It takes Brandon Sanderson way too long to get these books out. Fortunately, the time between Words of Radiance and Oathbringer allowed me to listen to the first two again (hell, I will probably listen to all three before the 4th comes out in 2020). I am not complaining, he puts tremendous detail and work into this series, so I will not complain if it takes a few years per book. They are just so good that I want to read the next one right away! If this is truly to be a ten book series and he is only just finishing number three…well at some point, Payton will be old enough that we could actually read the books together (unless she hates fantasy novels, then whatever, I will read them on my own).
The book took the series in a direction I did not truly expect, which is always satisfying. There was so much focus on Shallan and the ramifications of her splitting personalities. Kaladin continues to have to work through his own problems, and Dalinar has to find a way to unite all the kingdoms of Roshar, while at the same time overcoming his own demons. On top of all of that, the world has to contend with change. New storms blow from the wrong direction, the entire economy has been thrown into flux when the Parshmen break their bonds and begin invading cities. And perhaps people are realizing that eye color is not the best way to dictate a person’s station.
Here are some of my favorite things from the book, there will be spoilers…
-The big revelation that humans were the Voidbringers was awesome (but also a little telegraphed if you were paying attention). I think it was pretty clear from the moment we stepped foot in this world that humans were an oddity here. All the other flora & fauna seemed to have evolved to deal with the high storms except humans. And then there are the curious elements, like birds (which they call chickens). They brought the birds with them, but over time lost the names for them and started referring to all of them as chickens (remember one character has a green chicken on his shoulder that can talk…that is a parrot).
-I could not figure out who High Marshal Azure was, so I had to cheat and look it up. Turns out she is some character from Warbreaker, which I started to read, but could not get into. The sword that Szeth carries is also from that book. And it turns out that another character is from that book as well, which makes sense since Azure does the same warmup as Kal and Adolin (who learned it from Zahel). Turns out Zahel is someone named Vasher…I guess I should finish reading the book at some point. I always figured Zahel was someone important, especially when he would say phrases that made no sense to anyone else (I figured he was from a different world, but was not sure which one).
-I loved Szeth’s training session with the Stonebreakers and then during the end battle when he swears his ideal to Dalinar instead of the Parshendi, that was a great moment. Szeth and Lift teaming up to steal the ruby was cool. His utter lack of humor and her silliness makes a perfect pairing.
-I definitely did not see the whole Dalinar as Odium’s champion. Especially when there is that early reference to the Unmade that causes battle rage. I think someone even mentions that they thought this Unmade influenced the Alethi the most, hence their great ferocity in battle. My guess was that Dalinar would realize all of his problems associated with the Thrill were not his fault (which would have been cop out), but instead he confronts the Unmade and captures it, claiming that his pain is his own. It was a pretty powerful moment.
-Again, the dynamic between Adolin and Kal is one of my favorite things in the book. When Adolin tells Scar and Drehy that they will go out drinking another night, to which Kaladin is shocked, it made me smile that Kal constantly underestimates the High Prince (he is the High Prince now, right?). I was also very happy that the love triangle ended with this book. Shallan and Adolin should be together, Kal can find someone else.
-Tight-butt. Probably my favorite nickname for Dalinar. I decided to read Edgedancer because Lift is such a fantastic character.
-I am not sure if I liked the whole Teft is a junkie plot-line. I was happy that he said the words and eventually bonded his spren and I am curious to see how this plays out. Does his addiction just go away because he has this power, or does it get worse because he can also use stormlight to heal himself from the effects?
Okay, there were tons of things I loved about the book and it would take me awhile to remember all of the really cool stuff. I mean, you have all of the scenes with Wit (especially his interest in helping Shallan, I found that interesting, also his explanation as to his identity and what he is). Then there was the stuff with Moash (am I the only one who cried when he killed Elhokar) and Venli (her transformation into a Knight Radiant is interesting), and even the oddity that is Renarin. I think the flashbacks in this book of Dalinar were probably some of the most heart-wrenching, since he is such a strong, powerful character, and yet those portrayed him in such a horrible light, whereas the flashbacks of Kaladin and Shallan showed why their lives ended up the way they are, Dalinar’s show the evolution of the man known as the Black Thorn into the Bondsmith.
I think I mentioned that I wanted to start doing a casting call for this series. I will probably do it like I did the Wheel of Time, small chunks at a time. However, when I started doing it before, I came to a realization: I am horribly racist. In my mind, I was assuming the characters were white and would have cast most of the Alethi as such. Then during my second reading of the series, I noticed that when the describe the Shin, they say they have round eyes. I did some research, and it turns out that Sanderson mentions somewhere that the Alethi have an epicanthic fold, which is typically found in Asian peoples. If you go to any other sites doing a casting call, this is a huge debate and many of the pages have chosen to use Asian actors. This is where I am admitting to my racism, when I picture the characters of Kaladin, Adolin, Dalinar…I picture white people. I am sorry. So when I do my casting, it will be with actors that I think fit the bill, as I see it. I wonder if I should put that disclaimer on each of my casting calls when I do them?