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Rhythm of War Full Book Reactions

486 posts in this topic

5 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

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?

That is kind of an exaggeration, but has a core of truth.

5 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

Idk both sides seem to respect each other more than they want to kill. 

Not mutually exclusive notions.

5 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

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

I think what we are seeing is that the sides are becoming clearer. Like at the beginning of Rhythm of War we are seeing garbage collection and Ialai is history.

Likewise we are now seeing the Singers having started to go off screen and we will seecore conflict among Shards.

5 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

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.

In which way is a downer ending and a conclusive ending a contradiction? Please explain.

5 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

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.

I think SA5 will be that.

5 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

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.

Well, we are set up for a major setback

  • the enemy is ahead in information (Dalinar would be horrified)
  • weapons are ready
  • a decisive battle is agreed upon
  • we have a traitor, the worst traitor imaginable - a Shard

I am going to make a bold prediction. At the end of SA5 Cultivation will have switched sides and Odium will be free.

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20 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

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.

I don’t think the Cosmere is getting out of control.  It’s more of the writing direction where the narration choices, ie who gets screen time and how much is variable.  Too much fabriel mechanics and Shadesmar, meant the book was just seriously bloated.

All of us sit there wishing for the current book to be like the last. And it isn’t.  Sometimes it’s better, and sometimes it is the Well of Ascension. (Still haven’t finished it, despite reading Hero of Ages) :P

The book was about raising stakes which it did.  It also sets up the back 5 with new magic system of Honor/Odium combo and potentially Cultivation/Odium combo.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

That is kind of an exaggeration, but has a core of truth.

Not mutually exclusive notions.

I think what we are seeing is that the sides are becoming clearer. Like at the beginning of Rhythm of War we are seeing garbage collection and Ialai is history.

Likewise we are now seeing the Singers having started to go off screen and we will seecore conflict among Shards.

In which way is a downer ending and a conclusive ending a contradiction? Please explain.

I think SA5 will be that.

Well, we are set up for a major setback

  • the enemy is ahead in information (Dalinar would be horrified)
  • weapons are ready
  • a decisive battle is agreed upon
  • we have a traitor, the worst traitor imaginable - a Shard

I am going to make a bold prediction. At the end of SA5 Cultivation will have switched sides and Odium will be free.

Honestly I'm wondering if Cultivation isn't going to end up being the true big bad in the end. She has now succcesfully installed her pawns (Dalinar and Taravangian) as leaders of both sides, if Dalinar eventually becomes the new vessel of Honor, Cultivation will have "cultivated" both new vessels.

 

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I have to say, Kaladin standing up to Lezian, declaring his title void? It's up there with the "honor is dead" scene in WoR. Kaladin is definitely in the running for most impressive reputation in the cosmere. Just has to beat Kelsier and Vin.

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I was really surprised by the book. It was really fun to read! Obviously I knew that, but some stuff was a bit of a surprise. Sazed was in the pre-chapter texts? There is a shard of WHIMSY??? The sibling being a mix of cultivation and honor? Navani figuring out inverse light? The fact that the three types of lights behave like sounds, which are a type of wave, potentially allowing a lightweaver to manipulate them? Navani becoming the second bondsmith? 
Those things were surprising. 
 

I legitimately teared  up when Kaladin spoke the fourth ideal. It was wonderful. 

also I love that there was a lot of depth in the way of mental illness. Nice messages, variety of viewpoints, giving people that have such illnesses role models. That’s the good stuff right there. 
 

Also moash has officially gone too far. TEFTY WEFTY IS GONE AND I AM SAD. 
 

There is also the whole thing with the deadeyes, which I am excited about. Maya coming back from the dead will be exciting. Also shallan’s spren was a surprise. Just when I thought we had all the secrets out of a lightweaver, there is more. How the heck will two shardblades work anyway?

I also like the trans inclusion, intentional or not. The sibling being non-binary and a boss is great. They would be a grand voidsona indeed.                               There is also lift, which somehow portrays physical dysphoria perfectly. I resonated with the feeling of not wanting to change. That was wonderful.

sadly I got spoiled by the coppermind with the whole Taravangian reveal, so I can’t comment on that much. I will say that it is clear that the cosmere is far from safe from Odium because of a change of vessel. 
 

Now, I was confused with the whole Wit epilogue. What happened there?

