Interview: Henry Herz, Editor of Beyond the Pale

HerzBeyondThePaleFolks, please welcome author and editor Henry Herz to the blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed his works (Nimpentoad & Beyond the Pale) and just knew Henry would be a lot of fun to interview. Want to know how Seth MacFarlane and Leonardo da Vinci are similar? Curious about Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes? Keep reading and enjoy!

What drew you to organizing an anthology that focused on the sub-genre of paranormal Young Adult/New Adult?

I love the phrase “beyond the pale”, and everything sprang from that. Beyond the Pale is an anthology of fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal stories that skirt the border between our world and others. Was that my imagination, or did I hear something under my bed? What was that blurred movement in my darkened closet? There is but a thin Veil separating the real and the fantastic, and therein dwell the inhabitants of these stories.

The noun “pale” refers to a stake (as in impaling vampires) or pointed piece of wood (as in a paling fence). “Pale” came to refer to an area enclosed by a paling fence. Later, it acquired the figurative meaning of an enclosed and therefore safe domain. Conversely, “beyond the pale” means foreign, strange, or threatening.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

Long ago, fantasy literature (although not labelled as such) directly influenced culture. There was no scientific method – people were scared of the unknown (falling off the edge of a flat earth, comets, dragon hunts, witch burnings, etc.). Today fantasy literature only affects pop culture. Few people seriously believe “Winter is Coming”, but it’s still fun to say at cocktail parties to establish geeky credentials. :)

HerzNimpentoadIf you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

I’d have to say The Lord of the Rings. I read it in elementary school. Reading it again for the first time as an adult would be a very different experience.

Conventions, book signings, blogging, etc.: what are some of your favorite aspects of promoting a book and what are some of the least favorite parts of promotion?

For me, book promotion is the hardest part of indie publishing. There is always more to do, and if you’re not careful, it can drown out the time for writing. My favorite part is attending events where I can meet the authors and the readers who appreciate their work. I moderated a fantasy/science fiction panel at San Diego Comic-Con featuring award winning and NY Times bestselling authors David Brin, Jason Hough, Jonathan Maberry, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher, and Marie Lu. That was also the initial public unveiling of Beyond the Pale. What’s not to like?

What book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. In that classic fantasy, he writes about allomancers – wizards who gain power by ingesting small amounts of powdered metals. A game about how such wizards would fight each other could be cool. Maybe there is such a game, and I simply haven’t seen it. Another good choice would be the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne.

Who are your non-writer influences?

Great question. Certainly some illustrators have had a strong influence, like Maurice Sendak (yes, he wrote too), David Peterson (Mouse Guard), Aaron Becker (Journey). I’m also awestruck by people who are gifted in multiple disciplines, like Leonardo da Vinci or Seth MacFarlane (I never expected to put those two in the same sentence).

HerzHowRhinoGotHisSkinFrom your own writings, are there any characters you would like to cosplay? Have your kids, and co-writers, done any cosplay?

It would be fun to cosplay Nimpentoad, the protagonist of my fantasy early chapter book of the same name. But that would be quite an elaborate costume. My co-author kids and I enjoy attending conventions, and while we’ve occasionally worn armor and hefted fake weapons, I wouldn’t call it cosplay. We lack the dedication and time to create the truly inspired costumes that would qualify us for cosplay.

What reboots (or retellings) of classics have you enjoyed? Are there ones that haven’t worked for you?

I’m a big fan of retellings. I had the idea of retelling Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes from a fantasy perspective, swapping creatures for the human characters. When I researched the concept, I found a couple of books out there, but they didn’t work for me. The gauntlet was tossed. Our version, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes, will be published by Pelican in 2015.

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories are justifiably acclaimed. But, having been written so long ago, the language is outdated and too complex for today’s younger readers. So, my sons and I indie-published a picture book version, How the Rhino Got His Skin. See www.birchtreepub.com.

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

It is always a pleasure to meet someone who was touched by my writing. That’s why authors write. Similarly, I’ve had my share of gushy fanboy moments meeting such inspiring authors as Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, David Brin, Orson Scott Card, Vernor Vinge, and Brandon Sanderson.

Lastly, please tell us a bit about the cover art for Beyond the Pale. Does it represent an overall concept for the book, or does it draw more on a single story contained in the anthology?

The cover art for Beyond the Pale represents an overall concept for the book. It’s entitled Snow White, and was done by Abigail Larson. She illustrated our picture book Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes. Love, love, love her dark style! If you agree it would look great on your bookshelf, please consider getting a copy via Amazon, Kindle, or www.birchtreepub.com.

