Review: Words of Radiance

Posted June 5, 2015

Review: Words of Radiance Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Series: The Stormlight Archive #2
Published by Gollancz Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Six years ago, the Assassin in White, a hireling of the inscrutable Parshendi, assassinated the Alethi king on the very night a treaty between men and Parshendi was being celebrated. So began the Vengeance Pact among the highprinces of Alethkar and the War of Reckoning against the Parshendi.
Now the Assassin is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin's master has much deeper motives.
Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status "darkeyes." Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.
Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.
Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable


From the moment I finished The Way of Kings I couldn’t wait to delve back into the world of Roshar. I held off until the books came out in paperback though – I am completely incapable of managing one of those large hardbacks. In holding off I was slightly concerned that I may have forgotten some of the finer details of the first book. Thankfully I found this wee ten minute recap¬†which helped to fill in the gaps – I definitely recommend checking this out if you’re in a similar situation. Obviously, if you haven’t read The Way of Kings then stop reading this and go and pick up a copy… NOW!

I don’t say this lightly but, I think I enjoyed Words of Radiance even more than The Way of Kings. In fact, I’m pretty sure I did…and I loved¬†The Way of Kings so that’s saying something. I felt The Way of Kings was in many respects scene-setting; introducing us to the world, the characters, the creatures, the wars etc. Whereas from the very start of Words of Radiance I felt “ready to go”, already invested in the characters and eager to carry on this epic journey.

At the end of The Way of Kings I felt that everything was coming together nicely, it seemed that perhaps we might find our protagonists all in the same geographic location eventually. Indeed, this is something that happens in Words of Radiance, and is something that I really liked. The separate lives of the main characters in book one gradually start to intertwine. We get some back story Shallan too which is really useful in learning more about her character – these flashbacks are a nice tangent to the main storyline.

As with The Way of Kings we also find Interludes with seemingly completely random characters. Having become accustomed to these interludes in book one, I really enjoyed these and Sanderson uses them to great effect in expanding the story.

Once more the world that Sanderson has created left me in awe. His concepts are terrific and the way he winds his story through his main characters is second to none.

Quite simply, I adored this book. I’m just sad that I’ll have to wait a while longer to take my next trip in Roshar – book three, Skybreaker is rumoured for publication in July 2016. I wish my husband would hurry up and read Words of Radiance so I can discuss it with him!!