Friday, April 18, 2014

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson Read Along: Week 3

You can head over to Dab of Darkness to see what everyone else thinks.

This week we read up to the end of Chapter 28.

1) We have a new character on the scene: Zahel, a swordmaster. What do you think of his interest in Kaladin?

I was most struck by the fact that he is a swordmaster and yet he is darkeyed. It is good to see that Kal is not the only one who can break through the rigid social structure.

I am quite sure that he is very intrigued by Kal and his rise to fame. He obviously sees great potential in him, but the move from spear to sword will require Kal to retrain his brain and inbuilt reflexes. I hope that this is an indication that we will see Kal with a Shardblade in the near future . . . It is also good to see Kal have to work at something and not be prefect all the time. Perhaps I am just mean, but a hero that can do everything perfectly without effort is a little too boring for me.

2) We learned a bit more about Shallan's past. What do you think her brother Heralan was doing all those years ago, coming and going as he did, and where did his Shardblade come from?

Oh, I do love it when I am right about something! :D

I said last week that I could not imagine that it was Shallan that had killed her mother, but that it was much more likely that she witnessed her father doing the deed. He gets increasingly creepy as we learn more of her story, to the point that I keep expecting incest to rear its ugly head. At this point, I cannot imagine anything that will make me condemn Shallan from putting that Shardblade straight through his heart.

Heralan seems to be the only other sibling with a relatively ‘normal’ personality, so I hope that he is doing something relatively good and honest. I guess that the easiest way for him to acquire a Shardblade would be for him to earn it in battle, which might also explain why he is away so much. It seems ironic that he does not use it on their father, but that Shallan is the one to finally end his violent behavior. I wonder now if she uses his Shardblade, or that the family somehow acquires a second one.

3) What do you think of Shallan's recent actions with the caravans? How about her growing friendship with Tyn? And her first interaction with Kaladin?

Jasnah would be so proud of how Shallan has reinvented herself. I have to admit that I was not a great fan of hers in the beginning, what with her plan to steal the fabrial and all that, but she has grown on me quite dramatically. She is showing great presence of mind and leadership skills, which makes me convinced that she is a true heroine.

However, I would prefer her to be much more careful around Tyn. This woman is a self-confessed con artist, which does not seem the best foundation for a trusting relationship. I am fairly certain that she is not being honest with Shallan, but is cultivating her for her own benefit. I hope that this does not prove too costly for Shallan, but she has already caused herself a huge problem by lying about her identity to Kal. She does not know that he is the head of the Kholin family bodyguards, but it is hardly going to be easy to explain her ruse to him when she finally gets to the Shattered Plains and reveals herself to her prospective in-laws.

Having said that, her meeting with Kal was hilarious and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

4) Kaladin took Syl's advice and confided in Dalinar concerning Amaram. What do you think Dalinar will do with this information?

I think that Syl was quite right to get Kal to speak to Dalinar about this issue. I know that he expected his boss to run off and confront Amaram, but that was a rather foolish hope to my mind. This was one of those times when Kal’s youth clouded his good sense and his emotions overwhelmed his ability to think strategically. He has obviously not heard the phrase “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

I am not quite sure what exactly Dalinar will do with the information, but I am quite certain that he has taken it to heart and will keep it in mind whenever he interacts with Amaram from now on. Unlike Kal and Adolin, he is old enough to have learnt how to play the long game and wait to see what happens. I am quite sure that his trust in Amaram has been severely dented by this revelation, but he is hardly likely to rush up to the man and throw around accusations that he cannot substantiate. However, I expect him to be more wary about placing Amaram in positions of trust where he can act alone and unobserved.

5) There has been yet another attempt on the King's life. Do you think this is another faked attempt (as Ehlokar did with the saddle girth in Book 1)? If not, who do you think is the most likely culprit?

I am afraid that I think that this was another fake attempt by Ehlokar. Kal has pretty much worked out how it was done and when, which provides him with a list of zero suspects. However, we know that the King is whiny, immature and not all that bright, so it makes sense that he would use his own Shardblade to cut the railing without considering the storm and how the evidence would look. He is such an idiot! :D

6) Gaz has returned to the story, after having mysteriously dropped out in Book 1. What do you think he isn't telling Shallan? How do you think the men of Bridge 4 will react upon seeing him again?

