Chaos

Rhythm of War Full Book Reactions

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Ok... I skim read a lot of the book mixed in  with part audio.

My reactions.

Spoiler

1. Another beast of a book.  It was like 3 Sanderlanches in there and a whole lotta words.

2.  Hoid epilogue  - gagging emoji

3. Sibling - a neurotic - hey, I am gonna lock myself up from the big bad world.  And get me Rlain, will ya?

4. Yes, the empire strikes back!

5. Raboniel - wanted to like you, and never hated you.

6. Flashbacks- strangely, I mainly skipped them, except the last Eshonai one and Venli on Gavilar’s last night.  The rest, I blasted through.

7. If Pattern is the middle step, then is there a last step?

8. Azure, Chiri-Chiri, Rysn - blinks/miss

9. Moash — go rot you bastard!

10. Kaladin - can I buy you a beer?  Let’s just chill after all that hard work. You earned it!

11. Navani - I wanted to be invested in your section.  Just struggled with all the fabrial mechanics Mumbo-jumbo.  

12. Ishar - you crazy.jpeg. God, please not another trip to Shadesmar!

13.  Venli... Sorry, but I love someone else :\ 

Edit:

14. You can’t have my SACRIFICE!  Best moment besides Kaladin’s oath.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Wax
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Just finished. Overall a mixed bag lean positive for me.

From a character standpoint, pretty fantastic, though the ultimate outcomes for Shallan/Kaladin were kind of predictable, how we got there was some of Sanderson's best character work yet, up there with Vin from the OG MB trilogy and Dalinar in OB. So major props on that end.

I liked the "new" character arcs of Navani and Venli/Eshonai, although ultimately I was left wanting a little bit MORE out of Venli idk, it felt like she didnt really do a ton in the the last two parts of the book.

I don't have any issue with all the cosmere stuff, though at times I felt it got a little ridiculous with so many previously mysterious characters just info dumping on investiture and cognitive shadows and stuff all the time (Hoid, Vasher/Zahel, Mraize Raboniel, etc). I thought that was kinda odd honestly. Like when the characters in GOT started talking about the Night King as if they knew his motives as well as the audience did. Idk, kinda weird to see Navani using words like "investiture" without a ton of explanation where she heard that term from.

At first I loved how we saw the Fused developed from just mindless evil things, but by the end it felt like half  the ones we met weren't even that bad? I have some issues with the way Odiums forces have been built up because it feels like one step forward two steps back sometimes.

Ending twists were insane for sure, T becoming Odium blew my mind no doubt. I need to see how it turns out but I ended the book feeling nothing but PURE PURE FEAR, and I would really love if Book 5 can recapture some of  that Hero of Ages, end of the world, total hopelessness vibe, because honestly OB and ROW both have kinda felt too easy for our heroes on a plot level. Hard for them on an internal character level, but at no point have i felt like they wouldn't win the day and  they always seem too. One of these stormlight books has to end on an unequivacal loss at some point.

I feel a lot of what other people are saying about the pacing. Ultimately it felt like Part 1 and Part 5 was where everything happened and between that  was a lot of filler. Not all of it  was bad by any means, but at a certain point there's only so much of Kaladin moping or Navani not knowing what to do that you can take. I think some more Dalinar chapters in there would have been good, or maybe some more SZETH! Come on where was he in this book, we got ONE interlude with him, very dissappointing.

Also after just coming off of Dawnshard I thought it was weird that Lopen bascially wasn't in this thing at all?

TBH thought Rlain should've bonded the Sibling and that instead of the Sibling being "purged" of Voidlight, Rlain could bond her as a Sja-Anat corrupted spren and bring about the change in the war that we didn't have before. Like I thought it was going to turn out that Raboniel had pumped this new Warlight into the Sibling and that was what was gonna make her work now. Navani bonding her felt kinda whatever, although I did love how she finished the first oath.

There were some major fist pumping moments towards the end, I thought Kaladins 4th ideal was well done and the scene with him and Tien made me cry harder than a book scene in years.

Rlain and Debben were great and I loved them.

Jasnah's few chapters were incredible and her having a (asexual?) relationship with Wit was one of my favotie things and makes SO MUCH SENSE.

I like the 10 days as a time constraint, it will give the next book some real momentum counting down to the showdown, ultimately I just wish the CHARACTERS felt lower at the end of  this one. Honestly I think they really need to lose at the end of Book 5 for this to work for me, otherwise I needed this one to end on a much bigger cliffhanger. I don't want to keep comparing it to OG Mistborn, but I love just how defeated Vin/Elend where at the end of  that and how bad it felt like they had messed up. In this one, we the audience have a sense of how bad Taravangian as Odium is, but the heroes have no idea about it and I think maybe them losing the tower permanently, pushing Dalinar into the duel might have felt better. Or someone more major than Teft dying. One of the big boys got to bite in the next one.

