Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – readalong week 2

537a7-wordsofradgroupread250Today is week two of a 10 week readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance arranged jointly by Dab of Darkness and Stainless Steel Droppings.  This book is already excellent – if you’re not joining in you might want to think about it!!  Alternatively, if you’ve already read this and just want to jump in with comments then that would be wonderful too.  (The schedule is here).  This week’s questions have come to us from Lisa at Over The Effing Rainbow so, without further ado:  (Oh, fyi – spoilers below, they’re like spren, if you read this they will pop up all over the place – spoilerspren!)

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

I think the spren naturally want to save people from whatever is coming.  It sort of stands to reason in one respect.  Without people the spren would cease to exist wouldn’t they?  Well, maybe not cease to exist but it seems that there has to be some sort of conscious thought or action in order for them to appear. Plus, the ones that have attached themselves to humans seem to have a vested interest in helping them.

2. Chapter 10 is brief, yet intriguing – and kind of 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?

I’m enjoying finding out more about Shallan to be honest and I like the way that Sanderson slowly reveals these snippets of information.  I’m not totally convinced about Shallan’s involvement.  Part of me thinks it clearly looks like she was involved but then I have this fascination to the ‘lying’ or perhaps more kindly, ‘being selective with the truth’, element to her character.  I suppose there’s a few scenarios – at least – was Shallan a witness to something horrible and lied to cover up the fact that she’d seen anything?  Did she imply that she was involved – and was that truth or not?  Or did she actually just murder her mother (and others).  Partly I don’t want to believe that she would be capable of that.  I didn’t initially like Shallan – simply because she intended to steal from Jasnah, but whether or not I think that was misguided she was doing this for what she believed to be the right reasons.  I don’t think she’s a malicious character at all but she’s clearly intelligent and capable of quick thinking so maybe she said what she needed at the time in order to protect herself.

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 happened between them?  If so, what do you think might happen?

This is a very tricky situation and could certainly lead to a revelation about his hidden strengths – which is exactly what Kaladin fears.  Plus this is coming at a time when he already doubts himself and still thinks everything will still be taken from him.  Obviously they’re going to meet up eventually given Kaladin’s new role and Amaram will undoubtedly recognise Kaladin.  The fact that there is only Kaladin still alive will mean this is going to test Dalinar’s faith in him.  I really can’t think what will happen with this one!  Total wimp out!!

We get an Interlude with one of the Parshendi – the Shardbearer who fought Dalinar, a woman called Eshonai.  We finally get a real look at the Parshendi and learn more about what they’re doing on the Shattered Plains.  What are your thoughts on this?  We also learn that Eshonai wants to speak with Dalinar and sue for peace.  Do you think that’s likely to happen?

I thought it was brilliant getting the POV of the Parshendi.  They seem to fear whatever trouble is coming as much as everyone else.  I was totally gobsmacked about their very casual confirmation about Gavilar’s death.  I genuinely didn’t see that one coming!  Sanderson does it again – just when you think you’re starting to get to grips with what’s going on he throws a blinder and totally knocks you off.  It was also kind of sad that they’re becoming so depleted.  I don’t know, it made me see it from the other side I suppose.  All along the Parshendi have been the enemy in the story – and maybe they are – but if that’s the case they seem to have forgotten just as much as everyone else over the years.  Reading this Interlude made them seem, well, like everyone else  -  I can’t just mindlessly dislike them now! Yes they killed Gavilar – and I’m racking my brains to think of what his scheme was and how it relates to uniting everyone.  I kind of wondered if Gavilar was having the same visions as Dalinar is now having and maybe he thought he had to unite the Parshendi.  Anyway, time will tell.  I think if anyone would be likely to listen to the Parshendi it would be Dalinar.  He did love his brother and I think it would need some sort of explanation – not that that makes everything hunky dory, but, maybe the two sides do need to team up to face whatever is coming?

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?

It will be interesting to see what Dalinar makes of Adolin’s tactics – what with his codes, etc. I can’t help applauding Adolin to be honest.  They’re in desperate times, the clock is ticking and the Alethi highprinces are a bit of a joke really!  Something needs to shake them out of their reverie – whether that will be it remains to be seen but Adolin’s tactics certainly caught their attention.  He won’t get away with that a second time as there will be no element of surprise.  And, yes, I think it will make people sit up and take notice.

Such a lot happened this week!  Shallan and her ‘is she or isn’t she in a very tricky situation??  It was interesting to read Adolin’s thoughts – he seems to be looking forward to meeting her.

Also the chapter with the shoemaker – not sure of the relevance of that particular chapter just yet – very intrigued to find out who it was who killed the shoemaker at the end.

