Archive for June, 2015

Words of Radiance

June 3, 2015 - 9:54 am No Comments

Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive book 2) by Brandon Sanderson.
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Gollancz
Release date: Hardcover 6th March 14 – paperback imminent
Page Count:1,008 (Huge!)
Reviewer: Andy Angel

Words of Radiance is book 2 of Brandon Sanderson’s epic fantasy saga The Stormlight Archive (which is expected to end up as a 10 book sequence). I’ll start with the obvious and get it out of the way – this book is huge. The hardback weighed in at well over 1000 pages so the paperback has been published as too separate books (Part One, 653 pages and Part two 564 pages). For the purpose of review though I will class them as one book.

A lot of fantasy over the years has become clich├ęd and predictable, just more and more of the same old story, especially since tv discovered G R R Martin’s Game of Thrones books. Thankfully Sanderson’s series seems to have enough inventiveness to allow it to be it’s own thing.

The Stormlight Archives began with The Way Of Kings a few years ago and introduced us to Roshar, a world where Giant and Terrible storms hit every few days and everything has adapted to survive this (the plants withdraw into the ground when the storms hit, for example, then bloom again after). A book this size needs a large cast but also ,not too large a cast that the reader gets lost and Sanderson manages this by splitting the story into 5 ‘parts’ and 4 ‘interludes. Parts 1-5 basically tell the story from the point of view of the main characters while the interludes bring in the lesser characters and other parts of the world (and it is quite possible these lesser characters – at least some of them – may become major players later on in the series).

There is everything you would want from a fantasy epic here – magic, history and legend, ancient artefacts, mighty warriors and a war that will affect all (in this case against the Parshendi).

Words of Radiance, in a nutshell, is a very busy book indeed. The kind of book you may well look at (remember 1000+ pages) and despair, but it is also the kind of book fantasy lovers (and I include myself here) look at and drool over. A book of this size can be a chore, if I’m being honest, but in this case it most certainly was not. Considering the scale of the story this flew by, often leaving me looking at the clock, amazed at the time and realising I’ve missed another meal. The characters are involving and the story builds to a climax that has me itching for the third in the series (which will probably be out late 2016/ early 2017).

One last thought – don’t even consider reading this without reading Way of Kings first. You would be lost, I’m sure (and you’d be missing out on Way of Kings too and you don’t want to do that)

4/5 stars

The Author

Brandon Sanderson first came to my notice (and the notice of the fantasy reading community as a whole) when he was asked to finish off Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after that author’s untimely passing. He is a prolific author, to say the least – there is always something in the pipeline from him, be it adult fantasy fiction series (Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive) Young Adult fiction (The Reckoners and the Atticus books) or stand alone novels and novellas.