Overall I made a lot of criticisms here but I really did enjoy the book a ton and theres so much to dig into (didnt even mention Adolin, I think this  is the most complete his character has felt, first time he felt like a real character to me, also I loved the whole trial sequence). Some stuff I had correctly predicted or seen on threads here (Spren being in on the Recreance, Shallan bonding before), other twists (T as Odium,  Ishar), were insane and left me breathless for Book 5.  I guess at this point I just expect the absolute best from Sanderson and I think from a plot and atmosphere standpoint this was not his best work.  Love where he is taking all of these characters, but I worry the cosmere is becoming a hindrince to the story of this one (or three) planets of Roshar. Tbd, I guess we have both one and six books left to go.

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1 hour ago, Tahva4815 said:

Just finished. Overall a mixed bag lean positive for me.

From a character standpoint, pretty fantastic, though the ultimate outcomes for Shallan/Kaladin were kind of predictable, how we got there was some of Sanderson's best character work yet, up there with Vin from the OG MB trilogy and Dalinar in OB. So major props on that end.

I liked the "new" character arcs of Navani and Venli/Eshonai, although ultimately I was left wanting a little bit MORE out of Venli idk, it felt like she didnt really do a ton in the the last two parts of the book.

I don't have any issue with all the cosmere stuff, though at times I felt it got a little ridiculous with so many previously mysterious characters just info dumping on investiture and cognitive shadows and stuff all the time (Hoid, Vasher/Zahel, Mraize Raboniel, etc). I thought that was kinda odd honestly. Like when the characters in GOT started talking about the Night King as if they knew his motives as well as the audience did. Idk, kinda weird to see Navani using words like "investiture" without a ton of explanation where she heard that term from.

At first I loved how we saw the Fused developed from just mindless evil things, but by the end it felt like half  the ones we met weren't even that bad? I have some issues with the way Odiums forces have been built up because it feels like one step forward two steps back sometimes.

Ending twists were insane for sure, T becoming Odium blew my mind no doubt. I need to see how it turns out but I ended the book feeling nothing but PURE PURE FEAR, and I would really love if Book 5 can recapture some of  that Hero of Ages, end of the world, total hopelessness vibe, because honestly OB and ROW both have kinda felt too easy for our heroes on a plot level. Hard for them on an internal character level, but at no point have i felt like they wouldn't win the day and  they always seem too. One of these stormlight books has to end on an unequivacal loss at some point.

I feel a lot of what other people are saying about the pacing. Ultimately it felt like Part 1 and Part 5 was where everything happened and between that  was a lot of filler. Not all of it  was bad by any means, but at a certain point there's only so much of Kaladin moping or Navani not knowing what to do that you can take. I think some more Dalinar chapters in there would have been good, or maybe some more SZETH! Come on where was he in this book, we got ONE interlude with him, very dissappointing.

Also after just coming off of Dawnshard I thought it was weird that Lopen bascially wasn't in this thing at all?

TBH thought Rlain should've bonded the Sibling and that instead of the Sibling being "purged" of Voidlight, Rlain could bond her as a Sja-Anat corrupted spren and bring about the change in the war that we didn't have before. Like I thought it was going to turn out that Raboniel had pumped this new Warlight into the Sibling and that was what was gonna make her work now. Navani bonding her felt kinda whatever, although I did love how she finished the first oath.

There were some major fist pumping moments towards the end, I thought Kaladins 4th ideal was well done and the scene with him and Tien made me cry harder than a book scene in years.

Rlain and Debben were great and I loved them.

Jasnah's few chapters were incredible and her having a (asexual?) relationship with Wit was one of my favotie things and makes SO MUCH SENSE.

I like the 10 days as a time constraint, it will give the next book some real momentum counting down to the showdown, ultimately I just wish the CHARACTERS felt lower at the end of  this one. Honestly I think they really need to lose at the end of Book 5 for this to work for me, otherwise I needed this one to end on a much bigger cliffhanger. I don't want to keep comparing it to OG Mistborn, but I love just how defeated Vin/Elend where at the end of  that and how bad it felt like they had messed up. In this one, we the audience have a sense of how bad Taravangian as Odium is, but the heroes have no idea about it and I think maybe them losing the tower permanently, pushing Dalinar into the duel might have felt better. Or someone more major than Teft dying. One of the big boys got to bite in the next one.

