Rhythm of War, Brandon Sanderson’s most recent doorstop entry in the Stormlight Archive, was released in November of 2020. At 1,232 pages, it is the longest novel in the series and for this reviewer the densest. I began my journey with Sanderson in December of 2017 with The Way of Kings, and despite having never read anything else by him, I was instantly hooked by his mysterious world, compelling characters, and thrilling magic system. Little did I know how essential the rest of his Cosmere was to this series, and how much more I would appreciate Rhythm of War having gone back and read specifically the six Mistborn novels and Warbreaker.

How many other authors set out to write a novella and accidentally write a novel? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know of many. I do know a former professor of mine who once received a master’s degree he didn’t know he was working toward if that counts, but I don’t think it does. In any case, this was the case with Brandon Sanderson’s Dawnshard, the second Stormlight Archive “novella.” Written as part of BranSan’s kickstarter for the leatherbound Way of Kings, Dawnshard was originally supposed to be about the same length as Edgedancer but ended up over 56,000 words (double what it was intended to be). While this is short for a SFF novel, it is technically long enough to be considered a novel.

Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. 

This is the first ideal of the Knights Radiant, a legendary military organization purportedly blessed with supernatural powers by the Almighty. Revered in their time, the people of Roshar once considered the Heralds, the ten leaders of the Knights Radiants, as divinities until they betrayed humanity, forsook their oaths, and disappeared. Centuries later, their names are still whispered in awe and disdain in this world of storms and stone. All that remains of them are their Shardblades and Shardplate, mystical weapons and suits of armor worth kingdoms.