Words of Radiance Read Along Part X

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with the final installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  It has been an awesome run. Many, many thanks to all the cohosts – Lisa, Liesel, Lynn, and Sue – You all rock! Thanks to TB for playing along. More thanks to Carl for creating our read along banner and thanks to Grace for encouraging me to connect with Carl. It’s been great to hang with this community of dedicated readers for such an epic book.

Sue at Coffees, Cookies, and Chili Peppers is the host this week. Make sure to swing by her place.

This week we cover Chapter 82 to the end. Spoilers abound below!

1. Phew! Kal proves to be the honorable hero that we wanted him to be and decides to save Elhokar. Did you agree with his reasoning? Do you think the king can actually improve, or will Lopen’s mother need to beat him with a spoon?

I agree that Kal can’t limit his heroic acts to the benefit of just those he likes. After all, he doesn’t like too many people, and is skeptical of all the rest. So, yes, he has to be honorable and heroic to all, even if they happen to be a sniveling, pampered idiot who has caused (through ignorance or dismissiveness) grief and consternation.

If the royal family will allow Lopen’s mother to continue to take charge of Elhokar, then yes, I think there is a chance for improvement. But I am guessing that Lopen’s family will be removed of this burden and Elhokar will go back to much the same, barring some huge reality jarring experience.

2. Dalinar has bonded with a very grumpy Stormfather: I have to admit that I did NOT see that coming! Were you more surprised to find that the Stormfather is a spren or that he would agree to bond with Dalinar?

During the last two sections as we saw what Syl and Pattern could and would do, I started to wonder about this voice that Dalinar was communicating with. We’ve seen these other massive spren, tho they didn’t communicate with anyone in the scenes. So I had this glimmering that the voice was not what I originally thought it was.

And then, BAM!, it’s revealed! So freaking awesome! Dalinar gets stuck with the clinically depressed spren that has already tried to kill him with the storm. Haha! Dalinar is always looking for a challenge, and now he has a huge one. His spren refuses to become blade or shield. So Dalinar will need protecting in a physical battle. It’s like tying both the man’s hands behind his back, removing half his teeth, giving him a wandering lazy eye, and telling him to go save the world!

And I so look forward to seeing how Sanderson pulls all that off.

3. Shallan is now a fully recognized Radiant and has saved pretty much everyone we care about. Then we discover that she killed her mother, but that her father took the blame. Were you surprised by this revelation? Does it make you more sympathetic to her father or not?

Many chapters back, we had a Shallan flashback where she again told her brothers that dad didn’t kill mom. Of course, they discounted her statement since she couldn’t remember and hadn’t talked about the incident. So, since then, I have wondered if she accidentally killed her mother while in training with a Shardblade.

Sort of right. But her mom seemed convinced that Shallan needed to die because of what she is. I have to wonder if she had the same idea as Death – that the Radiants-to-be need to be killed before they hit their potential in order to prevent the Desolation?

Anyhoo, her dad took the blame. was it an act of kindness? And act of self-preservation? Who would believe that his daughter was a Radiant-in-waiting? No, even if he told the authorities or even his own sons, would they believe him without Shallan giving a demo? No, they wouldn’t. And from the flashbacks we know that she was not in any condition for years afterward to give such a demo. I am still on the fence about Shallan’s dad. Even if he took the blame in order to shield Shallan, that moment of kindness doesn’t negate his acts of violence, cruelty, and murder that followed later.

4. Eshonai has fallen into a chasm and the Parshendi seem to have been defeated on the Shattered Plains. What do you think of their chances for the future? Will the Parshmen rise as an army of Voidbringers because of the Everstorm?

First, I expect that Eshonai is still alive. If Kaladin and Shallan can survive a fall like that, then I give the Storm Form Parshendi 50% chance of surviving such a fall – and Eshonai a greater chance because the story doesn’t seem good about killing off characters.

Second, yes, I think the Everstorm will ‘infect’ most if not all Parshmen and even rogue Parshendi with the red spren, turning them into Voidbringers.

Last, I am really hoping (and half expecting) that one of our scholarly characters will figure out how to remove the red spren without killing the host, thereby allowing some Parshendi/Parshmen to live on as individuals. Of course, it may take a book or two for someone to figure this out, which will leave plenty of time for the storm and the Voidbringers to bring the societies around the world to their knees.

