Thursday, August 28, 2014
Review: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
There is a lot right with Sanderson's second installment in the Storm Light archives series. This very well might be Sanderson's finest piece of world-building combining a vivid-landscape with a long history and various peoples. These are explored in greater depth than the first volume.
Dalinar, Kaladin and Shallan remain the three main protagonists and the pay off in particular from Kaladin and Shallan as they mature throughout the book is very rewarding. I also enjoyed the exploration in the complex motivations of side characters and groups.
In no uncertain terms this is a large novel. Yet at no point did I find myself experiencing any lag as the plots developed, a sign of exceptional pacing.
There is also an unexpected depth to some of the subplots, as complex issues such as racism are explored in a very mature way.
Sadly Sanderson's biggest struggle remains his attempts to improve the humor in his writing. There are number of examples where this felt forced and made some of the character's almost 'cartoony' at times. Having said that there were moments when he did get it right, some of the interactions between Pattern and Shallan being the best examples. The only other negative comment I have is the choice of using some words in dialogue which do not gel with the setting and do lead to moments where I lost my immersion in the story.
Overall the second installment of this series is combination of excellent world-building, character development and pacing. Minor issues in forced humor provides a slight distraction at times. 8.5/10.
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Craig, I've long held off on jumping into Sanderson's work because I've heard his pacing is ... eh, turgid. Would you recommend that someone like me who enjoys faster-moving titles give him a shot?ReplyDelete
Hi Loren while I do think his pacing issues have been overstated I would certainly agree that Sanderson has improved a great deal from his earliest novels. So yes I would say give him a short but I'd suggest starting with one of his novellas. The emperor's soul in particular might suit you.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Craig. I'll add it to my list. I never could get into The Wheel of Time because of its length and got a bit concerned when I saw that Sanderson had taken it over. But a novella sounds just about right for me.ReplyDelete