 

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Probably my favorite Stormlight book so far 

I really loved all 3 groupings and their storylines. The book is very fast paced and with very few slow parts. I'm still shocked I managed to read all its 117 chapters and interludes in just 4 days, I spent over 2 weeks to read Oathbringer. I'll soon read the book again from start again, to make sure I haven't lost anything 

What a awesome book. I think as far as storyline goes Sanderson reached its peak with this one. There is just so much information, so many things going on, everything just connects so well

The only part I found a really of was Dalinar visiting Tukar, felt rushed and disconnected. It just didn't align well happening at the same time as Urithiru events 

Everything else was too great for me. I cried two times, first with Maya revealing the spren has chosen to sacrifices themselves, probably to end the war and the powers humans were awakening.

And the second time was Leshwi asking Venli if Spren has forgiven the Singers. I also shred a single tear for the final Eshonai chapter. Singers suffered so much :( I'm starting to rooting for them win this war...

Rlain finally a Radiant! I was wishing he could be a Bondsmith, but looks like Listeners won't joing humans just yet. Makes sense, I wouldn't support humans in their place either. Anyway Truthwatcher really matched his calm, silent and thoughtful personality 

Shallan accepting his fourth truth and finally breaking out with the Ghostbloods, finally girl! I don't think she was another truth though, can't see her reaching fifth ideal. And her box now has a Seon. And Kalak joining her and Adolin was totally unexpected too, it put both in a interesting place in the start of book 5, I'm not sure if they can reach an Oathgate in just 10 days, seems like their plot will mostly take place on Shadesmar 

So Kaladin will join Szeth pilgrimage... it doesn't seem quite fitting? Not really convinced, but guess Sanderson just couldn't think anything else to do with Kal for book 5

 

The epigraphs were breathtaking. New shards just revealed? Notes from Kalak? And who is El, why his book made me terrified? Even Lezier is afraid of him... he is going to be the "Raboniel" of book 5 it seems 

Talking about Raboniel  I loved her and her interactions with Navani who was the true main character of the book, sorry Venli. The Sibling is just marvelous, probably my favorite spren now as well my favorite Radiant-Spren couple, surpassing even Shallan-Pattern  

It's interesting how much time and effort the spent studying basic physics concepts to make Navani chapters feels deeper and much more immersive, although many people must find it boring nonsense I really appreciated that, never saw anything alike in fantasy stories, only on scifi novels. I'm confident he will make a wonderful work writing his scifi series for Mistborn final trilogy

Venli flashbacks are tied with Dalinar as my favorite in the series. Dalinar chapters were more emotional and more important for character building, Venli flashbacks uncovered so many secrets and gave me a new perspective of events, as well new things to speculate, it was a kind of flashbacks that made Stormlight even bigger in scope. 

I'm happy she finally become a Radiant, hope she leads the Listeners well 

 

Now about the end...

What happened in chapter 113... I was never expecting anything like that to happen before book 5

Let alone expecting that was happening the way it happened

It was so far the most shocking event in the series surpassing the "Parshman are voidbringers" plot twist in end of The Way of Kings

This is a true defining moment for Stormlight. I don't think we will get anything like that until the final books of the back 5

Brandon  what else can you make to surprise us above this? I can't think anything, but well... after reading ROW I learned to never underestimate him again 

Edited by IcaroRibeiro
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30 minutes ago, Koloss17 said:

sadly I got spoiled by the coppermind with the whole Taravangian reveal, so I can’t comment on that much.

*attunes the Rhythm of Pity*

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After thinking about this for a while, I think I'm with a lot of people - the book was good, but not one of the best of the series. I'd probably say from best to worst for it's ranked WoR, tWoK, with a tossup between RoW and OB for worst of the series.  A few thoughts:

The Good-

  • Shallan's plot was pretty much exactly what I wanted for her - finally coming to terms with herself.
  • In general I liked the Shadesmar arc.  I thought Adolin's resolution was also good.  Unlike some of those non-spoiler reviews, I didn't really think his arc was too convenient.
  • I liked Kaladin's arc for the most part and the way he finally did reach the 4th Ideal.
  • As much of an anti-cosmere bleedover guy as I am, I thought the cosmere integration was done well.  Hints that the greater cosmere is out there which the reader can pick up on, but the characters don't really understand it yet.
  • Loved getting to see the Fused and understand them.
  • I actually feel like I mostly got over my dislike of Szeth.  I think he was handled well in this book - Navani's POV early did a good job of pointing out that most people still don't really like Szeth.  But he still got to do some cool stuff and it was great to see him finally interact with his High Spren.

