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Rhythm of War Full Book Reactions

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4 hours ago, Necessary Eagle said:

Actually it's the Kaladin sequence that starts with 104 or 105. Pretty sure that's what it said.

Correct, I'm referring to just this book. 

This is from the Brandon Sanderson Newsletter that they send out in an email

 

Quote

Part One

Favorite chapter in Part One: Chapter Twelve

Most difficult chapter in Part One: Chapter Seven (Getting the foreshadowing and viewpoints right required a lot of revision.)

Part Two

Favorite chapter in Part Two: Chapter Thirty-Four

Most difficult chapter in Part Two: Chapter Twenty-Four (This is one of the new chapters I had to add late in the process, in order to make this viewpoint sequence work.)

Part Three

Favorite chapter in Part Three: Chapter Sixty-Six

Most difficult chapter in Part Three: Chapter Sixty-Seven (This viewpoint character had a lot of revisions through the process to get them right.)

Part Four

Favorite chapter in Part Four: Chapter Eighty (This is actually my favorite chapter in the book.)

Most difficult chapter in Part Four: Chapter Ninety-Three (Probably the single most revised chapter in the novel, and it required a lot of continuity, delicate foreshadowing, and help from beta readers.)

Part Five

Favorite chapters in Part Five: a sequence that starts in 105 and ends in 110. This is actually a central sequence from my very early outlines, which I’ve mentioned I’ve been waiting over a decade now to share with you all.

Most difficult chapter in Part Five: Chapter 105. You’ll see why.

He says ch. 80 is his favorite in the book

Edited by Tstew21
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6 hours ago, Andy92 said:

I was pretty sad with what happened to Teft. Once I finished the book and thought about that one more in hindsight, his addiction was basically responsible for his own death. Bridge Four had Jezrien’s Honorblade until Teft sold his jacket for spheres to feed his addiction, allowing the spy to steal the blade and give it to Moash. 

I get what you're saying, but to me this is a little bit of a stretch to say his addiction caused his death. First of all, even without the honorblade Moash could have potentially killed him with another Shardblade, or in some other way. Or the spy could have found another way to steal the honorblade. This logic could be used to argue for cause and effect between a lot of random events.

But beyond this, if Teft had completely given in to his addiction, he would never have ended up in this situation either. In my opinion it's actually a lot of the good things in his life that lead to his death, like being close with Kaladin and bridge 4, staying behind with Kaladin, etc. To me that's what makes it so sad when he dies - he was finally on the right track, making the right choices and that gets him killed. 

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There are a lot of jumbled thoughts bouncing around in my head, so I'll try to make sense of them.

Overall, while a good book, I think it was the weakest of the four Stormlight books by far.  Absolutely loved WoR and OB, and really enjoyed WoK, but RoW fell a little flat.

Part of my problems with the book admittedly come down to my own expectations, which were sky high coming off of WoR and OB.  But right now, post RoW, the stakes feel so much smaller than they did throughout OB.  I think part of that is the details of the contest of champions, but I also don't think it's a stretch to think that when the contest goes down, it's going to be nothing like the contract stipulates.  (Like I said, a lot of jumbled thoughts.)

Anyway, first my main problems with the book:

-Nightblood being used to kill Rayse, and how it was done - Yes my jaw dropped, and yes the implications are harrowing, but I don't like the concept that a relatively unknown item (for Stormlight) was used to ax a big baddie in such an unheralded way.  For a villain as built up as Rayse, I would have liked to see him go out some other way.  It felt very Deus Ex Machina for non-Cosmere readers.  (I don't think Stormlight can be considered a 'standalone' series anymore.)

-Shallan's 'secret.'  Really, that's it?  You killed your spren?  After the reveals in WoR I expected something so much worse, but it basically went by with an annoying whimper.  The whole plot point with Formless and even the trial fell flat.  There was a decent amount of time spent on promising looking side characters as well that ultimately went nowhere.  

-Venli.  This was not Venli's book, no matter what the official sources say.  She barely did anything with or learned anything about her Radiant powers, and she was at best an unsympathetic hero.  Her flashbacks were easily the most unnecessary of the four flashback viewpoints, and she is basically a bystander for all of the important plot points.  I expected so much more, both from her and Willshapers in general.  She could be written out of the story right now, and nothing would be lost.

-Navani's 'science' - Not to be confused with her overall journey, which I really enjoyed - but the nitty gritty details of discovering the anti-magics felt a little too hand wavy and not as clean as I'm used to from Brandon.  My eyes kind of glazed over when the 'technical' details kept coming up.

-A general lack of lighthearted moments -   I feel the story really missed the normal doses of Rock, Lopen and (as of OB) Lift.

-The part three Dalinar and Jasnah scenes - while they contained some interesting moments, it felt like filler, a plot excuse to get them away from Urithiru.  I see why it was done, but I can't help but feel the story would have been so much better if the two of them were at Urithiru the whole time.

-A general lack of 'high' moments:  Completely personal preference here, but nothing in this book came even close to 'Honor is dead, but I'll see what I can do' or 'You cannot have my pain!' or the Tower or the fight at Thaylen City or the onset of the Everstorm/Kal's arrival.

 

But there was still a lot I liked about the book:

-Kaladin - really enjoyed his journey this book, even if parts of it was hard to read at times.  

-Shallan and Adolin - Despite my earlier complains about parts of this arc, I still enjoyed reading most of these points of views and seeing their interactions.

Dabbid, Rlain and Teft - All were outstanding this book, for a variety of reasons, with Dabbid being perhaps the most unexpected positive outcome of the novel.

