I am excited to be bringing a review of this book to you today, purely because I get to have a rant about how AMAZEBALLS it is!
I was gutted that I didn’t get to finish this book within my deadline of the end of October, but then, I should have been smarter and checked the page count before I committed to reading it straight after IT by Stephen King.
I’m an idiot. That won’t be news to some people… I just hope I’m a loveable idiot…? No? Okay then, I’ll just get on with it.
According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed . . . They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won. Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself – and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne. On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few day a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight. What happened deep in mankind’s past? Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?
What an amazing start to a series. Just wow. I love the covers of these books too!
I think the best part of the book is the characters, in particular, Kaladin, Dalinar and Shallan. Whereas Shallan’s background and motives are outlined almost at the beginning of the book, we learn very little of Kaladin at the start and gradually his backstory is filled in as you progress through the book. I think any avid reader can both relate to and be envious of Shallan as she spends the majority of the book tutoring under one of the most prestigious and intellectual women of Roshar. In that position, she has access to what sounds to be the BIGGEST library ever. I am the green-eyed monster. That being said, I also relate to Kaladin as he is so grounded and humble as a person; he is a doer. Get up and get on with it type, and wants to do the best he can for everyone. I like that in him.
Dalinar, brother of the assassinated King Gavilar is a Lord of one of the main Alethi houses, fighting on the front line in the war against the Parshendi. He has become plagued with visions when each of the Highstorms hit and gradually those around him begin to suspect he is mad. Unite them. Those are the haunting words of his visions, but what do they mean?
Whilst most chapters are written from the perspectives of Dalinar, Kaladin or Shallan, we are given periodic interludes that give us a wider perspective on what is going on in Roshar as a whole. It is through these sections that we can see how a wider plot is developing and I am sure will continue on into future books.
The storyline will definitely make this series, upon completion, epic. The ideas are introduced gradually so as not to overwhelm you, which to my mind is essential when introducing books of a different “world”, with different rules and ideas to our own. The opening chapter shows us catastrophic events, throwing us six years into the past and into the action which defines events happening in the “present” – the assassination of King Gavilar himself.
I also love the system of magic developed in the book. Much like the Mistborn series, magic is drawn from a “real” and finite element; in the Mistborn series it is metal and in this one, it is gemstones infused with Stormlight. I find the idea of magic not being limitless gives the concept more realism, somehow.
There is much plotting and scheming going on as many vie for power – but who will succeed? I have a long wait to find out. Historically Sanderson has been releasing one of these books every three years, and since book three has just been released now… yeah. A LOOOOOOOOONG wait.
I am excited, nonetheless! It’s taking everything I have not to just jump into Words of Radiance, being book two.
Have you read any books of The Stormlight Archive, or tried any other books by Brandon Sanderson? I would love to know what you make of them so far!