Hardcover ✓ Rhythm of War MOBI à Rhythm of Epub /

Rhythm of War [Reading] ➶ Rhythm of War By Brandon Sanderson – Buyprobolan50.co.uk The eagerly awaited seuel to the New York Times bestselling Oathbringer from an epic fantasy writer at the top of his gameAfter forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion Dalin The eagerly awaited seuel to the New York Times bestselling Oathbringer from an epic fantasy writer at the top of his gameAfter forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted brutal war Neither side has gained an advantageNow as new technological discoveries begin to change the face of the war the enemy prepares a bold and dangerous operation The arms race that follows will challenge the very core of the Radiant ideals and potentially reveal the Rhythm of Epub / secrets of the ancient tower that was once the heart of their strengthAt the same time that Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with his changing role within the Knights Radiant his Windrunners face their own problem Asanddeadly enemy Fused awaken to wage war nohonorspren are willing to bond with humans to increase the number of Radiants Adolin and Shallan must lead the coalition’s envoy to the honorspren stronghold of Lasting Integrity and either convince the spren to join the cause against the evil god Odium or personally face the storm of failure.

10 thoughts on “Rhythm of War

  1. Petrik Petrik says:

    The Rhythm of Explosion to my brain has been done. I am in a massive book hangoverspren. Full review to come in a few days, I need to find the pieces of my brain in Shadesmar at the moment.

  2. Chris Evans Chris Evans says:

    First Place: Peace Talks The Dresden Files, #16

    Let's have a race. what will be published first:
    Doors of Stone The Kingkiller Chronicle, #3
    The Thorn of Emberlain Gentleman Bastard, #4
    The Winds of Winter A Song of Ice and Fire, #6
    The Rhythm of War Stormlight Archive, #4

    ** Update: Not only has this race been going on for more than a year now without a winner. The Untitled Stormlight Archive now has a name! :O

    **Update Update: We have a winner! It came down to the wire but Peace Talks edged out Rhythm of War in the end. And better news, the next Dresden Files book should come out really soon too :D

  3. Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin says:

    Got my UK signed edition Hardback and the regular US Hardback. I loved the book, although not as much as the first books. I appreciate the mental health parts as I have mental disorders. That’s all I can say without giving out a spoiler. Enjoy 😉

    Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  4. James Tivendale James Tivendale says:

    Please note: I don't believe my review includes any spoilers for Rhythm of War, but to be safe: minor spoilers may follow. Review posted on 17/11/2020.

    Rhythm of War picks up events approximately a year after the finale of Oathbringer. The Knights Radiant have continued their war against Odium's Fused and Singer armies though neither side has gained much headway. Many new Radiants are becoming familiar with their spren bond and powers. The former Parshmen, once slaves to humanity and now under the guidance of the immortal Fused, are still angry and bitter at their former captors. There have been scientific advancements on both sides as the next stage of the confrontation begins. This is where we rejoin the point of view perspectives of characters such as Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin, and Navani.

    We find out promptly what the main characters have been up to over the last year, what their current objectives are, and the effects that the warfare has had on their wellbeing. People suffering from and coping with mental illness is an important part of Rhythm of War with many struggling in the war-torn society. These include main characters such as Kaladin who is trying to cope with his battle shock and post-traumatic stress disorder, and Shallan with her multiple personalities. I'm no expert when it comes to such conditions but believe that Sanderson presents them in his narrative tactfully. It is intriguing to read about characters who are heroic, world-renowned and have legendary powers, and see how this pressure and responsibility can take a toll on them. This presents these characters as more human, relatable and creates deep empathy when reading.

    A complaint that some readers had with Oathbringer was that it dragged in sections. Rhythm of War begins with some incredible, heated and action-packed set pieces. Some of these opening sections introduce key Fused figures, their powers, and objectives. These early moments also showcase some of the technological advancements for the Radiants which approach Steampunk territory. After the breathtaking start, I am afraid that certain sections of Rhythm of War drag in a similar fashion to Oathbringer. Most notably are some of Navani's scholarly research segments. They are important and the payoff from them is completely worthwhile but those moments did negatively impact my overall enjoyment of this novel. I had to overly concentrate and read slowly to make sure I understood which was reminiscent of studying a science textbook.