Navani - With the exception of the aforementioned, I really like Navani's journey throughout the book.  It was pretty obvious she was going to end up bonding the Sibling, but it was still done in an exciting way.

The flying ship - I mean, they built a storming flying ship.

Raboniel and to a lesser extent Leshwi - great villains, and Raboniel's story was fascinating to read.  Just like Navani, you knew she was using Navani for some horrible purpose, but you still sort of liked her along the way.

Cultivation's endgame - Just what the heck is it, and is she really the big bad of Stormlight?  Was Mr. T ascending part of the plan or an accident?  If accident, a happy or unhappy accident?

Dalinar and the Stormfather interactions - always good when the two of them are 'arguing'.  Really can't wait for Dalinar to learn more of his powers.  The brief bit we saw of Ishar unchained has terrifying potential.  Stealing bonds, forcing spren to be bonded against their will?  It almost feels like their is no upper limit to Bondsmith powers.

 

Things I'm still mixed or uncertain on:

All the cosmere references - If you had told me before reading this book that it would pump the cosmere connections into overdrive, I would have been overjoyed.  But having read it, I kind of miss my Stormlight focused Stormlight, if that makes sense.  Wit falls into this category too, this was the first Stormlight book where I didn't fully enjoy his character.

The Sibling - Although interesting and sympathetic at times, not as interesting as the Stormfather or as mysterious as the Nightwatcher.

The ending -  As with my thoughts for the book as a whole, I don't fully know how I feel about the ending.  After OB, it felt like anything was possible, now it does not.  Which I admit is foolish, because if I had to guess, the contest of champions will happen early in book 5 and everything after that will be one giant unknown crazy storm.  But sitting here right now, for whatever reason, I'm less excited about the future of Stormlight than I was at the end of books 1,2 and 3.

 

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14 hours ago, Paladin Brewer said:

The worst part about Dalinar's choice is that he tells Odium his choice. This gives Odium 10 days to choose a Champion specific to defeating Dalinar.  For a supposedly top general, he should know better than to flat out give the enemy his plans and give him 10 days to figure out a way to defeat them. Ugh, Dalinar.

Too much dang Honor for all he insists that the Shard is dead!

 

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3 hours ago, Inkspren_K said:

I get what you're saying, but to me this is a little bit of a stretch to say his addiction caused his death. First of all, even without the honorblade Moash could have potentially killed him with another Shardblade, or in some other way. Or the spy could have found another way to steal the honorblade. This logic could be used to argue for cause and effect between a lot of random events.

But beyond this, if Teft had completely given in to his addiction, he would never have ended up in this situation either. In my opinion it's actually a lot of the good things in his life that lead to his death, like being close with Kaladin and bridge 4, staying behind with Kaladin, etc. To me that's what makes it so sad when he dies - he was finally on the right track, making the right choices and that gets him killed. 

We do get to see the side of Teft in this book that was able to overcome his addiction which was great. And Moash could have killed him by other means, but a large part of him becoming Vyre was that he gained access to the Windrunner Surges via the Honorblade. Him carrying around a regular Shardblade without Surges is still fearful, but not as lethal as he is with Surges unchecked with no oaths. Teft was largely responsible for the loss of this Honorblade in OB, and other members of Bridge Four died because of that at the time.

With all that being said, I do realize it’s impossible to point to a single moment in ones life and explicitly say “because you did A, B happened.” But Moash largely obtained the Honorblade through Teft’s mistake. 

Edited by Andy92
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I guess Hoid's ultimate fate will be to splinter all the shards. Nightblood can kill the vessel making it easier to splinter the shard.

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I just finished the book last night and my mind has been reeling ever since. As a whole it was pretty good, I think there were some sluggish parts of the book, but overall the highs really got me hyped.

- as always, Adolin continues to shine, whatever is going on with him and Maya is going to be amazing to see. If she gets revived, Adolin as an amazing duelist with the grace of an edgedancer would be quite the spectacle.

- I was fairly happy this formless creature has been ousted and hopefully put to bed. I find it a bit hard to read about Shallans struggles at times, I know people go through this in real life and I can appreciate that it would be difficult, but I feel it dragged on a bit for my liking.

- I am hoping that Leshwi finds out what happened to her honorspren friend Riah, I hope Syl could maybe help her find out, as she may be the only one who knew her.

- Kaladin story arc. Wow, from Tefts death to his vision with Tien, I gotta say I cried for a while. Some raw emotions came flying at me. I was worried for a hot second when Venli seen these murderous eyes during the Lezian fight scene, I thought we lost him for a sec, and how he killed Lezian was sheer brutality!

- Dalinars discovery of the dead spren from Ishars hands leaves me with so much questions, not to mention this contract with Odium in 10 days time no less. It seems like we are being set up for disaster.

- Raboniel... I really enjoyed this character, she had some amazing moments but showed how heartless she could also be when trying to accomplish her goals. Like a barbwire garrotte wrapped in velvet.

- Wit, that epilogue was either a well calculated risk or the most likely, a huge oversight on his behalf with potentially devastating long term consequences. 

All in all, the ending in typical sanderlanche fashion blew me away. At the same time, I have been left with an overall sense of dread going into book 5. There seems to be a lot that could go wrong!!! 

RIP Teft, Phendorana, Raboniel, Veil and even poor Rayse

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Things I liked.

