kaellok

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About kaellok

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    Pacific Northwest
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    Reading. Writing. Teaching. Playing games! Video games, board games, tugging at the strings that all people have so that they dance to my will.

    Not murdering people. I have developed a large number of strategies to NOT murder people. Some of my closest friends are equal parts relieved and horrified at the number of people I haven't killed. (There was a year there where they were concerned that the number of people I have killed would exceed 0. Then I quit my job, and everything has been better.)

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  1. Absolutely no, it would not apply to Hitler, especially given the full reasoning in my post. Winzik would be a better character comparison to Hitler, for they are doing all that they can to gain and keep power (and by doing so in part by denying person-hood to others). Execute him on the spot, no problem from me. It seemed to me, and maybe I was wrong, that you and others were saying it would have been good to kill Brade, in a moment when it wasn't fighting for your life or fighting for the lives of others. In the spacefighter dogfight when Brade was trying to call the Delver? Shoot to kill. When she's not posing an active threat to you or anyone that you know, so far as you are aware? Then don't. In pretty much every case, killing someone should be the last resort because it cannot be undone. And, as I tried to make clear at the end (but maybe did not do so great a job) if you have to kill someone to stop them, it should never be with glee, or happiness, or any sort of positive emotion. If you have a wicked glee in your heart when condemning someone to death, you're the wrong person to make that call, full-stop. (Just because you're sad about it doesn't mean you're the right person to do so, though.) Brade has gone all-in with Winzik because to her, he encapsulates all that is good, worthy, and just in the Superiority. Read again how she talks about him--it's a lot closer to worship than should be comfortable for a living person. It is more than exceedingly likely that he has acted as a primary filter of how she is able to interact with the outside world, by limiting certain sorts of information that she has easy access to. And it would make sense in the context of the world for that to happen--they wouldn't want barbaric humans who are doomed to lives of violence to have full access to their entire information network, would they? At the end of the day, Winzik's values are Brade's values, because that's how she's been created. First: In that moment, Spin has no reason to believe that killing Brade will save anyone's life, including her own. Nor does she have any reason to believe that the coup won't still be successful. She'd simply be killing a human. Which, by the way, would provide hard, physical evidence to point to about how barbaric, evil, and violent humans in general are; there's a large amount of manufactured evidence against the humans from Winzik, but her going on a 'rampage' would provide enough real, physical evidence to convince even those leery of accepting what he is saying. It would make the case for him, and silence opposition. Second: Hold criminals responsible for their crimes. Don't cheer for their deaths. Third: Winzik brainwashed Brade that way. Superiority society convinced her that humans are predestined to violent outbursts. Spin experiences this second-hand, hearing from so many different species in a short period of time about how doomed humans were to their violence. She hears about how her assumed species must be similar due to such long exposure to the humans. The fact that humans will go crazy violent is embedded in their society, which only helped Winzik's ability to shape and mold Brade. He is, seemingly, the only person in the galaxy who places value and worth in her from a very young age; the unfortunate thing is that it is largely to leverage that supposed proclivity for violence towards his own ends. If we're going to continue using the scenario of Nazis and Hitler as you do, then make sure you get it right. Winzik is Hitler. And when Winzik told Brade's family to give her to him, they did. From that moment on, as a young child, she was raised by space-Hitler. The access to information she had was controlled by space-Hitler. The training she received was by space-Hitler. She was raised to worship space-Hitler, and at the end of the book she flat-out says that she's more than okay with space-Hitler dismantling the Superiority. Kill her if you must, if you don't see that her life has never been her own. The second largest difference between M-Bot and Brade (aside from the whole AI vs. Human thing) is that M-Bot is continually fighting against his programming, while Brade seems to have embraced it. But the programming on each of them remains, is nearly impossible to fight against, and was written and embedded in them quite deliberately. If you must, kill her. But mourn for what she could have been when you do. Do not cheer the destruction of a person who was never once allowed to be herself.
