Small note: I had every intention of reading Rhythm of War before posting this but I will not be getting to it before the year ends. Why is every hold at my library available RIGHT NOW?!
The Stormlight Archive
I used to loathe science fiction and fantasy books. Those books were for nerds and in middle school, I would not be a nerd. Well, fast forward *ahem* about *cough*twenty*cough* or so years and I read SF/F almost exclusively when I read fiction. As a result, the Stormlight Archive has been on my radar for some time. A good friend said it was one of the best series she’d ever read. This friend also suggested the Kingkiller Chronicles so I knew her recommendation would be solid. Well, she is two for two. This series exceeds all hype, even the ridiculous 4.65/5 goodreads rating. That ratings is after 282k+ ratings and it still surprised me.
It was described to me that each book focusses on the backstory of one of the protagonists and TWoK is all about Kaladin. Each book is named after a fictional book from within the universe of the Stormlight Archive, called the Cosmere. The Cosmere is author Brandon Sanderson’s universe in which several series are connected. He plans something like 35 books to take place within this universe when it is all said and done. The Stormlight Archive will be ten of those books.
Each book is well over 1000 pages which is partly why I waited so long to read them. Then COVID-19 happened and we were self-isolating so I started reading them. It was VERY difficult to listen to an audiobook that’s over 40 hours long in three weeks while working from home with three young children. I started the first book the week before I was sent home as I usually have an hour commute to and from work. Instead, I took a lot of walks while pushing a stroller in the evenings to finish. I did the dishes every night for two months so I could listen before the book expired. The narrators, Kate Reading and Michael Kramer, were excellent. I owned the second book of the series, The Words of Radiance, after buying it on sale with an old Barnes and Noble coupon years ago but Kramer and Reading were so good that I checked out the audiobook and followed along with the narration.
The series begins with The Way of Kings wherein we meet our three protagonists: Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar. The Way of Kings provides the backstory for Kaladin Stormblessed and that characterization spoke directly to me. The storyline jumps back and forth so we know somethings about Kaladin now as we gradually learned what got him there. It was so well done that I found myself using every excuse I could muster to find reasons listen. I did a LOT of dishes. TWoK hooked me like few other books have. All of the main protagonists are interesting and compelling. All three are conflicted and compromised and have real weaknesses. I am amazed at how well rounded they are as characters.
The Words of Radiance focuses on the backstory of Shallan while Oathbringer covers Dalinar and each is just as wonderful as Kalladin’s. It’s pretty fascinating to have a main character, three books in to the series, still have a wonderful and surprising backstory that enriches the overall story. Each book is an epic story in its own right but the world keeps growing and the stakes keep rising. I also read a novella, Edgedancer, about an ancillary character from The Words of Radiance who becomes a more significant character (more significant but not featured) in Oathbringer. I’m very excited to read the fourth book this fall, Rhythm of War. Final Note: I have the RoW but won’t get to it before the year is out. I can’t wait to get to it!