Kaladin taking care of the other mental patients was very touching and exactly the thing he needed, honestly would have preferred more of that than the action packed fighting all over the tower, though I ended up enjoying that as well to a lesser extent. It's bad enough to watch him struggle with depression but then to be so persistently tormented by outside factors... give the poor man a break already!!!
The Tien flashback as a standalone was also incredible and really served as a breaking point for his continued growth and development, what with him finally being able to heal the brands on his forehead and lay down this burden that he's been carrying for far too long.The only thing I thought was missing was a moment where his parents and he ended up mourning Tien together (and Lirin apologising to Kaladin for being unreasonably hard on him).

Navani's arc was an unexpected surprise. Her dynamic with Raboniel was fascinating.and highlights just how rewarding it can be have a complex villain. I understand why some would think Navani was being naive when she helped develop anti-voidlight (and anti-stormlight as a direct consequence), but I saw it more as Navani's desperate final attempt to prove to Raboniel that coexistence is an option in spite of their long history of strife.
Navani's confrontation with Vyre at the end reminded me of him killing Elhokar in Oathbringer just as he was about to swear his first ideal. The crucial difference here being that Navani managed to speak the words in time unlike her son. I did find the technical details to be a bit too excessive but it's a minor complaint. I definitely agree with people saying that RoW was Navani's book.

Rlain and Dabbid were a great addition and though I would have preferred more of them, the few moments they were given were excellent.

The Taravangian twist at the end left me in a bit of daze honestly. Part of the foreboding feeling of the ending stems form the fact that we already know what Taravangian was capable of doing as a mortal (albeit a mortal with Cultivation's boon/curse). Now, as a vessel to a shard (Odium no less), it fills me with nothing but dread knowing the lengths he's willing to go to "save" everyone. The epilogue only enhances this, what with Tod being able to one up Hoid. It drives the point home that them not knowing they are dealing with and entirely more dangerous beast.

The GB involvement and conclusion felt satisfying to me and will prove to be a interesting adversary in Shallan's quest to find Ba-Ado-Mishram. Along with some of the revelations about Thaidakar and his "real" identity.

Things I didn't like or have mixed feelings about.

The Shadesmar segment felt too detached from the rest of the book. While it contained powerful individual moments like Shallan integrating Veil and Maya's speaking at the trial, the impact these events should have had on the surrounding characters felt lacklustre like, Shallan's converstaion with Kelek happening off-screen, Shallan revealing her secrets to Adolin aslo off-screen. Adolin concluding now with irrefutable proof that his devotion to Maya is the right thing to do in spite of Dalianr's (even Kaladin's) encouragement to abandon her and become radiant. Off-screen. Why? These moments could have been so impactful...
I feel like when applying "Journey before destination" to Adolin it comes of as more like Adolin already having reached his destination, it's just that everyone else is struggling to catch up with him (readers included). I don't mind him being a source of optimism, but I too feel it's important to show in his journey moments of doubt.and frustration for his accomplishments to have weight. As it stands these moments are, at best, briefly hinted at (his conversation with Dalinar, his reactions to the other spren not believing him about Maya), but never explored to the point that would make him seem just as human as the other characters in the series. I don't doubt their success with the honorsrpen will have impact later in the story, but given the 10 day time limit they'll be cutting it really close, that and I can't help but wonder how the honorspren would react when they found out that humans helped develop a weapon that can now permanently kill spren, not just leaving them as deadeye's.
Shallan's brothers. Honestly I was hoping for them to be somewhat relevant this book, but they were such a non entity, if they died, I doubt anyone would even notice or care.

Meanwhile In Dalinar's camp.
I didn't so much mind the slower pace here, but i think it was a bit of a missed opportunity to not show what the dustbringers and sykbrakers are capable of in the field. Similarly I was a bit bothered about how well everyone took the defection of Jah Keved. Everyone seems just so nonchalant about it. Suppose it wasn't so unexpected but still you'd think the Coalition would express more remorse over a whole country and it's people being written off like that.

Dalinar's experience with Ishar was both interesting and highly disturbing puling spren into the physical realm (good thing Adolin saved Notum or he might have ended up as one of the honospren that Dalinar discovers In Ishar's camp) and stealing bonds but felt like it's sole purpose was to set up events for the next book without establishing anything conclusive.
The Parshedni flashbacks were decent, but IMO, unnecessary as they didn't establish anything new. Can't help that the page-count invested here would have been more useful in other parts of the book. However that final Eshoni chapter was wonderful and a fitting farewell to her character.

Finally Vyre.

I didn't like it. Unlike Raboniel, any complexity he could have had was pushed to the side in favour of him being a one-note villain. The only thing that intrigued me slightly was the moment Navani's singing striped him of voidlight, which left him overwhelmed with guilt after killing Teft, exposing him as nothing more than a fraud and Odium's tool. It's bad enough that he resigned himself to be apathetic to everything, but then feeling the need to drag others down with him for no better reason than to prove a point made me lose any sympathy I may have had for him by the end of OB: Not a compelling villain, not even an anti-hero, just sad miserable Moash. If Sanderson does decide to redeem him it's going to be extremely difficult after this book.

 

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Some thoughts that I'd like to share (also posted to Goodreads, in the form of a review): 

★★★★☆ (3.5/5, rounded up to 4).

The adventure continues! I enjoyed Rhythm of War (RoW), though I found it to be the weakest book of the Stormlight Archive (SA) series thus far. While it flowed more smoothly than its immediate predecessor, Oathbringer, it also lacked, for me, some of the emotional moments, excitement, twists, and character development that characterized the first three books. There was one exception, however: the plot twist concerning Taravangian. I absolutely cannot wait to see what he will do as Odium! On the whole, this book felt like a slow-motion set up for the completion of the first arc of the story, the battle of champions. Below, I’ll sketch out what I thought were the pros and cons of the book.