  2. So much callous hate for Brade in this thread! I'm actually, honestly shocked. Szeth, from the Stormlight Archive series, never seemed to provoke this level of 'he is irredeemable' to the fans, despite having what I feel to be a much worse reason for acting the way that he does. @dayman, Brade isn't 'ruined'. She's been brutalized by galactic society on what is likely to be a near-daily basis for almost her entire life. We know exactly why she turned out the way that she did. In real life, the US has caused people to turn to monstrous methods and means because of similar actions. I'm certainly okay with not needing to explore her character any deeper, as I tend to not believe redemption is possible for people who actively set about attempting to destroy the galaxy without even once stopping to think what those consequences would be or seeming to even once think about not doing the thing. But that doesn't make her ruined. @Karger, as a person, Brade is certainly despicable. As a character, though? Nah. Just take into account what we know about her upbringing. Constantly being told what humans are like by outside sources, ever since she was a child. Then she will naturally begin to feel those things. Which corroborates what the outside sources say. Which creates an endless loop. She is so sure about how every human feels and acts because she has essentially been programmed that way over decades. @king of nowhere, @Karger, @everyone_wanting_Brade_to_just_die, I leave you the words of Gandalf to Frodo. Frodo: It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill Gollum when he had the chance. Gandalf: Pity? It's pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death. Some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play in it, for good or evil, before this is over. Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had ever happened. Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides that of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the ring, in which case you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought. Brade is a person who has been brutalized and emotionally tortured for effectively her entire life, in order to shape her into a weapon to be wielded by someone who is happy to betray all that he professes to believe in for the sake of power. She is to be pitied. It may be that she needs to be killed in order to stop her from committing a great evil (again), but in such a case it should be with mournfulness, rather than glee. Mourn her, for the life that she was never allowed to live. Save your rage for the one who used her so poorly, for the one who desires above all things power over others. Rage against Winzik, for he is the one who would burn the galaxy to the ground so that he might rule over the ashes, and be content with this so long as he is the one who rules.
  3. @Halyo_Alex This is a fairly novel and definitely intricate system which allows for significant depth of exploration. These are huge strengths of the system. It's also clear that you have a very good, foundational understanding of how you think that everything should work together; again, huge strength! (The number of times that I've started thinking about a system only to get distracted halfway through the story by realizing that I don't have a clue how any of it actually works...) Part of that complexity is a weakness, though. Especially in the first post when there's so many references to Elements which may or may not actually be referring to the same thing--some of your replies started to make clear that you had decided to change some of the nomenclature, which is really good. If an Element is the smallest functional unit, then that's just how that should be used; not more, not less. Anything else invites (if not demands) confusion from a sizable set of readers. On to nitpicks with the chart! The dotted lines don't make any intuitive sense, without also having a distinct explanation of what they are, what they are for, and what they represent. It turns out that after reading the first, basic explanation of the magic system I went to look at the chart and got confused almost immediately. I knew all about Life and Undeath and how the Elements combined to create things--the dark-line connections were intuitive. I had to go back and read, and then re-read a couple times to 'get it' (probably because I was skipping around a little bit). Even in retrospect, with a more complete knowledge and understanding of the basic relationships, I think that they are more distracting than not. I am not an art, though, and lean heavily to preferring minimalist displays; I'm not giving a suggestion, just a perspective. The dotted lines don't actually detract from anything. The Elements are placed in 'opposition' to each other--ie, they're across from their opposite. However, many of the Compounds do not occupy spots that seem logical on the face, based upon their names. Since their placement is demanded by the interaction with the Primes, there's not a lot of options there. But keep in mind that pretty much everyone is going to be assuming that the opposite of Life is Death, while in the chart Life appears to be opposed by Dragon. It honestly looks like Life, Light, and Holy are on the side of Order, and opposed by Dragon, Undead, and Death by Chaos. (Maybe the dotted lines I just dismissed is intended to counter this intuitive assessment?) Further, Demon comes with certain built-in expectations, and I'd think that most readers would not assume that it's the equivalent to Lava or Rain (as both Lava and Rain are perfectly natural occurrences in our world, while most people have rarely if ever seen a doom of Demons forecast by the local meteorologist). You can make that clear in the story, but you'd be fighting an up-hill battle the entire time. It is very evident the amount of time and care that you have spent in developing this system, and it allows substantial room for being explored in new and novel ways that will also, at the end of the day, seem inevitable. You seem to have already resolved probably the largest remaining problem with your system before I came along, so I think overall you're in really good shape