I was also interested in the lullaby that Shallan’s father was humming to her after the murder chapter! ‘Now go to sleep in chasms deep, with darkness all around you.  Though rock and dread may be your bed, so sleep my baby dear.  Now comes the story, but you’ll be warm, the wind will rock your basket.  The crystals fine will glow sublime, so sleep my baby dear.’  What on earth does that all mean. Yes, I don’t know – but ‘a problem shared’ and all that!!

Other participants:

Dab of Darkness    
Stainless Steel Droppings     
Over the Effing Rainbow     
Musingsonfantasia
Books Without any Pictures
Making my Mark
Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, readalong week 1

Today marks the start of a 10 week readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance arranged jointly by Dab of Darkness and Stainless Steel Droppings.  This is a very gentle readalong.  Only roughly 100 pages a week and  it’s going to be awesome so I really hope you’ll all consider joining in – it’s an amazing way to read a book like this in conversation with so many people (schedule here).  Anyway, this week’s questions have come to us via Liesel over at Musings on Fantasia.  I can’t wait, so, here goes:  (Oh, fyi – spoilers below, they’re like spren, if you read this they will pop up all over the place – readingspren!)

1. We basically get the same prologue from the first book except from Jasnah’s POV. She tells Gangnah that her father’s assassin walked on the wall, and it’s ignored. We also see the Parshman leaders immediately take credit for the assassin. What did you make of it all? Insights? Impressions? How will this affect the story going forward?

I thought this was really quite eye opening – it certainly gives the reader a good idea of why Jasnah is so determined to find out about the Parshmen and Szeth.  It’s also interesting that Jasnah’s assertion that Szeth walked on the wall was basically ignored.  These people really have forgotten all about binding!

2. Andolin and Shallan are unofficially engaged. How do you see this relationship panning out?

I have a good feeling about this (so no doubt it’ll all go pear shaped).  I think that Andolin and Shallan could be really good for each other.  Andolin needs something to ground him a little and I think Shallan will do just that.  Also, he concentrates a lot on running around in fairly fickle company with a constantly changing string of partners – although, that being said, I like him and I think he’s changed already since the beginning of the story.  He had a shock about his father and has seen the right in that scenario.  By the same token Shallan hasn’t always been the most straightforward of characters.  I didn’t really like it when she went to work for Jasnah just in order to steal from her.  But, again, I have come to like her and I think the two of them could become a winning team.

3. Kaladin wants to keep his Radiant powers a secret for as long as possible. How successful do you think he’ll be? How long will he remain hidden? Do you think he’ll succeed in training the thousand?

I think that Kaladin will succeed at everything!  Of course I’m having a tiny little Kaladin crush so I could be slightly biased.  I don’t blame him for wanting to keep his powers secret – once word of that gets out it will be ‘a big thing’.  People don’t seem to realise that there’s already Szeth out there with similar powers so Kaladin could almost be looked upon as the ‘first’ one since the Radiants.  It could turn into one of those really terrible moments where everyone chases you out of town with pitchforks and torches or he could be put on a pedestal – neither would be really helpful.  Plus, he’s got rather a terrible history of everything being taken from him to date so it’s no surprise that he wants to hold onto this.

4. Jasnah thinks Shallan’s spren is a Cryptic, as opposed to an Honorspren which is what Syl is. What do you think is the significance of this? What does it mean for Shallan? For Kaladin?

I love this whole spren thing.  It’s just so intriguing and it kind of makes sense that Shallan’s spren is different.  I like the idea of a cryptic spren.  This spren seems to see things in a different way, nothing is simply straightforward.  Although, there is all this talk of one spren thinking that the other spren have been dishonourable so you can’t help thinking that maybe Syl will not like this cryptic spren?  Like maybe the cryptic spren have given something away?  There was mention by Shallan’s spren of  something along the line ‘no lies without truth’, or, I don’t think I’ve phrased that very well, but I think the spren was trying to say if you have one you have the other. Maybe the cryptic spren think that truth is all a matter of perspective.  I also wondered why certain types of spren attach themselves to certain types of people?  Like Syl being a Honorspren attached to Kaladin – who, as we know is full of honour.  Did Shallan attract this Cryptic spren for a reason – she was after all planning on stealing from Jasnah and did tell a few lies along the way, although she had her own justifications??

5. How will Kaladin accomplish all of the tasks Dalinar has laid on him? Do you think Dalinar’s plan with the duels will work to stave off civil war and help unite the high princes?

