stormlight Archive series to look forward to. By the conclusion of this series, I’m sure it will surpass both those series mentioned; it already has for me. The Stormlight Archive series is the mark of epic fantasy at its best. There's absolutely no reason you should skip this series if you're a fan of epic/high fantasy genre; I really hope we could go through this series together, telling stories and living these tales with our future generations.

Side note:
I’m really glad I read Warbreaker first before reading this as two specific characters from there made an appearance here!

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for Pierce Brown.
Author 51 books32.7k followers
December 2, 2014
Holy crap on a stick. I bow in supreme awe.

That's it.
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 11 books75.3k followers
November 22, 2022
TERMINÉ WORDS OF RADIANCE ESTO NO ES UN SIMULACRO!!!!! Adolin te amo. Shallan te amo. Kaladin te amo. Dalinar te amo. PATTERN ERES MI FAV!!!!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,633 followers
May 29, 2020
Reread Audio 2020

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List


I freaking loved this book! I am going to give a crazy arse review that will probably only make sense to me and throw in some excerpts and pictures and who cares?! Almost everyone has read this right, right?

I love you Brandon Sanderson! But now that I sit and think about it, I will most likely be dead before you finish the books. I still love you though!

I still love all of the men of --->BRIDGE FOUR<---- Here's a random EXCERPT<---

Kaladin pressed the stone against the wall of the chasm, and it stuck there. "All right," he said, stepping back. Rock jumped up and grabbed it, then dangled from the wall, bending legs below. His deep, bellowing laugh echoed in the chasm. "This time, he holds me!"
Sigzil made a notation on his ledger. "Good. Keeping hanging on, Rock."
"For how long?" Rock asked.
"Until you fall."
"Until I..." The large Horneater frowned, hanging from the stone with both hands. "I do not like this experiment any longer."

Let me just get this off my chest and out of the way. I love Kaladin. I loved him in book one, I love him in book two, I will love him for all time!

In the first book I wasn't really all that fond of Shallan, not that I really didn't like her, I just didn't care for her parts. Probably because all of the action was with the boys elsewhere. And in this beginning until half way through the book I didn't care too much for her parts either, although, they were a lot better than they were in the first book as she joins up with the gang. This would include Bridge Four, the King, Dalinar, Adolin, the evil peeps and everyone else. I particular fell in love with her character when her and Kaladin were stuck in a chasm together. They had a wonderful banter together and had to get out of some sticky situations. Kaladin also found out some very interesting things about her. So now my opinion is that she's pretty damn cool and I want to read more of what's going on with her.


I didn't care too much for Dalinar's son Adolin in the first book but he blew me away in this one. He is a really good dude!


Kaladin reached the jailer, taking him by the arm. "What is happening? The king put Dalinar's heir in here?"
"The king didn't have anything to do with it," the jailer said. "Brightlord Adolin insisted. So long as you were in here, he wouldn't leave. We tried to stop him, but the man's a prince. We can't storming make him do anything, not even leave. He locked himself away in the cell and we just had to live with it."
Impossible. Kaladin glanced at Adolin, who walked slowly down the hallway. The prince looked a lot better than Kaladin felt--Adolin had obviously seen a few baths, and his prison cell had been much larger, with more privacy.
It had still been a cell.
That was the disturbance I heard, Kaladin thought, on that day, early after I was imprisoned. Adolin came and shut himself in.
Kaladin jogged up to the man. "Why?"
"Didn't seem right, you in here," Adolin said, eyes forwarad.
"I ruined your chance to dual Sadeas."
"I'd be crippled or dead without you," Adolin said. "So I wouldn't have had the chance to fight Sadeas anyway." The prince stopped in the hallway, and looked at Kaladin. "Besides. You saved Renarin."
"It's my job," Kaladin said.
"Then we need to pay you more, bridgeboy," Adolin said. "Because I don't know if I've ever met another man who would jump, unarmored, into a fight among six Shardbearers."
Kaladin frowned. "Wait. Are you wearing cologne? In prison?"
"Well, there was no need to be barbaric, just because I was incarcerated."

I'm going back and forth with all of this too. There is a point where Kaladin, Adolin and Dalinar are trying to fight this assassin from killing the king, but he is strong, so very strong. Imagine the sweetness when Kaladin scared him off because he knew Kaladin was something else.

Syl, Kaladin's little Spren is in this too of course. I love her so much. She plays a vital part in this book. Well, she's vital anyway and we get to learn more about her.

So back when Shallan and Kaladin were kinda lost in the chasm's, Shallan sort of figured something out from her drawings and a whole group of her and some of the peeps go back there. Kaladin is healing from an unfortunate event and I'm so glad that changed in this book. I was afraid Mr. Sanderson might leave us hanging on until the next book. BUT... OMG, it was so EPIC to me when Kaladin saw the light so to speak. I thought I was going to have a panic attack I was so excited! He ended up fighting the assassin in an awesome showdown, people found some stuff, people died, and people found out some more awesome stuff. And there is more messed up stuff to come they will have to fight in the other book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a lot of stuff!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews869 followers
February 9, 2021
“Do not let your assumptions about a culture block your ability to perceive the individual, or you will fail.”

Image result for words of radiance

Great 2nd read of Words of Radiance! Sanderson's world definitely holds up! I am ready for the experience to continue. On to Oathbringer!

2016 Review:

Words of Radiance is the spectacular 2nd book in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. If you’re looking for an epic fantasy series, the Stormlight Archive is it! The world of Roshar keeps getting bigger and bigger (and, at the same time, more interesting). Words of Radiance picks up right where Way of Kings ended, and like the first book it is a fun and satisfying journey. The book will answer many of the questions you had after finishing Way of Kings while, of course, raising completely new questions. I’ve already reread this monster of a book (1,087 pages), but I’ll need to be patient. Some questions need to remain unanswered, I suppose, at least until I get to Oathbringer!
Profile Image for oyshik.
212 reviews664 followers
February 6, 2021
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson(Stormlight Archive,#2)
The story, as always with Sanderson, was compelling and filled with an interesting lore and more engaging than the first book in the series. The world Sanderson has created will likely go down as one of the most detailed and expansive fantasy worlds ever created. The story is awesome and well worth reading for anyone who enjoys fantasy with a rich and complex world.
Honor is dead. But I'll see what I can do.

Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
235 reviews3,116 followers
April 16, 2022
An incredible work of writing that somehow surpasses the first book

Check out my new youtube channel where I show my instant reactions to reading fantasy books seconds after I finish the book.

If you are a fan of fantasy books, you've already read this book so I don't need to go into very much detail here.

This book is incredible in virtually every way. While the prose of writing is not par with the greats in this genre, the worldbuilding and plot are the pinnacle of fantasy. The "wow" moments are unrivaled, and legitimately left me with goosebumps and teary eyed.

I truly wish I could forget what happened in this book so I could go back through the experience of reading this for the first time.

If you are even a little bit a fan of fantasy and haven't read this...stop what you are doing right now and go read this series.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
February 27, 2022
4th read is the best so far.

Kindle Daily Deal 27Feb22 for $4.99 at Amazon

3rd read even better than the last 2

Don't judge me I made it a full year before rereading this monster book and it is even better the second time through.

Kalidan and Syl I still ship you.

Buddy Read May 1st with many friends over at Sanctum of Fantasy

My apologies in advance for the ridiculous amount of updates I'm going to post for this book. It cannot be helped as my fangirling refuses to be contained.

Original review April 2014:

“Honor is dead. But I'll see what I can do.”

I stand in awe of fantasy writers that can make an entire new world, magic systems, cultures, history, lands and everything else that goes into making a great fantasy and fill it with so many details that while you are reading the story you can get so drawn in that you feel like you are there or that it is a real place. Brandon Sanderson is one such writer. I enjoyed The Way of Kings (WoK) and gave it a 4.5 rating Words of Radiance is even better and 5 stars just doesn’t seem like enough. The world is richer and we hit the ground running in this installment since the world has already been set forth. Sanderson still built up on the foundation he already created in WoK and everything he added to it made if all the richer.

Sanderson is maybe the best writer I have read at giving a lot of ups and downs throughout the story but saving up and building steam for that last 15-20% where the shit hits the fan and the intensity just skyrockets all the way to the end. I was on the edge of my seat, reminding myself to read all the words and take my time but I was so excited to see what happened next that I found myself reading faster and faster as everything in the story was unfolding.

Told from multiple POVs throughout the story gives the reader an all-encompassing understanding of the world and the various interests and plots of gods and men. Every new layer and character added something to the story. The end of each part of the book had me struggling to take my time through the interludes as I couldn’t wait to see what was happening with our characters. A few of the interludes were from the Parshendi POV and gave an interesting understanding of the war, and the Parshendi’s goals. Some of the interludes revisited a few of the characters from WoK and made more sense to me in how they fit into this story while I imagine others importance will make more sense later.

While WoK’s was very much Kaladins story WoR is more Shallan’s. I was a little worried about this as I didn’t really like Shallan very much in WoKs. She was naïve and came to steal for Jasnah for that very reason she was less likeable. But she totally grew on me in this book as she really comes into her own and we have a chance to learn of her past. She has been hiding from it for so long that it is hard for her to face.

