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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely stunning continuation
Oh my goodness, where to start with reviewing this huge and fantastic book?

I will begin by saying that I loved this book the whole time I was reading it and the ending has made me so excited for the next book in the series. I know now that Sanderson will be able to make this into something completely brilliant because of how wonderfully this has all played out...
Published 5 months ago by Kitty

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been near perfect....
***SPOILER ALERT***

With the opening chapters for Shallan/Jasnah I let out a long sigh of relief for having escaped that tediously nightmarish library from Book 1. I therefore proceeded with the story, cautiously optimistic that Sanderson had curbed his ponderous propensity for tiresome scholarly drawn out conversations and that we would eventually get a few...
Published 1 month ago by Jason


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely stunning continuation, 8 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive Book Two (Hardcover)
Oh my goodness, where to start with reviewing this huge and fantastic book?

I will begin by saying that I loved this book the whole time I was reading it and the ending has made me so excited for the next book in the series. I know now that Sanderson will be able to make this into something completely brilliant because of how wonderfully this has all played out so far.

So, to begin, this book is a staggering 1087 pages long but as I said in my previous review of Way of Kings (WoK from now on), the page count is perfectly justified because truly the story is wonderful. I would highly recommend this series to anyone, especially if you have previously read and enjoyed any of Sanderson's work. It may be a lot of reading, but falling into the world of Roshar again is a fantasy I can't wait to experience in the next book.

The story continues to be told from a variety of different POVs including Shallan and Kaladin. These two have certainly become the main focus of this story which is understandable when you read the things that have happened to them and do happen to the across the course of the book. Along the way we meet some of out other characters from WoKs but we lose some and gain new ones too.

Again the story is divided into sections, 5 main sections and 4 Interludes sections. The main sections are where the real plot of the story is developing and we see our favourite characters conquering evil, battling inner demons and much more. The Interludes act more as context for the rest of the world, giving us an insight into how the actions of our main characters have affected the other areas of the world. We see through a variety of characters eyes in the Interludes including Eshonai who becomes a very key character, Ym, Rysn, Zahel, Taln, Lift, Szeth, who was in WoKs and returns in Words of Radiance (WoR), Lhan and Taravangian. I would say that out of all of the characters we meet through the Interludes the most interesting was Taravangian as his part certainly explained why some of the events in the book have happened and the reasoning behind them. I also really enjoyed meeting Eshonai who I must say I misjudged as a character to begin with. Some of the characters are included in only a short burst of a page or so, others have enough pages to be as long as a chapter from the main sections so it varies a lot. I think that the inclusion of these Interludes is vital to introducing the new characters and the new trials that the world is facing because of what is happening at the forefront of the action in Alethkar.

The plot of this book has developed a fair amount from that of WoKs which is really all about setting up the world and sorting out who everyone is and why the are where they are etc. The storyline of WoR certainly feels like it is always building up to something hugely dramatic at the end of the book (which it is) and so the tension and excitement is mounting the entire way through the read. The realm is constantly being tested and they have entered a new age which no one really knows much about. New magical powers are being discovered all the time and people are changing, whether they wish to or not, into something that they cannot control. Everything is always on the edge of destruction and the whole story is leading up to something greater than we can really imagine!

One of the aspects in WoR that I truly enjoyed was the introduction of the Spren in a big way. I felt like we got a taste of what they could do in WoKs but we really had no idea of quite how everything fit together with them and what their purpose was within the story. I feel like we get to see a lot more of their abilities, morals and power throughout this story and that as their influences are made more clear they become far more intriguing and magical.

Another element which I have to mention is the illustration work which is once again included throughout the book. The style of illustration from Shallon's note book pages and the maps and details which appear to be taken from reference books are just so incredibly beautiful and so intense. The rendering is flawless and I am certain that the addition of the illustrations is why I cannot help but love these books even more.

I would certainly say that there are echoes of the Mistborn Trilogy in here and that the magical systems and the powers are so meticulously worked out that I cannot fault them. I would say that this series is exactly what Sanderson hoped it would be, his best work, and that I know the rest of the books will be just as well received and adored if Sanderson keeps this standard up!

The plot lines sometimes seem to be getting a little confusing but rather unlike The Wheel of Time books (which Sanderson claims inspired this series and you can see influences of within his work) these string are all interwoven pretty quickly and although they raise questions at some points, frequently those questions are answered, at least in part, a little bit further into the book. There is no need to be confused about the names either as they are all pretty distinct and the voice of the characters (especially the main ones) is very easy to recognise if you have put the book down for a while and then pick it back up.

