I’m going to do this review a little differently since anyone interested in this is already familiar with plot, characters and all that.
This review will have light spoilers, I’ll talk about new characters, some character development, relationships, new places and things like that.
I absolutely would never list anything I would consider a serious spoiler like deaths in a review like this. It should be safe enough for most to read unless you want to go into the book cold with no info whatsoever. In a month or so I’ll post a spoiler post with more in detail thoughts and reactions to what happened.
Shallan. This character used to drive me nuts, I’m not sure what it is exactly, but her personality just didn’t jive well with me. She was sort of juvenile with her humor, and her ‘wit’ was such a large part of her character and dialogue it detracted from the aspects I liked about her.
In this book, however, her character takes a much darker turn, and her arc was one of the most fascinating to me. For me, she was just as strong of a character as Dalinar – and Dalinar is my favorite! There was still a little bit of the name calling humor coming from Shallan in brief moments, but for the most part that wasn’t the case, and it was refreshing.
Dalinar’s backstory was awesome, we’ve always heard about The Blackthorn, but to see just how brutal, just how blood crazed he was back in the day was sort of startling. In my opinion, this is the best ‘grey’ character he’s created. Learning more and more about Dalinar’s past makes him less and less of the ‘pure’ hero you got to know the first two books. Sanderson believes the best of people and believes in the goodness of the world and people in general, and his stories generally reflect that. His characters are largely “good” and have rather purist morals with a stark distinction between good and evil. It was very, very refreshing to see not just Dalinar, but many characters sort of taking a turn for the greyer, less distinctly “good” than what I’ve seen from him before.
Addiction is a theme in this book, which I always enjoy in fantasy. There are many people in my family that suffer from one form of addiction or another, and more than a few friends of mine are alcoholics. I have gone to meetings with them, and counselling with them – and honestly the way Sanderson presents the thoughts of the characters suffering from addiction ring true from what I’ve heard in my friends counselling groups. It was well done and it added depth to more than one character.
I have always read Sanderson for his plot and world building – his imagination is his strength and his worlds just fascinate me. However, before now, I never really *felt* much for the characters one way or the other. I found them sort of predictable since they were so fundamentally good and didn’t deviate from that. However, in this book, I legitimately saw red a few times involving a character and his actions. I felt genuinely sad as well during a few scenes and was like “oh… shit……man that’s awful”. This is the first book from Sanderson that not only got me excited about fight scenes and brand new magic systems, but gut punched me too. Well done!
I am so, so pleased to say I can now put Stormlight Archives into the LGBT friendly category! I won’t go into any more than that though, RAFO who it is!
Dalinar is trying to unite all of Roshar, and so we get to see some new rulers and characters which was neat – the scope of this book is astronomical.
Characters that played smaller roles in previous books got more page time, and likewise characters that took up a lot of page time in the last couple books were put on the backburner for this one. There was less Adolin and Kaladin, and more bridge members.
Some people complain about the Interlude chapters being boring – but I didn’t find it that way at all. I’ve always found the interlude chapters fascinating, so I guess that’s a matter of taste.
Twists! There were more than a few unexpected things that happened in this book and I *love* that! I was convinced a few things were going to go one way, based on the last two books, and I was so wrong! Weee! Again, this is sort of a new experience for me with Sanderson, for the most part, I’ve been able to guess his plot twists, including the ending to Mistborn original series. So, to be genuinely surprised more than once was so refreshing!
We get so many answers in this book! Answers I’ve been wanting for a couple years, and it was so satisfying to finally get them!
Like always, the book ends with a Sanderson Avalanche and I could NOT put it down. I didn’t actually read most of the released chapters, so I didn’t start on page 300something like many people. I still managed to read a 1200 page book in a couple days – and I don’t do that unless I’m loving every moment.
The pacing of the Stormlight Archives series has been an issue for some, they find it to be a slog and a ton of info dumping. Do expect to slow down a bit from time to time with this book, it’s 1200 pages and it’s not a straight battle the entire time. Do expect to see a lot of Shadesmar, answers to old questions, brand new lore, new characters, and yes battles!
I think this is the strongest book so far, but, just my opinion 😀