    Comparable to the other entries in The Stormlight Archive, we are presented with flashback episodes again. This time it is that of Venli and Eshonai. These sections are the first flashback moments from a Parshendi perspective, excluding the prologue from Oathbringer. They are interesting and informative, filling in gaps to the narrative we already know but this time from the enemy perspective. The Venli in the flashback moments is presented as what seems like a completely different character to the present day version so it is intriguing to see how and why she changed so much. Knowing what happened to Eshonai at the finale of Words of Radiance, it was enjoyable to see how she got to that point. Her final moments and exchanges are really fitting and rewarding to read about. These flashback sections were fine, although I didn't enjoy them as much as Kaladin's in The Way of Kings and Shallan's in Words of Radiance. I'd say they are on par with Dalinar's in Oathbringer and are just as crucial to the overall narrative arc.

    There are many, many elements and moments that I loved in Rhythm of War. I always adore reading about Bridge Four and this time we get to know more about members such as Dabbid and Rlain which was excellent. Travelling to Shadesmar again was great too, as Adolin and Shallan venture to the honorspren capital of Lasting Integrity. (I don't consider this to be a spoiler as it is mentioned on the book's summary section on Goodreads.) Also, finding out more about Adolin's sword was one of my favourite parts. This time, we are given further insight into some of the main Fused players such as Raboniel, the Pursuer, and Leshwi which added to the story greatly. There are some brilliant set-pieces, dream segments, witty conversations, and duels and confrontations. One section, in particular, could be referred to as a fantasy version of Die Hard. The last twenty percent of Rhythm of War features, by far, some of my favourite moments from the entire series. The finale is outstanding and by the time I got to Wit's epilogue I was completely out of breath and my emotions had been utterly bombarded. I cried quite a few times towards the end and there are a number of tragic moments that upset me to my core.

    So, after about a month of only reading The Stormlight Archive novels, I have finally completed Rhythm of War. I really lost myself in Sanderson's Roshar and this novel is another incredible entry in a stunning fantasy series. Some moments that happen throughout these pages will have the SFF scene discussing and debating them for months. Although The Stormlight Archive is due to be a ten novel series, I believe the next book will be the last of this era, making Rhythm of War the penultimate entry. Events are poised expertly at the end of this narrative for the next novel to be beyond exceptional. I'm sure this time in three years I'll be re-reading this series again before the next book and I cannot wait. The Stormlight Archive is epic fantasy at a level that is rarely equalled.

    I think we're losing, Syl said. To a guy wielding something he found in Adolin's sock drawer.

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of Rhythm of War in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Brandon Sanderson, TOR Books and Gollancz.

  5. Warda Warda says:

    Think this cover wins 2020, no?

  6. TS Chan TS Chan says:

    Completely spoiler-free review

    Rhythm of War had me humming to the Rhythm of Awe. Even with my sky-high expectations for this book, Sanderson has surpassed them yet again. This book is STORMING INCREDIBLE!

    For seven years since I've started reading The Stormlight Archive, I couldn't decide which title was my favourite, as they were all equally amazing in their own right. That indecision has now ended as Rhythm of War has managed to edge out the rest. Bear in mind, I'm talking about a favourite amongst favourites, as I considered all of them masterpieces and the best fantasy books I've ever read. That was how utterly, totally, undisputedly incredible Rhythm of War was for me.

    Honor is not dead so long as he lives in the heart of men.

    In my review of Oathbringer, I said that it gave me the most emotional charged experience I've ever had. Three years later, now, I was presented with an even more powerful and exhausting emotional roller-coaster. I read this massive book over the course of about four days, rendered almost non-functional in real life as I lost myself in Roshar and the lives of the some of the most compelling characters to ever grace the pages of an epic fantasy book. This book was absolutely relentless in its grip on me. And judging from all the reaction on social media, the release of Rhythm of War is a blessing amidst the bleak landscape of 2020. Sanderson and his team also went the extra mile in engaging readers virtually to make up for the lack of physical tours - the sheer amount of content available from them has been staggering this year, and very much appreciated.
    For the men chatting together softly, the change was in being shown sunlight again. In being reminded that the darkness did pass. But perhaps most important, the change was in not merely knowing that you weren't alone - but in feeling it.