“I seek the truth,” Shallan said. “Wherever it may be, whoever may hold it. That’s who I am.”

I grew to really love her character. She is full of banter and wit and gets herself in just as much trouble as she gets herself out of. I had so much fun following her story as she travelled to the shattered plains and it was even more fun once she met both Kaladin and Adolin. I see the hint of a possible love triangle in there somewhere but thank god it hasn’t hit yet. I really enjoyed the time she spent with each of the men but her first meeting and later banter with Kaladin was some of the funniest dialogue in the book.

“The only time you seem honest is when you’re insulting someone!”
“The only honest things I can say to you are insults.”

Oh Shallon does have a sharp tongue and it seems that she is unlike anyone else Adolin has tried to date before. She has the princeling a little twisted up with what he should do. The way that Shallon is able to affect the lives of those around her and change them for the better was amazing as well. She was able to change the lives a few people extraordinarily and her new found abilities are extremely intriguing. She does seem in a little over her head though.

Adolin was also a character from the last book that I wasn’t a huge fan of. Compared to his father Dalinar and Kaladin he just wasn’t that interesting to me. Well that has totally changed in this book. Adolin is more than he seems for sure and as a few of the chapters are told from his perspective I really started to enjoy his character. The lengths he goes to for the people in his family and for what he feels is right are fantastic. But he still has the privileged air about him so he does it in the most comfortable manor possible.

“Kaladin frowned. “Wait. Are you wearing cologne? In prison?”
“Well, there was no need to be barbaric, just because I was incarcerated.”
“Storms, you’re spoiled,” Kaladin said, smiling.
“I’m refined, you insolent farmer,” Adolin said. Then he grinned. “Besides, I’ll have you know that I had to use cold water for my baths while here.”
“Poor boy.”

Kaladin’s arc is a journey of right and wrong, honor and betrayal, past and present. He has a big boulder on his shoulder against all lighteyes based on is past. Some warrant it and others do not. But it is a journey a true hero must take if he is to be a hero. I was happy I liked Shallan so much otherwise I might have got lost in Kaladin being a little bit of a downer through some of this. He was lost in his hate at times, although warranted it was hard to journey that with him. It was nice when a few people were able to drag him out of it.

“I trust you. It’s a very strange sensation.”
“Yeah, well, I’ll try to hold myself back from going skipping across the plateau in joy.”
Adolin grinned. “I’d pay to see that.”
“Me skipping?”
“You happy,” Adolin said, laughing. “You’ve got a face like a storm! I half think you could frighten off a storm.”

Kaladin really struggles with his vows and his relationship with Syl. Did I mention that I really hope somehow someway that Syl and Kaladin a destined to be together. That as their bond grows she will become more corporeal in our world and they can have a romance, which is totally the girl in me talking. I ship them so hard though. It is my dream and it is farfetched but I want it anyway.

DALINAR was my favorite character from the last book and he had a few moments in this one where I wasn’t sure what to expect from him. It seemed that he might not be up to the task at hand and then he would pull something unbelievable out. I loved his pose and calm. He is everything that a leader should be, that a king should be. I always still seem to underestimate him and I am surprised by how he reacts to situations.

“What you did tonight was clever,” Wit said. “You turned an attack into a promise. The wisest of men know that to render an insult powerless, you often need only to embrace it.”

Sometimes he is played the fool but he recovers quickly and always moves in a positive direction no matter the cost to himself. He is truly a good man doing the best he can for his kingdom and with so much stacked against him that can’t be hard.

He is the character that I worried for the most because that is who Szeth was sent to kill in WoK. Any meeting they had was intense and the conclusions to both their arcs in this book were unexpected and left my jaw on the floor.

“He fought as he wished he had all those years ago, for the chance he had missed. In that moment between storms--when the rain stilled and the winds drew in their breaths to blow--he danced with the slayer of kings, and somehow held his own.”

There are so many other characters that played great roles in this. Rock, Teft, Lopen, Wit, Jasnah, Sadeas (I hate that dude), Sebarial and Palona as well so many others, I couldn’t possibly name them all.
There are so many reveals that will play a big part in other books and some that were shocking in this one. I was on a rollercoaster almost the entire book and so many characters had surprises in their arcs. The epilogue had me jumping out of my seat with excitement. What a fantastic way to end the story.

All I know for sure at the end of this book is The Desolation Comes and it will be an epic journey that I can’t wait to participate in.

Initial mini review:
Squee....Happy Dance...Squee some more. There were so many things I loved, and loved hating in this book. OMG the ending and again the last 20% rocked my world/the other 80% was great too....but the last 20% WOW!!!

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Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
423 reviews467 followers
August 31, 2020
I find myself having put off writing this review for a few weeks now. I am still at a loss for words. How do I deliver an appraisal of a book so mind-bogglingly fantastic that anything I write will fall short of conveying the joy of reading it? Words of Radiance might as well be my description of this book and not the title.

WOR, being the second book in a ten book series called The Stormlight Archives, picks up right where The Way of Kings left off but does so at a faster pace. Where TWOK was a slow burn towards an amazing climax, WOR definitely has a faster burning fuse with an ending that surpasses the former by weight of sheer jaw-dropping moments.

And those moments?




The Way of Kings rocked your boat?
That rocking was just a slight vibration. It was the tremor of the water in the glass, the promise of something to come, and this book heralds the arrival and the full ROAR of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

E-freaking-lectrifying. Yup. I’m making words up now. Maybe if I just found a shardplate helmet, threw in the words ambitious, grandeur, astounding, magnificence, stunning, masterly, extraordinary and blended them all together with a dash of stormlight, it would form the word that would start to give you an idea of the wonder of Words of Radiance.

Brandon Sanderson just BROUGHT IT and dropped the mic before walking offstage.

I should be worried for the rest of the series, as I cannot seeing him topping this, but then, he has already proven me wrong with this book.

Go ahead and read this, you won’t be sorry. And if you find yourself nearing the end of the book and you are shouting and jumping and pointing towards the pages with exclamations of “HOLY GUACAMOLE BATMAN DID YOU JUST SEE THAT?!?!?!? “, just know that somewhere out there I am nodding my head and saying “I told you so!”

Art by Ashley Coad
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
283 reviews506 followers
March 12, 2023
"I once spent the better part of a year inside of a large stomach, being digested."

Partly explains how it is turning out me this year so far.. I'm inside Roshar, way behind my reading challenge with Sanderson's 1000+ page books, but not regretting one single bit! Stormlight Archive re-defined what I knew to be book-addiction to a whole new level.

I thought Way of the Kings was going to an all-time-fav for me, but Words of Radiance blows everything else out of the water! I'm going to forget about the challenge and keep going: this is too good to pause.

Review to come.

PS: There's a nice little surprise at the end, which will only make sense if you finished Warbreaker before.. So, thanks again, Mel! :D .. Your list has been invaluable!!

"We all see the world by some kind of light personal to us, and that light changes our perception. I don't see clearly. I want to, but I don't know if I ever truly can."
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
347 reviews932 followers
December 18, 2017
Words of Radiance is an absolutely marvelous continuation of the Stormlight Archive series.

As many of you know, it gets harder to review books in a series the further you get away from the first book. Here I am at the end of only book 2 & already over 2000 pages into this series (or over 80 hours in my case) and there is just soooo muchhhh storyyyy! So naturally, it's tough to write a review without any spoilers BUT HERE I GO BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT ALL OF YOU!

So one of the things I appreciate most about Sanderson's style is how he unfolds the stories he chooses to tell. No matter the scope, there's always a realistic scattering of situations that serve to grow the main characters in a way that feels very natural. There's always a reliably steady build toward the culmination of events.

Circumstances are not contrived, and I never have to worry about the author telling me how I should feel about his characters without also showing me why. Dialogue is realistic, and I am especially fond of how much humor Sanderson worked into this installment. I've heard whisperings of those who think Sanderson's dialogue is cheesy, but I'm a real fan of quick witted banter & puns & so a particular scene in the chasms really warmed my heart.

I found myself extremely engaged with the Interludes for this installment. The Interludes in Words of Radiance did a far superior job of developing the fringes of the story than in The Way of Kings. It grows the span of the realm & makes me feel like I'm reading about a real place with real people & real conflicts that don't always wrap themselves up into neat, solvable packages.

As a whole, this series strikes a nice balance between politics & magic, but I felt as though the politicking was a bit lacking in this novel. Thankfully, this is mostly made up for by two elements:

1. How strongly the Interludes contribute to the developing political atmosphere of Roshar.

2. The captivating expansions of the magic system in relation to our main characters.

Some of the lack has to do with Dalinar's POV being almost entirely absent. The novel switches back & forth between Kaladin & Shallan 99% of the time, and so we are largely excluded from Dalinar's part in the political game outside of brief snatches of his interactions with those two.