The Mixed-

  • Navani's arc was good and seeing her interchanges with Raboniel were really cool.  But, did we really need an arc dedicated to the mechanisms that make fabrials work?  Personally, I'd have rather seen Venli and Rlain's roles increased and Navani's decreased.
  • While this was a great book for Kaladin's personal, mental health journey it wasn't a great book for anything external to him.  What was so much fun before was seeing his new, interesting interactions with the world around him.  We lose that in this book for the most part.
  • The interaction with Ishar was really odd.  It was kind of cool, but also felt strangely rushed.  It felt like something that should have been the focus of the Dalinar/Jasnah arc.  Make their arc about negotiations with Ishar where they have multiple meetings. 
  • Mr. T reveal was definitely unexpected and an interesting twist, but also felt... strangely anticlimactic.  I think it would have felt better if either we hadn't seen him again after he ascends or if he'd ascended midway through the book and it had given us time to either really fear him or maybe think he'll be a kinder, gentler Odium.  Instead, we see him ascend, then poke his head out and do something kinda lame.

The Bad-

  • The Dalinar/Jasnah "Group 3" arc kinda sucked, imo. Jasnah was mostly being a Mary Sue.  Dalinar was splitting time between worrying about the tower and doing a lot of thinking about his new role as Bondsmith.  The thinking and self reflection part was super important, but usually the backdrop for that kind of thinking is much more interesting in previous Stormlight books.  For example, large parts of Oathbringer were about Dalinar's personal growth and self reflection, but had the interesting background story of him trying to build a coalition of a bunch of bickering rival nations.  This time around, Dalinar's still working on growth, but the background is a ho hum battle where victory is a foregone conclusion.
  • Venli really got short changed in "her" book.  It feels like the Navani/Raboniel interchanges should have been primarily through her eyes.  It felt like Venli was just kind of along for the ride throughout this whole book.  It also feels like she will play second fiddle going forward in the new faction.  So what will she actually do to justify her spot as one of the primary characters?
  • The idea that Kaladin's primary arc in SA5 may be to provide mental health care to Ishar sounds terrible.  I really hope that this does not turn out to be the case.
  • The epilogue just did not land at all for me.  It feels like we're supposed to be really emotionally invested in Hoid and this is supposed to be a huge blow.  But I don't really care about Hoid.  And what does this say about his capabilities?  Is he supposed to be a super human, all seeing dude?  If so, how does he get blindsided so easily?  If not, then why do we get all these hints that he is pretty much invincible?

The Big Question-

Where the heck do we go from here?  We've pretty much established that it doesn't matter who wins or loses in this next battle.  What is the actual goal?  Sure, lock Odium away for 1000 years, but endless war will continue with the Fused.  Or lose and Dalinar fights for the other side.  But war continues and Odium's still trapped.  It just feels like Sanderson may have painted himself into a corner a little bit.  I'm not losing faith, but I want to see our heroes fight a battle that feels like it matters.  Beating Odium can't be the end of SA5, because that was the end of SA4.  A duel between Dalinar and (an already defeated) Odium with minimal stakes for either side doesn't feel like a satisfying end to the SA front 5.  I'm sure Sanderson's got something really interesting in store for us, but it's hard to see what his vision might be at this point.

 

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3 minutes ago, agrabes said:

.  What is the actual goal?  Sure, lock Odium away for 1000 years, but endless war will continue with the Fused.  Or lose and Dalinar fights for the other side.  But war continues and Odium's still trapped.  It just feels like Sanderson may have painted himself into a corner a little bit.  I'm not losing faith, but I want to see our heroes fight a battle that feels like it matters.  

 

Actually in both cases Dalinar winning or losing Rayse promised to stop the war. If Dalinar win, he got Alethkar and Herdaz back, otherwise the loses them 

What Rayse wants from him is to be his minion to fight against other shards 

End goal from Odium was never human extermination, just leaving Rosharan system. In the current Desoluation he's trying to overwhelming humans until a Bondsmith offer him freedom. He even promised to leave both Singers and Humans alone to make peace if Dalinar lose, as long he's unchained from the system 

Notice, Odium could just make such a proposal if humans were really terrified to lose, which lowkey is not happening currently 

When he saw he couldn't force Dalinar to freed him, he decided to given up his freedom and just finish the war with humans, collect what he could grooming a new general (Dalinar) to fight for him in his shards-wars.

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Just now, IcaroRibeiro said:

Actually in both cases Dalinar winning or losing Rayse promised to stop the war. If Dalinar win, he got Alethkar and Herdaz back, otherwise the loses them 

What Rayse wants from him is to be his minion to fight against other shards 

End goal from Odium was never human extermination, just leaving Rosharan system. In the current Desoluation he's trying to overwhelming humans until a Bondsmith offer him freedom. He even promised to leave both Singers and Humans alone to make peace if Dalinar lose, as long he's unchained from the system 

Notice, Odium could just make such a proposal if humans were really terrified to lose, which lowkey is not happening currently 

When he saw he couldn't force Dalinar to freed him, he decided to given up his freedom and just finish the war with humans, collect what he could grooming a new general (Dalinar) to fight for him in his shards-wars.

