Words of Radiance : Stormlight Archive

  • by Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
  • Series: Stormlight Archive
  • 48 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Book two of the Stormlight Archive.
From the best-selling author who completed Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series comes a new, original creation that matches anything else in modern fantasy for epic scope, thrilling imagination, superb characters, and sheer addictiveness. Return to a planet swept by apocalyptic storms, a world tipping into war as aristocratic families move to control the shard blades and shard plates, ancient artifacts from a past civilisation that can win wars.
As the world tips into a war for control of the mythical artifacts of power made from Shard, characters are swept up into new dangers which will threaten their integrity and their lives. Huge, ideas-filled, world-spanning fantasy from a master of the genre.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great books are the ones that make you THINK

Any additional comments?

You know you've found something special when the first book in a series is excellent ... but the second book is even better. WORDS OF RADIANCE is one such second book, and is a strong indicator that the Stormlight Archive as a whole is going to be Brandon Sanderson's masterpiece. As an encore to the extraordinary and enthralling THE WAY OF KINGS, WORDS OF RADIANCE raises the bar to dizzying new heights. This book's depth, complexity, scope, and sheer heart and gutsiness make it a joy to experience.

In order to write a great fantasy novel, you must first have a great plot and great characters, and in WORDS OF RADIANCE, Sanderson has achieved this with such style that it appears effortless, seamless. THE WAY OF KINGS was the starter's pistol, and WORDS OF RADIANCE shows Sanderson really hitting his stride. The plot expands and deepens like the chasms of the Shattered Plains. The scope of the story increases exponentially, yet never quite becomes too unwieldy or difficult to follow. And excitingly, the final scenes open up whole new horizons to be explored in future books.

Character development in WORDS OF RADIANCE is also first class. I have to admit that in the preceding book, I found Dalinar's character to be rather bleak, but WORDS OF RADIANCE makes him much more three-dimensional and therefore likable. On the other hand, I loved Kaladin and Shallan from the very first time I met them. However, in WORDS OF RADIANCE, both of their characters blossom even further, revealing unexpected depths. They are both such engaging characters because they are both, paradoxically, so deeply scarred, and that is something every reader can empathize with in their own unique way. Through the characters of Kaladin and Shallan, Sanderson poses the questions: How far can a person be pushed before they break? And once broken, are there means they can use to continue to function as human beings? WORDS OF RADIANCE sums up Kaladin and Shallan perfectly: "Contradictions. Those were what made people real." In the end, that is what it comes down to: These are great characters because they are so very real.

For a fantasy novel to be something truly exceptional, it has to have something even more than a great plot and great characters. There are just so many fantasy novels out there - and so many of them are either simply ordinary, or perhaps good, but very few are extraordinary. So when I'm reading a fantasy novel, I'm always looking for something truly special about it, something that it does better than all the rest and that marks it as one of the greats. In the case of WORDS OF RADIANCE, I believe it is the book's deep and heartfelt exploration of important human issues that most emphatically sets it apart from the crowd. There are a core group of themes that are not just explored but are attacked from every possible angle, so that thematically, the book reveals more layers than an onion. It is one of the great paradoxes of literature that real-world issues are often most effectively tackled in the fantasy genre. Brandon Sanderson has been particularly adept at this throughout his career, but never more so than in WORDS OF RADIANCE.

Class difference seems to be a theme that has long been close to Sanderson's heart, and it has its most overt airing yet in WORDS OF RADIANCE. As Kaladin says to Shallan: "'It's the fault of your entire class. Each time one of us is defrauded, enslaved, beaten, or broken, the blame rests upon all of you who support it, even indirectly.'" But in a sign of authorial maturity, the question also arises: If class does separate human beings, does humanity, in the end, bind them together? WORDS OF RADIANCE also asks many questions about the concept of justice, questions such as: Can life pay for life? Is killing ever justified? Is there any real difference between killing and murder? Anyone interested in arguments about corporal punishment could do a lot worse than read WORDS OF RADIANCE.

But there was one theme in this book that truly captured my imagination. This theme, put simply, was the nature of lies, but not in the way we would normally think about it. It takes a being from another dimension to articulate it most succinctly: "'You [humans] are abstract. You think in lies, and tell them to yourselves.'" Not only is the way in which we create our own self-images and our images of others a matter of perspective, and therefore a slightly different experience for every person, WORDS OF RADIANCE demonstrates most profoundly and movingly how we use lies to protect ourselves. Both Kaladin and Shallan lie to themselves and others in order to salvage their own sanity in the wake of unspeakable brutality. And this made me think long and hard about the millions, perhaps even billions, of people throughout human history who have been forced to do exactly the same thing.

Fantasy books as a genre suffer under the stigma of being unrealistic and therefore somehow less than other genres. But as far as I'm concerned, great books can come from any genre, and need only fulfill one overriding criteria: Great books must make the reader THINK. From now on, I shall be holding up WORDS OF RADIANCE as my proof that fantasy books can do exactly that, and do it very, very well.

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- Sally Howes

An excellent start to the story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

At 40 hours long some might say it's a bit long winded but I was gripped right to the end.

What did you like best about this story?

The lead characters development from hero to slave and back to hero

Which character – as performed by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading – was your favorite?


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When, despite the prejudice he suffered from Eihokar and his peers, he puts himself in danger to save his life

Any additional comments?

Can't wait for the next book in the series

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- Nathan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-06-2014
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group