  4. Not sure if still relevant due to the inexorable passage of time, but here are a few suggestions that are more of a sci-fi bent since there's already a fairly thorough covering of various fantasy authors. I've also tried to focus on smaller novels, rather than giant sprawling epics. 1. Passage at Arms by Glen Cook. Although much more famous for his Black Company and Dread Empire series, Passage at Arms is one of the best 'submarine novels' (claustrophobic; people v. nature, people v. environment, and people v. people; tense with ever-increasing tension--Hunt for Red October is the most famous perfect example, but Alien draws very strongly on the concept as well) ever written, and just happens to be in space. His other sci-fi novels are generally pretty good, too, and not out of place for a high school class. 2. Absolutely anything by Emma Bull--she has generally tight plotting and a story which is intensely character-driven, with a setting that comes to life and acts as part of the story as much as any of the characters do. Bone Dance is a wonderful post-apocalypse novel (and there's a reason why it was nominated for the Hugo, the Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards; that it didn't win any of them is a testament to the competition, and also probably a literary crime, but so far nobody has been arrested for it and I'm sure that we're well past the statue of limitations to impose such a punishment anyway, alas). Territory is a delightful weird west. Finder is an urban fantasy that gave me strong Shadowrun-universe vibes while being its own thing entirely. War for the Oaks is a genuine classic 3. Dune by Frank Herbert. Later books (starting with the second in the series) will draw some immediate and legitimate criticism, with some strong problematic elements. However, the original is, if anything, even more relevant today than it was when it was published. It is powerful, while being both simple and fantastically complex. 4. Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. A series of 4 linked novellas. The first one, All Systems Red, is a fully encapsulated story. Themes of identity, how you are allowed to express yourself, and what makes a person all make for good exploration especially in a school setting where students are expected to still be learning who they are, how they see themselves, how to be the person they want to be, etc. But it's well-written, so while all of that is there, the actual focus is on other and more interesting things (plot) happening. 5. Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha-Lee. Wonderful, unique sci-fi. I was disappointed that although civilization's technologies are math- and calendar-based the novels were full of characters, story, plot, vivid descriptions, politics, betrayals, battles, etc. instead of mathematical equations and complex reference guides. Characters in the novel get to do them, but at no point is the audience expected to come up with the correct formation to use for their soldiers to negate the impact of the exotic weaponry the opponent is using, while also enhancing the impact of their own weaponry when they return fire, and all before your position is overrun and you all die in one of the highest stakes games of math that the universe knows. Sometimes all the fun stuff is left for characters in the novels, and we just read about them doing it. (Seriously though, although it's all math-based, there is no need to understand math, just to know that math exists. I'd spent a week brushing up on my physics and calculus for nothing, as there was not even an equation as simple as 2+2=4 anywhere to be found. Still a wonderful trilogy.)
  5. I found 2019 to be a weird year for books I read. I had set out to read twenty new books/novels, and a whole lot of them (even those that I had every reason to expect to be better) were disappointing or just bad. Below are the ones that I found the best, even in cases when I didn't necessarily like them. The Murderbot novellas by Martha Wells proved to be the exception--these are just stunningly wonderful stories. I cannot recommend them enough. There's four in total. The first and second each tell a story which begins and ends, but 4 picks up immediately after 3 ends. Do read them in order, but as far as breaks go I would say don't read 3 if you don't also have 4. