Words of Radiance

Words of Radiance  - Brandon Sanderson Words of Radiance is the mind-blowingly epic follow up to the brilliant The Way of Kings. I've been craving to get back into the world of The Stormlight Archive pretty much since the moment I finished the first book...but I held off a bit. I already knew that once I read this one, I'd be left with a massive book-hangover and the absolute NEED to read on. Which is hopeless, for the time being of course, since book 3 doesn't even have a cover or an official release date yet. *sobs* Nonetheless, I simply could not resist Words of Radiance any longer. Short version: Words of Radiance is absolute perfection in a sequel. It took the already epic setting, concept and characters from TWoK and brought them to a whole other level! I have no words except to say that fans of high-fantasy owe it to themselves to get into this series. There's simply no excuse why everyone is not gushing about these books just as much as I am right now!

*Warning: there will be gushing and fangirling in this review. Proceed at your own risk.*

The world of The Stormlight Archive is unlike any other magical world I've ever come across. It's detailed, multi-faceted and so amazingly complete that I almost think that if there was a way, we could search the cosmos and find Sanderson's Cosmere across the stars somewhere. You know, just existing; like an actual, proper thing! The world-building is never heavy-handed or obvious. You just sort of find yourself discovering it as you go. Being the second book in a planned ten-book saga, it obviously didn't answer all the questions one has when reading these - BUT, there is a tangible progression when it comes to discovering this strange world with it's unique power sources, weather patterns, animals, plant life...not to mention the different species, social classes, kingdoms and mythology. Everything fits together in such a way that I can't help but (once again) sit back in amazement at Brandon Sanderson's sheer skill at weaving such an epic tale! The man is a wizard, there's no other explanation for all of THIS.

The characters are obvious highlights for me, being the huge character reader that I am. Where The Way of Kings had my beloved Kaladin front and center, Words of Radiance is definitely Shallan's book. We are treated to flashbacks from her dark, mysterious past and I have to say that her character growth surprised me more than any other. I never expected her to take the direction she took here, nor did I expect her to evolve the way she did throughout this book. Her skills grew in leaps and bounds compared to what they were, but that was nothing compared to how she grew on the inside. Despite the switch in perspective, Shallan had no problem keeping my attention throughout her parts of the story. Like TWoK though, Words of Radiance is told in alternating perspectives, so we also got to enjoy quality time with all our other favorites like Jasnah (feels!!!!), Adolin, Dalinar and of course, my perennial favorite, Kaladin Stormblessed ♥.

For his part, Adolin definitely grew on me this time around. I liked him well enough in TWoK, but that was it. Now I feel like I understand him much better and I respect him more as a character too. I did feel a distinct lack of Dalinar's presence though, compared to the first book...but that's probably because I looooove Dalinar so much. Nonetheless, his parts were compelling and satisfying. And then there's Kaladin. Man! That guy brought ALL.THE.FEELS. AGAIN. His evolution throughout WoR seemed slower compared to the first book - or even compared to Shallan's in this book - but it was no less satisfying. He's come a long way from when we first met him at the beginning of this series. He almost seemed more flawed as Words of Radiance progressed. All the damage he's suffered since the beginning weights on him and clouds his judgement at times but his character arc was phenomenal!!! Gods, I LOVE HIM SO MUCH *fangirls* BOTH Dalinar & Kaladin are such admirable men of Honor - decisive men who are flawed yes, but inherently good. In TWoK I longed for the two of them to join forces and seeing them together in action here was everything.

The magical system in The Stormlight Archive is, as it is in every high-fantasy I've read by Brandon Sanderson: Stunning. Mind blowing. Amazing. EPIC. See, there's this thing called Stormlight. Basically, it's like this glowing energy that comes from these colossal storms. They use it to charge glass spheres for lighting and the like, BUT, Stormlight can also be inhaled or absorbed by certain people. Which gives them magical, super-human abilities. The best part is that those select few that can absorb Stormlight don't all get the same sets of powers/skills. I'm not going to get into classifying the different sorts of magic but suffice it to say that all of it is amazingly well put-together. And with the sequel, we see those powers growing in new and exciting ways! It was both fascinating and thrilling to read about.

The action in Words of Radiance does NOT disappoint. Spectacular showdowns are abound and there's one in particular that had in the making since the beginning of book one. Needless to say it was all kinds of epic. That, combined with thrilling battles had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat frantically turning the pages throughout this bad boy. The pacing was your typical high-fantasy fare. With such a huge book, there was bound to be some world-building and some plot setup but once it got going, it could NOT. BE. STOPPED. That last 100 pages should have come with a warning:

DANGER: THIS WILL CONSUME YOUR EVERY WAKING MOMENT. FEELS ABOUND! ANY ATTEMPT TO PUT THIS BOOK DOWN BEFORE THE END WILL CAUSE YOU ACTUAL PHYSICAL PAIN.

So... here I am. Right where I knew I would be: in the midst of a MASSIVE series hangover with nothing to do but bask in all the feels -of which there are MANY. (OMG KALADIN!! ♥♥♥) Well that, and wait. Wait for Brandon Sanderson to finish up with Skybreaker. Gah! O.O And of course, I have no one to blame for the situation I'm in but myself for all of this. Well. Me and Sanderson, the evil genius responsible for my suffering. Seriously though, if you're a fantasy reader and had any doubts about reading this series. Take my fangirling straight to your nearest bookstore. You'll thank me later.

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