As with the rest of the SA, RoW shines in how it portrays moral lessons, personal growth, and mental health. This is a major advantage the series has over many other fantasy series, because it not only makes one want to live in its world, but makes you want to be a better person in our world. I think this is the heart of the story, very succinctly put by Rlain who said “then start doing better...that is the path of Radiance.” in response to Venli who said “I don’t deserve any of this…I was weak” (page 1189). I love the growth experienced by Venli, Rlain (who finally got the role he deserved), and Kaladin, and although Kaladin can be too intensely depressing at times too, struggling with the inner darkness is a feeling all too many people are familiar with. It is cool he founded the study of therapy in Roshar.

On the other hand, I did feel that Shallan and Dalinar were somewhat neglected in this book. Shallan’s growth felt not so much rushed as convenient and cursory, and her big reveal, killing her first spren, did not feel that heart wrenching. Furthermore, Shallan’s sidekicks seemed to vanish from the story after their initial plot point (searching for the spy) was fulfilled. Also, Shallan and Wit have been talking and plotting together this whole time, and that's all just off-screen? Moving her brothers? Quite some omissions.

Jasnah’s growth was intriguing and I want a lot more of her in future books. She grew from being one of my least favorite main characters, because of her demeanor in The Way of Kings, to a complex and multilayered character in the past two books, because she showed more vulnerability and emotion, at least as much as was needed for her character to remain true to herself. I enjoyed learning about two unique aspects of her character: her propensity to over-intellectualize and sound academic about even personal feelings including family matters and friendships, and her sapiosexuality (Sanderson, on Reddit, wrote that he wrote her as a heteroromantic asexual). Thus, Jasnah joins some of the other characters—Kaladin, Dalinar, and Shallan—who are fleshed out and relatable to fans. I also want more Wit/Hoid now! Briefly coming to Renarin, he, like Jasnah, is intriguing, and needs more screen time, but I did not feel enough was given to the readers to speculate about his personality, so I’m looking forward to learning more about him when we come to his flashback book.

Adolin and Navani stole the show in terms of character development, and I am glad to see the hitherto side Kholin characters get so much growth and screen time. I really love Adolin, and people like Adolin in my life, people who know how to inspire a room, bring good cheer, and help others get out of their heads. Some people do think that Adolin has not grown enough throughout the series, but I disagree. In his relations with Shallan, his father Dalinar, and with his sword, Maya, he has always tried to be better, for himself, and for others in his life. That Adolin is not as navel-gazing as others, and more optimistic, is a plus. Adolin is almost like the Samwise Gamgee of the series: by solidly supporting and encouraging the power-struck and destiny-laden heroes, he does a great service in supporting everyone else, and thus becomes a true hero himself.

This was basically Navani’s book, although it was billed as Eshonai’s flashback book. I do not have much to say about her specifically, but I enjoyed her development, and appreciate her solid, firm, and practical personality, which I think is a good complement to the other members of her family. Her backstory, and how she met Gavilar and Dalinar, would be quite interesting. (Actually, we need to know a lot about Gavilar's past too.) The combination of Navani with Raboniel, them two working in tandem, was what added so much beauty and fun to the Navani arc. The relationship and tension between the two was beautiful, and I am very sad that Raboniel was killed off. She was the first singer character that I really felt that I got to know and care for, more so than even Venli or Eshonai.

There were also some moments of breathtaking beauty including: Eshonai’s last scene, where she rode the winds toward eternity, certain descriptions of Shadesmar, and Godeke’s religious epiphany in Shadesmar showed that the human capacity for wonder and reverence cannot be confined to any one religion or ideology, or the failure of such. The Book of Endless Pages concept was cool.

However, I do have many criticisms of the book, which led to my 3.5 rating. Firstly, the back-and-forth between Kaladin and the Pursuer was dragged out for too long, and was perhaps unnecessary for the furthering of the plot. It read like a rather simplistic hack and slash plot embedded within a larger, more important story. As such, it didn’t have a strong impact on me. This book could have been cut short 200 pages. And what was the point of Teft being unconscious the entire book? I felt that the impact of his death would have been much greater if he was somehow more active throughout the book. More Teft and Lift would have been welcome for much of the Kaladain arc.

Secondly, other characters got short shifts. Based on my own impressions reading the books, as well as Brandon Sanderson’s own interviews and comments on forums such as Reddit, I sense that Sanderson feels a need to prune the story so that it doesn’t grow out of control in the mode of Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire. While this is reasonable, at times, characters are killed off or moved out of the story because of this imperative, and I find this to be a loss. It's ok to have multiple villains alive at once, like if Sadeas were kept alive. Or if we got more Rock and Sigzil, instead of them being moved to the margins or out of the story. The Mink also needed some more development.

Thirdly, my biggest criticism is I believe that Sanderson finally created an overly complex magical system and world, and his exploration of it—the spren, spren mechanics, especially in relation to technology, the gemstones, the voidlight and anti-voidlight, and the many combinations and permutations of light—felt over the top and somewhat self-indulgent. I am aware that I may be in the minority of fans in feeling this, but I did appreciate Sanderson’s magical systems in Mistborn and Warbreaker, and initially in this series. Sanderson’s background in chemistry, and love of video game mechanics is quite evident. To some, such as myself, it felt like reading a textbook on the pseudo-science of Roshar. But to each their own: I suspect that if the flora, climate, and geography were given this treatment, I would be less critical, since those are subjects I enjoy. Nonetheless, I do think that Sanderson overbuilt and over-described some of the mechanics of the magical systems/aspects in this book, and that took away from the mystery of the world, the flow of the book, and the coherence of the magical system, since there are so many aspects of it, it is hard to generalize regarding the spren, surgebinding, etc. in a way that is possible with allomancy. There are too many actors and possibilities with the spren: what is up with Sja-Anat for example? How does that fit in? Where does surgebinding come from? At first, I assumed it was linked with Honor or Odium, but the book made clear that Honor and Odium’s orders worked within the surgebinding system. But if surgebinding is investiture, then how did it come to the Rosharian system? I feel like I know too much about how spren can make a ship fly, and too little about some of these other questions.