Speaking of POV's, the unbalance here is something I mentioned in my review of The Way of Kings, but after reading Words of Radiance I think it's something I have come to terms with. It was difficult for me to spend over a thousand pages without Dalinar, as he is my favorite character. But I think Sanderson is expressing this story in the way that makes the most logical sense, and if that means spending 100 pages with Kaladin, then that's what it means.

Long story short, I was a lot less bothered this time around because I've come to expect Sanderson will spend the time he deems necessary with each character & after all the time I've spent in the Cosmere universe, I will just trust him.

Now we come to one of my absolute favorite elements of this novel, the action/battle scenes. They're just so energizing & exciting to read! Specifically I think a lot of us are impressed by the scene we've affectionately dubbed "Honor Is Dead."

Damn, friends.

When I first listened to this scene, I had to stop my car on the side of the road just so I could completely lose myself in it. There is literally no word more appropriate for it than badass. This scene is surrounded by many more action sequences, all of which help my rapt attention. I love reading Sanderson's combat, especially because it gives me the opportunity to see how beautifully he works in his own magic systems. The experience is like a dance.

Overall, small hang ups on POV's & politics do not weigh enough to influence how much I enjoyed this story. That's a huge part of Sanderson's appeal as a fantasy writer - his stories are consistently satisfying, unique, and a hell of a lot of fun. I'm very specifically planning out when I will pick up Oathbringer, because once I finish I will have finished all I have left to read of the Cosmere. I want to wait a couple of months before I dive in because I want to savor every moment of that book when I get to it (plus I hear there's quite a lot of Dalinar so I'm more than ready for that!)

Now before I close this review I want to mention something spoilery. Please do not read past this point if you haven't read this series!


Alright so Jasnah...

Not for one second did I believe that she was dead & I'm actually really surprised the rouse of her death carried on for the whole book! It was stressing me out how long it took her to show back up because she was just way too important to be taken down at the hands of an assassin & I was worried Sanderson may wait until Oathbringer to bring her back around.

Jasnah is, in my estimation, the best female character of the series & so when she finally makes a reappearance I was more annoyed than relieved because I couldn't believe she was also kept out of this story for so long. Every time Shallan & Navani had an interaction over Jasnah's death, I just rolled my eyes. This obviously isn't a huge deal, I just wanted to rant about it for a moment!
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,258 reviews8,705 followers
November 1, 2020
4/29/18: So far the graphic audio version of STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE has been fantastic, so I’m hopeful that Kaladin will annoy me less this time . . . *crosses fingers*

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

WORDS OF RADIANCE is the second installment of Brandon Sanderson's STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE series, and, unfortunately . . . it fell a little flat for me.

Don't get me wrong, I liked it. This was one of those occasions when my rating steadily declined the more I stewed about the ends and outs . . . but immediately upon completion, I was all, "Yeah! Sanderson rocks again. WOOT!

But then came the stewing . . .

I had several significant issues with this book:

1. Cosmere crossover misfire.

The Cosmere is the realm in which many of Sanderson's different series take place. There are different worlds for the individual series, but these worlds are all in the same universe. I believe the ultimate goal is to begin a new series (after the completion of its forerunners) that ties the worlds together in a less tangential way.

Anyway, there are Easter eggs aplenty for a savvy fanperson, and I was made aware that a couple of important characters from a different series played important roles in WoR.

So I read the book from which these characters came just prior to starting to WoR . . . and then I completely missed Crossover #1's big entrance.

"How is that even possible?" you ask, and that's an excellent question, b/c, yes, I had just finished Crossover's book, and, yes, everything from it should have been fresh.


Sanderson decided to disguise Crossover. Changed his name and made him a "Master" of something he had previously only been good at. In fact, in Crossover's book, he wins fights against more skilled foe by distracting them, b/c he knows he can't win if he plays fair.

How are we supposed to recognize Crossover if he's in disguise?

Another excellent question.

The obvious answer would be to make a point of gestures or catch phrases Crossover became known for, or references to key ideas from the world we last saw him in . . . and in a way Sanderson did this: he made up metaphors that referred to the most obvious aspect of the magic system in Crossover's world.

BUT. There were no such metaphors used in the actual book.

So despite the obvious nature of these "colloquialisms," they flew right over my head, b/c they weren't consistent to that world. Add to that the fundamental alteration of Crossover's abilities, and I failed to see the point of having a crossover at all.

And that annoyed me. Greatly.

2. My previously favorite character became a Grade-A loser, whiny baby.


And Rule #1 was broken. If you don't want to be spoiled, that's all I can say about it. For the Sandersonites who demand to know my reasons for casting more aspersions on their beloved namesake:

Furthermore, the focus of this book felt completely different than its predecessor.

In WoK, good triumphed over evil b/c valor and loyalty and determination to be better than the corrupt leadership. Slaves became bloody heroes, and I thought my heart would burst from the FEELS.

In WoR . . . Shallan refused to unstick her head from the sand, and no amount of witty banter could overshadow her chicken-ness. Kaladin was the aforementioned loser, whiny baby. Dalinar shifted his stance on something he had previously forbidden b/c it was a convenient way to get rid of the competition, and Adolin had a psychotic break.

Instead of steadfast perseverance resulting in victory, victory was obtained despite the lack of heroism, b/c last minute come-to-Jesus.

I do not like this. At all.

However . . . there were enough interesting plot developments and secondary characters to keep it from being truly awful. Lift was enough by herself to make reading WORDS OF RADIANCE a worthwhile endeavor, and in a series like this skipping installments isn't an option. But ultimately . . . I'd say we have a classic case of Second Book Syndrome on our hands. Recommended with qualifications.

Jessica Signature

Welp. I did it. I was patient. I waited. BUT. Now it is finally (almost) time: BR of EPIC proportions with Sanctum of Fantasy. Starting 5/1/15. WOOT.


Dear Brandon Sanderson,


Full RTC.

My other reviews for this series:

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)
Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
763 reviews1,476 followers
August 11, 2014
March 5th: Done with first readthrough. It was, in fact, more perfect than expected. I only cried a little bit; mostly afterwards I just have this feeling of intense satisfaction.
I will probably still wait to review until I've read through twice; I have a lot that I think I want to say but I haven't fully processed it.

August 10: It's obvious to everyone that I'm not gonna get around to a reread for a while, right? Cool. I'll do it eventually, because I have a lot to say about this book, but it'll take a lot more time and energy than I have right now.

4 MARCH 2014: IT'S OUT! I'm going to leave this review up as-is until I can replace it with an actual review of the book; as I'm going to be reading it twice (one speed-read before Sanderson comes to my area for a signing, one thorough re-read afterwards) that may be some time.

18 December 2013: Review rewritten/reorganized to be more coherent and remove out-of-date info.
19 January 2014: Links added for TOR-released chapters. There will be two more chunks posted on the website before the book comes out.
21 January 2014: First of those two remaining chunks released at noon EST. I feel pretty comfortable saying we'll see the last set of chapters - the ones Peter Ahlstrom has been hinting at by saying we haven't gotten the 'hooks' yet - at the same time on the 28th.
28 January 2014: I was right. Links updated below. Note that now all the chapters we know to expect have been released; this may be the end of preview material.

RELEASE DATE: March 4. This is pretty much set at this point.
COVER/FLAP DESCRIPTION: can be found here. If you're not sure who's who, title explanations are under the spoiler cut:
As of this review update, the version Goodreads has on their page for the book is the old version. There are obviously major changes between the two, but both provide interesting hints towards plot events.

- Eshonai interlude (Audio, part 1 (excerpt starts at 12:30), part 2 (overlaps somewhat with first part); transcript)
- Shallan flashback (Audio, transcript)
- Rysn interlude (Writing videos: prewriting, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve; transcript)
- Taravangian interlude (Excerpt)
- Jasnah prologue (Transcript)
- Kaladin, chapter 2 (Transcript)
- Dalinar flashback (Transcript)
- Ym interlude (Transcript)
- Lift interlude (Excerpt)
- Teeny fragment of conversation involving Dalinar (Excerpt, sort of)
-Prologue, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2 at TOR (Excerpt)
- Chapters 3-5 at TOR (Excerpt)
- Chapters 6, 8, and 9 at TOR (Excerpt)
- Chapters 10, 12, 14, and Interlude I-1 at TOR (Excerpt; note that Ch. 10 and Interlude I-1 were previously released in audio as Red Carpet, Once White and the Eshonai Interlude; however, there have been changes in the final versions.)

As of right now, everything released via the Steelhunt is also on this list, so if you don't have a code you're not missing anything. One note: Everything marked 'excerpt' can be considered correct re: spelling and grammar, because it comes from an official source. Anything marked 'transcript' may have misspelled names or inaccurate punctuation. Obviously, any and all of these portions are subject to change before the final version.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,203 reviews2,583 followers
September 12, 2020

"...“As I fear not a child with a weapon he cannot lift, I will never fear the mind of a man who does not think.”..."

