Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Enjoyment Rating: *****
Source: Digital Copy
Content Alert: Violence

An assassin is taking out the leaders of Roshar, and Kaladin is charged with protecting his king from meeting a similar fate. The world is on the brink of war from many fronts, and Shallan works her considerable skill to prevent the return of the Voidbringers.

While fans of The Way of Kings, fans of Sanderson, fans of high fantasy, fans of good writing will probably enjoy Words of Radiance, whenever I read a book with lots and lots of world building and hundreds of names to keep track of, I feel the same kind of panic that I feel when I go to see the symphony. I have an appreciation of the parts, but it doesn't move me-- I recognize that there is great writing, great description, great storytelling going on here, but I feel like I'm looking at it through a thick pane of glass-- it's hard for me to engage, like it's written in a different language. I can appreciate on an intellectual level that this book is undoubtedly the most skillfully crafted speculative novel this year, and likely the best novel of the Whitneys, but it's one that I appreciate distantly rather than embrace.


Blue said...

You still give it ***** Enjoyment rating. Sometimes when I'm trying to decide what to read I just scan your reviews to see which books you really liked to determine what's next. That's the most important part of your review for me; I just want to know how you felt about it.

I read this book some years ago, and as you know it's Gator's favorite series. I recall thinking it was interesting, and didn't have a hard time following per se, but it's not like i'm on the edge of my seat to read the rest of the series (which will be a decade+ in the writing so i'll forget everything by the time the next book comes out). the characters aren't as memorable as, say, Harry, Hermione and Ron. :-)

Shelah said...

It's definitely an appreciation rating rather than an enjoyment rating in this case. For those who enjoy this type of work, it's the best there is. For someone like me it's more of a 2-3 star book. But since I'm trying to approach this from as neutral a position as possible (being a judge) I need to acknowledge that this is clearly the mosy deserving book in the category, even if it didn't do much for me, personally.