    What Sanderson managed to achieve in this penultimate entry to the first 5-book arc of this series was built upon the strong foundation of the characterisation and worldbuilding in the past three books. The character work in The Stormlight Archive has so far been his best yet, but it seemed that Sanderson was far from being done. I couldn't believe that he could pull out even more development to the characters that we've already grown to care so much for. His representation of these characters, especially those with mental ailments, feels so authentic because he relies on a diverse range of beta readers who could better relate to or identify with the experiences of these characters. The character moments in Rhythm of War were some of the most emotionally powerful ones in the series, and there's so, so much of it. In fact, I'd say that this is the most character-focussed book so far. Regardless, I didn't feel that plot, pacing and worldbuilding were sacrificed in order to achieve that. Sanderson managed to incorporate all those while still pushing and developing his characters.
    Is he trustworthy?
    Absolutely, he's Bridge Four.

    My emotional attachment that I have for most of the cast in this series was so strong that anything that happens to them matter deeply. Almost too deeply as Sanderson was so brutal towards his main characters that there were times where my heart actually felt pained. GRRM might be brutal in killing them off, but death is easy. The way these already broken characters are dragged through literal hell as they struggled to embody the Radiant Ideals made for a lot of hurt. It's also one thing to be invested in characters that you've known and read about in three massive books, and quite another to be introduced to a new one that was one of the best antagonists that I've ever read about. This is something I've always appreciated about Sanderson's writing as the antagonists in his books are never just villainous caricatures. I couldn't say much at all without spoilers, save that this character was one of the most compelling and intriguing that I've come across; one that I couldn't dislike at all, and one that I could easily have rooted for if Sanderson has flipped the story around.
    No man can judge another man's heart or trials, for no man can truly know them.

    While Sanderson has been occasionally criticised for his characterisation (I for one could never understand that, especially for this series), no one could ever dispute his mastery over worldbuilding. And Rhythm of War proved that he remains unassailable at the top of his game. He managed to so seamlessly marry technological advances with the magic system that the concepts actually do make sense from real world science point of view. In his interview with Michael Whelan, the artist for the US covers, Sanderson said he approached the worldbuilding in The Stormlight Archive like science fiction instead of traditional fantasy. Even more fascinating is his concept of fractal worldbuilding, where one can opt to only appreciate the overall worldbuilding from a larger scale, or go deeper and discover more complexity and details that bring everything together. To further encapsulate this concept, even the continent of Roshar is shaped like a fractal Julia set. Sorry, I'm digressing as I fangirl over what a totally awesome nerd he is.
    He hated that to every one of them, he was some kind of representation of an entire people. He wanted to be seen as a person, not a symbol.

    Armed with some comprehension about rhythms from the perspective of the Parshendi, I thought that I had some understanding about the significance of this book's title. I was resoundingly disabused of that notion, and the revelation behind the true importance of tones and rhythms in this world was stunning. Anyone who is partial to the concept of music being foundational to worldbuilding will absolutely love this aspect.  I certainly did, and frequently found myself unable to fathom the depth of this author's mind and imagination.  On top of all that, fans of the Cosmere would be treated to loads of cosmere-spanning connections and cross-overs. It's so expertly done that I don't think that readers who are not caught up with the Cosmere would miss anything and could take it as just another mystery. I can certainly vouch for this because one of my co-bloggers has only read Stormlight and even without knowing what she was missing from a larger Cosmere perspective, she still loved this book. As I'm thoroughly a Cosmere fan (and Sanderson-obsessed), it made for much squealing and excitement when I spotted references or actual things related to another world/series within this fictional universe.
    Time. It is a sadistic master. It made adults of children - and then gleefully, relentlessly, stole away everything it had given.

    Rhythm of War also reads differently from the rest of the Stormlight books, save for the Prologue which is another POV of the same night which started it all in The Way of Kings. There was a time jump of about one year after the last book, Oathbringer, and this book opened with lots of action. It was written to be a climax of the 'missed book' in that time jump. As such, Part One started with a bang and settled to a more contemplative tone as the main plot developed. The flashback chapters also did not appear until Part Three, to better fit into the current timeline's story.
    I've listened to ardents talk. I've been poked and prodded. I've been stuck in the dark. None of that worked as well as knowing this one thing, sir. He still gets up. He still fights. So I figure... I figure I can, too.