Overall I made a lot of criticisms here but I really did enjoy the book a ton and theres so much to dig into (didnt even mention Adolin, I think this  is the most complete his character has felt, first time he felt like a real character to me, also I loved the whole trial sequence). Some stuff I had correctly predicted or seen on threads here (Spren being in on the Recreance, Shallan bonding before), other twists (T as Odium,  Ishar), were insane and left me breathless for Book 5.  I guess at this point I just expect the absolute best from Sanderson and I think from a plot and atmosphere standpoint this was not his best work.  Love where he is taking all of these characters, but I worry the cosmere is becoming a hindrince to the story of this one (or three) planets of Roshar. Tbd, I guess we have both one and six books left to go.

The Cosmere buildup is likely due to SA 6-10 involving more Cosmere plots. Especially since the Ghostbloods - who are very, very heavily implied to be led by a certain scarred Scadrian - seem to being setup as future antagonists.

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I really enjoyed the book. I felt that it had a nice balance to it. It's clearly a book that is setting the pieces for the (midpoint) finale. But that's fine. It made the avalanche at the end different, with much of the pay off focusing on characters rather than the overall situation (with one or two obvious exceptions). I really liked that. And I can't believe that we have to wait for 2023 for the pay off. 

Specific thoughts:

  • Where was Zahel in the occupation? They really could have used his help. Or was he with Dalinar?
  • If locking away Ba-Ado-Mishram led to the Singers becoming stuck in forms or enslaved, did it have a similar effect on the spren? Is that why they became trapped as shardblades?
  • I really, really hope that if the effects of the recreance are undone we get a seen of Leshwi meeting her honorspren friend. Her moment where she realised the spren were working with listeners again was heartbreaking, and the loveliest moment of the book for me.
  • Presumably Shallan can help Testament more easily than Adolin can help Maya, since she has the direct connection.
  • Why is Shallan so important that the spren chose her twice? 
  • Hoid lost his perfect pitch when his memories were taken by new!Odium. His flute has now been clearly signposted - maybe an inability to play it will lead to him realising the problems. Or maybe he won't even remember it, and this will help others convince him something is wrong.
  • For a series where we've had relatively few main cast deaths (and I was expecting some here, as set up for the finale), I'm extremely scared for Book 5. Dalinar has already won a victory with the terms set, but new!Odium is smarter. If Dalinar is becoming a new Honor, then what happens if Odium controls Honor? The idea of Dalinar being used as the Blackthorn by Odium, across the galaxy, terrifies me.
  • Mercy helped Odium in the past? That's...surprising, and scary.
  • Whimsy sounds terrifying. 
  • Thaidakar seems to being set up in opposition to Hoid and our heroes here, though many of us still view him as a hero from previous books. I'm intrigued as to how that plays out.
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2 hours ago, Tahva4815 said:

I guess at this point I just expect the absolute best from Sanderson and I think from a plot and atmosphere standpoint this was not his best work.  Love where he is taking all of these characters, but I worry the cosmere is becoming a hindrince to the story of this one (or three) planets of Roshar. Tbd, I guess we have both one and six books left to go.

This was my general feeling also, while much of the plot was good, some chapters or scenes were fantastic. The additional Cosmere info dumps were cool to find out, but the fact that so many of them were obvious dumps and the plots and stories felt more like Cosmere set ups than SA. I think it harmed the book more than added mystery to it. 

Raboniel was great, Leshwi was ok but this should have been Venli's growth, though she had some it was still flat, The fact that I could be engaged and care about a new character like Raboniel much more than Venli the flashback character we have had for multiple books just makes it more apparent. 
Navani's radiant journey was really well done, and though we have only seen bits of her earlier struggles it all fit, the outcome was kind of expected but the path was a great twist. Raboniel was a perfect counter to both shared grief, connection of mothers and intellectual respect.  I was rooting for Dabbid or Rlain to bond the sibling too. 

I also can not believe I never made the connection to Ur. and the  Ziggurat of Ur

It's a twist, and I guess it does make the "big bad evil" more of a threat, but not sure how I feel about Taravangian ascending, I have always been ambivalent about him as a character. I guess I will need to go re-read his POV's and chapters he is in, as I found myself not caring and skimming them in the books.  -- Again this and the Hoid epilogue feel more like unneeded Cosmere set up. 

Overall liked the Kal story arc, having depression/anxiety in my family and something I have struggled with at times, though not on a daily basis, this felt like finally real progress and growth for him, loved the level up sequence :) 

Felt that the Shallon and Adolin/Maya arc though it felt pushed at times(like too much was edited)  was still a good side arc.  
I missed Rock, Lopen and some of the other side humor like from Lift.
While I really liked the Lift - Chicken scenes, again I wanted more of the characters I am invested in and less of the new, the fact that we get no scenes of Lift imprisoned and her interactions with Mraize was disappointing. 