This complexity blends into the Cosmere aspects of the book too. Having read Mistborn, I was able to grasp what was going on, but I wonder if it would all seem more confusing to readers who are not familiar with the Cosmere. I think I need a thorough reread of the other Cosmere works after this.

This brings me to another point, and a critique I have of Sanderson’s writing and worldbuilding: I think that he does not expand to scale very well. His best-written works, in my view, ones that are detail-oriented in relation to a single space and the mechanics of world building and characterization therein: the Shattered Plains (two books of the series were located there), Luthadel in Mistborn, T'Telir in Warbreaker. When Sanderson scales up, making the series more “epic” so to say, in the tradition of Tolkien and Robert Jordan, I feel like I’m quickly jumping around from place to place without getting a feel of any place, and this feels choppy. This is related to my final criticism.

RoW featured an entire arc containing a battle to liberate Emul. We know a couple of things about Emul: while it is subordinate to Azir, it is still an independent state home to the important city of Sesemalex Dar, which Kaladin saw in his visions in The Way of Kings. Emul has been at war with Tukar for 80 years, and it is ruled by a Prime, currently Vexil the Wise, who we met in Oathbringer. Despite this reasonably moderate level of detail (reasonable because Emul is not the main country in the story), we read an arc dealing with Emul without meeting any Emuli characters, including the Prime. We have almost no information about the culture, customs, or characteristics of Emul. Whatever brief political and military information we need is presented, cursory, through quick meetings with the Azir leadership. I understand the need not to get distracted by a 500 page digression, but perhaps some elements of Emul could have been written in during the arc set there. I loved the way we discovered the Reshi Isles and Shinovar through the interludes in previous books, and I would have at least wanted to get a brief view of what Emul is like.

Jah Keved is even more troublesome for me. It is one of the most powerful kingdoms in Roshar, the homeland of Shallan. It is the homeland of Vorinisim (Valath). The horneaters are technically under the overlordship of Jah Keved. And it falls to Odium so easily? Indeed, the events that occurred in Jah Keved, even accounting for Taravangian’s plots there, happened in an entirely convenient and swift way. Political developments occurred in Jah Keved in such a cursory manner, that it was evident that certain things were just happening conveniently and inexplicably quickly in the background in the service of the plot. We hear many, in about two sentences, that many of the new leaders of Jah Keved were inclined toward Odium and that is all.

Assuming the people of Jah Keved are as human as the people of Alethkar, you're bound to see more things happening there: local leaders who support and resist Taravangian, random people who claim the throne, people fighting Odium or leaders who ally with Odium, and so on. I'm sure there are a lot of ideas there right now about how things should pan out in Roshar, and that was just reduced to nothing. I don't want these supporting characters and countries to be reduced to minions who just exist to further the plot. I felt the same way with Amaram's arc in the last book, especially the Orc-like behavior of his soldiers: when you need a thousand baddies for the heroes to fight, here they are. Sure, in-book explanations were given, but I didn't fully buy them.

At this point, I realized one thing I really missed from George R.R. Martin’s writing: even random, unknown, side characters, like a third cousin or a counselor, could become important players, because that’s realistic. When you have a family-based aristocratic system, like in Alethkar, it really does matter who your random heir is. Who replaced Sadeas? Some random nephew, but this information is treated as unimportant. You can’t kill off the entire ruling class of Jah Keved to merely fulfill the needs of the story without there emerging new actors with new desires and their own agendas, sort of how Ramsey Bolton emerged out of nowhere in the wake of the chaos engulfing the North after the machinations of Theon Greyjoy. In short, the complexity of politics is leveled, and its implications and possibilities take a back seat in favor of the main story with our main characters. Again, I understand why Sanderson took this route. Martin got bogged down writing out the political game of thrones that characterized his books, losing track of the larger plot point. Robert Jordan never finished his series, and his widow needed to hire Brandon Sanderson to wrap up The Wheel of Time.

With all due respect to Sanderson, who I love as the best world builder author out there—Roshar is so lush and full of life and mechanics!—he is not a student of politics, history, or anthropology, definitely not like George R.R. Martin in. Again, I am aware I am biased here by my own background, interests, and career choices in what I look for, but the lack of historically-informed political complexity began to grate on me.

Despite all this, I wish Sanderson could have written politics and other, non-Alethi cultures, more into his work. He has clearly thought a lot about political topics, and is a good planner. Alethkar is quite well developed. So, if anyone can do it, Sanderson could. The canvas on which the incredible complexity of spren and magic is built seems a bit sparse.

However, despite these critiques, I am looking forward to continuing to read and enjoy the series. We are not even halfway through the projected 10 books, so a lot could change and be filled in. I sense a bit of falling away from the freshness of his first two SA books from Sanderson in writing multiple 1,000+ page volumes and this is being reflected in the present volume. But despite all this, I love being part of the community of fans, and the large and caring fandom, unraveling mysteries, and discussing the books and world together. And I have been deeply impacted by the characters and their struggles and growth over the past few years of my life.