You're right that one thing Odium (Rayse) wanted was to get free of Roshar.  But he has other equally important goals too.  His main overall goal is to destroy all other shards.  So he's made it clear that we wanted to destroy Honor and Cultivation beyond repair (including destroying all their spren) and then leave Roshar to destroy the rest of the Shards throughout the Cosmere.  Odium's end goal wasn't human extermination, but that was a likely side effect of his actual goal.  In the current Desolation, as in all Desolations, he's trying to destroy Honor and Cultivation's investure, which will have the result of freeing him.  He doesn't care about the Bondsmiths' ability to release him from the Oathpact, that's not his main objective.  If it's offered to him, then he would accept because it offers him a chance of early victory.  But he doesn't need to enter that kind of deal to win, the Radiants have to risk a lot in the deal because Odium knows he would win even without the deal.  This is how it's always been portrayed in the books.

 

Look at this from Dalinar's perspective - what is Dalinar trying to do?  What is the win state for Dalinar's side?  If Dalinar wins the contest of Champions, Odium will withdraw personally, but the Everstorm will remain and the Fused will continue to be immortal and unrelenting enemies.  So in terms of Dalinar's chances to win the overall war, defeating Odium's champion doesn't move the needle very much toward an actual victory.  It is essentially impossible for Dalinar to win the war, at best he can establish a secure perimeter and defend it from Fused incursions for all of time.

If Odium's champion wins, Dalinar has to become Odium's servant and it's implied he will be sent to other worlds to do Odium's bidding there.  So Odium gets Dalinar as his servant and gets one additional agent on other worlds.  But there are many men of Dalinar's caliber that are available to Odium and it's strongly implied he has agents and/or allies in other places in the Cosmere.  So Odium gains nothing significant by getting Dalinar - nothing he couldn't have gotten otherwise.  And Odium himself is still trapped on Roshar, unable to leave and fulfill his actual mission and he still has hundreds or thousands of years of warfare until the side of the Radiants is whittled down enough to allow him to fully destroy Honor and Cultivation.

So neither side really gains anything if they win.  If SA5 ends in either of those states - perpetual war with Odium on the sidelines or perpetual war with Odium on the sidelines and Dalinar forced to switch sides - it doesn't feel like a satisfying ending.

 

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3 hours ago, Tahva4815 said:

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.

Yes, i had the same feeling. Overall the structure of Part 5 felt very weird: it was splash of culmination in Urithiru with Kaladin and Navani, and i was like "Okay, thats it, cool, they defeated their enemies, time for epilogue", and then the book just went on and on for like many more chapters, where majority of Book 5 set up happened, but in a very calm and quiet way. I felt like the set up lost its momentum. Stuff that happened with Dalinar and Ishar, Dalinar and Odium, Odium and Mr T, Mr T and Cultivation, Mr T and Hoid didnt emotionally moved me after the storm of Kaladin and Navani chapters calmed down.

I think it would be better if all that "downer" stuff happened during or before Kaladin/Navani chapters so the feeling of desperation was more powerfull and we felt like all characters are in actually grave danger. Instead i felt like the ending was pretty bright for everyone, with Kaladin chilling in his new armor and Navani being new Bondsmith. Maybe thats because im not into all that Cosmere stuff and cant grasp all the importance of Mr T scenes, but thats it.

 

now, on unrelated topic, during re-read, i think i can flesh out the problem with promises/pay off i mentioned in first reaction.

-Kaladin: promise of him starting his new mental health rehabilitation courses - > majority of book he spent crawling around Urithiru -> in the end BS remembered Kaladin's desire to start these courses.

-Venli: promise of her moving towards independence - > majority of book she spent serving Raboniel and fullfilling the role of spectator - > in the end BS remembered Venli's desire to become independent.

-Navani: promise of her dealing with insecurities - > majority of the book she spent mixing the Light - > by the end BS kind of made her more confident.

-Raboniel: promise of deadly villain rival of Navani - > majority of the book she spent being actually pretty good and doing no evil - > end up being pretty nice woman. This was nice subversion i guess but then why even mention that she was absolute evil on few occasions?

-Shallan and Adolin: promise of intriguing adventure with new cast of Radiants - > majority of the book the spent casually tripping, splitting and getting judged -  > they completed their mission in a pretty convenient way. Not much interesting stuff about Shadesmar was revealed.

-Parshendi: promise of the deeper look at their culture (Nine and gemstone plantation in Part 1, Raboniel and Lezien and Leshwi) - > majority of the book parshendi spent just being "there" in Urithiru affording no deepr look at their culture - > failed promise.