Sneaky, Mr Sanderson, very sneaky! I loved the way that Gaz has crept back into the story in a very understated way. We now know that he had massive gambling debts, which is probably what led to the blackmail earlier, but I suspect that he ran away after the Sadeas betrayal and Bridge Four’s defection. It would make perfect sense that he would expect to be punished for their behavior and use the confusion to beat a hasty retreat.

I have suspected for quite some time that Gaz is actually a reasonably decent bloke who was given a really nasty job to do. He always seemed to be hesitant about being a total bastard to the bridgecrews, but he knew that he would be replaced if he refused to follow orders. The way that he has flourished under Shallan’s care tends to confirm this for me, and I suspect that he will apologize to the bridgecrews when he meets up with them. I would hope that they can behave with some decorum when they see him.

7) Eshonai and Adolin had a brief chat on the Shattered Plains. What will come of it? How will the Parshendi ever get a messenger to Dalinar?

I hope that they can meet, because it would answer so many questions that we have about the Parshendi, the Voidbringers, the history of this world and the way in which Odium will attack. Looking at that list, I can only assume that the meeting will never happen, because it would resolve far too many issues in only book two of a decalogy. Perhaps I am being pessimistic, but I expect this mess and all the confusion to carry on for quite a lot longer before we get any kind of resolution.

I predict that something will happen to prevent Eshonai from sending the messenger. Perhaps her transformation into stormform will change her mind or make it impossible somehow.

Other Notes

I LOVED the way Zahel had Renarin jumping off the roof to get used to trusting his armor. It had me chortling along as every so often we would get the crunch as the poor lad landed on his face in the dirt! I suspect that I will come to love Zahel for his humor and gruff ways . . . assuming that he survives past the next few chapters. Also, kudos to Renarin for actually doing what he was told: I am not sure that I could go face first off a building! :D

We already saw Nan Balat torturing small animals, and now we know that he killed a young axehound. Is it too much to ask that he also finds his way onto the end of a Shardblade?

Ehlokar mentions seeing figures with strange faces in mirrors: I wonder if he is seeing Cryptics? 

I actually quite like Gaz, although I always picture him as a goblin in my mind’s eye. I have no idea where that came from, but it is stuck now so I have to live with it! :D



  1. Good point about Zahel being dark eyed - and I noticed that the Princelings Adolin and Renarin respect him. So this means that perhaps eventually Adolin will be able to respect Kaladin. Now if Kaladin could just get past that whole light eyed thing.

    I definitely agree about Tyn. Shallan is still pretty gullible about so may things and I fear that Tyn may be one of them.

    I too expect Dalinar to take his time in assessing Amaram, given the new info Kaladin provided. I wonder if Dalinar will also be reassessing Kaladin - perhaps suspecting Kal made it up, or put a bad spin on circumstances?

    In Book 1, I never developed a soft spot for Gaz, but I see that recent events between him and Shallan have shifted my view of him. Still, I know that he can be an ass and order men to their deaths if it means he gets to live a bit longer. So I will always be keeping an eye on him.

    I wouldn't mind Nan Balat ending up dead in some shape or form.

    Ah, yes. There was one or two brief mentions in Book 1 of Elhokar seeing people or things that weren't there. So I really hope he is seeing Symbolheads and not the twisted shapes that surrounded the King of Karbranth's image in Shallan's drawing (also from Book 1).

  2. I love reading your answers - they always send me off onto different trains of thought!
    I never really picked up on Zahel being a darkeyes and reading this now you have to think that receiving training with a sword - Sanderson may be perhaps planning to write a shardblade into Kaladin's near future??
    2. I also didn't think Shallan would have killed her mother - but this week I started to wonder if things aren't quite so cut and dry, why would she stick up for her father? That bit didn't make sense to me if he'd really killed her mother - maybe there's more of a mystery - or maybe he really did just plain kill her and her lover and Sanderson is messing with my head! Oh no - I never even considered incest! That could be a bit nearer to the explanation I think - perhaps her mum found out! OMG
    Boots - so funny. I actually can't believe Kaladin actually turned them over! Diplomacy won the day.
    Lynn :D


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