    There had also been criticisms about how the Knights Radiant are too overpowered with their ability to heal with Stormlight. This is a fair point because when your heroes and favourite characters can't get seriously injured or die, the stakes just don't feel high enough to create tension. Rest assured that this was not the case in Rhythm of War as the knowledge, skills and/or weaponry of the enemies spelled some pretty bad news for our fellow Radiants. Without giving away too much again, I can say that for the most part of this book, the action scenes made for some really heart-pounding, panic-filled moments.
    You can bear it. You can remember it. Our weakness doesn't make us weak. Our weakness makes us strong. For we had to carry it all these years.

    The Sanderlanche that everyone comes to expect at the end of his books was also different this time. Sanderson said that there's a sequence at the end of this book which was one of the foundational scenes I conceived from the beginning. In fact, it might be the very first big scene I imagined, and my favorite in the entire series. All I can say is that it was utterly incredible, and even epic but not in the way that one might presume, especially after Oathbringer's climax. It's also my favourite of the series to date.  Far from being done, after this perfectly rendered and powerful sequence, I was then subjected to the most jaw-dropping turn of events that is going to have implications that I couldn't even begin to process, except to say What the actual f***!
    Since we all go to the same place in the end, the moments we spent with each other are the only things that do matter. The times we helped each other.

    I've realised that I've used the word 'incredible' many times in the course of this review, but that's the one word that kept popping up in my mind when I read this book. Hence, I thought it's only appropriate that follow suit in describing my thoughts and feelings here. With four really big books into The Stormlight Archive, Sanderson doesn't appear to be slowing down in the least, but in fact, is getting better. To me, this is epic fantasy unparalleled in its quality, consistency and scope, particularly because it is so accessible given the ease in its writing style; a conscious decision made by the author so that readers can immerse themselves completely into the story as the prose disappears, leaving only images and feelings. The writing while simple is by no means simplistic, and it is always cinematic without being bloated.
    Storytelling is essentially about cheating. The challenge is to make everyone believe you've lived a thousand lives. Make them feel the pain you have not felt, make them see the sights you have not seen, and make them know the truths you have made up

    As far as I can see, this series remains and will uncontestably be my all-time favourite fantasy series. I echo my own words in saying that The Stormlight Archive has raised the bar of what epic fantasy could be to stratospheric levels and I feel extremely privileged to be part of this journey.

    Journey before destination, my friends.

    You can purchase a copy from: Book Depository (Free shipping) | Bookshop.org (Support Independent Bookstores) | Amazon UK | Amazon US

    You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.

  7. Eon ♒Windrunner♒ Eon ♒Windrunner♒ says:

    6 Storming Stars. That's right. 6/5.

    Dealing out as many exhilarating moments and heartfelt ones as questions to think upon, Rhythm of War is a simply stunning composition from a masterful storyteller!

    Heart on my sleeve here; the Stormlight Archives is my favourite series by far. I doubt anyone will be surprised that my most anticipated book of this year was Rhythm of War. While I had the best intentions of savouring this story, I devoured it in a couple of days, but I have zero regrets!

    Art by Magali Villenueve

    The third book of the Stormlight Archives, Oathbringer, was a fantastic follow up to my favourite book of all time, Words of Radiance. What had me worried though was the high bar it set in terms of expectations for the rest of the series. The book was incredible in every way, and the Sanderlanch was so mind-blowingly epic, that surely, SURELY, Rhythm of War had no chance of competing with that. That right there, it makes me feel like I have not read pretty much every damn thing this guy has written, because how do I still doubt? This book is everything I wanted, hoped for, needed and MORE.

    “No man can judge another man’s heart or trials, for no man can truly know them.”