I can see that other people may find the payoff worthy of promise. I personally felt all these payoffs were pretty underwhelming. Some of them more, some of them less. I wanted Kaladin to care about mentally ill during Part 3 and 4 instead of Spider-Menning around Urithiru and fighting. I wanted Venli to be more active as she was in Part 1. I wanted to see more about Leshwi and Raboniel than just sitting there and pretending to be bad guys while helping our heroes. I wanted Adolin and Shallan to earn their vctories with actual sweat and blood. I didnt get that in a degree i expected after Part 1.

tldr Part 1 feels like a very good Ad to sell the book. Its way better than the rest of the book and promises a lot, which Parts 2-5 didnt deliver in a degree i expected by reading Part 1.

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I really loved this book. It’s tied with WoR for me as second fave behind OB and ahead of WoK. I really loved how it kept moving. 
 

though the flashbacks were not my favorite this time around, I did like seeing how much changed for the Listeners in such a short time. Sometimes I forget how young Venli is! And her arc was excellent: the reluctant hero, still selfish but being pushed to be better. And how she fleshed out Rlain’s character too.

boy did I love seeing my boy Adolin in this. Trying so hard to live up to his father’s expectations while finding his own path, but always doing what he does best: making other people around him better. And I was really satisfied with the Maya story. Revived but he’s not radiant? Sounds good to me.

I liked how we learned about spren in this book—how much like people they are, how their societies are political and changeable just like humans are. That they can feel and choose. 
 

I really liked the Navani arc. The tones and the anti-light are huge discoveries and I’m excited to see how she can grow her bond with the Tower while still being the scientist she is. And how she will navigate this change as a bondsmith. But what I really liked was seeing two women of a certain age/experience connect over discovery and invention, and over maternal grief, while still being enemies. So fascinating.

and yeah, I sobbed during Kal’s scenes there toward the end. And I usually don’t connect with his character. So well done, Brandon.

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1 hour ago, agrabes said:

The idea that Kaladin's primary arc in SA5 may be to provide mental health care to Ishar sounds terrible.  I really hope that this does not turn out to be the case.

I doubt this will turn out to be the main focus of Kaladin's arc in book 5, it will almost certainly evolve into something larger in scope. With Kaladin going with Szeth, their two arcs will be related and placing Kaladin in contact with Ishar who has been there from the  "beginning" as well as the Shin (who also seem to know a lot) is perfect to finally reveal questions that have been around since book 1.

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1 hour ago, agrabes said:

You're right that one thing Odium (Rayse) wanted was to get free of Roshar.  But he has other equally important goals too.  His main overall goal is to destroy all other shards.  So he's made it clear that we wanted to destroy Honor and Cultivation beyond repair (including destroying all their spren) and then leave Roshar to destroy the rest of the Shards throughout the Cosmere.  Odium's end goal wasn't human extermination, but that was a likely side effect of his actual goal.  In the current Desolation, as in all Desolations, he's trying to destroy Honor and Cultivation's investure, which will have the result of freeing him.  He doesn't care about the Bondsmiths' ability to release him from the Oathpact, that's not his main objective.  If it's offered to him, then he would accept because it offers him a chance of early victory.  But he doesn't need to enter that kind of deal to win, the Radiants have to risk a lot in the deal because Odium knows he would win even without the deal.  This is how it's always been portrayed in the books.

 

Look at this from Dalinar's perspective - what is Dalinar trying to do?  What is the win state for Dalinar's side?  If Dalinar wins the contest of Champions, Odium will withdraw personally, but the Everstorm will remain and the Fused will continue to be immortal and unrelenting enemies.  So in terms of Dalinar's chances to win the overall war, defeating Odium's champion doesn't move the needle very much toward an actual victory.  It is essentially impossible for Dalinar to win the war, at best he can establish a secure perimeter and defend it from Fused incursions for all of time.

If Odium's champion wins, Dalinar has to become Odium's servant and it's implied he will be sent to other worlds to do Odium's bidding there.  So Odium gets Dalinar as his servant and gets one additional agent on other worlds.  But there are many men of Dalinar's caliber that are available to Odium and it's strongly implied he has agents and/or allies in other places in the Cosmere.  So Odium gains nothing significant by getting Dalinar - nothing he couldn't have gotten otherwise.  And Odium himself is still trapped on Roshar, unable to leave and fulfill his actual mission and he still has hundreds or thousands of years of warfare until the side of the Radiants is whittled down enough to allow him to fully destroy Honor and Cultivation.

So neither side really gains anything if they win.  If SA5 ends in either of those states - perpetual war with Odium on the sidelines or perpetual war with Odium on the sidelines and Dalinar forced to switch sides - it doesn't feel like a satisfying ending.