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4 hours ago, Aryanath said:

Jah Keved is even more troublesome for me. It is one of the most powerful kingdoms in Roshar, the homeland of Shallan. It is the homeland of Vorinisim (Valath). The horneaters are technically under the overlordship of Jah Keved. And it falls to Odium so easily? Indeed, the events that occurred in Jah Keved, even accounting for Taravangian’s plots there, happened in an entirely convenient and swift way. Political developments occurred in Jah Keved in such a cursory manner, that it was evident that certain things were just happening conveniently and inexplicably quickly in the background in the service of the plot. We hear many, in about two sentences, that many of the new leaders of Jah Keved were inclined toward Odium and that is all.

Assuming the people of Jah Keved are as human as the people of Alethkar, you're bound to see more things happening there: local leaders who support and resist Taravangian, random people who claim the throne, people fighting Odium or leaders who ally with Odium, and so on. I'm sure there are a lot of ideas there right now about how things should pan out in Roshar, and that was just reduced to nothing. I don't want these supporting characters and countries to be reduced to minions who just exist to further the plot. I felt the same way with Amaram's arc in the last book, especially the Orc-like behavior of his soldiers: when you need a thousand baddies for the heroes to fight, here they are. Sure, in-book explanations were given, but I didn't fully buy them.

Thank you so much. I've tried to express my grievance with this particular part in my own thoughts, but I realise now that my attempt was clumsy by comparison. Therefore I'd like to defer to your more eloquent and well worded response instead. The way Dalinar and the Coalition just casually gave up on Jah Keved as if it weren't worth more consideration was disheartening to say the least. Furthermore it's just hard to believe that an entire country was so easily duped into switching sides, without there being an ounce of resistance even in spite of Taravangian's meddling. Surely there would have been ardents and other people of influence both lighteyed and darkeyed, who would have objected, if not openly than in the form of an underground resistance. Redin, the illegitimate son of of Highprince Valam who appeared in Shallan's flashbacks and was present at Taravngian's ascension to the throne of Jah Keved is one such figure that comes to mind. Instead he just disappears from the story completely after WoR. Regardless, surely there would have been some who pushed back against this betrayal. At the very least they could have attempted to covertly warn the Coalition or something. That the past strife between Alethkar and Jah Keved is presented as explanation enough for an entire nation to unanimously switch sides, felt a bit like a hand-wave attempt to me unfortunately.

 

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Spoiler

Smye07

My question for you is this - I got the heeby-jeebies when Shallan heard about Amaram's collection of flutes within just a few pages of Wit bringing up the flute Kaladin lost?

All I can think of is that either: A) Wit's flute will end up among Amaram's collection to resurface later or B) In his work with the Sons of Honor, Amaram or his fellows have stumbled across some flute-related magic or splinterization and his flutes are the brethren and sistren of Wit's flute.

Is either of these the case? Or is there some other significance to Amaram's collection of nigh forbidden flutes?

Brandon Sanderson

It is significant. It is not a huge deal, but it is significant.

/r/books AMA 2015 (June 2, 2015)

So...that how Sons of Honor (Gavilar) managed to get anti-voidlight! They already knew about tones of Roshar and frequency-energy tranfection. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, TheHidelSubldies said:

 Redin, the illegitimate son of of Highprince Valam who appeared in Shallan's flashbacks and was present at Taravngian's ascension to the throne of Jah Keved is one such figure that comes to mind. Instead he just disappears from the story completely after WoR. 

Yes, this! Thank you for reminding me of him!

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Wow, this book hit me hard. I loved Kaladin’s arc, and I was sobbing at the Tien scene. Shallan and Adolin’s plotline was probably the one I most enjoyed reading, though it was smaller, and the payoff of “We CHOSE” was absolutely incredible. (In fact, Adolin might be my favorite character.) I also loved the smaller PoVs from Dalinar, Jasnah, and Renarin, all of which I loved.

I did feel very fatigued at times by the main plotline, until the end, when I got the payoff. Navani’s plotline dragged for a while, but I loved Raboniel and her interactions with the Sibling, and the anti-Investiture payoff was huge. I liked Venli’s arc, subtle as it was, and the moment at the end with Leshwi was one I really loved. And of course, Kaladin’s arc wrecked me.

Other mind-blowing things:

-Taravangian’s ascent to Odium

-Ishar’s experiments

-Thaidakar may be Kelsier (I actually kind of hate this but whatever)

-Shallan killed her first spren (Very well-foreshadowed, great payoff)

-ALLLLL the Book 5 setup

-Szeth going crazy against Ishar

-So, so many things

Overall, I think this is my favorite Stormlight book.

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Overall I have to say that I really like RoW. I definitely have complaints and this book had some things that it missed/failed to fulfill. So.. for positive aspects of the books I really liked Kaladin's viewpoints, and Wit's story. I liked Adolin and Maya, and Adolin and Shallan. I feel like Shallan managed to get control of her personas and that helped me from feeling like I was slogging through Shallan whining like I did in Oathbringer. While Teft's death made me cry, I feel like it was a really well written point in the story. It gave a new meaning to the term bittersweet. I also enjoyed (but did not love) all the information on cosmere and spern and fabrials and light and... yeah. I feel like it could have been toned down a bit but I still enjoyed it for the most part. Lastly, I think this book will have great re-read potential because I definitely missed parts about Cosmere lore and what-not. It will be fun to re-read and see what I missed.

