Friday, April 11, 2014

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson Read Along: Week 2

You can head over to Over The Effing Rainbow to see what everyone else thinks.

This week we read up to the end of Chapter 15.

1. We learn a bit more about Syl and her connection to Kaladin, and that there are more spren out there, " reclaim what was lost". Yet Syl was forbidden to come, and chose to do it anyway. What do you make of this new information?

The whole concept of the spren and how they change a person into a Radiant is truly fascinating and I want to know much more about how the process works. I am eager to learn why the spren had made the decision to remain withdrawn from potential Radiants, but this detail may explain the conflict between the Cryptics and the Honorspren. It seems that Pattern was sent to Shallan by the Cryptics, whilst Syl went against the wishes of the other Honorspren to seek out Kal. This difference in attitude must be based upon some very interesting history and I look forward to discovering why the Honorspren have essentially given up on mankind.

As we have seen from Jasnah and the cobbler in one of the Interludes, there are other spren trying to connect with other Radiants. This suggests that the Cryptics might be in a majority, but we obviously do not know how many other spren groups are refusing to return. The idea of their society being divided along philosophical lines is pure genius.

2. Chapter 10 is brief, but creepy! It looks like Shallan was responsible for her mother's death, among others, when she was young. What are your thoughts on this scene?

That would certainly provide the basis for the huge lies that Pattern refers to: she has had to lie to herself about her own nature in order to survive. However, I was not at all sure that she had killed her mother, but perhaps she saw it happen and hid herself somehow, possibly using her Illusion skill. I think that it is much more likely that she witnessed her father killing them: Shallan as murderer in this scenario seems too obvious to me, and Mr Sanderson usually does not chose an obvious route.

3. Highlord Amaram is back, and still has Kaladin's Shardblade. He also seems to be close friends with Dalinar. Do you think Kaladin will tell Dalinar what really happened between him and Amaram? If so, what do you think might happen?

Whilst I hope that Amaram comes a to rather unpleasant end because of his treatment of Kaladin, I am not sure that we will see this happen. Something like that seems overly straightforward, and, therefore, not likely to appeal to Mr Sanderson’s devious and twisted imagination. There is also far more drama to be extracted from forcing Kal to work with this man and deal with the inner conflict caused by his dilemma of whether or not to tell Dalinar. Strangely, I am pretty sure that Kal will try not to expose Amaram’s lie, but I am equally sure that Dalinar would believe him if the truth were forced out.

If Amaram’s deception is revealed, then the consequences will depend very largely upon who learns about it. If it becomes common knowledge then there will be all sorts of political ramifications possible between the lighteyes and darkeyes. However, if only Dalinar knows, it could be simply a matter of him no longer trusting a man that has been revealed as a liar and a murderer. I suspect that Amaram may try to remove Kal once he discovers that he is in the camp, but that will not prove to be an easy task.

4. We get an Interlude, and more, with one of the Parshendi - the Shardbearer who fought Dalinar, a woman named Eshonai. We finally get a real look at the Parshendi and learn a bit about what they're doing on the Shattered Plains. What are your thoughts on this?

Just when we thought that the Parshendi could not possibly get more interesting, we find out all about their different rhythms of singing to convey emotion and their different physical forms. We knew that music was important to them, but this has taken the concept to a whole new level of sophistication and societal importance. There ability to change forms by using spren sounds amazing, although it does make me wonder what happens to the spren in the process. I love the way that it is a subtly different version of the spren bonding that we see in the Radiants.

I was most interested to read about their break from the gods. It seems that Jasnah may have been right in concluding that the Parshendi were the Voidbringers, although it seems as if they were unwilling warriors fighting because of their gods. This certainly suggests that they worship Odium in one of his forms, but I love the way that we now have an ‘enemy’ that is essentially good and fighting for a reason other than simple malice. I was a little confused by their logic about why they had to kill Gavilar, but I had already concluded that they did not really want the war and that it served another purpose entirely.

We also learnt that the Parshmen are their ‘Dull’ form, which seems to be incomplete in some way. However, there are definitely spies amongst the other nations, who I can only assume look very similar to the dullform . . . which makes me wonder if we might have an answer to Shen’s identity.