 

Completely agree and this is my big issue with this book. It feels like this deal is basically fine for either side more or less. I feel like it really needs to be all or nothing for the Champion duel thing to have weight to it. 

Part of the issue is Odium just seems like a fool at this point. He accomplished nothing of note in the past two books, when he's supposed to be the main villain? Compare him to Ruin, who absolutely ran the show for the first 2 mistborn books. The stakes aren't there for me. 

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52 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

Completely agree and this is my big issue with this book. It feels like this deal is basically fine for either side more or less. I feel like it really needs to be all or nothing for the Champion duel thing to have weight to it. 

Part of the issue is Odium just seems like a fool at this point. He accomplished nothing of note in the past two books, when he's supposed to be the main villain? Compare him to Ruin, who absolutely ran the show for the first 2 mistborn books. The stakes aren't there for me. 

Ati wasn’t fighting Ruin having been completely subsumed by it. Rayse’s situation is actually more analogous to Kell as Preservation. The power and the vessel were not functioning well together and the former wanted to escape the latter.

But everyone, including us, assumed it was the former case and not the latter. We were wrong... but now we ARE dealing with a Shard in tune with its Vessel. And it’s a new Vessel - which means T is still basically himself and mostly free to act.

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Wait.....did Dalinar just low jack Kaladin into the spiritual realm and then accept his Fourth Ideal?

 

if so, my response is a perfectly acceptable “Bruh wut”. 

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5 minutes ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

Ati wasn’t fighting Ruin having been completely subsumed by it. Rayse’s situation is actually more analogous to Kell as Preservation. The power and the vessel were not functioning well together and the former wanted to escape the latter.

But everyone, including us, assumed it was the former case and not the latter. We were wrong... but now we ARE dealing with a Shard in tune with its Vessel. And it’s a new Vessel - which means T is still basically himself and mostly free to act.

I'm speaking more out of universe. As a reader, I need my villains to be threatening. I need the heroes to falter. I used Avatar earlier and I think its a good example, at the end of Book 2 the Fire Nation gets a major W and our heroes take a hard L. At no point in this series has a book ended with the heroes taking a hard L and  the villain getting a major W. Its slowly sapped the tension for me as a reader, and unless Book 5 ends on an Odium victory I think Brandon is in danger of losing the narrative a bit.

So to me it doesn't really matter the in universe reasoning for why Odium is fighting Rayse or whatever. Ultimately the story needs to be structured in a way that builds tension, and I don't feel like this book did that for book 5. 

5

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36 hours later and I’m finally done. More like Rhythm of Lore, amirite? So much info dumping and Cosmere connections. Other assorted thoughts and musings below. 

I think the book was definitely a bit uneven and I totally get the complaints about pacing. I mean Kal spent soooo long playing Die Hard and I was just waiting for him to inevitably swear the fourth oath. Not jazzed about Teft’s exit either. He was one of my favorites and his death just felt kinda hollow when, after spending so much time wallowing, Kal pretty quickly rallied after his death thanks to Dalinar/Tien.

“We CHOSE” was definitely a high point.

I’m surprised at how little of an arc Venli actually got given that this was the Willshaper book.

The Navani/Raboniel portion really worked for me. That was where I saw the detail and attention to character I’m used to seeing from Brandon.

I may be in the minority on this but I like the Thaidakar reveal. I know he’s frustrating but I can’t get enough of the Lord of Scars and am looking forward to learning more about what’s going on with him and the GBs.

I’m frankly still too gobsmacked to know what to make of Mr. T. But, hey, sure, why not. Let’s see where this goes.

There were some cool thematic threads running through. One being the frequent imagery/metaphor of people standing on an edge or precipice waiting to fall. This even cropped up in some of the fabrial stuff as well with discussion of static vs kinetic energy.

Another theme that really came through was the concept of free will or choice and the meaning derived from that freedom or the lack thereof.

Ok, just had to get some thoughts out so that maybe I can get some sleep now. 

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2 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

I'm speaking more out of universe. As a reader, I need my villains to be threatening. I need the heroes to falter. I used Avatar earlier and I think its a good example, at the end of Book 2 the Fire Nation gets a major W and our heroes take a hard L. At no point in this series has a book ended with the heroes taking a hard L and  the villain getting a major W. Its slowly sapped the tension for me as a reader, and unless Book 5 ends on an Odium victory I think Brandon is in danger of losing the narrative a bit.

So to me it doesn't really matter the in universe reasoning for why Odium is fighting Rayse or whatever. Ultimately the story needs to be structured in a way that builds tension, and I don't feel like this book did that for book 5. 