On the whole I would have to say I was a little worried about whether Sanderson would be able to keep this series up to the standard of the first and whether he would be stretching it out too much across the 10 books intended, but after having read this I can confidently say that I believe this will become one of the best fantasy series ever written and I believe that I will be hooked into pre-ordering all of the future books as soon as I hear about them. If you love fantasy and epic fantasy in particular, then this is truly the series for you! I cannot recommend this series any more, so many twists and turns, but so well thought out, I would buy it right now if I were you! Highly, highly recommended and I can't wait for book 3!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 29 Mar 2014
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I can offer no other words than to say that this series is simply wonderful. I have not been as invested in any other series apart from the wheel of time and the kingkiller chronicles. Read. This. Series. You will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sanderson managed to not only pick up where he left off but raised the series to a new level, 6 Mar 2014
This review is from: Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive Book Two (Hardcover)
‘Words of Radiance’ written by Brandon Sanderson is the second installment in his ‘The Stormlight Archive’ series and if my impressions can be summarized in one sentence after its reading - it was worth the wait of 3 and half years for this sequel to come out.

A world that Brandon Sanderson in his first novel ‘The Way of Kings' so brilliantly conceived and brought to life is back and the novel continues exactly where its predecessor ended. If you're a fan of the author and first part of his series then you certainly did not mind the epic size of his novel; the good news for readers is that its sequel is coming out even a bit longer, although reading again will pass as fast and exciting as was the first time.

The author once again manages to create the convincing heroes with which reader will easily identify while fearing over their destinies; he offers an incredible story and brilliant turns that will arouse the reader’s will to turn the pages until the final one that despite the novel extensiveness comes too soon. Brandon Sanderson skillfully interweaves the stories of several main characters while maintaining equally exciting action throughout the novel; and although some writers are better known for their dialogues while the others excel in their descriptions, Sanderson succeeds to hold readers in tension both with his great dialogues and extraordinary sense of action.

It is widely known how difficult is to write the second parts of the trilogy or saga because they do not begin nor end the whole story, but the fact is that the author with ‘Words of Radiance’ managed to not only pick up where he left off with ‘The Way of Kings' retaining all of his fans, but he raised the series to a new level. This will provide his works even greater popularity in same time subjecting him to even greater public pressure to write a sequel as soon as possible.

Therefore, if you consider its reading I can only say that I envy you that you still have not read the novel - you will truly enjoy it from the first to the last page.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 28 Mar 2014
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This did not disappoint, just as engaging as the first book. The plot developed with many unexpected twists and turns. The characterisation was deeply satisfying. Sanderson has created a fascinating and consistent world. Cannot wait for the next installment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Officially one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read., 22 Jun 2014
By 
A. Fox "generalist" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Read the first book, read this, and then cry with the knowledge that part 3 is still but a mote in Brandon Sanderson's eye. For more fiction of this quality however, I for one will be a very patient man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Fantastic, 5 Sep 2014
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Brendan Sanderson combines so many features that fantasy readers will find fantastic, that his books, and especially The Stormlight Archive are difficult to ignore.
The heroic interpretation and development of Gemmel (RIP) the character refinement of Hobb, and the scale and, to be expected and alluded to in this series, of Jordan (RIP), adds up to an irresistible combination that I cannot recommend strongly enough.
The added (quasi) scientific basis of the power that he writes into his characters, the mode of advancement which began with the Mistborn Trilogy, has been diluted her, but the overall feeling and the ability to make you care about the protagonists, is as strong in his writing as ever before.

Perceived scale (only at this point), an excellent pace and characters who you really become involved with, make this my favourite fantasy series of the last five years.

Cracking stuff.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been near perfect...., 28 Oct 2014
By 
Jason - See all my reviews
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***SPOILER ALERT***

With the opening chapters for Shallan/Jasnah I let out a long sigh of relief for having escaped that tediously nightmarish library from Book 1. I therefore proceeded with the story, cautiously optimistic that Sanderson had curbed his ponderous propensity for tiresome scholarly drawn out conversations and that we would eventually get a few Shallan/Jasnah action sequences this time around. However, and even though this does occur, as the novel proceeds he eventually falls back into familiar territory.

I would have completely loved this book if certain things had turned out differently dismissing my previous gripes with total satisfaction safe in the knowledge that the correct path was taken with two of the main characters. That is not the case however as my main problem with this book stems from the fact that Shallan is tangled up in some annoying upper class arranged betrothal with Adolin. Not only does this grate with me on principle whats worse it deflates whatever credibility Shallan managed to acquire as a strong female character when she melts into the arms of the cliche of the knight in shining armour. (*descends into incoherent sounds of frustration and much fist shaking....*)

Don't get me wrong, individually I like where both these characters are going in terms of their interactions with others but together they are a complete and utter powerhouse of unbearable annoyingness which in turn and by extension makes the entire entitled Clan Kholin wholly infuriating to countenance. All I know is, if I have to deal with the inanity of those two together for any extended period of time in future tomes, (and oh yes Stormfather but they are Tomes!), I will most likely end up bursting a vein if I haven't already clawed my own eyes out....