5. There were plenty of revelations about plots and plans. Do you have a clearer picture of how it all fits together and who is doing what? Do you think that Moash will survive far into the series?

Taravangian will have to be dealt with, sooner or later. What a mess he has wrought! And him on his super brainy days, lacking all compassion, is super scary.

Amaram now has the mad Radiant (I assume he is a Radiant…or Herald?). He treats him with reverence. I wonder if he will treat his ‘friend’ Dalinar with such reverence when he learns of Dalinar’s new position. I am sure Amaram has cronies who are of the same mind set and they want this mad Shardbearer for some reason.

Moash headed off with what’s his name who talked him into helping him assassinate the king. He talks of doing good deeds, etc. and Moash seems hooked on that. I hope Moash finds his way separate of these folks. He seems honestly regretful over having harmed Kaladin, damn near killing him. I am still pulling for him because that regret means something.

6. Yay! Syl has returned, and now Kal is a full Radiant. Please discuss the epicness of his transformation and subsequent fight with Szeth.

Wow! Because Jasnah died early in the book (and I honestly believed she was dead), I was truly worried about Kaladin during both the confrontation with Moash and the fight later with Szeth. It was so completely awesome when Syl became one with Kaladin and they saved the king, and then flew off to save everyone else. It was huge. I was very pleased with how that scene played out.

The fight with Szeth was also very good. Though I think it is obvious by now that Szeth is for some reason rather gullible. I was hoping that Kaladin would see this and try to either talk Szeth down or take him prisoner – tho it would be tricky to take and hold a Shardblade bearer prisoner. Alas, Kaladin killed Szeth. And because we had the death of a main character earlier in the book (Jasnah), I truly believed Szeth was dead and I was a little sad and a little relieved. He was an interesting character and a worthy opponent.

7. The strange man in black is revealed to be the Herald of Justice. Any comments upon him, his nasty talking sword and his decision to resurrect Szeth?

What is this shit? Holy hell, you can bring people back from a Shardblade cut to the spine? Really? I want to see that real time. In this scene, we had to rely on the word of the Herald of Justice. He did happen to be in the most convenient of places in order to resurrect Szeth at just the right time. Once again, I think someone might be lying to Szeth and he is gullible enough to believe it. Perhaps he needs to believe this Herald, to give himself purpose in life.

And then we have the freaky black sword that talks to Szeth. The sword seems enthusiastic about bringing some justice to the world – but I have to wonder who decides what is justice?

8. Argh! Jasnah is back from the dead! Discuss, with many exclamation marks!!!!

OK. I will reserve total judgement on this until after the next book. I never really like it when a character is irrevocably, undeniably dead, and then they miraculously come back later. Once an author brings that character back, I never really trust the storyline again, I disengage to some extent, and don’t enjoy the story as much thereafter. But this is Sanderson I am criticizing here. He is a damn good writer and if anyone can realistically pull off bringing a character back from the dead, it is him.

From Jasnah’s travel-stained appearance and Wit’s comments, I am expecting some great story of her trickery (faking death is hard folks!) and of where she was and what she was doing all this time. She seems to have lost track of time a bit as Wit has to tell her that the Everstorm had already hit, etc.

9. Finally, this book ended with lots of questions. Will killing Sadeas alter Adolin? Why is he called THE Lopen? Why are the other Oathgates locked?

I expect the cover up and secret of killing Sadeas will be the real thing that undermines Adolin. If he had come forward right away, there would have been a punishment (but considering Sadeas’s past actions and his current threats to Adolin and his family, I don’t think Adolin would have been killed or imprisoned for life or kicked out of the Alethi army & society forever and ever).

Perhaps Lopen is a title among his people and Kaladin and others are too ignorant to know this? However, I would think Sigzil would know something, being the World Singer that he is. So perhaps The Lopen is head of his clan? Anyway, I am expecting some sort of head hancho kind of deal.

I expect the Oathgates were locked during the last Desolation to help protect the last mountain sanctuary that Shallan and crew currently find themselves in. But protect themselves from what? Voidbringers? Something worse? Perhaps they were betrayed and had to lock themselves off from one of their own? Anyway, I expect they will figure out how to unlock them long before they figure out the reason of why they were locked.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

I had not guessed at all where Kaladin hid Elhokar while he flew on the storm winds to go save Dalinar and crew. It was simply brilliant that he hid the king with Lopen’s family.

I love that Shallan and Adolin are still an item. She was great in refusing to let her Radiant status make things awkward for them.