OMG!!! This was not just a book, it was a 4 day vacation to the world of Roshar, the complete package! It came with exotic locations, historical sites, a taste of the lives of all social classes including their cuisines and family traditions ("You're in my home now!" she said, and Lopen mouthed along with the words. "In a Herdazian woman's home, nobody's station means nothing beside her own. I'm not going to have them come and get you and find you not properly fed! I'll not have people saying that, Your Brightship, no I won't! Eat up. I've got soup cooking.") , a ton of rainy Stormy days, and specific for the area fauna and flora. We did get a steady diet of the local political intrigues and barely survived in the civil wars and border disputes, but what is a vacation in a distant land, world-hopping with Hoit, without some bloodshed, am I right?:)

"...“Onward, then! To glory and some such nonsense.” ..."

I am not going to pretend I have any idea where to start with a review of a work of this scope and caliber. Similar to how I felt about all the works in Jordan's "Wheel of Time", the only thing I really feel like doing is put my great caps on the key-board and gush of how much I loved everything about it. However, I am trying to be an adult here and write something that makes sense, so I am going to try to stomp my enthusiasm and adult a bit...

"...“Expectation. That is the true soul of art. If you can give a man more than he expects, then he will laud you his entire life. If you can create an air of anticipation and feed it properly, you will succeed.” ..."

Despite the rather obvious attempt of the author to tell us about expectations of an artist and how and when one can live up to them, I think Brandon Sanderson has done a darn good job at keeping the promise he made to us with the first volume of the series. He promised us something Epic, something full of characters we can root for and root against, and he promised us a battle between Good and Evil which will be contentious, multi-leveled, and just as murky and conflicting for those who find themselves in the middle of it as it is in Real Life. He promised us to laugh and to cry, moments of pure and languid wonder, as well as the breathless inability to put the book down and forgo with sleep and favorite other activities just so we could find out what happens next. It promised us a game of clues, little crumbs of information thrown in across the books of the hole Cosmere Universe, which raise the steaks of survival not only to the faith of a People, a Kingdom, a World, but of the complex relationships and causalities which affect all the Worlds in the Whole Cosmere Universe!!! And he made us promise of romance, and growth, and happiness, and pain... I am here to day definitively, Mr. Sanderson DELIVERED!!! And just like Amazon, he delivered PRIME!!!

"...“He fought as he wished he had all those years ago, for the chance he had missed. In that moment between storms--when the rain stilled and the winds drew in their breaths to blow--he danced with the slayer of kings, and somehow held his own.”..."

The Way of Kings was all about our dark-eyed, doctor-in-training, slave-freeing, Stormlight-consuming warrior, Kaladin. We got his background story, we got the path of how he got to where he is, and we got to love the gang of Bridge Four. Yes, we had multiple POV's, as we do here, but the majority was concerned with how Kaladin became Kaladin. In this volume, the person whom we get to know from the outside in and vise versa is Shallan. We all had a pretty good idea that things were not as they seemed with this smart-mouth young noble, who somehow manages to get in trouble all the time and insults people regardless of station or length of acquaintance.

"...“Are you that afraid of being wrong? One would assume you’d be accustomed to it by now.”
He grunted. “Be careful, girl. You wouldn’t want to accidentally insult a man.”
“The last thing I’d want to do is accidentally insult you, Vathah,” Shallan said. “To think that I
couldn’t manage it on purpose if I wanted!”..."

I really, really don't want to get into the details of the plot, less I give something away and spoil it for people. However, I would want to encourage all my reading friends, be it fans of the Fantasy Genre or not, to read this series. It is sweet, but not syrupy so, it has romance, but just hints at it, it is violent, but only as befitting the true purpose of the plot, no gratuitous violence at all, it has politics and war, but they do not prevail the content and there is enough balance in order to make it interesting for all, it is witty, and yes, sometimes that felt just a little forced, but it was a good counterpoint to the sadness that many of the realities of this World bring about. What I am trying to say is that this is not a perfect book, despite the rating I give it. It has its weaknesses and there are plenty of things I would have wanted more or less of, but as a whole, this is a worthy investment of time and money. I think we are experiencing modern classic in the making and none of us should be left ignorant of it:) The bad news - I believe there are 10 books planned in the series and this is only the second. The good news - the third book is coming out in couple of weeks and you will not have to wait for it!!!! I know I can't....:)

"...“I empathize with your skepticism, but I don’t agree with it. I just think you've been looking for God in the wrong places.”

“I suppose that you’re going to tell me where you think I should look.”

“You’ll find God in the same place you’re going to find salvation from this mess,” Wit said. “Inside the hearts of men.”

“Curiously,” ..... said, “I believe I can actually agree with that, though I suspect for different reasons than you imply.”..."

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Now I wish you all Happy Reading and many more wonderful books to come!!!
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 47 books128k followers
April 15, 2014
I mean, Sanderson always puts the word "Epic" in "Epic Fantasy" and at over 750 pages...this is EPIC.

I LOVED the last book, I loved this one as well. If you like Sanderson you'll love it, if you don't...well, this is definitely Sanderson! The same amazing characters continue from the last book, some Game of Thrones-type twists that are shocking as well, and as always, the lore and magic system RULE. Shallan continues to be an amazing character, and the growth of her abilities go into HELLA cool territory.

One thing: There's something vaguely disquieting about the class system and weird racism in this book, with the "light-eyes" and the Parshmen, that I can't put my finger on, anyone else feel that?
Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
409 reviews2,203 followers
October 5, 2021
Another masterpiece by the King of High Fantasy😌

I finished this faster than I did for The Way of Kings and I didn't even think that was possible. So me finishing this 1087 page book in 2 days should definitely tell you something about my love for Words of Radiance.
“All stories told have been told before. We tell them to ourselves, as did all men who ever were. And all men who ever will be. The only things new are the names.”

While The Way of Kings was basically Kaladin's book, Words of Radiance was most certainly Shallan's and I also didn't even think it was possible to love her more than I already do, but it was.

Reading about Shallan's past and the secrets she's kept—omg it's all so suffocating. In WoR, we see the lies Shallan tells to herself and others... these lies she will eventually have to confront if she has any hope in moving forward.

There's so much darkness in Shallan's life and seeing how broken she is, yet still being able to smile so brightly and find some happiness... I'm sorry, can you hear my heart breaking?? Shallan, my beautiful broken girl, I love you.😭 Please don't lock away all this pain and let it consume you.

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*🛑minor spoilers below🛑*

“I seek the truth,” Shallan said. “Wherever it may be, whoever may hold it. That’s who I am.”

Okay, but Shallan playing spy and infiltrating the Ghostbloods was something I never knew I needed in my life.🥺

Is it weird to say that I actually really love like the Ghostbloods?? Like they're pretty cool. I actually think I have a villain crush on Mraize although, is he really a villain? Their motives are still not clear and they don't seem to be really that evil so not a villain in my eyes yet. Honestly, majority of the antagonists here aren't really evil, it's not black and white, it's grey. For the most part their goals are understandable, it's just the way they go about it being quite concerning. It's more that they lack morality, but anyways I love how Sanderson does this and while I still do hate some of these people, I can understand some of the actions they take.

"The truth destroys more people than it saves."

I'm literally OBSESSED with the Ghostbloods. It's really concerning??? I pray for more of them. I NEED more of them. One of the higlights of this book was Shallan's interactions with the Ghostbloods and omg I loved that. Mraize was said to be rarely impressed by anything but was impressed by what Shallan could do??🥺 Curse my love for this group.

I hate Sanderson for putting a thought into my head, when I know it's highly unlikely that it'll happen *sobs* I can't stop imagining how amazing it would be if Shallan actually joined the Ghostbloods and found her own Bridge Four?? I barely know anything about these people—literally at the most only 100 pages out of 1087 did these guys appear—and their motives, but I just find them so cool😭 This super mysterious organization that is also very protective of one another and Also, even their group name sounds epic?? The ✨Ghostbloods✨

Anyways, I'd love it if something like Shallan joining their ranks were to magically happen, but I know it won't :( wow, this really became a Ghostblood fangirling session

“What separates the heroes from the villains? One speech in the night."

Surprisingly, Dalinar actually really annoyed me in this. I understood the situation he was in and the reasons behind some things, but at the same time it pissed me off the way he'd ignore and treat Kaladin's claims of a certain bastard
"I believe an apology is due."
↪ THAT will forever be one of my favourite scenes omg. if you know, you know👀

“That was why he’d come back. It was about Tien, it was about Dalinar, and it was about what was right—but most of all, it was about protecting people. This was the man he wanted to be.”

Kaladin is as amazing and heartbreaking as ever. Even after saving Bridge Four, he is still not at peace with everything that's happened to him and that's definitely understandable *sobs* There's still a deep burning hatred and vengeance floating in his mind totally don't blame him for having I'm honestly surprised at the amount of restraint he had in certain situations... I could never.

Kaladin's character development is spectacular and I can so tell that this is only the beginning of it. He still suffers with depression and trauma from these last few years and throughout the book, he goes through so many challenges...it's amazing. He makes mistakes, but he learns. His growth in WoR is one of my favourite parts here and omg his interactions with Shallan and Adolin were golden.

“He saw it in her eyes. The anguish, the frustration. The terrible nothing that clawed inside and sought to smother her. She knew. It was there, inside. She had been broken.

Then she smiled. Oh, storms. She smiled anyway.

