Words of Radiance is an epic fantasy novel that does all the things right. It is a love letter to its genre and an enchancment upon anything the style has ever churned out earlier than.
Probably the most-hyped launch of 2014, and positively The Ranting Dragon’s most anticipated novel for the yr, is Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance. And it positive lives as much as the hype! This big sequel to The Means of Kings and the second novel in The Stormlight Archive (of a planned ten) is the epitome of epic fantasy. Words of Radiance is a tremendous read, from the first to the 1088th page, and when you begin studying, it’s absolutely unattainable to place down.
The epitome of epic fantasy, you say?
In the aforementioned anticipation article, I referred to as The Means of Kings a e-book that changed the epic fantasy genre eternally. Many disagreed with this sentiment. Although The Approach of Kings didn’t do anything that hadn’t been finished earlier than, the best way it did these issues was merely extraordinary. Words of Radiance continues this development. And then some. The result is a mind-blowing and action-packed epic fantasy masterwork set in an imaginary world without equal. For my part, there are three the reason why Words of Radiance is the last word epic fantasy novel.
Words of Radiance‘s sheer measurement, unimaginable world-building, and story informed from a plethora of viewpoints—all of them drenched in wildly unique magic—are an unmistakable love letter to epic masters of the previous.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
A small half in a bigger Cosmere
In many ways, Words of Radiance is an ode to the epic fantasy style of the 1980s and ‘90s. Its sheer size (at 1088 pages, this is the largest novel publisher Tor Books is capable of producing), incredible world-building, and story told from a plethora of viewpoints—all of them drenched in wildly original magic—are an unmistakable love letter to epic masters of the past, from J.R.R. Tolkien to Robert Jordan. Yet, I cannot think of single author who has ever done what Sanderson has accomplished over the years: create a completely interconnected universe in which many different books and series take place, without the need to read them all to understand one of them. You could read Elantris without ever reading any other of Sanderson’s so-called Cosmere novels, and still know it utterly, not even noticing the presence of a related universe. (In fact, after you’ve learn Elantris, you gained’t need to miss out on all the other books, but that’s a completely totally different story.) Followers who start paying consideration, nevertheless, will start choosing up on the quite a few hints.
Words of Radiance is the seventh of Sanderson’s planned 36 novels set in the Cosmere—that’s not counting aspect tasks reminiscent of The Emperor’s Soul and The Alloy of Regulation that are technically set within the Cosmere, but aren’t half of The Huge Plan™. It’s the primary, nevertheless, that begins actively incorporating Cosmere parts past mere hints. Readers can nonetheless take pleasure in Words of Radiance without being accustomed to these parts, but for present followers, the presence of characters from Sanderson’s different novels might be absolutely astonishing. My thoughts was most definitely blown when sure characters from Warbreaker showed up. After which there’s Hoid, the man who makes an appearance in all of Sanderson’s Cosmere novels and has a a lot greater position to play in The Stormlight Archive, where he is called Wit (“This is, I suspect, a little like a skunk naming itself for its stench”).
A piece of artwork
The second factor that sets Words of Radiance aside from typical epic fantasy novels is its art. By that, I don’t simply mean the gorgeous cover design and lovely finish pages, nor the beautiful inside paintings that almost rework The Stormlight Archive into an encyclopedia of itself. These are only small pieces of the larger work of artwork that is Words of Radiance. Within this behemoth of a novel is, actually, a set of three novels, eight brief tales, a novelette, and a novella—all of them majestically related in a single grand, sweeping arc. What other epic fantasy novel has ever completed such a feat earlier than?
Followers of Brandon Sanderson are in all probability conversant in his trademark rollercoaster endings, popularly generally known as the Sanderson Avalanche. Because that is primarily a trilogy of novels contained in the one novel, Words of Radiance accommodates not just the one however three of those avalanches—every a wide ranging conclusion to its personal perfectly paced part. Don’t anticipate to have the ability to put the guide down during one of these avalanches on the finish of elements two, three, and five. The remaining avalanche, the one which ties all three elements of Words of Radiance collectively, is stupefyingly, overwhelmingly beautiful.