When Adolin was fighting the Parshendi, he felt no Thrill. In fact, he felt disgust at himself while he slaughtered the singing Parshendi. But when he met Eshonai in battle, he was good to go. I wonder if he will give up his Shards any time soon?

Lopen and his arm nub. Good for him! If anyone is stubborn enough to grow back his arm, it is him.

My Fellow Shardblades:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Making My Mark

Books Without Any Pictures

Stainless Steel Droppings

Words of Radiance Read Along Part IX

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Another slight change to the schedule: Liesel at Musings on Fantasia is the host this week. Make sure to swing by her place.

This week we cover Chapter 75 through the end of Chapter 81. Spoilers abound below!

1. What did you think of Dalinar’s tactics, proving Kaladin correct by catching Amaram in a lie? What will happen, do you think, when they attempt to “try” him?

Since we have been riding around in Kaladin’s head for so long, I was impatient for Dalinar to see the truth about Amaram. And I wanted to hear from Amaram himself why he did it. In Book 1, we had a few hints that Amaram did feel justified in doing what he did to Kal.

But I think it was wise of Dalinar to handle it this way. He did look into it right after Kal shared his Amaram betrayal tale to him. And he dug 17 people who backed Amaram’s version. So I expected Dalinar to stop digging there. But he didn’t! And you know why? Because Dalinar is a badass when it comes to honor and he could tell something was off about Amaram. Between Kaladin being adamant (and an honorable young man) and Amaram giving some lame excuse to not enter the dueling ring to help Dalinar’s sons, I think Dalinar needed to test his honesty.

If they ever get the chance to put Amaram on trial, the verdict will depend on whether or not there has been a successful dissolvement or at least lightening up over the caste system (light eyes/dark eyes). If the Light-Eyes-On-Top caste is still strong, then Amaram may get a slap on the wrist verbally, perhaps even in writing. And then things will go back to normal for him. If the Dark Eyes are seen as equals, or closer to it, at the time of the trial, then he may lose all his properties and titles.

Or Kaladin may be allowed to duel him one on one after all and we will have another awesome fight scene!

2. Navani offers her services to Shallan with her mission to find the Oathgate. What do you think Navani’s intentions are? Will she help or hinder Shallan’s mission?

I think Navani has fully adopted Shallan and plans to give her all the assistance she can. I don’t expect any deception on her part, even ‘for the greater good’ deception as seems to be a theme in this series.

3. Moash’s group is still planning to assassinate Elhokar. Do you think Kaladin will allow him to go through with it?

No, I don’t think Kaladin will simply allow Moash and crew to assassinate the king. He had an epiphany towards the end of this section – sometimes good men have to die to obtain a greater good; and then how Tien tried to become a soldier, sucked at it, so was used as a disposable distraction in order to save ‘worthy’ men. Those two thoughts combined in Kaladin’s head and he realized that the King has been trying to be a good ruler, sucks at it, and so people want him dead. It’s not enough of a reason to off a person.

So, I expect Kaladin to go all heroic, save the king, maybe even save Moash (from himself), get Syl back, and go windrunning out to the Parshendi battle and save Dalinar.  :)

4.The king approached Kal and asked Kal to teach him to be a hero. Do you see Kaladin attempting this? Does this change your opinion of the king? How?

I don’t really see Kaladin attempting to teach the king to be a hero. After all, I don’t really see it as a teachable skill. One can encourage another to do the right, or honorable thing, to follow their heart. But you can’t really teach that sort of thing. You can only demonstrate it and hope others follow the example. And with Dalinar, Adolin, Renarin, Jasnah, even Gavilar & Navani having already set examples for Elhokar….well, Kaladin being one more example isn’t going to be the kick in the ass the kingling needs.

And yes, Elhokar seeking Kaladin out for ‘advice’ does change my opinion a bit. We’ve seen bits and pieces of Elhokar where it looks like he might be trying, but without riding around in his head, we couldn’t be sure. Now, I clearly see that he wants to be something more than he is and that desire alone makes me think a teensy bit better about him.

Of course, I am one of those people that believes actions speak way louder than words. So he needs to sober up, prepare defenses, kick Amaram’s and Sadeas’s asses, or gird his loins and go join his uncle on the plateaus. Or even abdicate and return to Kholinar proper and gets things back in shape there. really, he could take any action, even moderately, and it would be better than what he is doing now.