It reminds me a little of WoA, where the good guys win their empire. But at the last minute Vin releases... something. But Elend gains superpowers and they DID win. And you don’t really find out what Ruin is or what they’ve done until book 3.

It always felt narratively odd in WoA, too. But if you read WoA and HoA back to back it feels a lot more fluid. I actually tend to read the end of WoA as an extended prologue to HoA.

I think part five in this book may end up acting more like an extended prologue to KoW and be better on reread with the full front five. It ended by upping the stakes on multiple fronts, but in a way we won’t really feel until book 5.

Both sides can perma-kill now, and have access to bombs. The GBs are declaring war on Shallan and co. and are heavily implied to be run by a character we KNOW she isn’t ready to deal with (and will be around for awhile yet). We discovered during this book that Odium wasn’t as powerful as we thought, only for someone more dangerous to take it up - and the characters have NO. IDEA. And Cultivation, whom we’ve assumed to be an ally, is now in league with the enemy. And the heroes don’t know that either.

This stuff falls flat here because we don’t see the effect. But it is going to be a big deal in book five, at which point these setup moments will be showing their effect.

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Ok, just finished it... trying to reassemble the pieces of my brain from off the floor, where they exploded...

Just gonna say a whole bunch of random things here, there's no organization whatsoever and it's just my mess of thoughts:

  • Taravangian is Odium like- just- YEAH but MAN what is gonna go down in ten days
  • What is gonna go down in ten days cause like Taravangian doesn't want to... destroy all the Shards like Rayse (Odium??) did but like maybe the Shard's Intent does so he will but I don't actually know how that works... no one knows that T is Odium now so...
  • What happened in the epilogue?- like I have no clue. Taravangian destroyed some of Hoid's memories, if so, BAD T. But I really don't know what that means and I'm wondering how much T is still T and how much he is Odium.
  • LOVED Shallan's arc. Chapter 93 was the best ever. 
  • I'm thinking Thaidakar is Autonomy at this point... the usage of the word 'avatar' and Hoid telling them go go back to 'their' planet is the reasoning for this... though the Lord of Scars is suspiciously Kelseir-esque. I feel like I'd be disappointed in that though
  • I spent the whole book tryin to figure out what the heckin else Shallan did and then the reveal made SO MUCH SENSE and it was great
  • Resteres=Kelek was great. Didn't see that one coming at all.
  • Navani Bondsmith.... ehhhh I'd honestly have preferred Rlain but he'll do great as a TW
  • What was Venli's oath? Did the one that was initially rejected like in part 4 count at the end?
  • Thoroughly enjoyed an end to Eshonai's arc. It put her at peace, and me at peace for her.
  • 4 new Shards! Yeah! (Hilarious this ends up this far down the list)
  • Kaladin ended up where I wanted to as well (I predicted his oath, like many did) (and TEINNNNNNNN). pretty much the character arcs were amazing and I didn't realize I preferred character over plot until I read this.
  • Favorite SA book for sure! 
  • Hoid+Jasnah whaaaaaaa like I saw the shippers untie after one of the preview chapters but I didn't think it would actually happen
  • Overall I just- can't think about this and I will be rereading in a week or so... this book has shocked me outrageously 
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I don't think any of Brandon's books or stories have ever had a "Heroes lose" ending. There's been "heroes win... but at what cost?" and "Heroes win... but it turns out that was the easy part, and what's ahead is even harder".

They've taken Emul... but turns out this war isn't gonna be decided by straightforwardly controlling territory. They kept Urithiru... oh, but now both them and the enemy know how to permanently kill each other, raising the stakes. And Teft died. They've convinced spren to bond... ...but the contest of champions is in 10 days so there's no time for a big recruitment campaign, and besides it's revealed that there was some fundamental important reason the Recreance happened that they don't know. Oh, and turns out their Big Bad (Odium) is killed... but replaced by someone craftier, whose plans they're absolutely not anticipating.

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52 minutes ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

It reminds me a little of WoA, where the good guys win their empire. But at the last minute Vin releases... something. But Elend gains superpowers and they DID win. And you don’t really find out what Ruin is or what they’ve done until book 3.

It always felt narratively odd in WoA, too. But if you read WoA and HoA back to back it feels a lot more fluid. I actually tend to read the end of WoA as an extended prologue to HoA.

I think part five in this book may end up acting more like an extended prologue to KoW and be better on reread with the full front five. It ended by upping the stakes on multiple fronts, but in a way we won’t really feel until book 5.