I really liked the Rlain story arc, his scenes with Venli were great. Wishing more of the listeners, former Parshmen had also stayed in Urithiu, Raboniel dying and all but Rlain leaving just feels off.  I get that Brandon is trying not to have the books get bloated with too many characters, plots and scope creep, but in trying not to do that we get lame reasons or random head off somewhere for a while excuses. This is as annoying as authors who put in a romance, or random character just to move a plot point that then disappears, while I know with Sanderson they will probably pop back up later or in some book (or other series) it did not work as well in this book.


 

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Okay, so this is my first time posting here, but I see a lot of comments about all of the cosmere info-dumps that came in this book. I think because Brandon wants anyone who reads his books to NOT have to read all of his previous cosmere stuff, he kind of pigeon-holed himself into having to do these big info dumps to catch a casual stormlight reader up for the back 5. 

I'm just not sure there was a good way for Brandon to transition into a more cosmere-wide story without either A: info-dumping like we see here in RoW, or B: making everyone go read his other books. 

Overall, I really enjoyed RoW and I think Brandon did a great job of getting enough information on the cosmere to the casual reader while advancing the story. I think with these long epic-fantasy stories it is tough to not have the middle books feel like a slog, and while at times I wanted the story to speed up, I still enjoyed the character development and story as a whole. Just my two cents...

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20 minutes ago, FollowYourMuse said:

Wishing more of the listeners, former Parshmen had also stayed in Urithiu, Raboniel dying and all but Rlain leaving just feels off.  I get that Brandon is trying not to have the books get bloated with too many characters, plots and scope creep, but in trying not to do that we get lame reasons or random head off somewhere for a while excuses. This is as annoying as authors who put in a romance, or random character just to move a plot point that then disappears, while I know with Sanderson they will probably pop back up later or in some book (or other series) it did not work as well in this book.

Not sure what felt off about that to you - did you expect Venli and other "listeners/singers who want to break away from Odium" to stay in Urithiru on Team Radiant?

That was never supposed to be the arc. All along, Venli was aiming to re-establish "the listeners" as a neutral group free from the conflict, not serving Odium but also not aligning with a cause that leads to humanity dominating Roshar. They want to carve out space for Free Listeners.

Rlain staying was not even a given, except for him being Bridge Four. He decided, for now, especially as a new Radiant and oh yeah, bonded the only other one of his spren kind with Renarin (another Bridge Four member), that his greater allegiance was with them. But he's still going to visit with the listeners eventually, and ultimately may return to them the way that Rock ultimately returned to fulfill his duties to his people.

I was expecting more from the Secret of Formless' Shame than simply "repudiating her spren", but I guess killing one's spren is just such an awful feeling. I am more surprised that her returning to being a Lightweaver resulted in her forming a new bond to a different Cryptic rather than reviving her bond with the first one. I guess that was because she was still suppressing/denying those memories. But yeah. Is she going to end up double-bonded... To two Cryptics?

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Overall enjoyed the book. Was better than OB for me, but not up to TWoK and WoR.

Definitely agree that the cosmere info dumps are often too convenient. I'm often wiling to give a pass when an ally is passing info to an ally e.g. when Zahel was speaking to Kaladin, but i don't find it believable when an adversary info dumps eg. Odium telling Dalinar that he wants to make him a space faring conqueror.

I enjoyed the fact that Kaladin has more time compared to OB, even though I'd admit the pacing was slow in the middle portion of the book (still enjoyed it though). I think in contrast with the cosmere info dumps, the continual strengthening of his bond with Syl and the way Syl is becoming more human-like has been quite organic so far. This coupled with fact that there's a lot of setup for Kaladin having a long lifespan in the cosmere (cognitive shadow) makes me excited for the possibility that they could eventually be some sort of power couple in the greater cosmere.

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57 minutes ago, robardin said:

That was never supposed to be the arc. All along, Venli was aiming to re-establish "the listeners" as a neutral group free from the conflict, not serving Odium but also not aligning with a cause that leads to humanity dominating Roshar. They want to carve out space for Free Listeners.

I agree with this and Venli was the goal, I think it is more that it would not work if the shard vessel had not changed, as Rayse/Odium would have wiped out Venli, Leshwi  ... in that case Urithiu would have been a safer place for all of them. 