5. Dalinar tells Shallan to find the Oathgate, and that he might need to use the pathway as a retreat for the army. (No pressure or anything, though.) Do you think Shallan will find it? Do you think Dalinar will need to make use of it. Where do you think it will lead?

I think Shallan will find it. And then I think we will have a very panicked couple of moments while she tries very hard to activate it. Eventually, she will have some sort of breakthrough in her abilities and be able to do so. And yes, if it is opened, it will be used. Now, will it be used by something trapped on the other side that wants access to this world? Or will Dalinar and entourage escape through it to safety on the other side? I can’t wait to find out!

As to where it will lead to…well, I have two guesses: 1) Some other location on this world, perhaps in the greener lands, like Shinovar; or 2) Shadesmar.

6. The battle action is very high where we left off. What do you think will happen when the Parshendi song ends? Will the high storm show up in full force and destroy the Alethi army? Will Dalinar’s troops manage to interrupt the song? Other predictions?

Wow! So much going on here! First, we saw Eshonai chatting with her sister, right? And there was something about the storming blowing from the other direction. So far, we have seen the storms come from the Shattered Plains and move outward, petering out before they get to the greenlands, like Shinovar. So, does that mean they can bring up the storm from say, the Alethi lands, and have it run towards the Shattered Plains? I’m still a bit muddled on that one.

While the storm may not destroy the Alethi army, it could severely damage the war camps, especially since they are not expecting a High Storm. I hope Sadeas’s camp gets wrecked the worst. :)

While I don’t expect the Alethi armies to be annihilated, I expect heavy losses. I really hope that all our main characters make it through to the next book, but since we lost Jasnah, I worry.

Navani has something big planned with those fabrials. But they are powered by spheres. And we heard that many of the armies’ spheres have run down since there haven’t been any Highstorms to charge them. So, I expect the Parshendi storm will power the spheres, which will allow the fabrials to work, which will help beat the Parshendi.

And, again, we don’t know what the Oathgate will bring once opened. Will some ancient Knights Radiants pop out and destroy the red lightning spren, thereby saving both Alethi and Parshendi? Will some greater evil that was some how imprisoned or held at bay leap out and try to destroy both armies? Or will the remaining Alethi simply jump through and find themselves swimming in Shadesmar?

I really don’t know, but I do think that the Oathgate will play an integral role in our main characters making it to safety, one way or the other.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

I wonder how Dalinar got the Shardblade away from the crazy man for days at a time. And since Amaram found it, where is it now? Can the crazy man, who I assume is the rightful owner of it, summon it back to him?

It must be very hard for Kaladin to have to stay at camp with all the elderly, handicapped, or ill. Even women runners, scholars, etc. got to go on this expedition. And to be left bored, injured, alone during the weeping.

I really, really wonder what Zahel meant by choosing the action that lets him sleep at night and how he wishes he had done that very thing.

Those interludes were fascinating! Looks like Kholinar is not being ruled well by the Queen, wife to Elhokar. I had held out hope that we would have a competent ruler left behind to keep the home fires burning.

Then there was that big interlude with Taravangian. I had hopes that Szeth would either retrieve his oathstone and start living for himself, or kill Taravangian and leave his oathstone in the bloody dust. Sigh…..

Shallan took a big leap of trust in telling (and showing) Dalinar a little of what she can do. Hooray for her! I wish Kaladin had been as brave.

Lupin cracks me up. He was helping Kaladin limp around and offered to get a palanquin for him. Kaladin said no, they are for women (in a somewhat disparaging tone, I might add). And Lupin jokingly chided him saying he knows many fine women, even has some for relatives. So funny!

Shen was amazingly brave, surrendering to Dalinar. And the Bridge 4 Crew! I love them for standing by Shen.

Gaz actually dug up a copy of the book The Way of Kings for Shallan. I think Gaz continues to win me over.

My Fellow Red Spren:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Making My Mark

Books Without Any Pictures

Stainless Steel Droppings

Words of Radiance Read Along Part VIII

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Another slight change to the schedule: I am the host this week. Make sure to leave your link in the comments.

This week we cover Chapter66 through the end of Chapter 74. Spoilers abound below!

1) What did you think of Adolin voluntarily being locked up while Kaladin was locked up? Then Adolin’s little reveal of trust later while marching on the plateaus. Do these two have a chance at friendship?

I was very surprised that Adolin was locked up too, especially since it was his idea. First, it was his idea (surprising!). Second, his father and Elhokar allowed (so shocking and embarrassing for the family!). Third, Dalinar didn’t need him lose to help come up with and put in motion some other plan since the plan to duel Sadeas fell apart.

