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Words of Radiance

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<Words of Radiance>
Words of Radiance.jpg
by Michael Whelan
The Stormlight Archive
Follows The Way of Kings
Precedes Oathbringer
Setting Roshar, Cosmere
Released 4th March 2014
Publisher Tor
ISBN 0-7653-2636-1

Words of Radiance is the title for the second book in The Stormlight Archive.[1] It was released on March 4th, 2014.

Cover Synopsis[edit]

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

The ancient oaths have at last been spoken; the spren return. Men seek that which was lost. I fear the struggle will destroy them.

It is the nature of the magic. A broken soul has cracks into which something else can be fit. Surgebindings, the powers of creation themselves. They can brace a broken soul; but they can also widen its fissures.

The Windrunner, lost in a shattered land, balanced upon the boundary between vengeance and honor. The Lightweaver, slowly being consumed by her past, searching for the lie that she must become. The Bondsmith, born in blood and death, striving to rebuild what was destroyed. The Explorer, straddling the fates of two peoples, forced to choose between slow death and a terrible betrayal of all she believes.

It is past time for them to awaken, for the Everstorm looms.

And the Assassin has arrived.

Summary[edit]

Shallan is the flashback character in this volume. The flashback scenes describe the gradual destruction of her family and reveal the details of the murders of her two murderous and/or abusive parents.

The Interludes introduce Lift and follow Eshonai as she, at first, reluctantly changes to stormform and then stages a coup, taking complete control of the Parshendi.

Prologue: To Question

Gavilar's assassination is told through the viewpoint of Jasnah. She discovers her bonded spren and Soulcasts for the first time.

Part One: Alight

Shallan travels by ship to the Shattered Plains. She learns from Jasnah of her betrothal to Adolin. She is awoken in the middle of the night just in time to witness the murder of Jasnah, so she causes the ship to sink through soulcasting in an attempt to save the crew. She is helped ashore by a santhid and manages to join Tvlakv's slave wagons.

Kaladin sets up training for the other bridge crews and experiments with his Adhesion abilities. He's dismayed to hear that Brightlord Amaram has arrived in Dalinar's camp.

Dalinar continues to try to unite the Highprinces by asserting his authority as the Highprince of War. He has an illusion during a Highstorm in which he participates with a Knight Radiant's crew in a fight against a Thunderclast.

Part Two: Winds' Approach

Shallan encounters Tyn's caravan and joins with them to defend against bandits, also winning the support of a group of deserters that had been chasing them. Tyn figures that Shallan couldn't possibly be who she says she is, so she takes her on as an apprentice con artist. When she finds out via spanreed that she really is Shallan, she tries to kill her, but Shallan summons her Shardblade in time, killing her first.

Adolin fights a couple of duels as part of his father's plan to bring the Highprinces together as Renarin starts training with his plate with Zahel. Sadeas continues to work against Dalinar, consolidating power and going out on gemstone raids when it's not his turn.

Szeth returns to kill Dalinar, but Kaladin manages to fight him off. He tells Szeth that he is a Windrunner just like him. He flees in confusion and anger.

Part Three: Deadly

Shallan finally arrives at the Shattered Plains, right in the middle of a conference between the king and all the Highprinces. She informs the royal family of Jasnah's death and bluffs her way into being hired by Sebarial. She then takes on the character of "Veil" using her fledgling Lightweaving skills and does some work for the Ghostbloods, hoping to learn about Urithiru and warn Dalinar of the Parshendi Voidbringers. Her day job is fixing up Sebarial's books, and she finds time to start courting her betrothed, Adolin, who start to hit it off.

Kaladin continues to train the other bridgemen, trying to find decent sergeants so he can delegate more patrols and guard duty. He decides to go into the chasms alone to learn how to walk on walls like Szeth, and after faltering at first, eventually soars above the ground in complete control of his abilities. Moash finally reveals his secret past and his lust for revenge against the king himself. Kaladin is torn -- he knows the king is weak and should be removed, but he is assigned to protect him.

Adolin finally goads Relis into dueling him, hoping to beat him and one other in spectacular fashion so that he may ask a boon of the king -- to challenge Sadeas himself to a duel. Unfortunately, he fails to specify how many challengers, so he has to face four shardbearers. With Kaladin's help, who leaps into the arena as Adolin is about to be killed, the four are defeated and Adolin asks for his boon. Kaladin asks for one too: to face the "murderer" Amaram. Kaladin is arrested.

Meanwhile, the mysterious countdown continues . . .

Part Four: The Approach

Kaladin stews in a prison cell and gets a visit from Wit. When released, he learns that Adolin demanded to be imprisoned as long as he was, softening his attitude toward Adolin and lighteyes in general. When the army goes to explore the Shattered Plains, an assassination attempt is made on Dalinar. Shallan and Kaladin both plummet into the chasm but survive using Stormlight. They experience many hazards together, and both reveal much about their past. Kaladin kills a chasmfiend with Shallan's shardblade and they ride out a highstorm together and survive, but Kaladin has lost all contact with Syl due to his involvement with the plot on Elhokar's life.

With the countdown clock almost to zero, Dalinar prepares to make his assault against the Parshendi. Shallan insists on going, having mapped out a good deal of the Plains while lost in them. Dalinar also agrees to leave the slave Parshmen behind. Kaladin is forced to stay behind with a grievous wound to the leg.

Part Five: Winds Alight

Dalinar leads a large army to the center of the Shattered Plains, guided by Shallan, to try to end the war once and for all. Kaladin broods over his loss of Syl and his injuries. He has an epiphany and goes to protect the incompetent king from assassination. He is confronted by Moash and is about to die from his wounds until he says the words:

I will protect even those I hate so long as it is right.
— Kaladin

Syl returns and becomes his shardblade. He fights off Moash and Graves.

The Alethi army encounters the Parshendi, who have taken on a strange new form. A portion of them fight while a portion of them sing a strange, foreboding song. The humans win, but not in time to stop the Everstorm from coming at the same exact time as a Highstorm. Szeth arrives to finish the job on Dalinar, but Kaladin intervenes and drives him away. Shallan finds the portal and activates it using her shardblade. They are transported to Urithiru.

Dalinar, Shallan, Kaladin, and Renarin gather in Urithiru and declare themselves as Knights Radiant.

From the Cover Flap[edit]

Six years ago, the Assassin in White, a hireling of the inscrutable Parshendi, assassinated the Alethi king on the very night a treaty between men and Parshendi was being celebrated. So began the Vengeance Pact among the highprinces of Alethkar and the War of Reckoning against the Parshendi.

Now the Assassin is active again, murdering rulers all over the world, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status darkeyes. Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and their civilization-ending Desolation. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but even arriving there proves more difficult than she imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on an desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The consequences for Parshendi and humans alike—indeed, for Roshar itself—are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

Statistical Analysis[edit]

Trivia[edit]

The working title for the book was The Book of Endless Pages but, Brandon decided to rename it due to the irony of the book having over 1000 pages.[2]

Awards[edit]

  • 2014 Whitney Award for Speculative Fiction[3]
  • 2015 Audie Award for Fantasy (for the audiobook)[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. Words of Radiance press release
    Tor.com - Feb 28th, 2013
  2. Why the name change?
    Theoryland - Nov 8th, 2011
  3. 2014 Whitney Award Winners
    http://whitneyawards.com - May 18th 2015
  4. 2015 Audie Award Winners
    — reviews.libraryjournal.com - May 29th, 2015
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