Continuing in the Stormlight Archives, Rhythm of War focuses on Venli, the Listener turned Voidbringer, whose mostly at fault for causing all the calamities befalling our heroes. As always, we hear from all the characters as the book progresses, but Venili is front and center. While it was awesome to finally have the perspective of the non-human characters, and to understand the full weight of human destruction on Roshar’s native peoples, going back through Venli’s past retreads a lot of material already covered in the previous 3 books and it took me ages to get through this volume. It also just felt like so much more was packed into this book than the other three even though it’s the same length. Maybe it’s because the characters are all in separate places: Dalinar, Renarin, and Jasnah go off to fight the Voidbringers in Emul, Navani, Kaladin and Venli are at the Tower, and Shallan and Adolin go to Shadesmar to try to convince the Honor spren to bond humans again. The tension in this book was also extremely high as many huge plot turns had me on the edge. Which is really a testament to how good Sanderson is.
Sanderson’s fantastic writing, plotting, and craft are as evident and amazing in book 4 as all his other books, and I really enjoyed the depths he treads in both Kaladin’s depression and PTSD and Shallan’s multiple personality disorder. I love the way he expounded on their character arcs from previous books and had their struggles come to a head throughout Rhythm of War. Navani also becomes incredibly important in this book, and it was great to see her manifest as such a powerful character. Likewise, Venli’s epiphanic arc about her people and her place in the world was enjoyable to journey through. One of Sanderson’s greatest assets as a writer of these kinds of books is his ability to make multifaceted and complicated characters whether they be human or not.
I’m so bummed I caught up to the series before it was finished and have to wait two years for the next installment.
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