I will see how I feel after a re-read, I just have some feelings of things feeling off, this is actually the first time with not only any SA but any of Sanderson's works (other than graphic novels which I do not like)  where I put the book down, and also do not have the same "How will I wait 3 years to find out!" panic. 
 I really lost some interest in the series as a whole with this book. 

Edited by FollowYourMuse
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4 hours ago, PerpetualWheels said:

I really enjoyed the book. I felt that it had a nice balance to it. It's clearly a book that is setting the pieces for the (midpoint) finale. But that's fine. It made the avalanche at the end different, with much of the pay off focusing on characters rather than the overall situation (with one or two obvious exceptions). I really liked that. And I can't believe that we have to wait for 2023 for the pay off. 

Specific thoughts:

  • Where was Zahel in the occupation? They really could have used his help. Or was he with Dalinar?
  • If locking away Ba-Ado-Mishram led to the Singers becoming stuck in forms or enslaved, did it have a similar effect on the spren? Is that why they became trapped as shardblades?
  • I really, really hope that if the effects of the recreance are undone we get a seen of Leshwi meeting her honorspren friend. Her moment where she realised the spren were working with listeners again was heartbreaking, and the loveliest moment of the book for me.
  • Presumably Shallan can help Testament more easily than Adolin can help Maya, since she has the direct connection.
  • Why is Shallan so important that the spren chose her twice? 
  • Hoid lost his perfect pitch when his memories were taken by new!Odium. His flute has now been clearly signposted - maybe an inability to play it will lead to him realising the problems. Or maybe he won't even remember it, and this will help others convince him something is wrong.
  • For a series where we've had relatively few main cast deaths (and I was expecting some here, as set up for the finale), I'm extremely scared for Book 5. Dalinar has already won a victory with the terms set, but new!Odium is smarter. If Dalinar is becoming a new Honor, then what happens if Odium controls Honor? The idea of Dalinar being used as the Blackthorn by Odium, across the galaxy, terrifies me.
  • Mercy helped Odium in the past? That's...surprising, and scary.
  • Whimsy sounds terrifying. 
  • Thaidakar seems to being set up in opposition to Hoid and our heroes here, though many of us still view him as a hero from previous books. I'm intrigued as to how that plays out.

You know, I’m now curious as to the reactions of people who read SA first, and then read Mistborn.

We’re all coming from ‘Thaidakar is the hero of another planet’ while they’d be coming in only knowing of him as the distant and dangerous leader of a team of antagonists. You have to wonder what their reactions will be when they realize who Thaidakar is while reading Mistborn.

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The Ars Arcanum got extended

  1. We learn about Stoneshaping - I would propose this to be a separate topic
  2. Microkinesis of Yolen - We have a totally new arcane art. And it can make things go boom.
  3. We learn that there are multiple ethers
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2 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

The Ars Arcanum got extended

  1. We learn about Stoneshaping - I would propose this to be a separate topic
  2. Microkinesis of Yolen - We have a totally new arcane art. And it can make things go boom.
  3. We learn that there are multiple ethers

More like the last two have been officially canonized.

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3 hours ago, FollowYourMuse said:


It's a twist, and I guess it does make the "big bad evil" more of a threat, but not sure how I feel about Taravangian ascending, I have always been ambivalent about him as a character. I guess I will need to go re-read his POV's and chapters he is in, as I found myself not caring and skimming them in the books.  -- Again this and the Hoid epilogue feel more like unneeded Cosmere set up. 

Overall liked the Kal story arc, having depression/anxiety in my family and something I have struggled with at times, though not on a daily basis, this felt like finally real progress and growth for him, loved the level up sequence :) 

Felt that the Shallon and Adolin/Maya arc though it felt pushed at times(like too much was edited)  was still a good side arc.  
I missed Rock, Lopen and some of the other side humor like from Lift.
While I really liked the Lift - Chicken scenes, again I wanted more of the characters I am invested in and less of the new, the fact that we get no scenes of Lift imprisoned and her interactions with Mraize was disappointing. 


 

 

I agree that I'm unsure how to feel about the Taravangian thing right now. Honestly after the build up in the last few chapters I think for it to really work they need to absolutely lose t to him in the next book, otherwise I wonder if it wouldn't have played better to have them defeat Rayse/Odium at the end of Book 5 but then have Rayse/T as the villain for the back half. Idk it depends a lot on how it shakes out. I think if there had been less cosmere stuff in other places it might have felt more organic, but again it's kinda weird that Hoid is now so willing to tell everyone secrets about the universe all the time when he had been so vague always before. 

Kaladin arc was the best part of the book for me, I thought that really worked wonders.

