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on 30 April 2017
I think there are only a few writers who manage what Brandon Sanderson has done with this novel. It's not only one of the longest books I have read this year, by a huge margin, but it was completely riveting the entire time.

Words of Radiance is the second novel in The Stormlight Archive, and I read both The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance in the space of about a week, I was obsessed. The characters are fantastic. The world-building is amazing.

Sanderson holds closely to the adage, "Better for me to be confused for 10 minutes than bored for 5 seconds". There are times that you will not know fully the implications of something in the text until much later (some things from book one are resolved in book two, many hundreds of pages later), but this is fine because you know enough to get by until then.

Not only are these two books excellent, but they fit within the larger universe of Sanderson's novels (not all, admittedly, but many). The secrets of the Cosmere are only beginning to unfurl and I cannot wait to find out more.

Can't wait for Oathbringer, later this year!
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on 11 October 2017
The second volume of ‘The Stormlight Archive’ is just as enthralling as the first, if not more so, and continues to develop what has become a thoroughly enjoyable epic.

It concentrates on a few characters, following events from their perspectives. Whereas Kaladin was, perhaps, the more major character of ‘The Way of Kings’ there is more emphasis on Shallan in this book. Thus, we find out much more about her life and background and she becomes more instrumental in events. As in ‘The Way of Kings’ much of the content comes from the perspectives of Kaladin and Dalinar. Though Dalinar this time shares some of the limelight with his son, Adolin, who becomes more of a fully rounded character during the course of this novel.

There is also still the occasional section/chapter from other perspectives, generally through the various interludes. This includes more from the tormented and dangerous Szeth building upon his portrayal in the previous book, a touch of insight into enigmatic Wit and the introduction of Eshonai to represent Parshendi interests. There is also an interlude that opts to focus upon Taravangian where we learn a lot more about him and his objectives, gaining a slight idea of how he fits into the return of the Knights Radiant.

‘Words of Radiance’ continues the superb world building begun in ‘The Way of Kings’. The world of Roshar is further embellished by the continual expansion of its geography and history (both its recent past and ancient myths).

Much like the first book, the bulk of the story is still concentrated around the civilisation of Alethkar and its people’s campaign upon the Shattered Plains. However, there are multiple teasing insights into other areas/states of Roshar that certainly leaves the reader wanting to learn more about these fascinating places and how they might eventually work into the greater story of ‘The Stormlight Archive’.

As with ‘The Way of Kings’ this is somewhat slower in pace than the bulk of Sanderson’s work as it concentrates on creating an in depth and elaborate world. That’s not to say that ‘Words of Radiance’ doesn’t contain some fantastically written action sequences. The last hundred or so pages are particularly gripping, both in terms of action and in the revelations they provide.

The division of the novel into two physical parts in the paperback edition is done at a somewhat better juncture than it was done in ‘The Way of Kings’. Although, it is still apparent that it is a forced rather than natural division, but that can’t really be helped. The second part is, perhaps, the slightly better of the two, probably because its conclusion is a culmination of a lot of what was going on so far in the series.

An absolutely entrancing and rewarding novel that, like its predecessor, I’m sure I’ll be re-reading once the final volume of the series is published.
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on 27 July 2016
I hate this book also....

Much like the first it has ruined so many other series for me. Thankfully I started the series with the first and this title out, sadly I finished both within 4 days of back to back reading :/

Much like the first, its a continuation of the world and further development of the characters. The first titles very much focused on Kal and his back story, while this title focus's on the back ground of Shallan. That's not to say we see no development elsewhere, in fact a lot of the minor character from the first book have been expanded upon and characters such as Adolin and and his brother get a lot more detail fleshed out.

In this book we see the main cast coming to grips with who / what they are. The method and how it happens is intriguing as ever and very well written. We also see comprehensive detail on other totally independent characters who I suspect will play a bigger role going forward.

As ever, the world is well written and captured in such vivid detail, its easy to conjure how the places will look in your mind. The magic system is expanded upon and details are written and well fleshed out.

Much like the first, the traditional enemy's have logical and underlying motives for what there doing rather then being all out evil people which allows you to almost sympothaise with them.

Either way much like the first, this is a stunning entry into the series and I cannot wait for more. My only regret is learning about and picking up the series before we are even a quarter of the way through. Its going to keep me wanting more for the next half a decade I expect!
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on 27 October 2015
Since reading this book I find myself wondering if there's anything I can do to ensure the continued survival of Brandon Sanderson. 10 books is a long way away. Is he taking all necessary precautions? I hope so. If not I will hunt him down in the afterlife and drag the remaining books out of him. I would advise you read this book immediately.
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on 22 April 2014
The continuation of The Stormlight Archive series, and the sequel to the wonderful "The Way Of Kings". The story follows on from right where we left the various characters who peopled that first novel. The author, Brandon Sanderson has that rare capacity to use few words to describe the most complex ideas, this means that despite the fact our imaginations are stretched by his ideas, the film that played in my mind while reading was always able to keep pace with his story and the settings he created. I found this novel compelling and his character development consistent. The main protagonists from the first novel are joined by an increasingly large cast, some with us throughout others introduced as a deliberate pause in the main events, almost to let your mind catch up. In this book the potential hinted at in some main characters is explored and where possible developed. There is an interesting teaser toward the end of what may come in the next instalment. I absolutely loved this book and would add 'plus' to the 5 star rating. Just a magnificent piece of writing. It's a long book at over 1000 pages, but for me thats a good thing. In the case of this author, that's over 1000 pages of wonderful word-smithing. I never found the book dull or boring. Even when he introduced an interval and we were drawn away from the main events, these too became riveting and full of new concepts. This is a magnificent piece of fantasy writing. If you have time and the inclination please read it.
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on 17 March 2014
I admit to being something of a Sanderson fan and I did overall find the book enjoyable - one of his better ones, but not quite the best. You can sure feel the impact of his writing those last 3 "wheel of time" books, for good and bad.