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine was overall pretty good, but the story focused a lot on the exact opposite of the most interesting part of the premise. I pretty much always enjoy a good sci-fi political yarn, though, so it was still enjoyable, and the writing style was fantastic--I definitely want to read more by the author, I was just disappointed in them taking the 'easy' route and not fully engaging more directly with the transhuman aspect (which, quite admittedly, the back of novel blurb tells you straight up, so it wasn't a surprise). Jade City by Fonda Lee is probably exactly what you want if you love mobster stories and kung fu stories, especially with some fantasy/magic thrown in for good measure. Neither are up my alley, but the author is a wonderful person so I figured I'd give it a try. Not for me, but absolutely for other people. The Poppy War by R F Kuang forced me to come to grips that I absolutely love the 'fantasy school of magic' trope in basically every single permutation in which it exists. My engagement and enjoyment of the novel went down substantially when they left at the half-way mark, and there is zero reason to expect there to be a return in sequels. Still pretty engaging, with one of the most beautiful (and terrible) sequences of inevitability that leaves you screaming at the characters; there's a point when it becomes clear exactly what the ending will be, and how, and it's impossible to stop reading because maybe, maybe the characters do something different, but you have to read to find out, you can't stop, you can't put it down, you have to keep going and maybe if you believe enough--no. You were wrong. Overall a pretty intense and draining read; not sure I'm up to the sequel any time soon, but probably later this year. After all, it's on my shelf, waiting for me. Maybe things won't be terrible and awful. Maybe not. (On a serious note, it's a fantastically well-written novel, but also pretty dark, with a few linked scenes in particular that are incredibly and intentionally dark that are also based on real-life events in Nanking, so be pre-warned if you decide to read.) Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear probably wins my nomination for best-written book which I feel I should like but remain utterly ambivalent about. Starsight by Brandon Sanderson was great, but in all ways seemed weaker than Skyward to me. The Raven's Tower by Ann Leckie was interesting, because there's two stories being told (although one of the stories is more like a dozen or so linked short stories). Anyway, around 2/3 of the book (possibly closer to half) is taking place in the 'present', written in 2nd person, and presumably following Eolo, and almost completely forgettable and boring and uninteresting. Ann Leckie tends to do interesting things with language in her prose (and I'm honestly really curious how well that aspect can be translated to languages other than English without losing vital parts of what makes them interesting) which is in full force and fully integrated into the only part of the plot with Eolo that is interesting. Well-crafted overall, but abundantly clear that the Eolo line was meant only to serve the plot and the interesting language bits. The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire. I love her October Daye series and look forward the new novel published the first week of every September; this one was Book 11 or 12 I think. Sort of similar to Dresden Files, except if all of the magic was from Faerie and I don't think there are human mages. Very enjoyable series to fill that urban fantasy itch, if you have it; first novel is by far the weakest, and isn't terrible. She has a number of other novels and series, and is probably as prolific as Sanderson is, but writing style is very different. She also writes horror under the pseudonym of Mira Grant. Feed by Mira Grant. This was a re-read. Still as engrossing and completely, utterly, unavoidably devastating as the first time.
  6. I think there were only a couple of Perrin chapters I liked in the first 10 or so books, but in the last few I really liked a lot of them. Mat-fan for life, tho, and honestly I'd be okay if none of the other characters existed and the series was just ~2000 pages of Mat being Mat. There are many reasons why I recommend people not read the series, but most of them hinge on one of the books (I think book 8?) having no Mat in it at all--which is a critical flaw and I lost all trust in the author and editor for this deliberate and heinous exclusion. On-topic: I find Oathbringer to be the most inconsistently written of the SA novels so far. TWoK was a fairly tightly focused narrative (for being a 1000 word doorstopper following the primary viewpoints of at least three major characters, along with a dozen or so secondary), and remains the best written imo. Words of Radiance is my favorite, because of Shallan, but the inherent problems of writing such an epic story with so much happening definitely show the cracks. In Oathbringer, especially on first-read, those cracks seem more like fissures until the final third, which has quality comparable to TWoK. Vernor Vinge wrote truly epic and amazing sci-fi epics, but basically every single one of his novels took me a predictable 10 days to complete: 7 days for the first third, 3 days for the second third, and then a physical inability to set the book down until it was done for the final third. Oathbringer honestly shares many of those same qualities. So I would definitely recommend you continue reading it, especially if you enjoyed TWoK and WoR, but absolutely feel free to take your time. If you have come to a section that makes you want to set it down, do it. The payoff for the final third is worth continuing through the parts that you don't particularly enjoy (and those parts are actually improved quite a bit on a second read, which is interesting to me, because what I don't like in WoR is magnified on my re-reads, rather than minimized).