I liked Adolin/Shallan's arc, and I get the point of it but honestly the reveal that Shallan killed her previous spren didn't feel like enough to me to justify how painful it felt to her. I've thought about it and I think in theory it makes sense that she thinks everyone would hate her for it and in theory this works as a reveal but when it came out I just didn't buy that to her personally this was somehow worse/deeper truth than her killing her parents. The Adolin conclusion played much better for me, I was expecting him to just resurrect Maya which would somehow prove he was worthy to the Honorspren but the was it happened instead was much better.

Totally agree that losing Rock and Lopen and Lift for most of the book was absolutely brutal. It's actually a crime there wasn't a Lift chapter of her imprisoned talking to Mraize now that you bring it up. I don't understand why those characters were so underutilized, I feel the same way about Szeth as well.

Someone brought this up in another thread but a lot of pages are spent introuducing us to this whole party of people Adolin/Shallan are traveling with and none of them do literally anything of importance, couldn't that time have been spent on other characters we already know? I liked the new Fused/Listener characters but the new radiants with Shallan and co. in Shadesmar did absolutely nothing for me.

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56 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

Someone brought this up in another thread but a lot of pages are spent introuducing us to this whole party of people Adolin/Shallan are traveling with and none of them do literally anything of importance, couldn't that time have been spent on other characters we already know? I liked the new Fused/Listener characters but the new radiants with Shallan and co. in Shadesmar did absolutely nothing for me.

Now that you mention it, yes this too is part of the dump in new people, the effect I think of the year in-between except for The Stump, we do not get to see these people pop up as a name here or there, with introductions to them, so the Adolin learning about them felt more forced. 

 

Edited by FollowYourMuse
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Finished the book last night. Still can’t with coherent thoughts and sense of them making. *mind blown*
 

loved the “Die Hard: Urithiru” sections. Kal continues to be my favorite. Ooohh Teft! I’m not crying.

so storming much. Raboniel and Navani, Dabbid finally getting his moment. Ishar a mad unhinged bondsmith surgeon genius experimenting on and killing corporeal spren.

I for one can’t wait for the next book: Szeth and Kal off to Shinovar. One’s a moody-awesome superhero with pstd, one’s and unhinged soul-shattered maniac with a god eating sword. Together they fight crime reform Heralds.

Will that final battle in 10 days be a third final contest between these two? 

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26 minutes ago, Zea mays said:

I for one can’t wait for the next book: Szeth and Kal off to Shinovar. One’s a moody-awesome superhero with pstd, one’s and unhinged soul-shattered maniac with a god eating sword. Together they fight crime reform Heralds.

This is so awesome I love it :D

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27 minutes ago, Zea mays said:

I for one can’t wait for the next book: Szeth and Kal off to Shinovar. One’s a moody-awesome superhero with pstd, one’s and unhinged soul-shattered maniac with a god eating sword. Together they fight crime reform Heralds.

Plus really their only interactions were when they were trying to kill each other so...

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I finished the book yesterday, and WOW! I think this is my favourite Stormlight book to date. The character interactions, the lore, the Cosmere connections... it was very good. I don't have my physical copy of the book yet, but I couldn't wait to read it so I just quickly bought the e-book Tuesday evening. 

Spoiler

And Navani is our new Bondsmith!!!!!!!!! 

That was my theory before I went into this book, but during the book I was sure it was going to end up being Dabbid

 

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This is my first time posting here, but I wanted to share some of my reactions and musings after reading this book!

I don't think this is my favorite Stormlight book, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Navani's and Kaladin's arcs were a little predictable, but I didn't find them any less enjoyable. The reveal with Shallan's past was predictable from early on, but the distrust of her crew and Pattern made it a suspenseful and interesting. I was very shocked with the Taravangian reveal and also a bit surprised by Restares true identity. I was glad I had read the preview chapters as they released because it was very fun to ponder all of the possible implications of Mraize saying "You'll know what to do when you see him" for over a month and then laugh out loud when I got to that part and realized what he really meant. Venli is not the most engaging character for me, but I enjoyed seeing some scenes from her perspective.

I have a few more reactions and questions, but I will put them under spoiler tags for length.

 

On Odium:

Spoiler

 

Okay, Taravangian killing Rayse with Nightblood was not at all what I was expecting to happen in this book! But despite knowing Taravangian better than we knew Rayse, his motivations as Odium are frustratingly less clear. He says he wants to ‘save them all’ but he also wants to defeat Dalinar and trick Wit. He also seems a little megalomaniacal, not to mention way too comfortable with suddenly inheriting the full power of the god of hate and passion.  Cultivation implied that she planned for this to happen – did using Taravangian backfire on her or is she better at playing the long game than we thought?