There's a few niggles: for instance the jarring use of modern language in places, the pacing at times flagged, some well-used fantasy cliches bought out once more, some of the characters seem a little different in tone to how they appeared in book 1, and dare I say it (spoiler) some characters just won't stay dead. The story so far does not quite compare to the first 3 Game of Thrones books (to be honest, the characters are not really vivid enough. They're just too nice. Where is Tyrion?). The book starts out at quite a pace, revealing quite a bit surprisingly quickly, then flags a little. It's when the various main characters start meeting up and interacting things start getting interesting, although a major event I'd assumed was the big deal of the series comes earlier than I guessed. You have to wonder what will be in the next books.

One thing that becomes clear in the book is that it's not quite fantasy in the sense of Tolkein, more akin to his own "Steelheart" or perhaps the X-Men with swords. That does not make it a bad read, it just is what it is.

I would still happily recommend this to those who have read the first book.
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on 15 April 2014
I am big fan of Sanderson I thought the mist born trilogy was excellent. He knows how to come up with interesting well thought out worlds. His characters are clever, make sense and you really care about them. He creates original clever and balanced magic/powers to all his worlds that he makes. The storm light archive is by far his best work. An incredible world and a story that has so much depth to it. What he manages to achieve so far that so many other drawn out epics fail to do is tell a complete action packed story in each book whilst still developing a greater narrative some thing that game of thrones and the wheel of time lost sight of.

A word of warning this book is a little heavy on the shallan character who was the weak link in the last book however soldier on and the book does deliver big time. I hope Sanderson just keeps writing storm light books for a bit as it was really difficult waiting for this book after the way of kings and seeing lots of other books coming out that weren't this one was frustrating. If he can keep up this standard of writing and story telling for a third book then these will surely become an all time classic.
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on 24 April 2014
I hope people read this review as honest and hopefully constructive.
I knew that after Way of Kings the "can do no wrong" Brendan Sanderson would have legions of fans claiming this book to be the "best ever." The reality is this is a good book, not a great one...certainly for me Way of Kings was far superior. Sanderson has essentially fallen prey to being so powerful now as a writer he can do almost as he pleases - some critical editing would have sharpened this book up for the better.
For the best part of 700 pages I was considering this to be the most disappointing sequel I have read in a long time...BUT the final quarter or so saves the day and Sanderson regains his usual élan and tempo.
I see what he is aiming for - the ultimate in traditional epic fantasy his "own" Wheel of Time, Song of Ice and Fire or Malazan book of the Fallen. He is trying to be epic in all senses...which should be praised but Tolkien if anything proved that epic vision, scope etc can be done in one overall book of 1000 pages. Words of Radiance alone is over that. I wonder had this book come earlier in Sanderson's career whether the editors/publishers would have been more brutal. Anyway ifs and buts.

So I think many fans new to fantasy will find this book difficult to get through - the pace, tempo and interest is laboured and meanders a touch through the various threads. You can't help but feel some of them are simply taking away from the power of the main characters/intrigue/plot - Kaladan/Dalinar/Adolin/Sadeas/Shallan. But once they all end up together (geographically speaking) things start to pick up. The culmination of the book is genuinely powerful...dare I say it even epic. Where I had forced myself through the majority of the book I could not tear myself away from the last 100 pages.

Whereas Way of Kings for me was superior in all aspects of fantasy writing and I would have recommended it to those new to fantasy in instant - this is not quite the same (obviously it is not a stand alone novel but I am trying to review it on its own merits). Long time fans of Sanderson and Fantasy will proclaim this to be the next great fantasy series...

I sincerely hope it is. There is a lot to admire in the book and in Sanderson generally...but as a reader who feels that any series that goes further than a trilogy risks becoming stagnant (see Wheel of Time and Song of Ice and Fire!) I really hope that Sanderson can keep a grip of all his ideas. I am thoroughly looking forward to learning more about the Heralds and Knights Radiant.

So overall 4 stars for imagination and daring, particularly in the final part but ultimately (and sorry to use trilogies as a guide) this is more Attack of the Clones than Empire Strikes Back.
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on 23 April 2014
There are so many adjectives for this book: powerful, original, surprising (a real surprise every couple of pages), astounding, phenomenal, just AMAZING. This is one of those books you just can't put down and spend every minute of your free time reading it, savouring it. I wish there were more books like this published. It is 1000 pages long but you don't want it to ever end. I am dreading the wait for the next book in the series. Hope it doesn't take Brandon Sanderson another 18 months to write it. This second book in the series is better than the fist one in my opinion (although the first one was also great!). I hope he doesn't dally in the religious aspects too much as in Mistborn though. I loved how he finished The Wheel of Time Series, but the Stormlight Archive are just AMAZING!!!!
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on 6 November 2014
This is the second book in the Stormlight Archive with the pace of the story line and development of the complex array of characters continuing as it began in The Way of Kings. On my first reading of these books, I sped through it, pulled along by the desire to know what happened next. On the second read, I again read quickly, but was able to appreciate and identify with the depth of the many individual characters, with their complex weave of histories, motivations, flaws and strengths. I have just enjoyed my third read of the two books. Knowing the story, I was in no hurry, so I could savour the artistry of the surroundings, the humour and the wisdom. I stopped to copy a quote here and there. I pictured the landscapes and took time to understand the chapter headings. These books aren't just for the quick holiday read, they're classics whose characters become old friends and part of the family.
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