Sanderson, B. (2014). Words of radiance. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Hardcover $28.99, Kindle $10.99, Audible $47.95 or free, 864 pages or 48 hours and 15 mins (Audible version)
Author’s Website and Interviews:
Annotation: Kaladin possess the power of Stormlight and must use his new powers to save the king before the assassin strikes again.
Summary: In a prologue flashback, Jasnah Kholin, daughter of the King Gavilar, witnesses the assassination of her father at the hands of the Parshendi who attended the King’s feast under the guise of accepting the treaty. Now, six years later, the assassin is responsbile for the deaths of numerous rulers of Roshar and sets his sights on killing High Prince Dalinar who is seen as the driving force behind the Alethi power. Kaladin, a dark eyes, who was once a military slave, is given command of a group of dark eyes known as the royal bodyguard and is enlisted to protect the new King and High Prince Dalinar from the assassin. However, Kaladin is keeping a secret as he possess the power of Stormlight which allows him to heal himself and gain incredible strength, a power he has yet to accept and master completely. Jasnah and her ward, a noble light eyes named Shallan Davar, set off towards the Shattered Plains in search of a way to stop the Voidbringers who are intent on ending civilization.
Evaluation: I decided to download the unabridged version using Audible.com instead of reading it. It took me quite a few days to listen to the entire 48 hour recording. I really enjoyed this book in terms of character development and world-building as I felt I was often transported to Shadesmar and the Shattered Plains through Sanderson’s descriptive language. The version I listened to was narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer. Due to the complex names and language used throughout the book, I had a difficult time following along as I felt I needed to have a physical copy of the book in order to follow along with the narration. I found myself distracted at times while just listening as I feel like the physical act of reading and turning pages helps to keep me more focused and engaged. However, I thought Kate Reading and Michael Kramer did a great job with the narration and really captured the voices of the various characters which helped bring the story to life. Overall this is a great book but I felt it got lost at times in the translation of the audio narration.
Genre: Fantasy (Epic)
Appeal Factors: Intricately plotted, plot-driven, world-building, atmospheric, dramatic, and engaging
Read-alike Titles and Authors:
- A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
- Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
- Confessor by Terry Goodking
Awards: No awards as of yet. It was recently released for publication on March 4, 2014.
- Use a cliffhanger to engage the audience. For example, read the chapter where Shallan confronts the caravan of bandits, many of whom have “lust” in their eyes.
Book Discussion Questions:
- What is the significance of light eyes versus dark eyes? What does this say about one’s social status?
- Why is Shallan’s artistic abilities so important? Both to scholarship and her connection to the Shattered Plains?
- How are Shallan and Jasnah similar? Different?
- What is Kaladin’s new power and how does it impact his ability as a Knight Radiant?
- What is Jasnah and Shallan’s connection to Shadesmar? What makes it such a dangerous “place”?
I have read a lot of epic fantasy and had heard great things about Brandon Sanderson prior to reading his works. I loved Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin and I was hopeful that this book would be just as world-building and character-driven. I also thought the book would be a nice reading challenge as the audio book version is over 48 hours long. I knew that this book would take some dedication but I was interested to see how well the audio version could hold my attention and how it would impact my reading experience. I read a lot of reviews on Goodreads which praised the book so I knew I had to give it a chance.