  7. Acclivity stone is mined in the nowhere, and accessed through strange portals (probably those referred to as 'nowalks' in a few places). When Spensa is inside the delver maze with Hesho, and says that there are similar carvings on caves back home, he makes the connection between them and acclivity stone; on the second last page of the novel, Spensa draws the connection between the weird portal thing, the caverns back home, and the delver maze. It's practically guaranteed that those writings/carvings indicate a connection with the nowhere. The type of connection seems more likely to be a nowalk portal thing, rather than indication of a delver corpse--in no small part because it's widely believed for delvers to be impossible to kill, so having stumbled across a corpse or two would be a giant freaking deal for literally the entire galaxy. And unlike the hyperspace slugs, there is no intrinsically beneficial reason for a species to keep that fact a secret (ie, the diones and varzax have significant reason to hide and control their secret of hyperspace, but there is no obvious benefit to hiding that delvers have died in the past, which means that it is very likely that someone, at some point, would have blabbed). The word detritus also means 'waste or debris of any kind', and is not specific to organic material at all (although it does include that). The planet Detritus is the mechanical remains of an incredibly advanced civilization, which is actively falling out of orbit and crashing into the planet. I always got the impression that the Defiant named the planet, largely because of what they had found. Also, in the found-video played before Spensa becomes a spy, there is mention that people on the planet are firing at the platforms, only for the scientist person to say that the people on the planet are firing at the delver, the platforms just happen to be in the way. So we know people were living there when the delver returned. And I think that the several, multiple layers of platforms surrounding Detritus are what makes others refer to it as a 'shell planet', rather than a secret allusion to it being built atop the corpse of a delver. I do agree that Detritus was once a major part of the human's war effort, for a number of reasons--but not because it's built atop the corpse of a delver. Although, I have been wondering if the delvers leave anything behind when they vacate back to nowhere. If they do, that would explain many of the various oddities and seeming half-secrets about the strange carvings and how nowalk portals work. All we really know for fact is that when they go back, the atmosphere in the Heart of the Maze goes with them. Next time Spensa scares one off, she should really stay conscious afterward rather than experience explosive decompression, just to help satisfy the curiosity of us readers.
  8. I do not remember Cuna ever being referred to by gender, but instead by name or they/them. A brief flip-through of the book also confirms using Cuna by name or they/them, even when a he/she might have made more sense if appropriate. On p.421 of the hard-cover edition, Morriumur views the eldest grand Numiga as 'they', although that description is somewhat nebulous and might be Morriumur talking about how Morriumur looks inside the pod, instead of how Numiga looks to Morriumur while Morriumur is in the pod. My cursory flip-through didn't find any instances of a dione being referred to as he/she, but instead by name or they/them. There were plenty of times when a dione was around a species using he/she, or Spensa describing their voice as masculine/feminine. As an aside, apparently at some point I started thinking of diones as resembling humanoid hammerhead sharks, and I have only just now realized that that isn't really supported by the text.
  9. For me, Skyward is the easy choice, even though I also love Starsight. (I started my re-read of Skyward on Thanksgiving, and then finished Starsight last night--technically this morning; so, I read them both very recently, and these thoughts are fresh in my mind.) A cliffhanger ending will always taint my overall enjoyment of the book at least slightly. And there's HUGE cliffhangers at the end of Starsight. Does it make me want to read the next book? Yes! I'm very excited for what will happen, but it's also left a slightly sour taste left in the mouth. The aftermath/ending in Skyward also did not completely undo most of the plot-related climax which had just been dealt with. Is Detritus still hours away from being destroyed? Yes. Are the Delvers still a threat, because of Brade and the weapon which Winzik and their faction controls? Yes. Do the humans have any way off of Detritus? No. (Sure, they have a colony of the slugs, but we've also been shown that it takes some kind of machinery interacting with them to make the cytonic hyperdrive work; otherwise, Spensa stepping into the portal at the end would make no sense at all, since she has Doomslug with her.) The problem with a cliffhanger like this is that it could (and I argue should) have been used to start the next book, rather than end this one. The natural ending point is there, just after Jorgen finds all of the slugs on Detritus. Or maybe just a few paragraphs after, when Spensa awakes in the hospital and Cuna tells her that the Delver is gone, that he's been talking with Admiral Cobb, and things look great; even through in how she thinks something feels off! Just leave it at that, though. I really feel like instead we got the worst ending in any published Sanderson work, despite an absolutely great overall novel.
  10. She could very easily still be a source of information about all of that. Even if we assume that she was born, say, a hundred years after the exodus to Roshar, knowledge of such an event would still be culturally relevant (and thus maintained). People that she knew would have made the journey. And, since she was one of the 'intended' Heralds, I find it doubtful that she would be ignorant about the Dawnshards, even if her knowledge was only second-hand or theoretical. At worst, she would be unable to provide first-hand, primary knowledge about these events, but she should still be able to help with second-hand reports. I just can't imagine fighting side by side with your father for a thousand years and never learning about the planet that he fled from, ya know?