    Rhythm of War picks up one year after the events of Oathbringer, and while the plot is too spoilery to talk about, the reasoning behind the choice this for this time-skip seems to be revealed in the different plot structure this time around and is one of two things that stood out for me about the way the story is told. Brandon has followed a clearly defined blueprint for the first three books, with one viewpoint per chapter and pacing that sticks to a methodical gradual buildup towards that frenetic crescendo we know as the Sanderlanche. Rhythm of War, however, does not entirely follow suit, in that the one-year time-skip has catapulted the story straight into events that are immediately gripping and told at a commensurate faster pace than we are used to seeing so early, with viewpoints bleeding across one another similar to what we are used to at the end of the book, enhancing the frenetic feel of it all, sort of like a mini Sanderlanche, and lifting the tempo and excitement levels right at the start of the book. While I enjoy every second of these books and can’t count myself among any of those who have found large parts of the books boring, this difference in pacing is an unexpected yet delightful deviation from the beaten path but makes perfect sense with this being the penultimate book of the first five book arc of this 10 book series. Sanderson has always said that book five will be sort of an ending to this first part of the story, and so this pacing change makes sense with the added tension of things drawing to a midway close.

    The second thing is that while the story starts with all the characters together, it soon splits into three groups of viewpoints with three different arcs that form the weave of the larger arc of this book. I think this was a brilliant narrative decision by Brandon, creating some interesting character dynamics and interactions and also letting some of the characters really come into their own. More on that soon. Furthermore, every interlude was fantastic too, although that can probably be chalked up to us being almost halfway through the series and deeply invested in it. One of the main complaints I always see with the first few books is that the interludes feel like you are stepping away from everything and following some random side story, and while I still enjoyed them, I cannot argue with that and back in Way of Kings I was definitely eager to get back to the main story. This far into the series though it feels as if any hint of such issues has faded away, the interludes feeling like pieces of the puzzle that are now making sense, giving you a clearer picture overall and becoming valuable additions to the main body, fascinating in their own right.

    “Wit never gives me answers. At least not straight ones.”
    “That’s because Wit is an asshole.”

    As I mentioned above, the author made some interesting character choices and really blew my mind with the viewpoints of several of these. Sanderson initially said this book would be Eshonai’s book, and while we do have quite a few viewpoints of hers, this book felt very much like another character’s, who in my opinion, just about stole the show. I may have thought that I had already found all my favourites for this series, but Sanderson showed me that a LOT can still happen and there is always room for one more. And while characterisation up to this point of the series may have been outstanding, here we are shown that this genius of the genre always has more arrows up his sleeve and he knows how to step his game up. Our boy likes to grandstand, and he has outdone himself once again, giving us so much development in this regard that I have to take my figurative hat off and bow.

    Before I praise him too much, let me just take a moment to glare at him, nay, to GLARE at him, for the amount of pain, torture and suffering he inflicts upon some of his characters. My poor, anguished heart. These characters are FAMILY Sanderson! Deeply flawed, broken people, and FAMILY! I feel like I suffered every harsh and unforgiving second with them and it was BRUTAL. Rhythm of War played havoc with my emotions, making some roller coasters I have experienced seem tame by comparison. Through sheer writing skill, this emotional tennis was not confined only to existing characters, but new ones too! In Rhythm of War, I have found one of the best antagonists I have ever had the pleasure of encountering upon a page. This character was so difficult to emphatically label as good or bad and it was easy to forget the side they were on, inspiring so many different emotions in me. As a co-blogger of mine pointed out though, (waves at TS) this is one of Sanderson’s strengths. It reminds me that Sanderson once said (don’t hold me to this please) that Kelsier, a hero of one of his other series, could easily be the villain of someone else’s tale. So, what is true for a protagonist can also be true for an antagonist, and it is never more evident than here.

    One of my favourite aspects of Rhythm of War is that this book is more deeply personal and character-focused than any of the previous entries, with some of the most beautiful moments in the series so far and also some of the most emotionally devastating ones. Not that this is any less plot-driven or less exhilarating than its predecessors. It just feels like a deeper dive into the characters and their thoughts and emotions. In particular, Sanderson’s exploration of mental health and all its various aspects made everything so much more affecting, and the amount of research he put into this by getting feedback from readers who identify with what these characters are going through clearly shows through the experiences on-page. Something else that stood out for me is how the author is never afraid to highlight or cast a spotlight on race, gender or sexual preference. It’s a joy seeing how these are discussed or explored along with all the different cultures that are represented in this world and the diversity of the cast never ceases to amaze.