5. We also learn that Eshonai wants to speak with Dalinar and sue for peace. Do you think that's likely to happen?

Whilst I think that Dalinar would be open to a discussion with her, I seriously doubt that a peace could be negotiated. Unfortunately, I think the Parshendi were very naive when they began this war, because there is little hope of a peaceful resolution. Also, it seems as if the Parshendi numbers are shrinking rapidly, so this might be the end for them in any case.

6. Adolin's first duel doesn't exactly go as anyone expected... What did you make of how it was won? Do you think it will force people to take Adolin, and by extension Dalinar, more seriously?

I thought that it embodied all the Alethi principles of ‘might is right’. He beat his opponent in the most brutally efficient way possible, with no regard for dignity or fairness. This seems eminently Alethi to me.

I think it will be a huge eye-opener for many. They have come to rely upon Dalinar’s sense of honor and fair play to protect them from his superior military mind and abilities. Adolin has shown that he has a free hand to be as brutal as needed and that he holds the other shardbearers in complete comtempt. If that does not make them stop and think, then they are truly stupid.

Other Notes

I was so excited when it became clear that Shallan had been saved by the giant sea creature. I think I mentioned that possibility in my comments somewhere last week, although I was being facetious at the time. It was a cool moment, and made me want to know even more about this amazing world.

I was absurdly happy that Jasnah’s notes had survived the shipwreck, although I shared Shallan’s grief about the loss of all her sketches and notes.

There are bands of humans seeking out possible Radiants and killing them. This seems like a Very Bad Thing to me, especially when they are kindly old cobblers who give street children free shoes! :(

Living islands!!!! Mr Sanderson, yet again you had me giggling in delight at your wonderful imagination.

Rysn is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. I loved her inner monologue on the island when she was struggling with the concept of the female ‘king’! :D

The Parshendi Interludes gave us a little more information about spren. It seems that some of them may be derived from Odium and are, therefore, evil. Spren can also be imprisoned in gems, which seems cruel, but we do not know if it is a temporary process or not.

Lopen stuck to a wall: priceless! :D

Adolin is actually intrigued by Shallan and is keen to meet her. This might prove very interesting!


  1. Oooooh, your point about Shallan's power, and the mystery surrounding her mother's death, is an excellent one! Food for thought, there - I hadn't considered that her father might've dunit. Silly me! Now that you mention it that does make a bit more (curious!) sense!

  2. I loved your thoughts about the spren! It makes you glad that Syl was disobedient and found Kaladin. In fact, now you mention it, it makes sense that there's more cryptic spren, I'm not trying to be horrible but it seems that there are perhaps more people willing to bend the truth a little than be absolutely honorable?
    I agree about the murder. I'm not Shallan's No.1 fan but I don't see her as a murderer. Stealing somebody's belongings is one thing, killing your own mother something in a whole different zone!
    I suppose with Kaladin and Amaram it boils down to the fact that there is only Kaladin who remains a survivor and witness of the original issue. I don't imagine he will spill the beans somehow although how he's going to stay calm in the face of Amaram remains to be seen.
    I really liked the interlude. It was really interesting to learn some more of the Parshendi. Like you said, I wasn't totally convinced by their arguments about Gavilar but having said that they didn't really go into depth about his plans?
    It was a bit sad to learn about the ever decreasing numbers of Parshendi. I did wonder how they were managing to survive and I guess this revealed that they're not managing at all!
    The living island was brilliant - sheer genius!
    Lynn :D

  3. True. Shallan seems to be hiding some big things, lying to herself. But that scene with her mother was cryptic enough that I am not convinced that she is a murderer.

    If Amaram makes the decision to try to remove Kaladin, or arrange a little 'accident' for him, that would be quite interesting.

    That would be quite cool if Shen turned out to be a Parshendi spy mimicking Dullform. Haha! What a shock that would be to Kaladin and crew!

    Yes! When we saw that the sea creature saved Shallan I thought of your playful comment to that effect from the week before. Hooray for sea beasties!

    That section with Rysn was a delight all the way through. From the living islands, the various wars, feeding the 'island', the inner comments on the natives open sexuality and playfulness. It was all fun.


Please let me know what you think, because comments make me happy!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...