I'll be honest. I do have a tendency to put my heart into an expected relationship between two characters and if it doesn't go my way I tend to enter complete denial over the entire situation but lol these two together I just cannot stand. If this path needed to be traveled in such excruciating detail, in my personal yet vehement opinion, Kaladin is the only deserving love interest for Shallan and vice versa. There were a few chapters there between those two that I really enjoyed. I just see both characters complementing each other. Between them there was more dimension and character growth/endearment in those several chapters near the end than the entirety of the eye gouging betrothal fiasco that had me near to total apoplexy.

I found it incredibly frustrating that Sanderson didn't tie up this whole quasi love triangle/interest thing before the end of this volume. Don't get me wrong. Nothing wrong with love triangles as long as a decision is made. I just have absolutely no interest in this Guinevere/Arthurian type drama which I fully expect to materialize in future installments. It kills characters in books. Makes them painstakingly unlikeable. All I know is Clan Kholin is even more head wrecking than it typically is. But I feel I could stand and possibly grow to like Adolin, Dalinar, Navani and Shallan herself if she would just step aside from the entire situation. Be her own character. Follow her own feelings. Instead of latching on to the first man that crosses her path based on justifications I just cannot buy into.

Some of you may wonder why I gave this 3 stars perhaps feeling that my justifications for doing so were unfair. However considering the lengthy nature of this volume and just how much Shallan/Adolin's antics took up of it I found myself entirely unsatisfied at large stretches of it feeling that the relationship was just a plot device used by Sanderson to evoke such feelings before the situation was rectified (Preferably, by Shallan opening her bloody eyes for once!!! arghhh!!). But as it never was I feel I was justified in rating this 3 stars as I did not buy into or enjoy this overshadowing aspect in the least. In my view if Shallan ended up with Kaladin after the chasms this book would have been 5 stars hands down. I just hope Sanderson either ties this up in the next installment or just ignores the fabricated situation in its entirety because personally this reader is not at all pleased where it currently stands. But that is just my opinion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Immersion in Otherland, 14 Oct 2014
By 
Patrick Shepherd "hyperpat" (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive Book Two (Hardcover)
This is a massive volume. This may produce some apprehension about whether it is worth the time investment to read this. Of course, if you are considering this book, you’ve already invested nearly as much time reading book one, and the short answer to this question is, yes, it’s worth the time, the reward is commensurate with the effort.

This book is very tightly plotted. Bits and pieces that seem minor and unrelated in the early sections show up later as significant pieces to the entire puzzle of this created world. This applies not just to the murky, mainly unknown history of this world, but to each of the major characters, pieces that round each character out, make them real and full-bodied. Unlike some other major fantasy epics, many of these characters are out-and-out heroes (although they are heroes that can fall off their pedestals), the presence of which I think is one of the reasons many people read fantasy as opposed to other genres of literature. The characters do change and evolve over the course of this volume, and there is quite a verisimilitude of different character types, all adding to the general satisfaction of reading a story that feels real, regardless of just how different this world is from the mundane world we live in.

While not everything has a resolution in this volume, a great deal is resolved and answered, so you don’t feel cheated by cliffhangers and threads left hanging, very refreshing in a planned multi-book series. The climax of this book is truly climactic; major events do happen in stellar fashion, worthy of Hollywood blockbuster treatment. And there is a certain amount of philosophizing happening within these pages, questions about the purpose of life and how you live it that add substance to this story.

About the only negative I had with this is that I wanted more description of the scenery, especially those sections not set on the Shattered Plains. There were some sections where I just couldn’t quite place myself in the local environ because of this. This is a minor quibble; after all, the thing is already a thousand pages.

An absorbing read, worth the effort.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 3 July 2014
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Just 75% through the book but it is truely wonderful, slowly taking the first place slot of my favourite book/chain from Robin Hobb's Farseer/Tawny Man chain.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 Mar 2014
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This was simply awesome , I couldn't put it down! Sanderson just keeps getting better and better. He creates a world that is unique and engaging with characters that are wonderfully diverse . I will be re-reading this book several times.
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Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive Book Two
Words of Radiance: The Stormlight Archive Book Two by Brandon Sanderson (Hardcover - 6 Mar 2014)
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