    Art by Karla Ortiz

    The world that Brandon has built here is ab. so. lute. ly. INCREDIBLE. When I pick up one of these books I am transported to that world instantaneously and so deeply, that it takes me at least a week to feel like I could pick up another story after one of these. It’s not that I don’t want to, but rather that I still have one foot on Roshar and just can't escape thoughts of it. It’s such a testament to writing prowess. While the world-building could easily have taken a back seat having already been so thoroughly well established and detailed to start with, Sanderson is not content with just leaving it as is here and I LOVE him for it. You thought you knew it all? YOU DON’T.

    I really, REALLY want to talk about a thing that has become majorly important to the story here as it is one my absolute favourite things when incorporated into fantasy, but I can’t really, other than to say that the title of the book hints at it. (EXCITEMENT!!!) Speaking of important things, as the in-world science has steadily evolved, so has the technology, and while it has grown in leaps in bounds since Oathbringer, here the author proves his adeptness once again by seamlessly integrating science and engineering with the magical systems of this world, pushing these fields beyond their known boundaries and putting Roshar on the cusp of a veritable explosion of technological development. There is just so much lore that has been revealed, and after layer upon layer upon layer, this world is the most fascinating place we have in the fantasy genre right now in my opinion. I honestly think four books into this ten book series, there is nothing else I have read that is as developed and fleshed out as The Stormlight Archives. Ok, there’s one or two pretty famous series that I have yet to read, and many smaller ones as well, but stormfather, this is phenomenal. And the real kicker is, I still feel like Brandon is holding back and showing us only a glimpse of his cards.

    “Honor is not dead so long as he lives in the hearts of men!”

    As for the action, If you read this expecting the Sanderlanche to be a bigger and better version of the one in Oathbringer, you are going to be slightly disappointed. While this is every bit as good, or maybe even better if you ask me (it’s DEFINITELY better), this one is different from what we have had so far. It is more personally focused, featuring one of the most important sequences in the entire series and is absolutely PHENOMENAL. I freaking LOVED IT. In fact, I just reread it again. I don’t think I can say much more on it, apart from that it left me wrung out, utterly exhausted and yet blissfully happy. And then Sanderson upended EVERY. DAMN. THING. WHAT?!?! HOLY SHARDCHICKENS!! I can’t even BEGIN to imagine what’s in store for us next, but I have never been more worried for the future of the Cosmere, and I have never been more ready for the next book.

    Just to quickly touch on this: the Cosmere connections and implications revealed in Rhythm of War are many and staggering. To discuss them here will turn what was supposed to be a short review (and yes, I’m well aware that plan died about 500 words ago) into a novella of sorts, so I will refrain from saying more. I do however want to suggest again, that if any readers of this series at this point have not yet read both Warbreaker and Dawnshard to please do so. Those who do not are missing out on some vital knowledge that not only helps in making certain Cosmere connections, but also helps with a deeper understanding of certain characters, scenes, and the Cosmere in general. It just elevates everything to a whole new level. And also, you can flail and scream and run around shouting things at cats that make no sense to them! I, er, definitely did not do that.

    Time to wrap this up, with a thought on the prose. Sanderson’s writing is as wonderful as ever, just dropping you into the story and making the mechanics of the story fade away, drawing you deeply into the tale and delivering pure, unadulterated escapism. People often rave about many other aspects of writing, but there is no substitute for pure storytelling and that is what Brandon is at heart, a pure storyteller, and he shows it on-page.

    I was convinced I was going to love this book, and I was not disappointed, but what I did not expect, was how much I would love it. Brandon Sanderson has once again obliterated my expectations and written another wonderful story that I will love forever. And while the Stormlight Archives is not yet halfway written, I am in no doubt as to its future status as a Fantasy Hall of Fame member. As to my new favourite book? That title now belongs to Rhythm of War.

    Life before Death.
    Strength before Weakness.
    Journey before Destination.

    You can find this review and more at Novel Notions

  8. Merphy Napier Merphy Napier says:

    Full spoiler filled review coming soon!