So what does Taravangian/Odium want:

Does he intend to commit Parshendi genocide to save all the humans?

Does he want to manipulate Dalinar for petty, egotistical purposes just to prove he was right, or does he have higher/Shardic goals in mind?

Does he hold Rayse’s goals of destroying all other Shards? If so, is it for Rayse’s same power-hungry goals or perhaps some ‘higher’ intentions of ridding the Cosmere of the beings with the potential for the most destruction?

 

 

On where the story can go from here:

Spoiler

 

ROW leaves a lot of mysteries open threads hanging, including

  • the secret behind the Recreance
  • Taravangian’s (and Cultivation’s) true motivations
  • Ishar’s experiments with spren in the physical world
  • Szeth and Shinovar’s history
  • Revival of deadeyes
  • Shallan vs. the Ghostbloods
  • Kaladin’s journey with Szeth + his personal journey as Roshar's first therapist
  • Singers and Fused joining the Listener settlement
  • Gavliar’s true knowledge and motivation

I do not think all of these threads can come to a satisfying conclusion in only ten days of in-world time to coincide with the final battle of champions being the climax of Book 5 – at least not in a way that sets up a decade-long lull in action between the 5th and 6th book.

I think it is more likely that the Contest of Champions will take place in Part 2 or 3 of Book 5 and the real climax will involve dealing with the fallout of that battle plus some of the above threads over a longer time span.

I will also throw in an entirely unfounded prediction that the title will be something dramatic along the lines of “Killer of Worlds” with the in-world text being able to refer to Odium, the original Surgebinders on Braize, or Nightblood.

 

 

Misc:

Spoiler

 

  • It feels like the stakes for the series have been both raised and lowered at the same time. Deadeye spren can be revived but the secret of the Recreance looms larger over their heads. Radiant spren can now be killed, but so can the Fused. Shallan and Kaladin have largely overcome their personal struggles, but it seems like the main battle will be up to Dalinar now. The coalition lost Jeh Keved but they now have a functional Urithiru. Rayse is gone, yet Odium might be more dangerous than ever, yet Navani has a good start on a way to kill him. It seems like the Radiants might be in a better position now, but the epilogue does not inspire confidence at all.
  • Is there a big future plot point with horses? Tien’s wooden horse seems like it might have plot importance and we keep getting hints that Ryshadium are more than they seem. Kaladin's wonderfully awkward learning to ride horses scenes in WoR could be interesting foreshadowing. I am all for Kaladin getting a Ryshadium in Book 5.
  • I bet that Hoid’s flute has some key to working the pure tones of Roshar more easily. I’m excited to see what comes of it.
  • I really want to know what Lift’s new Aviar can do.
  • I have seen some people refer to Taravangian+Odium as ‘Tod’ and I think that is an excellent name because it is hilarious and does not give away that crazy twist if accidently discussed around people who haven’t read ROoW.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

You know, I’m now curious as to the reactions of people who read SA first, and then read Mistborn.

We’re all coming from ‘Thaidakar is the hero of another planet’ while they’d be coming in only knowing of him as the distant and dangerous leader of a team of antagonists. You have to wonder what their reactions will be when they realize who Thaidakar is while reading Mistborn.

So much this. If you look at Mraize, and the Ghostbloods, they're not a good organisation. Either they are out of control, K is playing a weird game, or...

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1 hour ago, Name159 said:

This is my first time posting here, but I wanted to share some of my reactions and musings after reading this book!

I don't think this is my favorite Stormlight book,

I must concur. It falls short of Oathbringer.

1 hour ago, Name159 said:

On where the story can go from here:

  Hide contents

 

ROW leaves a lot of mysteries open threads hanging, including

  • the secret behind the Recreance

Indeed that is extremely important. It has the potential of rendering a victory moot. There is no point in winning if you thereby destroy Roshar. Unless you are Hoid.

1 hour ago, Name159 said:
  • Taravangian’s (and Cultivation’s) true motivations

If Cultivation wanted to strike, she should have done it immediately upon Taravangian's ascension. It seems to me that while Hoid and Harmony may be ready to let Roshar burn to defeat Odium, she is not. It looks to me like she basically wishes to let him go if he promises to not come back. Tanavast is avenged. Why would she bleed for the rest of the Cosmere any longer?

1 hour ago, Name159 said:
  • Ishar’s experiments with spren in the physical world
  • Szeth and Shinovar’s history
  • Revival of deadeyes

I am sorry, but this still looks like sentimentality to me and demeans their sacrifice.

