The long anticipated sequel and book 2 of the Stormlight Archive hit stores march 4th. It picks up right were we left off, the assassin in white has decapitated the leadership of Roshar and targets Dalinar Kholin the blackthorn and true power behind the Alethi kingship. While the first book of any epic fantasy series needs to build the world, the second book needs to make us care about the characters. If you have read fantasy for long enough nearly everyone reads “this big book that goes nowhere.” The second book in the series needs to be paced particularly well to keep the reader engaged and show significant character development. Words of Radiance has it in spades.
Our two main characters Shallan Davar and Kaladin stormblessed, fledgling surgebinders, finally start to come into their adulthood. I found myself having to remind myself that these two characters are younger than they seem. Given everything they go through and have experienced up till now makes them seem like late twenty-somethings, when things go wrong our hero’s crack. A lesser hack and slash, sword and wizardry story, would see the hero’s barrel through any obstacles but it makes a boring predictable story. Experiencing the trials and defeats, the horrible past the protagonists have had to overcome grounds us to the story. It makes the defeats hurt more but lets us share the glory of victory.
Words of Radiance, is a great second installment to the Stormlight Archive and an enjoyable read. My first reaction after finishing was “wait that’s it?! How many years am I going to have to wait for the next one…” I didn’t want it to end, I wanted more, to know what happens next. Something very rare for me. It has everything you could ask for a top-tier epic fantasy: political intrigue, a clever magic system, conspiracies, religion, assassins, betrayals, gods, and war.
If you felt the Way of Kings was lacking, read Words of Radiance it has cemented the Stormlight Archive as the best Epic Fantasy series since the Wheel of Time. An absolute must read for any fantasy reader.