From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, 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.
Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson
The Stormlight Archive
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
The Mistborn trilogy
Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series
Alloy of Law
Shadows of Self
Bands of Mourning
Other Cosmere novels
The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
The Scrivener's Bones
The Knights of Crystallia
The Shattered Lens
The Dark Talent
The Rithmatist series
Other books by Brandon Sanderson
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APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Brandon Sanderson takes readers even deeper into the war, magic, and political intrigue of the Stormlight Archive with the second book in the series. Continuing where The Way of Kings left off, we dive back into the lives of Sanderson’s heroes and heroines as Roshar remains engulfed in global conflict. Highprince Dalinar Kholin fears for his life as the gifted, if reluctant, assassin Szeth stalks him silently. It probably doesn’t help that Dalinar’s new guard is questioning his own loyalty to the royal he’s protecting. Meanwhile, magical noblewoman Shallan Davar treks across a blasted countryside in a last-ditch effort to save the planet from a world-ending threat. Sanderson didn’t stop the world-building with the first book—Words of Radiance is filled with even more of the details that first made us fall in love with this series. It’s a big story, stuffed to the brim with interlinked twists and turns that reverberate throughout the Stormlight universe. From the personal-turned-political conflicts to the magic that’s found literally everywhere, this book pulled us so far into the world of Roshar that we never wanted to leave.
Trapped in an interminable war with the Parshendi, the kingdom of Alethkar is further handicapped by quarreling aristocrats and the racial divisions between the elite lighteyes and downtrodden darkeyes. Against this background, Sanderson's sequel to The Way of Kings has several intertwined storylines. The scholar Jasnah seeks proof for dark suspicions, while her apprentice Shallan struggles to find an identity in a world determined to define it for her. Dalinar, uncle to hapless King Elhokar, strives to reform Alethkar despite the opposition of the self-consciously corrupt aristocrat Sadeas and the much-betrayed darkeyed Kaladin who is forced to choose between personal vengeance and the greater good. Urgency is heightened by the approach of a long forgotten menace, one a divided world may not survive. Kaladin's situation echoes the Parable of the Faithful Servant and while most readers will miss the significance, both the myth behind the ascension of the lighteyes and certain aspects of the Parshendi recall the Curse of Lamanites, a now obscure bit of American folklore. Those elements aside, the novel is weighty without being ponderous, and delivers a satisfactory story despite being part of an episodic secondary world fantasy series.
A fantastic sequel to an amazing series!
The only downside is I have to wait for the next book!
Always a pleasure to read Sanderson's material, whether it's his children's books or stormlight archive. My jealousy over his incredible writing skills and depth of imagination do not come close to tarnishing the experience of another well written and page turning adventure. It is refreshing to have heroes whose powers are not unlimited and have those same powers have logical and scientific boundaries. I cannot wait for the next book in the series if only because I care so deeply for each of the main characters. Read this book (if you have read Way of Kings first, of course)!
Worldbuilding on another level!
So much fun. Sanderson has really come into his own. What a pleasure to read. My only caution is the agony waiting for the next books!