I've been looking forward to Words of Radiance ever since I read The Way of Kings shortly after it's release in 2010. It's been a long wait and I was super excited for this novel to come out. I'll be discussing some of the plot lines for the book so if you haven't read it yet, you may want to stop now, spoilers are ahead. You have been warned. And now, without further ado, on to the critique.
Words of Radiance is the second book in the Stormlight Archive. I loved the magic system in the first book and that continued in this book as more of it was discussed. The plot lines for each of the major characters progressed, culminating in the arrival of the first of the full Radiant Knights and an epic battle on the Shattered Plains that leads to a huge discovery and enormous revelations about the past and hints about the future.
What I liked
Kaliden is everything I want from a hero. His character is both idealistic and jaded from terrible experiences. His plot line is the reason I keep reading the series. I also enjoy the Adolin and Dalinar plot lines and find them both compelling. I also liked how Sanderson weaved the plot lines into the story that would eventually lead to the next book in the series pretty early in this book, and did so in a more subtle way than some authors use.
What I didn't Like
I don't really care for the Shallan Davar plot line. I understand that her character is important to the overall story so I read her chapters, but I don't really find them compelling. I'm not really sure why I feel this way. It could be the fact that she's an intellectual and I tend to be more interested in warrior types. Her sections are the least action packed of the entire book. Having said that however, I must admit that I liked her a lot more in this book than I did in The Way of Kings.
I also don't care for the interludes. I find them harder to keep track of with so many new characters that are introduced, and then quickly run their course to later be forgotten about. These characters kind of remind me of the Star Fleet officer who used to appear in Star Trek episodes only to be killed off five minutes into the episode. They seem to me to be almost a prop more than a character in some respects.
This is an audio book done right. First of all, I prefer an audio book with few narrators. I like one ideally but no more than two helps the work feel more unified. In this case there were two and they are both very good. What makes them so good is not just that they can affect several different characters convincingly, but also the timing and emphasis of the words they say make the story far more real and exciting. This is particularly true of Michael Kramer. I listen to tons of audio books, and in my estimation Michael Kramer is the best there is.
Although I think that I liked the first book in the series a bit more, I have to admit that I loved the book, it's as simple as that. Some may disagree with me, but I'd give it five stars.