Rating: 5/5 stars
awe (n.): 1. an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime
2. the dominant emotion while reading Words of Radiance
Brandon Sanderson couldn’t have found a more befitting title for the masterpiece he crafted weaving salty tears, thundering heartbeats, rasping breaths and whimpering prayers, binding them with threads of blinding stormlight and cleansing tempests that erased everything from your mind and left you with the sole desperate need, the screaming ache to
read read read read read
to jump above chasms ride the winds cradle your spear find the Words and swear the Oaths that will make you a part of something bigger than you, bigger than life, bigger than death.
And I found the Words. After numerous sleepless nights swallowing his stories, after shedding hot tears not due to anger, not due to sorrow, but due to the sheer magnitude, the grandeur that invaded my senses and brought me to my knees, with trembling voice and shaking hands but a clarity that surprised me, I uttered them.
Words of Radiance is probably the best book I have ever read.
❝ Words are where most change begins. ❞
Kaladin Stormblessed is now the bodyguard of a lighteyes, the only lighteyes that seems to live up to the stories of ideals, of integrity and justice; his powers, though, are dwindling, and eventually he is forced to make decisions that will define the kind of person he wishes to be. Dalinar Kholin, the Blackthorn, is frantic to unite the people of Alethkar further to visions sent to him by the Almighty himself, and the warnings of the coming storm. The Everstorm. Shallan Davar is on her way to the Shattered Plains, scared and fascinated by the knowledge of the nature of Voidbringers, searching for the mythical city of Urithiru in her own quest to save the world. And Szeth-son-son-Vallano, Truthless of Shinovar, the Assassin in White, is still on the loose, drowning the entire Roshar in civil unrest, blood and mayhem.
The path ahead is sewn with thorns. Their tasks collide. The Knights Radiant must stand again. But what if it is too late?
❝ Onward, then! To glory and some such nonsense.❞
Replace “some such nonsense” with “heartache, panic and obsession” and perhaps you have a brief summary of Words of Radiance. I won’t go on and on praising the divine writing skills of Brandon Sanderson. I won’t gush about the broken perfection of Kaladin and Shallan, about how precious Adolin is, how ensnared I feel by the politics and the new factions that appeared, factions cancelling the objectives of Roshar’s heroes, because a) that’s a given and b) it has been said before, more eloquently than I could possibly dream. Instead, I’m going to make a confession. Writing reviews has been a struggle lately. Between hellish working hours dredged with a generous dose of anxiety and a constantly sour mood, moving my fingers, touching the keyboard and pouring my heart out is not an easy task. More like dreadful. Words of Radiance was the first book in a while that stirred the buried need to talk about something that rattled me, touched my soul, to share my enthusiasm, to scream from the rooftops that its beauty was unparalleled, it’s magic hold unbreakable, that it haunted my thoughts and my dreams day and night, and that I can’t remember the last time I experienced this glorious, rare feeling.
❝ Honor is dead.
But I'll see what I can do. ❞
Sometimes it truly feels like Honor is dead.
That the majority of people you meet in your life are greedy, jealous and selfish, and they take pleasure from the moments they see you falling. They contribute to your fall. And you end up feeling lonely, isolated, a pariah, eventually believing that something is wrong with you for evoking their contempt, even their malice, that the ideals that guide your own behavior are utterly useless against this misanthropic, cannibalistic world.
But they are not. Because there are also people like Brandon Sanderson who make you believe in humanity again. When they create heroes who sacrifice themselves for people they do not like, when they run a frantic course against time not for their own personal benefit, but to protect those who cannot protect themselves, to remember those who have been forgotten, they let you see the truth. That for every Sadeas there’s a Dalinar. For every Amaram a Kaladin. For every petty, cruel and vindictive bully someone to make you smile with a few kind words and a warm smile. In the end, Honor is not dead. It’s just very, very difficult to find.
❝ All stories told have been told before. We tell them to ourselves, as did all men who ever were. And all men who ever will be. The only things new are the names.❞
I don’t think that the only difference is the names. There is also the soul behind them, the creativity, the spirit that can make even dull descriptions burst with energy, hum and pulse with light. With life. This particular story has never been told before, at least not in this way. Not in a way that glues together your broken pieces, that lifts you up up up to the skies, that makes you care so profoundly that you can’t separate yourself from the story. In the future, people will try to repeat it. To imitate the banters between Kaladin and Adolin, Shallan’s sass, Dalinar’s integrity, to create intricate universes and perplexed politics that will remind you of Roshar. But they are bound to fail. Because the cosmos of Brandon Sanderson is truly unrivalled.