  9. Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ says:

    4.5 stars! Here it is: the review I've been spending the last two months of solid reading (neglecting other books, not writing other reviews, ignoring my chores ...) working up to. Hope you all agree it was worthwhile. :) Review first posted on FantasyLiterature.com:

    I feel a bit dazed as I finally emerge from a truly epic STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE marathon that lasted almost exactly two months, since that fateful September day when I decided I couldn’t turn down the offer of an advance copy of Rhythm of War, despite not having yet read any of the prior three books in this series (good intentions and all, but yes, the sheer page count was truly daunting). I’ve generally been of the opinion that epic fantasy is really not quite my thing, but Brandon Sanderson has been gradually bringing me around. If you are already a fan of epic fantasy, this series gets an extremely high recommendation from me … which you probably don’t need if you’re an epic fantasy reader, since you’re likely way ahead of me in getting into this series.

    Rhythm of War is a giant of a book and, like the previous installments in the series, juggles a large cast of characters, most of whom are familiar from prior books in the series, and multiple plotlines — again, most of which were introduced earlier in the series, but take some large leaps forward in this volume, with a few twists and backflips along the way. Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar are still the most prominent main characters, but they’re joined by Adolin and Navani, who are both given some much-needed character development and more substantial roles in the overall plot.

    Kaladin has been a favorite character since The Way of Kings, when I found myself skipping ahead just so I could read his chapters. Early on here, it becomes painfully clear just how much he’s struggling with the aftereffects of his many battles and his failures to protect those around him. Those scenes dragged on somewhat too long for my taste, but Rhythm of War has some powerful and even profound moments describing depression and PTSD.

    Navani’s chapters were more uplifting and refreshing, despite the dangers of her situation. She finds herself a unique position where she can begin to exercise and develop her scientific talents more than ever before, but there’s a fascinating conundrum: will her scholarly efforts help her people or lead to their downfall? Navani’s perspective is distinct from others in this novel, exploring the advancing science of Roshar’s magical system. Her battles with the opposing forces are more intellectual and mental than physical.

    Venli, a “listener” and one of the alien race of singers that’s native to the planet Roshar (and which has a fraught history with the human settlers who arrived several thousand years ago), also becomes a main viewpoint character. Through Venli’s and her sister’s eyes, and in a series of flashbacks, Sanderson explores more of the culture and society of singers and the effect of Odium’s power and schemes on them. And, of course, King Taravangian is still scheming as well, at least on his more intelligent days. Taravangian is an entirely unique character, one of my favorites, with an unusual blessing/curse and an unexpected set of skills and methods for dealing with it.

    As the plot advances, Sanderson puts the reader through a roller coaster of emotions, including some exhilarating highs and terrifying drops. Sanderson is able to craft a war that feels real, showing the motivations of people (human or other) on both sides of the conflict. When the characters we’re rooting for win or lose a battle, we can see its effects clearly. It’s a staple of epic fantasy to have a large (even immense) scale of events that shorter series can’t attain, and Sanderson fully embraces this and uses the greater scale to its fullest effect.

    It wouldn’t be a Sanderson book without at least a few major plot twists. When they came, they felt like events that you could’ve (perhaps should have) seen coming, though personally I didn’t manage to predict any of the major ones. Sanderson does a great job of answering questions while also raising new ones, and in Rhythm of War, Sanderson answers (at least in part) several longstanding questions, which naturally give rise to an equal number of new and equally compelling questions. Those, along with a few (okay, more than a few) unresolved plot threads, serve to keep expectations high for future books in this series.

    Sanderson is justly lauded for his intricate and imaginative magical systems, but I need to give a shout out to the literary structure of these books as well. The five-part organization of each of the books in this series, interspersed with brief “interludes” from other, often unfamiliar characters; the frequently obscure (at least initially) quotes and epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter; the way the prologue and epilogue of each book echo the others but shed new light; and more. The amount of thought and work that has gone into this series, on multiple levels, is truly impressive. They're just so intelligently written.

    Overall, Rhythm of War is a strong addition to the STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE and, for the first time, it feels like there’s an end in sight to the series, however distant it may be. If I have any real complaints, it’s that the immense length of these books doesn’t feel entirely justified to me; I tend to think that Sanderson could have edited them down by, say, three or four hundred pages without really taking anything material away from the experience. Still, the STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE is easily my favorite series of epic fantasy to date (yes, I have in fact read a few others). Being introduced to these characters and this world has been an illuminating and enjoyable experience, and I look forward to the STORMLIGHT books still to come.

    Initial post: ARC received from the publisher!


    Also I have had to sign my life away if I violate the NDA, so my lips are sealed until November. ;)

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