1 hour ago, Name159 said:

I think it is more likely that the Contest of Champions will take place in Part 2 or 3 of Book 5 and the real climax will involve dealing with the fallout of that battle plus some of the above threads over a longer time span.

Yes.

 

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4 hours ago, Tahva4815 said:

 

Someone brought this up in another thread but a lot of pages are spent introuducing us to this whole party of people Adolin/Shallan are traveling with and none of them do literally anything of importance, couldn't that time have been spent on other characters we already know? I liked the new Fused/Listener characters but the new radiants with Shallan and co. in Shadesmar did absolutely nothing for me.

Yeah that was weird, Adolin and Shallan get in halfway through part 2 and basically that entire plot line isn’t returned to until Part 4 and then it’s only Adolin and Shallan.

That said, it’s good he cut some characters out eventually. I think this book was too unfocused as it was. Too many viewpoint characters pulling focus.

Brandon compared its structure to Way of Kings, but that book was veerrry clearly Kaladin’s book with Dalinar slowly getting more viewpoints until the two intersect at the end and there’s one other thread with one viewpoint character, Shallan. 

Who’s book is this? Even the flashbacks are split. It’s the Navani/Raboniel/Diehard: Urithiru book with Venli getting some flashbacks, but also Eshonai who we never knew real well and has been dead for two books.

Shallan’s portion get hijacked by Adolin’s trial and her having 4 personas and two spren. It’s a lot of characters for a story thread that disappears for 300 pages. 

I enjoyed the book, but the other three Stormlight books are better. It’s less than the sum of its parts because there’s way too many parts. 

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2 hours ago, PerpetualWheels said:

So much this. If you look at Mraize, and the Ghostbloods, they're not a good organisation. Either they are out of control, K is playing a weird game, or...

If you look at Mraize, no. I’d argue that Kabsal, the first GB we meet is another story. We don’t know enough members to make a good judgement. 
 

Mraize strikes me very much as the ambitious, ruthless, underling with a worrisome zealous streak. I don’t think he has nearly as much power as he’d like to claim. And I don’t think we can judge him as representative of the whole.

Kell is trapped on Scadrial, and somehow running a Cosmere spanning organization. Which is kind of awesome. But it would be impossible for him to keep an eye on every member. He couldn’t even do it ON Scadrial - remember what happened with Yeden? He has to trust his people to get things done properly, which we know doesn’t always happen.

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58 minutes ago, Child of Hodor said:

Yeah that was weird, Adolin and Shallan get in halfway through part 2 and basically that entire plot line isn’t returned to until Part 4 and then it’s only Adolin and Shallan.

That said, it’s good he cut some characters out eventually. I think this book was too unfocused as it was. Too many viewpoint characters pulling focus.

I suspect that their story line is just not finished. They still are in Lasting Integrity at the end of the book. We agree that SA5 will begin on the next day, don't we?

That means that they have a Scadrian worldhopper with them in a city that regularly is visited by off world traders. Circumstances forcing Felt to reveal himself can be imagined. You just do not take Felt with you into Shadesmar and nothing happens. Chekhov's gun.

58 minutes ago, Child of Hodor said:

Who’s book is this? Even the flashbacks are split. It’s the Navani/Raboniel/Diehard: Urithiru book with Venli getting some flashbacks, but also Eshonai who we never knew real well and has been dead for two books.

It is a transitional work and that shows.

 

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I guess I'm left feeling kinda worried about the *vibe* of the overall story if that makes sense. I don't really know how to put it but the stakes don't feel high enough to me going into Book 5. With Taravangian as Odium now what does the war even like look like? Most of the singer characters we met in this book were so sympathetic as to barely be villains. The first 2 books did such a good job hyping up this ancient conflict between Heralds and Radiants and Voidbringers/Singers but now it kinda feels like...a pillow fight? Idk both sides seem to respect each other more than they want to kill. 

I get that the whole series is ultimately the two sides coming together, but it feels too early for that. 

Really its hard to know what to make of this book until we have book 5. If that book ends on a downer I think this book will work better. If that book feels very conclusive than I think I would have liked to see more of a "Zuko during the Crossroads of Destiny" type moment from some of our characters here. Maybe Shallan SHOULD have killed Kelek and gone down the dark path. Maybe Navani should have just up and died and the tower gets totally corrupted. If this was supposed to be the Empire Strikes Back of the series it really didn't feel like it. Now maybe it isn't, and we're actually still setting the table for the real conflict in books 6-10. But it just isn't clear right now what the endgame is for anyone really and I don't feel the stakes.

Obviously not close to giving up on the series, but this is the first time I've been truly worried that the cosmere is just getting a little out of Sanderson's control.

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