Now my complaints. I really felt like I missed some characters in the story. Lopen, Lift, Rock, Sigzl, Dalinar, Szeth... Basically everyone except Kaladin and Navian felt like they were missing from the story and I wanted more of them. But aside from that I really can't think of anything that I have to complain about.

Finally, LIFT GOT A CHICKEN!!!?!?!?! Let's goooo! That's going to be fun.

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I've been re-reading everything Stormlight related in preparations for RoW and once I finished it, I found my impressions too jumbled so I decided to give it a week to settle. Here we are now and the reactions are mixed.

Things I expected:

Kaladin - his arc, while not easy to read, was engaging and consistent. I've noticed now (I haven't before) even in the book 1 flashbacks we can see the first hints, days when he's feeling down, days with darker thoughts, and it's really no surprise after all the crap he went through later that it progresses to full blown depression combined with PTSD. The way Sanderson expanded on that with all the other mental cases in the tower, the feeling of how all this sets them apart, alone, was really well done and Kaladin's path to help them and in the process to help himself. Rlain and Dabbid were great additions.

Shallan's DID follows its more or less classic development. After all, the 2 pillars of mental health have always been Reality and Identity. You have a problem if you have even one of them shaken up. In Shallan's case, her specific childhood circumstances and the nature of her powers, create a perfect storm that collapses both her pillars, only on their way down they cross and balanced each other in a weird new mental equilibrium. I'm glad that the fragmentations of personality did stop in this book and I'm really looking forward to seeing what she will become once she's complete. 

Thaidakar's reveal - I'm so satisfied on that front because I called this one ever since mid Book 2 once I saw how the Ghostbloods operated. It very much reminded me of Kell's use of separate groups, gangs and so on in the Final Empire to execute specific tasks, only here we don't see from the perspective of the inner circle but from the end cells.

Things I didn't expect:

Taravangian and Cultivation - what is that woman thinking?? It makes me wonder what exactly was her role in Tanavast's dead. I very much hope the Odium gambit doesn't bite her in the ass.

Things I didn't like:

LIFT - I love Lift. I want more of Lift! Why was there so little of her?? Seriously, there better be more of Lift in the next book or else. Especially now that she has an Aviar too :) 

Venli's flashbacks - so completely unnecessary. Of all the boring chapters we learned exactly 2 new things - that there was a Terisswoman involved and Nale's input into Gavilar's dead. Everything else, from the characters and motivations of both sisters and their interpersonal dynamic to the Parshendi's ways in general - we already knew. We could cut 100-200 pages and not lose a thing.

Very little of the war in the Rhythm of War - the world is already a year into a Desolation but we see none of the global effects and actions that are supposedly happening all over Roshar. 

Lirin's ridiculousness - Strong convictions are one thing but to the point of turning your son over to the enemy to a very likely execution? I think Sanderson pushed this a little too far. 

The fabrial mechanics - well, no thank you. I can't believe how many pages, whole chapters went into explaining how things doesn't work and then how they do. All of this could of been said in a couple of pages, conjoined gems and energy transfer for vertical motion with added special metal for lateral movement. Flaying ships, lifts, and then even a few chapters of explanations for Kaladin's flying glove which he used in what, 2 occasions?

Things I did like:

The Study of Lights - now this is my kind of science and it was not only interesting but actually relevant to the world and for the current and the future plot. Not to mention that it provided a great window for Navani's character development (this was very much her book despite the flashbacks) and It also introduced the Sibling which i find fascinating and want to see more of.

Raboniel deserves a separate mention. The complexity in her person alone and then her dynamic with Navani were probably my favorite arc in RoW.

Ishar's crazyness and his creepy evil spren experiments added a real spice to the ending. Can't wait to see more about this. 

Adolin and Maya - to say adorable will be understatement. Adolin doesn't need a shardblade or a plate to kick ass and even in self doubt he manages to be a truly decent person. His arc was not long enough. 

Oh well. Maybe in Book 5. I very much expect Ishar's Tukari to appear in Shadesmar close to Lasting Integrity, attack the fortress in attempt to kidnap more Honorspren for whatever it is they are trying to do, and then we will get to see more of Adolin :D 

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On 11/22/2020 at 4:17 PM, Eternal Khol said:

yes!
I completely missed that the first time and just figured it out from the coppermind lol

 

heres a WoB

asmodeus

In Words of Radiance, Hoid says that there's only one person as old as him around, and seems to be referring to Cultivation's vessel. In Rhythm of War, he mentions there's a dragon on Roshar.

Are these two individuals the same, or are they separate?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. These two are the same.

General Reddit 2020 (Nov. 22, 2020)

sooooooo,does this mean Tanavast was a dragon as well?

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48 minutes ago, Infinitysliver said:

sooooooo,does this mean Tanavast was a dragon as well?

Cosmere dragons are shapeshifters, so not necessarily.

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On 26/11/2020 at 1:42 AM, What's a Seawolf? said:

 

The Sibling - Although interesting and sympathetic at times, not as interesting as the Stormfather or as mysterious as the Nightwatcher.

It's far more interesting than Stormafather though, he at least has some personality. Stormafather basically rages and and refuses to be useful at inopportune moments. It's asinine he's in touch with Dalinar for 3 books now and his dialogues with Dalinar on crucial moments are essentially him complaining "I'm a Storm, I can't obey you, I'll do whatever I want, go find another one to bother"

I understand Godspren bond is not like another Truespren bond, but I'm sure Sanderson can find another way to use Stormafther that don't fall into the same issue over and over 

Edited by IcaroRibeiro
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I am reading this book. And by reading about how people liked Kaladin's arc makes me read it when I get bored and somehow thinks that if this goes on I will give this book only two stars on goodreads

 

I am on chapter 34 at the moment and I cannot help but think why shallan's and Kaladin's mindset is stretched to a degree that it feels that the same data is being recycled and feeded to us again and again

Edited by smokeesid
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Having let the whole book settle a bit I thought I'd go on record with my impressions before I start a reread.