It was the single most beautiful thing he’d seen in his entire life.”

The chasm scene was so, so precious. I actually started crying, my heartt-

“Kaladin frowned. “Wait. Are you wearing cologne? In prison?”

“Well, there was no need to be barbaric, just because I was incarcerated.”

“Storms, you’re spoiled,” Kaladin said, smiling.

“I’m refined, you insolent farmer,” Adolin said. Then he grinned. “Besides, I’ll have you know that I had to use cold water for my baths while here.”

“Poor boy.”

Then the prison scene ohmygod my heart was so happy😭 I love Adolin and Kaladin's growing friendship so much. And that one scene where they fought together omg sdfgdfdgds it was amazing
"Honor is dead."

Speaking of Adolin, that brings me to my OTP—Shallan and Adolin.🥺 Look at these two and tell me they aren't just one of the most adorable ships ever created???

I was living for their scenes. Like I literally had this ridiculous, goofy smile on my face every time those two interacted with each other. And the amount of times I reread those scenes... oh god why are they so cute??

Adolin believing that Shallan had come to the fighting grounds to watch him train, but being totally wrong and looking like a fool in front of Kaladin??? Perfection.

Shallan asking the most random questions—one of them being how do the Shardbearers, specifically Adolin, use the bathroom in their Shardbearers in the middle of long battles?? Adolin's response omg I was wheezing.😭🤚

And then there was Adolin's shocked face when Shallan kissed his cheek🥺 (Alethi are more reserved when it comes to showing affection bahaha) SO CUTE, I CAN'T. I'm so hyped for their future scenes omg and now I'm terrified that Sanderson will do something to them *sobs* please, no.

ALSO WIT OMG WIT, I LOVE YOU. Dare I say that he's my favourite character despite his minimal appearances??? His scenes are always so good omg one of my favourites:
Kaladin prepared to swing up into the seat beside the carriage driver, then stopped.
“You!” he said, pointing at the driver.
“Me!” the King’s Wit replied from where he sat holding the reins.


Adolin climbed out to await her, straightening his jacket, polishing the buttons on one sleeve. He glanced up towards the driver’s seat, then started.
"You!" Adolin exclaimed.
"Me!" Wit replied. He swung down from the top of the carriage and performed a flowery bow.


She suddenly started, eyes widening. She pointed at Wit with her freehand.
"You!" Shallan exclaimed.
"Yes, yes. People certainly are very good at identifying me today. Perhaps I need to wear—"

I can't stop laughing ohmygod why is Wit so amazing?? I NEED MORE WIT.
"Try not to flirt with the girl," Wit whispered. "Young Adolin seems to be growing possessive. Or...what am I saying? Flirt with the girl, Kaladin. It might make the prince's eyes bulge."

I'd say Wit "please marry me" but I'm sure if I was in his presence for even 5 seconds, I'd want to kill him so I'll just stay over here and laugh at him making fun of the others😌

Anyways, it seems that even though I was preparing to love this, there was still so much I wasn't expecting like falling in love with the Ghostbloods But anyways, I'm officially obsessed with this series and the Ghostbloods and this obsession scares me because I know once I catch up to the series, I'm going to have one of the worst book hangovers ever.

ahh I can't wait for Oathbringer to destroy me and my poor heart✌

────── 🗡⋆⟡⋆🗡 ──────

Buddy read with my demon bestie mashie!!! ahhh loved buddy reading with you sm omg

────── 🗡⋆⟡⋆🗡 ──────

Pre-read Review:

i love how the average rating of this is 4.74 like??? that's the highest rating ive ever seen on GR omg i was already hyped for this book and now-

────── 🗡⋆⟡⋆🗡 ──────

The Way of Kings: ★★★★★
Words of Radiance: ★★★★★
Oathbringer: ★★★★★
Profile Image for TS Chan.
700 reviews868 followers
September 15, 2019
Words. Of. Radiance.
- End of review -

Jesting aside, the title of the book does pretty much sum up the magnificence of this sequel to The Way of Kings. Words of Radiance should be the paragon of excellence by which all sequels should hold themselves to as it was the best second book of a series that I've ever read.

If you have read my love letter to The Stormlight Archive, you would know that I pretty much adore everything about The Way of Kings - the characterisation, the worldbuilding, and even the minimal plot progression, given the significant portion of the book dedicated to the former. Words of Radiance took every element which I loved in the first book and enhanced it beyond my imagination.

Character development remains at the forefront of the narrative. While The Way of Kings can be called Kaladin's book, Words of Radiance is Shallan's. Her story finally converged with the main plotline occurring on the Shattered Plains. The flashback chapters in this volume deal with Shallan's poignant backstory which shaped her to be the person she is now. Truth be told, I am not much of a fan of Shallan even while being empathetic to her circumstances. She has always struck me as "trying too hard," and the nature of her character is not one which I can readily stand by.

Hardcover endpaper of Shallan by Michael Whelan. Also available in the latest trade paperback release.

Kaladin remains as the highlight of the book for me; the path that his arc took was what made this volume amazing and solidified his status as my favourite fantasy character. He is honourable and badass, and yet frustratingly stubborn and petulant. His characterisation is compellingly realistic, especially for one who suffers from depression and PTSD having been through what he did. Before he can soar, he is thrown into the chasms – again! It made his transformation into the man he wants to be, and not the wretch he feared, even more glorious. Kaladin practically owned all the most epic scenes in Words of Radiance.

Honor is dead. But I'll see what I can do.

Nonetheless, Kaladin's story is not complete without Bridge Four. The strength of friendship and bond between the bridgemen, their honour and compassion despite former enslavement, and their unquestionable loyalty and respect for their leader form the most captivating and emotionally powerful arc in this series so far.

Dalinar has less POV chapters in this book, unfortunately; his presence has been somewhat usurped by his son, Adolin, whose development in this volume is almost as compelling as that of Kaladin's. What I loved most from these multiple and alternating POVs was being able to understand how these men view each other.

A substantial part of the lore on the Heralds and the Knights Radiant remain obscured or lost. However, more has been revealed around the Voidbringers and magic system. There is a better understanding about sprens, shards, and surgebinding, notably for the orders of the Windrunner, Lightweaver and to a lesser extent, Edgedancer. With these revelations, though, further questions arose as anticipation and speculations abound. There is also a higher level of intrigue surrounding the existence and agendas of various secret factions or organisations; all working towards what appears to be a common goal of saving humanity but using diverging methods – some less desirable than others.

I used to moan and groan whenever I reach the Interludes, eager to get back into the story. Rereading made me appreciate how Sanderson incorporated the necessary worldbuilding that would have otherwise been compromised, as the bulk of the main narrative took place on the Shattered Plains. It's from these chapters that we get to know about the rich and diverse races of the people of Roshar. More crucial is, of course, the storyline around the Parshendis - a most unusual and intriguing non-human race, the primary foe of the Alethi forces.

Aside from improved pacing, the critical action scenes are well spaced out in this instalment. And they are seriously epic! Like any climax of a Sanderson book, the last ten percent was heart-poundingly fantastic. The momentous events leading to the jaw-droppingly epic final battle made me cry and fist-pump and cheer like a madwoman.

So far, Sanderson has avoided cliff-hanger endings with each volume being wrapped up as well as it could be. Regardless, it will be difficult to avoid That Storming Hangover , of which no other fantasy novel can cure. At least that was clearly the case for me.

Expectation. That is the true soul of art. If you can give a man more than he expects, then he will laud you his entire life. If you can create an air of anticipation and feed it properly, you will succeed.

Rest assured, Brandon Sanderson has succeeded. Words of Radiance exceeded all my expectations even though it was sky-high after The Way of Kings. With only two books in the series of ten, The Stormlight Archive has set itself apart as my favourite heroic epic fantasy, unfinished as it is; the epitome of what I love so much about this genre.

While this ambitious series is far from being finished, I will nonetheless highly recommend all lovers of fantasy to pick up these books now! Don't worry that you will forget what had happened when a new book is released, you will want to keep rereading them.

NB #1: When the mass paperback edition was being released, Sanderson made a small change to a scene towards the end of the book to maintain what he deemed to be a more consistent arc to a central character. This update did not, however, in any way change the ending nor the outcome of the impacted scene.

The updates have been reflected in the Kindle version, both the mass market and latest trade paperbacks, and the Graphic Audio.

Sanderson's explanation is in the link below which will contain spoilers so only click on it if you've finished the book. There are threads on this topic on 17thShard.com and reddit as well.

NB #2: It is preferable to have read Warbreaker before Words of Radiance to maximise the experience due to the appearance of cross-over characters.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Matt.
919 reviews28.3k followers
January 13, 2023
“All stories have been told before. We tell them to ourselves, as did all men who ever were. And all men who ever will be. The only things new are the names.”
- Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance

The most difficult thing about discussing Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance is that it is part of a much larger work-in-progress. This is the second book of the so-called Stormlight Archive. So far, three books of this series have been published (The Way of Kings is the first book, Oathbringer is the third). Each of these mammoth novels has totaled more than a thousand pages in length. The fourth, Rhythm of War, is scheduled for publication in November. It, too, is over a thousand pages long. Quite a bit over, it seems.