  11. While this is true, YA / New Adult / Comedy can get away with a lot more use of exclamation marks and interrobangs (question mark + exclamation point, and perhaps my favorite piece of punctuation). I find myself having to write them all in as I want them in the first draft, and then have to edit them out later as I use them to an EXCESSIVE degree. Also, following more explicitly about conflict, every scene should have both emotional and plot-related conflict in general. Every scene MUST have one of the two; if it has neither, then you know it's filler that is not needed. Lisa Cron has talked a lot about 'the third rail', and using it to drive story and plot and characters, in various blogs and also Story Genius (a great resource to use when creating a novel). Essentially, every character but especially the main character of the story should have some major goal--what they think would bring them perfect happiness--as well as a misbelief about the world which prevents them from achieving this goal. This misbelief will have been established and reinforced throughout their life. The story, however, is the world knocking on their door and forcing them to see how and why they're wrong. Every scene with the character needs to touch on that rail in addition to the normal plot and story stuff. Looking at Way of Kings, Kaladin wants his friends and family to be safe--that's his goal. His misbelief is that all lighteyes are inherently evil. His story, then, becomes one of challenging or reinforcing that belief. The other major thing to take away from Lisa Cron's book is that every character, no matter how major or minor, has their own motivations and desires. While the reader may (and many times shouldn't) ever know what they all are, as the author you need to have much more clarity. The more major the character is, the more you need to know about them. Even the most minor characters in the most minor scenes requires you to know why they are there, what they hope to achieve, and what the results of the scene will cause them to do (maid enters to clean the room, sees the hero violently dialoguing with the villain, and then flees--to summon the guards that arrive a few minutes later).
  12. Even more than this, the reason why Odium has not picked up the Shards that he has Splintered (Dominion, Devotion, Honor, and Ambition) is because he doesn't want to change.
  13. You are technically correct that Odium is not the actual embodiment of evil or destruction in the greater scheme of things, and it's probably a bit reductionist for us to argue that he is--but that was also the smallest point that has been made in this thread. I also think that you are conflating 'actual supernatural force of evil' "Dark Lords" such as the Dark One from WoT and The Despiser from Thomas Covenant with the Evil/Dark Lord trope that exists; that's really just an option, rather than a requirement. As to whether he is the Epic Fantasy Dark Lord or not, Odium really, really does fit the trope in more than superficial ways (and the Lord Ruler is the deconstructed Dark Lord trope, like it or not). Let's compare Sauron, the archetypal epic fantasy Dark Lord, with Rayse/Odium (even though Morgoth v. Odium is probably a far better comparison in terms of power and personality). Both have great power, and both use that great power for death/destruction and subordination of others, and both have specific goals that are not compatible with the typical understand of 'good'. Neither are inherently evil, but are instead evil through the choices they have made and the actions they take. Sauron started the Second Age with positive intentions, taking those who had been bereft and left alone as his own people, to offer them succor and guidance; Odium aided the Singers after humans were invading their lands and breaking treaties. Sauron has powerful and corrupted men that serve him (the Nazgul) while Odium has the Unmade. Both make seem to make their stronghold a Hellscape: Sauron has Mordor, and its choking desert waste with the fortress of Barad-dur, and Odium has Braize, considered by the major religions of Roshar to be literally Hell. Sauron has hordes of orcs and other fell and twisted creatures, and Odium has the Fused. Do they both use methods that would be considered evil by most to work their will? You know, torture, fear, murder, mind control, etc.? Yep, they both do all of those things (see: orcs, see: Singers). Are they evil personified? Yes, but because of the choices and actions they make, not because they are inherently required to be evil. There is one major difference between the two of them, other than their scale of power: Sauron starts as a builder, and is obsessed with order and coordination, hating disorder and confusion. We don't really know what's up with Rayse, except that he was probably a hateful person at the time he picked up the Shard. So while Sauron is determined to remake Middle Earth in his own image, Rayse wants to be free to go around murdering people who could be a threat to him (see: Ambition, Dominion, Devotion, Honor).
  14. I guess the only remaining question to ask is if Shallan is really Shallan
  15. Because narratively, it's really cool to have happen, but if every Radiant Order had it happen, then the story would become over-saturated and dilute its awesome-factor. I remember a previous WoB that said that it was due to one of the Surges, but either my Google-fu or memory is weak, as I can't find it anymore.