In the first book, “The Way of Kings,” we were introduced to the world of Roshar. It is a world of magic and aliens where hurricane-like storms lay savage to the world every few days and all of its inhabitants must adapt their lives accordingly. It is a world at war between the human armies led by High prince Dalinar Kholin and the Parshendi, a humanoid species. We were introduced to Jasnah, who is a renowned scholar and the niece of the High Prince Dalinar Kholin, her student Shallan, and Kaladin, a slave that by the end of Way of Kings is beginning to become the world’s first Knight’s Radiance in centuries.
If you haven’t read/listened to ”The Way of Kings,” I would strongly recommend that you do before going on to this second book, “Words of Radiance.” If you have read/listened to the first book I would recommend a review of TWOK before going on since it has been over four years and the second book starts off right where “The Way of Kings,” left off.
At 48 hours and 15 minutes this is a long book, in fact Brandon Sanderson posted on his blog that he wrote the manuscript under the working title “the Book of Endless Pages.” He was referring to the endless learning set forth in his first book but it seemed appropriate given its length; but don’t let the length of this book deter you as I listened the hours seemed to fly past. This is an amazing book.
“Word of Radiance” focuses on four characters: Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar, and Adolin. In TWOK Kaladin was the main character and is still very prevalent but this book reveals more about Shallan. Like “The Way of Kings,” Sanderson interlaces the present with the past, developing the background on the main characters’ while moving the plot forward.
This is only book two in a ten part series and even though I can’t wait for the next book I found the ending satisfactory.
I word about the narrators, I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Kramer and Kate Reading and I thought they gave another great performance.
111 of 122 people found this review helpful
When I wrote my (too) short review of the first book in this series, The Way of Kings, I ended it with this sentence: "This book is so good I will gladly listen to it again as a refresher when book two comes out!"
Well I am back to say that I followed through on my promise and it was worth every second. The Stormlight Archive is epic fantasy at it's best and Sanderson shows why he is at the top of my must read/listen list. Here I am fresh off of investing close to 94 hours of my life listening to books 1 and 2 of the Stormlight Archive and I am ready for more.
The world is rich and deep, the characters are complex, and the magic systems are true Sanderson - well defined, unique, and interesting. All of the main characters are back and the story just gets bigger and bigger. For most authors the end of this book would be a satisfying conclusion to any series but it is obvious that this one is just getting started. Sanderson set the bar so awfully high with the Mistborn series that I am truly impressed he was able to surpass himself with the Stormlight Archive.
Veteran narrators Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are back and once again breathe life into all of the great characters. It was a pleasure to listen to them both for 90+ hours and I can't wait for book three. These two know epic fantasy and combine with Sanderson to form a perfect highstorm of epic proportions.
If you like fantasy books then you will feel like a kid in a candy store here. It is time for you to run up to the counter and plunk down your credit(s) to enjoy this wonderful experience. You won't find more hours of entertainment for so little cost anywhere else. Of course you should start with The Way of Kings but be assured that 94 listening hours later you will find yourself back at the candy store counter standing on your tip toes and holding up another credit. Of course, I will be standing right next to you. :)
98 of 112 people found this review helpful
I love the world that Sanderson has built here and I'm super excited for where this series is going. This is quite a long book but it definitely pays off in the end. We're getting more and more info regarding the Cosmere as a whole and I couldn't be more happy about that.
My one complaint about this book, as well as The Way of Kings, is Kate Reading. I've never been so unhappy when a specific POV character's chapter begins as with Shallan chapters. Throughout the first book I couldn't be sure if that was because I simply don't like Shallan but this book was able to settle that for me with a length chapter with Shallan read by Kramer. It was like she was a new, much more likable character. Suddenly I was amused by her dialogue and her interactions with Kaladin rather than rolling my eyes and looking at my watch. Kate reading has this fascinating way of making me hate every character she voices. They all sound like whiny 12 year old brats. Not only that but her pacing and intonation can completely ruin the meaning of dialogue and she has an extremely bizarre way of reading that makes random sentences sound like questions. It's so bad that at a specific moment when Kaladin jumps into a fight and it immediately switches to Shallan's perspective I literally yelled &quot;Noooooooo!&quot; at the top of my lungs, terrified that I'd have to listen to an action sequence as read by Reading. If she wasn't performing along side the amazing Michael Kramer this might not be such a huge deal and I might have a much easier time getting used to it. It's just so unfortunate that such amazing books are marred by this terrible reading.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Either of the readers would have done a wonderful job, but the use of two readers who clearly have not heard one another's take on the story is unfortunate. Different pronunciations and different accents between the readers makes portions of the performance unnecessarily messy.
25 of 30 people found this review helpful
I love Sanderson and will buy all of his books for his ability to give his characters life and their individual distinct voices, but I have to admit that Sanderson seems to have been distracted on this novel. Plots meandered and character development for his main hero, Kaladin, came to stop and even reverted back to his previous development from the first novel. Going to buy the next book and probably the rest in the series as I know Sanderson can pull it off and bring it together but still kind of a sophomore slump for this series. Hoping for better in Oathkeeper.
43 of 53 people found this review helpful
it really is good but with how slow everything moves in this book I can't do it.
24 of 30 people found this review helpful