Words of Radiance is carried by the journeys of its particular person characters. Here, Sanderson proves once again that he continues to grow as an writer with every work he publishes.
The third and last side that makes Words of Radiance a novel that modifications the face of epic fantasy and ups the size for future fantasy authors—much more than its predecessor The Approach of Kings—is its depth of element. In a assessment of a special epic fantasy novel, I’d touch upon its worldbuilding detracting from the story. I’d complain concerning the lack of creativity in relation to info-dumps. Not on this evaluate. Words of Radiance definitely incorporates lots of info-dumps; there are several pages-long sections during which characters study extra about their world and the magic therein by means of dialogue. Because of Sanderson’s trademark creativity, this by no means derogates the story at hand. As an alternative of slowing down and diminishing the studying expertise, the world of Roshar is so wondrously expansive that these pages of info serve to immerse the reader into the very depths of the narrative. In consequence, Words of Radiance eases the reader into an enormous world full of a plethora of factions and secret societies (I counted ten of them!) and during which individuals throughout a dozen nations slowly start creating totally different, but completely related magical talents.
A character journey
All of its influence on the genre and sheer expansiveness aside, though, Words of Radiance is carried by the journeys of its individual characters—specifically Shallan and Kaladin. Right here, more than anyplace else, does Sanderson prove once again that he continues to grow as an writer with every work he publishes. Whereas Kaladin and Shallan’s tales aren’t all the time pretty to read, they’re utterly plausible and remarkably well-written.
Whereas these stories are inherently totally different, they both discover the darkness resulting from the pain of one’s previous, and the varied ways of overcoming such darkness. Whether or not this ache is brought about by the inequality of a class tradition, or by an abusive father, these stories are compellingly written and identifiable. The place different fantasy novels may need used such parts of inside darkness for reasonable on the spot character improvement (assume of Rand in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, for instance), these characters’ journeys are highly relatable, and the ways they respond to their inside demons is wholly plausible. The resulting redemption is, of course, inevitable, but the street to it’s full of small character moments that rework both Kaladin and Shallan into true heroes, fairly than just characters with great powers. The skillfully written dialogue between these two considerably totally different personalities varieties the right catalyst for each of their characters’ developments, bringing the story full-circle in the long run.
The worth of life and dying
Unfortunately, while Words of Radiance is a near-perfect novel, I did have one vital situation with it. The stakes on this story are sky high and the motion frequent and spectacular. In such a story, characters inevitably should die. Without any demise, the motion can be meaningless. So too, in Words of Radiance, do a quantity of essential characters die. By the top of the story, nevertheless, some of those deaths don’t stay permanent, and only in one case was the revival truly defined. For my part, this devalues each life and demise in The Stormlight Archive and damages the credibility of the story’s tensions.
Why do you have to learn this e-book?
Even more than its predecessor, Words of Radiance is an epic fantasy novel that does every thing proper. It is a love letter to its genre and an enchancment upon anything the genre has ever churned out before. Certainly, that is Sanderson’s greatest novel up to now. With its exceptional scope and measurement, reasonable character focus, splendid worldbuilding, deeply imaginative magic, spectacular motion sequences, cute romance, and mind-blowing place within the larger Cosmere, Words of Radiance is one of one of the best books—and more than likely one of the best epic fantasy—I’ve ever read. In case you’ve already read Words of Radiance, I can solely urge you to reread and reread and reread it for all these fantastic details you’ve gotten undoubtedly missed. Nevertheless, in case you’re one of those uncommon fantasy fans who hasn’t but read Words of Radiance or even The Approach of Kings, I can’t stress sufficient how badly you could learn The Stormlight Archive’s first two novels RIGHT NOW. I promise you’ll not remorse it.