Thus, we are in the midst of a project that is already giving Marcel Proust’s expansive In Search of Lost Time a run for its money, at least in terms of page-and-word count.

Every single one of these four books would be prodigiously daunting on their own. However, they are merely the opening entries of a planned ten-novel opus. The ending of such grand ventures, as we have repeatedly seen in literature and life, is never guaranteed. But if things go on as they have gone before, we may be looking at more than 10,000 pages of high fantasy, when all is said and done.

In short, it’s really hard to discern where Words of Radiance truly fits in the overall scheme. It is also really hard to come up with a plot summary that doesn’t start to get as long as the actual plot it is describing.

Suffice to say, Words of Radiance picks up almost exactly where The Way of Kings ended. This makes sense, since Sanderson is not much for making big time-leaps. His narrative typically proceeds day-by-day and week-by-week, partially accounting for the aforementioned page counts (which I will really try to stop mentioning).

As before, Sanderson is working in the third-person limited, following a manageable handful of viewpoint characters (with some additional cameos during the “Interludes” sections, which are offshoots from the main storyline). The three main viewpoint characters are Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar, with lesser space given to Adolin (Dalinar’s son), Renarin (Dalinar’s other son), Navani (mother to the king, and tepid love interest to Dalinar), and Sadeas (the main human bad guy).

It is a credit to Sanderson that – despite not giving us much of an overall roadmap – he engages our interest almost immediately. He accomplishes this by changing the tone and rhythm of Words of Radiance from that of its predecessor.

The Way of Kings was brutal, bloody, and action-packed, featuring numerous massive battles. Words of Radiance is different, and makes a conscious attempt to avoid repetitiveness. Instead of titanic clashes of arms, there is a lot of plotting, sneaking, and spying. There are some great set-pieces, including an incredible multi-person duel, but the focus is on the subtler side of the overarching conflict. Even when there is a battle, Sanderson tells it from a different perspective than in the first book, so it’s not just a bloody hack-a-thon redux.

In The Way of Kings, Kaladin, the former slave, traveled a long road from involuntary servitude to soldier to proto-superhero. Now, he is in the uncomfortable position of not having much to do. Much of his story in this volume consists of nursing old grudges (which is wearying), having rather weak philosophical debates with himself, and leveling-up a bit more, so that he becomes almost boring, in the way that invulnerable heroes are boring. He is also given a huge case of Plot Required Stupidity (PRS), a medically-diagnosable condition in which an otherwise smart character does unfathomably stupid things to keep the plot moving along. Unfortunately, even with PRS, Kaladin’s arc is pretty flat. Sanderson gives him some minor hurdles to overcome, but they are so readily surmountable that it feels like padding.

Thankfully, Shallan – who can be said to split time with Kaladin as the “main” character – is finally set free. In The Way of Kings, she spent most of her time standing still and having things explained to her. Now, on the move, she gets to prove herself in tight scrapes, while also learning more about her special abilities, abilities that will prove important, what with the world fast coming to an end (the coming apocalypse has something to do with “Voidbringers” and the “Desolation,” but it’s way too early for me to pay close attention to that). In recognition of her rising importance, Shallan is given the honor of having a series of flashback chapters, which – in contrast to Kaladin’s flashbacks in book one – are as emotionally affecting and intriguing as anything else in Words of Radiance.

The other human characters – Dalinar, Adolin, Navani, etc. – are just fine. They are all rendered with care by Sanderson. The problem, however, is that none of them have much in the way of psychological depth. Take Sadeas as an example. He is supposed to be a nasty dude, yet with complicated motivations. Despite Sanderson’s intentions, though, Sadeas is a milquetoast mustache-twirler, presenting no real threat. In other words, he’s no Tywin Lannister. Heck, he’s not even Cobra Commander.

Unlike other fantasy authors one could name, Sanderson seems to have a very good grasp on his story. His writing is meticulous in the way that it identifies details and concepts that will later pay off in big ways. It is nice to know that even as this tale expands – and it is always expanding, geographically and character-wise – Sanderson won’t write himself into a corner from which he cannot escape.

Still, there is a downside to this sort of rigorous control. Specifically, Words of Radiance lacks any feeling of spontaneity. I get the sense that the characters are all on predestined paths, and that nothing is going to happen to them until they have fulfilled their destinies (or their plot requirements). In other words, this book – like the first – lacks any sense of danger. Sure, Sanderson tries his hand at shaking up the board, but he displays a tendency to pull his punches. Now, I am not advocating that authors should kill major characters simply for the shock factor. Without careful planning and execution (pun intended), such surprises are cheap, and seldom carry lasting emotional impact. That said, without evidence of high stakes, all the talk about a hypothetical Armageddon – and all the terrible Proper Nouns that come with said Armageddon – lands with the weight of a feather.

Nonetheless, Words of Radiance is an eminently worthy follow-up to The Way of Kings. I liked it a bit less, and I saw the problematic features a bit more, but it is still a big chunk of fiction that moves with assuredness and grace. The pacing is excellent. The money shots are cinematically rendered. The dialogue – despite all the portentous verbiage – is generally pretty slick. Sanderson clearly enjoys wordplay, and he lets his characters enjoy it as well.

More than anything, Words of Radiance revels in the joy of world-building. Sanderson takes you to vividly rendered places, and describes marvelously complex systems of religion, culture, and magic. For example, Sanderson delves deeply into the creatures known as the Parshendi, who have an utterly fascinating way of structuring their society and communicating with each other. The scope and depth of Sanderson’s imagination is really something else.

Of course, I am not entirely sure how long exotic locations, creatures, and customs can hold my attention. Two-thousand pages in, I have not yet formed any strong emotional bonds to Kaladin, Shallan, or anyone else. More than that, I am not sure that my esteem for Sanderson’s advanced ability to create an immersive fantasy realm is enough to keep me committed to this venture, at least not enough to finish an eventual ten books. Whether I continue or not, Words of Radiance is both impressive and memorable in its transportive abilities. Sanderson has an uncanny ability to make you think this place of wild storms, disappearing swords, and women who hide their left hands is real. In the end, the flaws of Words of Radiance pale before the vastness of this series’ ambitions.
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
April 14, 2020
awe (n.): 1. an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime
2. the dominant emotion while reading Words of Radiance

Brandon Sanderson couldn’t have found a more befitting title for the masterpiece he crafted weaving salty tears, thundering heartbeats, rasping breaths and whimpering prayers, binding them with threads of blinding stormlight and cleansing tempests that erased everything from your mind and left you with the sole desperate need, the screaming ache to

read read read read read

to jump above chasms ride the winds cradle your spear find the Words and swear the Oaths that will make you a part of something bigger than you, bigger than life, bigger than death.

And I found the Words. After numerous sleepless nights swallowing his stories, after shedding hot tears not due to anger, not due to sorrow, but due to the sheer magnitude, the grandeur that invaded my senses and brought me to my knees, with trembling voice and shaking hands but a clarity that surprised me, I uttered them.

Words of Radiance is probably the best book I have ever read.
❝ Words are where most change begins. ❞

Kaladin Stormblessed is now the bodyguard of a lighteyes, the only lighteyes that seems to live up to the stories of ideals, of integrity and justice; his powers, though, are dwindling, and eventually he is forced to make decisions that will define the kind of person he wishes to be. Dalinar Kholin, the Blackthorn, is frantic to unite the people of Alethkar further to visions sent to him by the Almighty himself, and the warnings of the coming storm. The Everstorm. Shallan Davar is on her way to the Shattered Plains, scared and fascinated by the knowledge of the nature of Voidbringers, searching for the mythical city of Urithiru in her own quest to save the world. And Szeth-son-son-Vallano, Truthless of Shinovar, the Assassin in White, is still on the loose, drowning the entire Roshar in civil unrest, blood and mayhem.
The path ahead is sewn with thorns. Their tasks collide. The Knights Radiant must stand again. But what if it is too late?
❝ Onward, then! To glory and some such nonsense.❞

Replace “some such nonsense” with “heartache, panic and obsession” and perhaps you have a brief summary of Words of Radiance. I won’t go on and on praising the divine writing skills of Brandon Sanderson. I won’t gush about the broken perfection of Kaladin and Shallan, about how precious Adolin is, how ensnared I feel by the politics and the new factions that appeared, factions cancelling the objectives of Roshar’s heroes, because a) that’s a given and b) it has been said before, more eloquently than I could possibly dream. Instead, I’m going to make a confession. Writing reviews has been a struggle lately. Between hellish working hours dredged with a generous dose of anxiety and a constantly sour mood, moving my fingers, touching the keyboard and pouring my heart out is not an easy task. More like dreadful. Words of Radiance was the first book in a while that stirred the buried need to talk about something that rattled me, touched my soul, to share my enthusiasm, to scream from the rooftops that its beauty was unparalleled, its magic hold unbreakable, that it haunted my thoughts and my dreams day and night, and that I can’t remember the last time I experienced this glorious, rare feeling.
❝ Honor is dead.
But I'll see what I can do. ❞