  1. I liked Oathbringer more
  2. The plot line with Kaladin felt a bit bloated and predictable. Kaladin felt like a man marching towards a glorious end. He should either have died in this book or found a rational way to beat his opponent..
  3. In terms of plot twists this book is nevertheless at the very top so far
  4. The Pursuer was a waste. Build him up just to waste him.
  5. Kaladin going berserk felt too much like a deus ex machina twist.
  6. It is a transitional piece. It really felt like setting a stage and ended on two cliffhangers.
  7. The only really full plot line was the expedition to Lasting Integrity.
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I finished an hour ago, and i cant help but think...this is a bad book. I shock myself by thinking this, but there were times I thought the book was borderline farcical. I actually thought Brandon was gonna turn Eshonai into a chasm fiend at the end there since we had just seen one with the listeners, and the stormfather bein all "i do show mercy yo", I actually  thought the Stormfather might transfer her soul into the chasmfiend. I'm not sure thats a good headspace to be in at the end of a book, where you are just waiting for the shark to be jumped like that.

 

 the vast majority of the Venli flashbacks provide nothing, we already knew how she and Eshonai developed. it was just repeating the same notes from previous books. and her chapters in the present werent much better. 

Kaladin still resonates with me on such a personal level, its hard for me to be critical. I think Brandon nails it in his depiction of Depression, something I am quite familiar with.

Shallan...not so much. this was another part of the book i found myself laughing at when i it was meant to be taken seriously. Its just..what mental disorder is this supposed to be? this isnt how multiple personalities work, and in fact when most people think "multiple personality disorder" they are really just bringing to mind misrepresentation of Schizophrenia. its just so tiring to read, especially since it wasnt exactly a bombshell that she had a previous spren. it was all but spelled out in previous books. I realize this is supposed to be about her coming to terms with it, but man, it wasnt fun to read.

I think my biggest complaint is this is the first Sanderson book where it felt "written". like he needed X to happen so character Y goes here and does this cause "reasons." Everything from the tower invasion, Adolins trial, Teft staying behind, Navani's science,  all of this felt like characters doing things in service to the plot, which was surprisingly disappointing. also TWO (Taravangian becoming Odium and this "EL? audiobook, dunno how its spelled character) new antagonists coming in at the eleventh hour? thats...meh. so bad. then you have Wit and the end going on about storytelling. this felt like an author stroking his own ego to me, was way to on the nose about story telling at the end of a huge book. I think theres alot to chew on with his interaction. 

 

that said, even if the trial taking place felt really forced, The trial gave us, in my opinion, the greatest moment in the series so far: "WE! CHOSE!" (listened via audible, so not sure how its printed in the book). this was easily the climax of the book to me and a legitimately great moment.

I'm still a fan, im invested in this characters. but I think  this is just a bad book. not "the weakest stormlight book but still good", but an outright bad book. its mostly a giant info dump, with alot of information we already had, but alot of the new info was cosmere stuff that is slowly taking over the series. this is not a standalone anymore, not sure how i feel about that. and then theres the whole Navani thing, which is actually just straight dumping of info via scientific method to us. it was pretty boring and i dont think will survive re-reads very well.

Maybe my opinion will change on my reread, i hope it does, but my fresh thoughts upon finishing just arent good.

While this book feels like a misstep along the Journey, I'm still on board until we get to the Destination.

Edited by taliefer
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1 hour ago, taliefer said:

 

Shallan...not so much. this was another part of the book i found myself laughing at when i it was meant to be taken seriously. Its just..what mental disorder is this supposed to be? this isnt how multiple personalities work, and in fact when most people think "multiple personality disorder" they are really just bringing to mind misrepresentation of Schizophrenia. its just so tiring to read, especially since it wasnt exactly a bombshell that she had a previous spren. it was all but spelled out in previous books. I realize this is supposed to be about her coming to terms with it, but man, it wasnt fun to read.

 

This is just so offensive. It is Dissociative Identity Disorder, which is most definitely NOT schizophrenia. It does exist, and can manifest differently in different people. And Shallan was a remarkable depiction of it. There are people on this forum with DID, who have described how much they could relate to Shallan’s experiences.

We literally looked at the pictures of someone with DID today in class, and I knew her diagnosis immediately due in large part to having just finished RoW. The way the artist described her experiences was remarkably similar to the what happens with Shallan.

It seems to me that you only care for the mental illness you have being portrayed, while having no patience for others.

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2 hours ago, taliefer said:

 TWO (Taravangian becoming Odium and this "EL? audiobook, dunno how its spelled character) new antagonists coming in at the eleventh hour?

I think it's the other way around - Taravangian is *staying* the antagonist. It's been Taravangian vs Dalinar the whole time.

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I have a question. I am on chapter 42 at the moment and I am wondering how Kaladin remained awake when all the Radiants fell when sibling was affected? Is this answered in the book?

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33 minutes ago, smokeesid said:

I have a question. I am on chapter 42 at the moment and I am wondering how Kaladin remained awake when all the Radiants fell when sibling was affected? Is this answered in the book?

It’s because of how close he was to swearing the fourth ideal.

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