Did I mention that I’m very fond of Kaladin?  No??  Well, I think he’s excellent.  I love this character.  And, yes, I think he can accomplish all these tasks. I think he’s the type of character that thrives on responsibility and tasks against the odds.  Plus, it’s an excellent idea to use the bridgemen and infiltrate them into the protection of the King and Dalinar.  After all, they’re going to have their own commitments and bonds and after everything that’s happened they have to start seeing Kaladin as something good.  As to the plans with the duels I was completely taken off guard with that.  It almost seems a bizarre plan – basically looking at using one person to undermine all the highprinces.  Seems tricky not to mention there is always the possibility of Andolin not beating everyone – however, having thought about it, it is quite a cunning plan.  Let’s face it, even if Andolin starts to hold duels and wins a few shardblades people will start to take notice.  Also, there is always a chance that Sadeas will challenge him and it would be so satisfying if Andolin kicked some Sadass butt! (I called him Sadass on purpose!)

6. After the incident with the ship, do you think Jasnah is truly dead? Predictions?

I don’t think she’s dead and I hope that I’m right.  There seemed such a lack of detail – it feels somehow like a foil.  I don’t know how and I’m probably wrong but I’m thinking that maybe Jasnah had somehow conjured that scene.  I’m probably off with the detail but to kill off Jasnah at this point, for no particular reason or moving on of the plot, seems very unSandersonlike.

7. What are your first thoughts/impressions of Pattern? How do you see his and Shallan’s relationship developing?

I can’t dislike Pattern.  It’s a bit like when Shallan first started to draw and then see the cryptics – I just didn’t think they were threatening.  I also think it’s interesting that Jasnah thinks the cryptics have driven Shallan to seek her out and train her.  If they were really bad wouldn’t they try and keep her away from any other influences.  Perhaps they want to help.  I don’t know!!

Looking forward to everyone’s comments which will no doubt put me back on the right track!

Don’t forget to stop over all the others.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson…

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s here.  You’ve waited.  You’ve been patient.  And now, it’s arrived.  THE readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance is finally here.  It’s grand, it’s epic, dare I say, monumental!  So, what are you waiting for?  You know you want to read this and you know you want to read it in good company with a load of other people who will bend your ear about the finer detail, argue, debate, discuss, speculate, etc, etc.  If I’m wrong then I’m wrong!  But, you know I’m right.  Check out the details of this readalong hosted by Dab of Darkness and Stainless Steel Droppings and sign yourself up (starting beginning of April).   Seriously, this is a fairly relaxed readalong with a nice gentle pace (which of course doesn’t prohibit you from racing ahead) that gives you the chance to fit other things into your busy schedule.

If you want to join on board then pop over to one of the sites above and sign in blood on the dotted line (actually kidding about the dotted line!) (okay, and kidding about the blood).

Join up if you want to have immenseness – because it is going to be immense, epically immense.

Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, readalong week 10

Okay, this is the final week for our readalong and I have to say it’s all been very enjoyable.  This week’s host is On Starships and Dragonwings so stop on over and check out the links.

Without further ado lets get to the final Q&A and as usual be careful of  ‘spoilers’ lurking with intent below:

1. Syl’s true nature as an honorspren has been revealed! She once again asks the interesting question: are spren attracted to their element or do they create that element? What do you think? Do you think there are more honorspren or is Syl unique?

I think the nature of Syl is just perfect for her!  I think that the spren are attracted to their element, mainly because I think Kaladin was always that way inclined long before he went into battle.  Also, if the spren were responsible for creating their element then why would they ever stop?  If you’re a fire spren then you’d just create fires all over, and the same with the others such as wind, pain, etc.  Plus, during battle for example, the rotspren appear after an injury is sustained.  Oh, I don’t know, it is a chicken and egg question to be sure.

2. The Parshendi had a whole host of reactions to Kaladin’s power, mostly including fear and awe, though they also seemed to recognize him or his power. Why do you think that is? How do you think the Parshendi hiring Szeth plays into it?

I thought their reactions were very interesting.  They didn’t just become overwhelmed, they adapted, removing their gems to try and prevent Kaladin from draining the energy.  It does make you wonder if they’ve seen the like of Kaladin before and the obvious example would be Szeth, although why they would want to kill Gavilar is still very vague for me – I can only assume that it’s linked to him wanting to learn more of them, and perhaps wanting to unite the Alethi.  I suppose alternatively they could have been framed all along…

3. Dalinar makes some pretty intense decisions towards the end of this book, including trading his Shardblade to free the bridgemen and completely changing how he wants to deal with the highprinces. Do you think these were good decisions?