Both sides can perma-kill now, and have access to bombs. The GBs are declaring war on Shallan and co. and are heavily implied to be run by a character we KNOW she isn’t ready to deal with (and will be around for awhile yet). We discovered during this book that Odium wasn’t as powerful as we thought, only for someone more dangerous to take it up - and the characters have NO. IDEA. And Cultivation, whom we’ve assumed to be an ally, is now in league with the enemy. And the heroes don’t know that either.

This stuff falls flat here because we don’t see the effect. But it is going to be a big deal in book five, at which point these setup moments will be showing their effect.

You make a very fair point. I read WoA and HoA back to back years after they came out so I didn't have to wait at all. I basically agree with you and if the next book is similar to Hero of Ages in tone/impact than I think my feelings about RoW will change. Ultimately it is a bridge book and a lot of it is gonna come down to what it's bridging to I suppose. 

So I sincerely hope you are right and all this stuff pays off in Book 5. That being said I actually think Well of Ascension does have some similar pacing problems to this book, but where it succeeds at being an end of act 2 where I feel RoW fails is that at the end of WoA Sazed/Vin are both brought to their lowest point yet. Dalinar/Shallan/Kaladin/Adolin/Navani are all riding high at the end of this book. I think that's a bit of a disconnect for me, I truly wonder if Taravangian taking over  at the end of Book 3 or halfway through this one and then things going horribly wrong for them wouldn't have worked better.

Again it really comes down to the execution of Book 5. If Book 5 is 10/10 spectacular, all the weirdness of this book can be justified as a necessary evil.

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Sadly i don't have the time to read over everything that has said before, so probably a lot of this has already been said. I might as well start out with the one thing i know every single person has mentioned.

Wow. Taravangian, that was unexpected and absolutely terrifying. Mixed with the epilogue that's stressful.

I find it hilarious that while the pre release chapters were out, everyone was questioning the rumours about Jasnah and Hoid so much. I remember reading someone who said something along the lines of "If Kaladin is even mentioned with someone else this comminuty ships them, but when there's actual rumours about Jasnah everyone goes 'hold on, let's think logically about this' ".

I seriously, seriously wonder what could have actually caused the recreance. What could have scared all these people into doing what they did, and why were the skybreakers the only ones who didn't?

What was up with the strange glow in Kaladin's eyes when he killed the pursuer? It was described as yellowish red, something of Odium perhaps? Or maybe something else interesting.

There's so many other things i would love to mention, but if i tried to mention half the stuff i wanted to, this would be pages long. This book is absolutely fascinating for the greater cosmere!

Though one last thing, we now know what Kelsier has been up to all this time.

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4 minutes ago, Tahva4815 said:

You make a very fair point. I read WoA and HoA back to back years after they came out so I didn't have to wait at all. I basically agree with you and if the next book is similar to Hero of Ages in tone/impact than I think my feelings about RoW will change. Ultimately it is a bridge book and a lot of it is gonna come down to what it's bridging to I suppose. 

So I sincerely hope you are right and all this stuff pays off in Book 5. That being said I actually think Well of Ascension does have some similar pacing problems to this book, but where it succeeds at being an end of act 2 where I feel RoW fails is that at the end of WoA Sazed/Vin are both brought to their lowest point yet. Dalinar/Shallan/Kaladin/Adolin/Navani are all riding high at the end of this book. I think that's a bit of a disconnect for me, I truly wonder if Taravangian taking over  at the end of Book 3 or halfway through this one and then things going horribly wrong for them wouldn't have worked better.

Again it really comes down to the execution of Book 5. If Book 5 is 10/10 spectacular, all the weirdness of this book can be justified as a necessary evil.

You know what really helps the pacing? Reading it with SH interludes at the appropriate points (this is how I read the series now).

So, I think there is a disconnect between characters and reality here. In WoA (which had a LOT of the same issues) the characters ended the book knowing they’d messed up and were in trouble. In this one WE know they’re in trouble but THEY don’t. 
 

Which may mean that book 5 goes even worse than HoA did for the heroes at first, as they have no real information on what’s actually going on.

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1 minute ago, Kingsdaughter613 said:

You know what really helps the pacing? Reading it with SH interludes at the appropriate points (this is how I read the series now).

So, I think there is a disconnect between characters and reality here. In WoA (which had a LOT of the same issues) the characters ended the book knowing they’d messed up and were in trouble. In this one WE know they’re in trouble but THEY don’t. 
 

Which may mean that book 5 goes even worse than HoA did for the heroes at first, as they have no real information on what’s actually going on.

Oh interesting I'd never thought to do that. Is there a reading order for that out there somewhere?

I'll say that I did think the Wit epilogue was haunting and certainly left me feeling like everyone is way in over their head with T as Odium now. Watching Wit get got when he's been close to omnipotent up this point certainly got the point across.

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