Sometimes it truly feels like Honor is dead.
That the majority of people you meet in your life are greedy, jealous and selfish, and they take pleasure from the moments they see you falling. They contribute to your fall. And you end up feeling lonely, isolated, a pariah, eventually believing that something is wrong with you for evoking their contempt, even their malice, that the ideals that guide your own behavior are utterly useless against this misanthropic, cannibalistic world.
But they are not. Because there are also people like Brandon Sanderson who make you believe in humanity again. When they create heroes who sacrifice themselves for people they do not like, when they run a frantic course against time not for their own personal benefit, but to protect those who cannot protect themselves, to remember those who have been forgotten, they let you see the truth. That for every Sadeas there’s a Dalinar. For every Amaram a Kaladin. For every petty, cruel and vindictive bully someone to make you smile with a few kind words and a warm smile. In the end, Honor is not dead. It’s just very, very difficult to find.
❝ All stories told have been told before. We tell them to ourselves, as did all men who ever were. And all men who ever will be. The only things new are the names.❞

I don’t think that the only difference is the names. There is also the soul behind them, the creativity, the spirit that can make even dull descriptions burst with energy, hum and pulse with light. With life. This particular story has never been told before, at least not in this way. Not in a way that glues together your broken pieces, that lifts you up up up to the skies, that makes you care so profoundly that you can’t separate yourself from the story. In the future, people will try to repeat it. To imitate the banters between Kaladin and Adolin, Shallan’s sass, Dalinar’s integrity, to create intricate universes and perplexed politics that will remind you of Roshar. But they are bound to fail. Because the cosmos of Brandon Sanderson is truly unrivalled.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,034 reviews2,605 followers
March 10, 2014
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201...

I don't know what was more intimidating, the size of Words of Radiance when I first beheld it, or the thought of having to write the review when I finished. I took me about seven days to read this giant tome, and then five more just to let everything sink in. So many emotions. So amazing. Even now, I don't know if I can completely separate my subjective feelings for this novel, simply because of the MAJOR soft spot I harbor for this particular series. See, I wasn't always a fan of epic fantasy. I was the type to take one look at the page count and run the other way! Of course, that was before The Way of Kings became one of my favorite books. I guess you could say that I credit Brandon Sanderson and that book for being my gateway into this genre, and I've always been glad for that.

To finally read Words of Radiance was like fist-pumping excitement and all my restless giddiness rolled into one. In this second volume, the world of The Stormlight Archive becomes even more incredible and captivating. My favorite thing about Sanderson's stories are his magic systems, and I know everyone always says that but I don't care! It bears saying again because it's true. Here I thought he was done laying down the ground rules for his world's magic in The Way of Kings, but clearly he was just getting started. It's actually getting so elaborate that part of me is beginning to worry this could become too confusing before long. But if you love Surgebinding, rest assured the storyline continues to build upon basic principles regarding stormlight and its uses in the various types of surges. When it comes to beefing up his magic systems, Sanderson never ceases to amaze.

I've also noticed he has a way of writing inherently good people in the roles of main protagonists. This certainly applies to the important characters here -- Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar, Adolin, etc. -- all decent folks with decent intentions, natural leaders who always in the end succeed. It took tension out of the story at times, but it's also nice to feel exultant when a character gets ahead. That said, there were still plenty of twists and a couple of big surprises in this book, and of course when bad things happened, the impact of those setbacks felt all the more powerful. Sanderson knows how to pull me in and make me care, even when it comes to his more minor characters.

But what I really didn't expect was how things turned around when it came to the major ones. Kaladin pretty much made the first book for me, so I was shocked to see that his chapters in this one failed to hold my attention the same way. Kaladin himself, the ex-soldier and former bridgeman who has become a Knight Radiant, spirals into self-pity, anger, and impulsion because of his new powers and responsibilities, and I just didn't like the man he was for most of this book. On the other hand, Shallan (who didn't really impress me in The Way of Kings) comes into her own, literally becoming a new woman.

While Kaladin shrank into himself, Shallan branched out, becoming more adventurous and daring. Every time the story focused on her again, I was completely rapt, drawn into her research and personal journey to find the mythical city of Urithuru. I was also impressed by the way Sanderson handled her different relationships with other characters, especially the surprising one developing between her and Adolin. There's no question, Words of Radiance is where Shallan steals the show and gets a lot more of her background filled in, plus the illustrations of "her drawings" do add so much to the narrative (and I agree, Shallan, Adolin is totally *sigh*). I just have to cheer for a fellow artist too, you understand.

As for the story, what can I say? It's moving along, and in a big way. Everything is now converging in on the Shattered Plains, with all the main characters and their plot threads finally weaving together to become more cohesive. There's a countdown to something huge, and while this is the main source conflict in the novel, I like how the side themes continue to play a role. Factors like the infighting between the Highprinces or the social class disparities between Lighteyes and Darkeyes or humans and parshmen only add to the immersion and world building.

I have to say that with Sanderson, you don't often get "epicness for the sake of being epic". Others may disagree, of course, but all I know is with 1000+ pagers like these I always tend to forget a lot due to information overload. However, three and a half years after The Way of Kings, I still find myself remembering almost all the details of Roshar, of its peoples and cultures, lore and magic, the different creatures and spren. My memory's not the best either, so the fact I can remember even the little things means that they really stuck with me, and that simply does not happen with fluff or filler. It tells me the details in The Stormlight Archive are there for a reason, and not just to pad a book. Even the Interludes, which I don't really care for, I can still appreciate because something tells me they will be important at a later stage.

Honestly, sometimes I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that I'll probably be well into my fifth decade by the time the last book of this vast, sweeping series comes out. It's an accepted reality for epic fantasy fans I'm sure, but you can bet your spheres that I'm in this one for the long haul. Premature as it is to say, but I think things are shaping up real nicely, and if you enjoyed the first book then picking up this one will be a must as well. Needless to say, Words of Radiance gets 5 hearty stars from me. Really, was there ever any doubt?
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.2k followers
November 29, 2017
1.) The Way of Kings ★★★★★

I am so sorry with how this review is like three weeks late! November just got so overwhelming for me with trips and other things, but I’m here now and happily ready to yell at you all about how this series is Brandon Sanderson’s magnum opus!

“Words are where most change begins.”

This is book two of The Stormlight Archive series. It has multiple points of view, but every one of the characters will somehow weasel their way inside of your heart. Like, I know I’m probably getting “too old” to say this, but Adolin Kholin is the ultimate book boyfriend and Jasnah Kholin is the ultimate book girlfriend and my little bi heart is so thirsty happy while reading this story.

Also, one thing I haven’t seen anyone say who reviews this series: this series totally has a love triangle and I’m living for it? I mean, you obviously know what team I’m on from my statement above, but there is so much tension between three of the main characters of this story! I love this dynamic so much, and I’m so impressed that Brandon Sanderson pulled off, seemingly, the perfect love triangle.

But moving on, this book picks right up where The Way of Kings left off. I want this review to be spoiler free, so I’m just going to give you guys an idea of what this story and world are like. But I can’t emphasize enough how amazing, atmospheric, and impressive this world and story are.

This is high fantasy at its finest, which means a lot of world building, but it’s so expertly done. Roshar is so unique and so complexly written. From the Shattered Plains, where the Parshendi are trying to decide what to do for the good of their people who are wanted for killing a king. To Shinovar, which is protected by a mountain range where the people known as Shins live. To Alethkar, the largest kingdom on Roshar and where our main story happens! And it is divided into ten mini kingdoms, that are self-governed. This world is beyond expansive, is what I’m trying to say!

And this series has…. a lot of different races:

(Amazing fan art by: Botanicaxu)

Oh, and we can’t forget about Spren! Who, in this world are magical little companion beings that come in a variety of different types, but only bond with those who are worthy.

“Honor is dead. But I'll see what I can do.”

And then throw in the magical Shardblades, Shardplate, and Soulcasting! Plus we have the magical Highstorms that are happening on this planet, that the people use to charge gemstones!

Needless to say, there is a lot going on in this story. I mean, each book is over 1,000 pages and Brandon Sanderson doesn’t hold back with the information. If you’d like a better break down of this world and these characters, please check out my review of The Way of Kings where I’m super long winded but way more informative.

And I say this a lot, but Brandon Sanderson truly writes the best prologues and epilogues in the fantasy genre, and I’ll stand by that forever or when I’m finally proven wrong. But, Lord, did he outdo himself with the epilogue of this book. This book evoked every emotion from me, and still chokes me up while I’m writing this review three weeks after finishing. The only word I can use is perfection, because it truly is that.

Also, Wit is the best character of all time. And Sly’s a close second.

“Expectation. That is the true soul of art. If you can give a man more than he expects, then he will laud you his entire life. If you can create an air of anticipation and feed it properly, you will succeed.”

You can say what you want about Brandon Sanderson, but he proves over and over that he truly is the king of epic fantasy. I loved this book. I love this series. I truly think this is Brandon Sanderson’s best work. I implore and encourage every single one of my high fantasy lovers to give this series a try. This book is nothing short of amazing and is easily one of my favorite books of all time.