Well, giving away the blade was a shock I must admit, but, it will certainly make Kaladin and his bridgemen respect him more.  It almost feels a little bit like a reflection of what happened with the original blades as well.  Perhaps Kaladin realises that the blades, to a certain extent cause conflict between people.  I was still surprised by it but also at the same time really pleased that he would give something, so treasured by others, away to save all the bridgemen – it gave me goosebumps!  I think he will have a struggle to deal with the highprinces because let’s not forget that Sadeas is also included in that number and he certainly won’t take kindly to Dalinar being given this post – or at least I don’t imagine he will.  I thought his reasons for abandoning Dalinar were flimsy to say the least.  Whether Dalinar’s decisions are good remains to be seen and he’s made mistakes in the past but I think that some of the uncertainty he was experiencing previously has now gone and been replaced by a certain level of conviction.

4. A lot of mysteries surrounding Jasnah are finally revealed! Do you think that she is right and that most Soulcasters do work? Why do you think Shallan and Jasnah both happen to have this soulcasting power? What is Shadesmar really?

I’m a little mystified to be honest.  The reveals about Jasnah I never suspected at all and were a complete surprise – and I love that Sanderson can pull that off!  In terms of Shallan and Jasnah, again, I’m a bit at a loss!  I was trying to think of similarities between the two – they’ve both lost their fathers for example – but surely Jasnah already had this power when her father was alive??  They both seem to be gifted in terms of intellect or art – perhaps that has something to do with it – just basically – I’m clueless!  Shadesmar seems to be like an alternate plain – it seems to link to the magic somehow.

5. Szeth is once again on a mission, but this time we really don’t want him to succeed! What do you think is going to happen with him and Dalinar in the next book? Do you think Szeth and Kaladin will recognize each other’s power?

I think that Kaladin and Szeth will meet – it seems that way doesn’t it?  Kaladin is now Dalinar’s honour guard (which is just so appropriate) and Szeth has been set the task of assassinating Dalinar.  I must say that I really dislike Szeth now – I had a strangely ambivalent feeling about him for most of the book and was puzzled about how he ending up in his position – but, when he was contemplating murdering his most recent master but decided against it because of his ‘honour’ – I just couldn’t help thinking that he has the wrong idea about honour.  He’s killing so many people at the whim of somebody else – and, frankly, he could have killed his master and be done with it and save everyone else – now he’s about to go after a very honourable man indeed – perhaps that will stop him in his tracks.  I do think Szeth and Kaladin will recognise each other’s power.  Whether that will be a light bulb moment remains to be seen.  I just hope Kaladin becomes a bit more experienced in exactly what he can and can’t do with his newfound abilities.  On a separate note, if Szeth is so honourable then why doesn’t he have his own spren like Kaladin?

6. We finally have a better idea where the Parshmen and Parshendi came from! What do you think the real history is there? How did people possibly enslave the Voidbringers and why are the Parshendi now changing?

Well, we’ve been discussing this whole thing of misdirection and also about potential enemies hiding in plain sight!  The thing is though, I’m puzzled by the Parshmen/Parshendi.  The Parshendi seemed to act with a certain sort of honour during battle.  They’re co-ordinated and clearly not stupid.  They’re respectful of their dead.  The Parshmen feel, in comparison, like they’re hypnotised somehow.  Perhaps it’s the fact that the Parshendi have gems?  Or, maybe they’re not the voidbringers – maybe they have similar myths and superstitions about the Alethi?  So many questions that I’m unable to even come near to answering!!!

7. The last chapter with the Almighty was pretty crazy. What do you think about this vision? What do you think this means for Dalinar’s future and the world’s (universe’s??) future? What is Odium really?

Well, I wouldn’t want to step out of character at this stage and have a sensible answer.  The vision was interesting – it was almost like a recording being played on a loop.  In terms of everyone’s future – maybe everyone will now have to unite in order to stop whatever catastrophe is now facing them.  It could be that the visions were meant to unite the Parshendi and the Alethi?

Extras: so surprised reading the scene with Dalinar and Elhokar – and, did a little air punch.  It felt like Dalinar, in spite of the fact that he is brave, etc, etc, finally came to his senses (and, well, developed a set of you know whats).  Elhokar needed a good shake up and he got it.  Plus, second airpunch that Dalinar finally came clean about his relationship with Nalinar.  Finally, no more Mr Pushover.

I can’t wait to read the next one…

This readalong has been immense.  I’ve enjoyed it enormously and it’s really made me ponder the story in a very satisfying way as oppose to racing to the end and then forgetting more than I ever remembered!  So, much thanks to everyone.

Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson readalong week 9

Okay, the penultimate readalong week.  Let’s face it – if you haven’t joined in yet then you probably want to savour this book all to yourself – and it is worth savouring so please give it a shot.  This week’s readalong is hosted by Musings on Fantasia so please call on over to check out everyone else’s replies.  Straight to business and don’t forget to stop reading now as spoilers lurk beneath.

1. Andolin has a change of heart, not only about his father, but about how he views the war. How do you think this will affect the story going forward?

I think Adolin is feeling slightly guilty.  Truth be told he was thinking a little ill of Dalinar and now it seems that proof will be forthcoming that Dalinar is not going crazy after all.  On top of that Dalinar has more than displayed that he isn’t a coward.  However, we also got to see that Andolin is very skilled at the art of fighting so perhaps he may have an opportunity to help Dalinar at some point or pick up the reins if Dalinar is not around?

2. Elhokar reveals that he sees figures with symbol heads, which sound suspiciously like the ones Shallan keeps drawing. What do you make of this?

It’s very strange, they do sound similar.  Shallan only sees the figures when she’s not concentrating during her drawing – it’s unusual that Elhokar also sees them just in a totally natural way.  I was trying to think what they’ve got in common but not really been able to come up with anything – other than they’re both scared about their futures.  It’s very odd.  I’m not coming up with too much here!  *rummages around in dark corners of brain*.

3. What do you make of Dalivar’s most recent vision? Was the king he talked to really Nohadon, author of The Way of Kings? If so, what do you think the timeline is? What happened before and after what Dalinar saw? Were the strange, rock-like corpses really Voidbringers?

Dalinar is taking so much more from his visions than at first.  He’s observing everything around him and has also figured out that he needs to try and participate to find out more information.  Frankly, I really think that it was Nohadon in the vision, at least it seemed to be fairly clear to me.  I’m not sure about the timeline but clearly Nohadon hasn’t yet written his book – although the suggestion to do so has now been sown.  Interesting that Dalinar, who is reading and upholding the word of the book quite fastidiously is now travelling back in time to suggest it’s written in the first place!  A real chicken and egg situation right there.  If Dalinar hadn’t had the vision would the book have ever been produced?

4. Dalivar and Navani finally share a passionate kiss, and then start conducting a covert romance. What are your impressions of the relationship? Has your opinion of Navani changed at all?

Listening back over some of the history I think I was perhaps too hasty about Navani.  I assumed she’d married Gavilar for position even though she maybe was more attracted to Dalivar.  As it turns out Dalivar practically handed her to Gavilar on a plate with trimmings and sauce!  Lots of misunderstandings between these characters it seems.

5. Kaladin’s decoy plan works almost miraculously well. How do you see this affecting the story going forward, and in what way? Address the issue both for Kaladin and his men, and for the war at large.

I have a bad feeling about this!  All along I have this horrible feeling that the Parshendi are just playing with the Alethi and it’s all some sort of distraction.  Now that Kaladin has offended them so severely I think they may take a different stance.  They may wrongly assume that this is a battle tactic and not just Kaladin’s brainwave in which case they will be more determined to win and will up their game.

6. So Moash wants to kill someone out of vengeance. Any guesses who or why?

I can’t begin to guess to be honest.  No doubt I’ve missed something crucial along with way or not picked up a strand that Sanderson has thrown out.  I must say that I’m prepared to give Moash the benefit of the doubt and think the best of him seeing as how he pledged to protect Kaladin!

7. Why do you think Sadeas abandoned Dalivar as he did? Was this done intentionally? Was it planned in advance? What are your thoughts?

My first thoughts were a big ‘WHAT, followed by plenty of expletives!  However, having had time to reflect I don’t think Sadeas would do this deliberately.  The two of them seemed to be forming plans together and getting along well.  (There is of course the possibility that Sadeas was trying to lull Dalinar into a false sense of security.  I’m hopefull that Sadeas had observed the other Parshendi army and is trying a different tactic.  Perhaps he’s moving his men to another plain so that they can then reassemble to attack elsewhere!  I hope so anyway.  OMG – perhaps the Parshendi are now trying to kill Dalivar – perhaps he’s reached a similar point to his brother and they think they need to eliminate him.  Also, at the start of this – wasn’t there some speculation about Sadeas being involved with the assassination on Gavilar – perhaps Sadeas is betraying him after all and has agreed with the Parshendi to leave him vulnerable.  Way to have two completely conflicting opinions hey!  I completely hadn’t thought about the latter until literally this minute as I was typing and then the little gremlin popped into my brain!

Basically, I now need to go and finish this book – quick sharp in a hurry!!!  Otherwise I may burst with anticipation…

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