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Buddy Read with Robin and the rest of BB&B! ❤
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
874 reviews1,763 followers
May 9, 2018
My third reading and this was as spectacular as it was the first time. Last 20% of this book is pure gold. Magnificent!!

My first five star book of the year and this book has set the standard so high for all the other fantasy books that am planning to read this year. This book is a page turner, has a really amazing world, and just awesome magic system.

the story starts with Shallan and Jasnah on their way to Shattered Plains but something bad happens on the ship. Now Shallan has only "Pattern" to help her to reach Shattered Plain. On this journey she rediscover herself and her powers. Shallan plays an important role in the discovery of Urithiru, lost city of Knight Radiants. Sanderson has transformed Shallan from a shy and scared girl of Way of Kings to a very cunning and opportunistic girl here. And finally some questions were answered about Shallan's past and it was easier to understand why Shallan is the kind of girl she is now.

Kaladin is now Captain of Dalinar's personal guard, a duty which he takes very seriously. Beside that he is also doing his best to convert Dalinar's remaining bridgemen into soldiers, teaching them about battle and discipline. I liked Kaladin but sometimes he just irritated me so much with his whining but I thoroughly enjoyed his bantering with Adolin. All the three battles that he was a part of were mesmerizing . But to me Kal was better in WoK.

Dalinar and Adolin are the other main characters after Shallan and Kal. I just loved Dalinar in this edition as much as i loved him in WoK. He is trying so hard to save Alethkar and the world from the return of voidbringers and only few people believe him. but as the saying goes, "fortune favors the brave", he holds his own in the midst of Shallan and Kal which is just amazing considering the powers of these two. I didn't like Adolin in Wok. To me he was a proud prince who didn't give much thought to other people feelings but everything changed in this book. He is more down to earth now after and very likable.

We get to know more about Parshendis and their Gods because of Eshonai and Rlain. I liked how Sanderson presented them as good and bad and made Dalinar believe that not all Parshendis are bad. Also interludes were full of information and more questions.

Sanderson's writing was good but its the characters that impressed me most in this book. As always magic is awesome and am ignoring one or two things that annoyed me because of that .
Profile Image for Grace A..
384 reviews40 followers
January 10, 2023
Incredible! What a fantastic read! Brandon Sanderson, where have you been all my life? Lyrical, beautiful, out-of-this-world writing. How can a book be this voluminous, yet unpredictable at every turn? I love the surprises. The destination is never what you imagined it.
I am hooked on the characters. I want more Shallan, Kaladin, The Kholins, even the whiny spineless King Elhokar. I want to see what will come off the twist about Szeth and Jasnah. Was Adolin right in doing what he did, and will there be consequences?
Will we finally get some insight into who the heck Wit is?
I am off to read the third book in the series, Oathbringers. I am having a fantastic time with this series. Five stars.
Profile Image for Luna. ✨.
92 reviews1,215 followers
May 8, 2017
So I read this book so long ago and never wrote a review. Words won't suffice the way I feel about this book, I have been reading for a long time and this book is THE BEST BOOK I'VE EVER READ IN MY LIFE. Seriously.. Nothing will ever compare to this series & I will wait everyday in suspense for book 3. Hurry the fuck up please KING SANDERSON I need more.




Profile Image for Nicole.
446 reviews13.5k followers
June 12, 2022
Początek był wspaniały, ale gdzieś po połowie zaczęłam się nieco męczyć. Epilogu się spodziewałam and I love that!
Profile Image for Althea ☾.
623 reviews1,952 followers
March 23, 2022
If you haven't read this series at all, here's my three liner pitch:

dark and thought provoking but wholesome epic high fantasy that centers around themes of power, ruling, leadership, and nuanced conversations on the disparities between men and women in a society. Filled to the brim with characters that are entertaining, never let the intrigue die and you constantly want to cheer for. A plot that runs forward without looking back but holds your hand when it comes to world-building so that you don't get lost in the vastness of it.

“Words are where most change begins.”

I don't want to hype this up even more than everyone is but it truly is turning into one of my favorite series of all time.

I will forever love Sanderson's characterizations. There is so much thought and meaning put into every character and their role in both the plot progression and its nuance while leaving you with fulfillment at every interaction. As I said before, Brandon Sanderson builds his worlds in a way that makes you care for each character first before fully explaining the world that he has plopped you in the middle of.

I think that at the end of the day, the most successful aspect this series depicts is what it means to be, not a hero, but a leader (and basically a human being)and that we are all just acting based on our own perceived notions of what is right. Specifically, in a society or a culture that is so set in its ways but has also forgotten its roots. Sometimes I truly run out of things to say when I love a book, it’s world-building, characters and their dynamics, and the magic system too much.

“I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right.”

This really is only the second book in the series but it already proves to host a very dynamic plot that just keeps growing in scale, Sanderson style. I don’t think it’s mentioned as often in reviews but the depiction of depression, anxiety and PTSD were aspects that I did not expect to be as focused on but I realized are all very realistic parts of war that it should be something that is tackled in a healthy way.

Sanderson is a master at slow burn world-building that still manages to be so satisfying at every step (Journey before destination, my friends) while making you fall in love with characters without even realizing it. I love how all of the women are portrayed as strong characters that can hold their own. Even the little romances are treated in a fulfilling way even though they are just side stories. At this point, its not difficult to feel a connection to all of the characters. Forgive me for not saying any character names because I believe even mentioning them is a spoiler at this point HAHA

“A woman's strength should not be in her role, whatever she chooses to be, but in the power to choose that role.”

There are so many more things I could say but I also think that you should just read this book. There is something about the pacing and how the plotline was crafted that made this book already feel so rewarding when we're really just at the tip of the iceberg. The way everything was tied in with the first book... UGH. YES. Satisfying stuff.

Highly, highly, recommended if you like fantasy in any way, shape, or form. Especially if you like high fantasy that feels like you're in so deep in the world-building and characters, and brings with it development and progression that is satisfying in every chapter.

“Honor is dead. But I'll see what I can do.”

— 5.0 —
content warnings// depression, gore, suicide ideation, violence, war
representation: depression, anxiety, PTSD
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,263 followers
September 13, 2020
Yes, I said it. 3 very generous stars. Yep, yep.

Firstly, I was perpetually laughing and snorting and cringing all while reading this book. Sanderson doesn't know how to write female characters who can both be intelligent and alluring. And, dear stormfather, if I never have to read the words "spren" or "storm-fucking-father", it would be too soon.

As if there weren't enough facepalming moments, Dalinar (supposedly a 5-star General) goes to war knowing failure was inevitable yet by some 'Deux ex Machina' luck, Shallan manages to save the day.
*Laughs maniacally*

Also, why doesn't anyone die? Even Szeth (who was the only character that seemed mildly interesting) was resurrected.

Lastly, and the most baffling, am I the only one who has an issue with Sanderson's portrayal of the Pershendi people?
Profile Image for Anna [Bran. San. Stan].
262 reviews83 followers
April 10, 2022
Just finished re-experiencing for the fifth time (this time via GraphicAudio) with my SO. I have successfully passed on my obsession. (*fist pump*)

Original review 2020:
Wow, just, wow. “Journey before destination,” indeed. And what an amazing, brilliant, captivating, all-consuming journey it is. Picture me using every opportunity to eschew adulting and, yes, social contacts, to rush and read. I think I may have a problem.

Why am I addicted? It’s not just the mind-blowing mythology and how, little by little, the bigger picture is revealed; not just the world-building; not just the characters and their fates and how much you live and breathe and suffer along with them; it’s how even minor characters have a distinct voice; how even though I’m always initially annoyed by the Interludes disrupting the narrative, I end up enjoying them nonetheless; it’s how freaking brilliant Sanderson is at writing dialog – funny, hilarious, insightful, profound and true to each character; it’s how Syl and Pattern and their idiosyncrasies are used for comic relief (Kate Reading does an excellent job highlighting this with Pattern in the audiobook!); it’s how Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin and Dalinar make my day better just by being there with me in the back of my mind; and it’s how I know that my love for The Way of Kings and now Words of Radiance will only increase after each re-read.

And as if all this wasn’t enough: What makes this journey even more amazing and catapults this series even further into the exosphere of happy places is the audiobook narration: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are truly marvelous and listening to them makes me feel all fuzzy and happy and warm inside. (Kate Reading finally made me enjoy Lift – a character I found borderline annoying in written form.) And you get a lot for your money: almost 50 awesome hours of listening bliss.

Anna, Bran. San. Stan forever


Addendum: I would not have thought it possible, but there is an even better listening experience than the brilliant audiobook narration: the dramatized GraphicAudio productions. All my obsessed stars for those!

Spoiler question below – please read and comment if you’ve read the book:

I was really confused by Szeth’s diverging fates: In my kindle edition, Kaladin has mercy and only wounds him, leaving Szeth to consciously give up his honorblade while in the audiobook Kaladin kills him outright. That obviously leads to different implications and consequences and I can see why Sanderson would prefer the former fate as it makes both characters look better. Still, does anyone know more about the differing versions and why they came to be?
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