And yet, I had this warm fuzzy hearing about it, and the banter between the two – Adolin had to bathe with cold water folks! He made sacrifices!

Later, on the plateau march, Adolin questions Kaladin again, hinting at his fighting abilities. Kal refuses to give him anything. And Adolin admits that he knows there is something different to Kal, but that he has decided to trust Kal, whatever he is.

Ah! The bromance! Yes, there is a distinct possibility that Kal and Adolin can become friends. If some messy love triangle doesn’t come into play (see last question).

2) Kaladin turns down the Shards, instead giving them to Moash. How do you see this affecting his friendship with Moash in the future?

Oooo! So messy! I expect that eventually Moash will part ways with Kaladin and things could go violent and messy. I hope not, but with the Shards Moash could give Kaladin a run for his money, even with his Stormlight abilities.

Also, I fear that the Shards and the Thrill influence a person, pushing them towards ego, glory, and violence. So even if Moash and Kaladin stay tight buddies and remain part of Elhokar’s next attempted assassination, there could still be a parting of ways later as Moash drifts closer to Alethi nobility and further from the bridgemen.

3) Amaram tries to discredit and embarrass Dalinar by releasing modified versions of his visions. Do you think Dalinar handled it well? Do you think a religious sect will arise from this? And what did you make of Dalinar’s conversation with Wit?

First, this wasn’t exactly the first time folks had heard of Dalinar’s visions. After all, rumors had been well circulated for months now that Dalinar suffered from some sort of recurring weakness each highstorm. And in Book 1, some of his men and him were trapped in a barracks during a storm and so one of his sessions was witnessed by a few of his men. I think Amaram failed to acknowledge these facts, and hence, he was expecting shock to drive a bigger wedge between Dalinar and the people.

In light of all that, Dalinar handled it quite well! I applaud his courage, standing up tall and telling everyone the truth as he knows it and then working the crowd for hours instead of hiding himself away.

And, yes, once some of Dalinar’s visions start proving true, I think some sort of religious sect will either be founded, or an already existing one (Envisagers, anyone?) will claim him as one of their prophets, or heralds.

That conversation with Wit was SOOOOOOOO intense! Wit says he will try to help, but also tells Dalinar that he (Dalinar) should not become comfortable with him (Wit). Wit will let Dalinar’s world burn to ashes if it serves his greater purpose. Wow! So up to this point, I have believed Wit to be a positive force, if a little disorganized or chaotic about it. This was partially due to his interactions with Kaladin and Shallan, but also partially due to his appearances in other Sanderson Cosmere books. Now, I think Wit might be playing for higher stakes and is willing to sacrifice whole worlds in order to save the Cosmere…..and Dalinar’s world is on that list.

4) Kaladin starts noticing some issues with his Stormlight abilities. Then Syl points out that he made promises to both Dalinar and Moash that conflict with each other. How do you see this resolving? Will Syl be OK?

What a mess! I am sure that Syl wanted to stamp her little foot at Kaladin, if not out right kick his ass. Syl is Honor spren. If Kaladin can’t do his best to uphold all his promises, if some of his promises have questionable reasons behind them, then what does your Honor spren do? Apparently revert back to Wind spren and cease existing to save your human from a 200 foot fall.

Well, that is my worst fear concerning Syl – that her existence came to an end in order to save Kaladin. I hope this is not the case as it could affect Kaladin’s character arc severely. Also, I am a bit attached to Syl and wouldn’t want her part in this tale to be over.

5) We got to see Shallan on a field trip: moss, bugs, chasm fiend, etc. What do you think of how she handled herself both on the plateau march and later in the chasms?

Well, I loved her enthusiasm for all the native life – including the moss and the bugs. In some ways, this was so like me on a hike. When hiking, I don’t get much distance covered, per se, but rather spend time flitting about from one squirrel to some fungi to flower to growling cattle to bugs. So I really resonated with Shallan’s enthusiasm, her sturdy boots, giving up the palanquin.

Once the bridge collapsed, Shallan did quite well in the chasm. I felt she kept up with Kaladin both in keeping motivated and the physically running part…oh, and that part of saving Kaladin so he could kill the chasmfiend.

6) We learn some very interesting bits about Teft’s childhood. What do you think of the punishment meted out to the Envisagers? Too harsh? Correct? Do you think some of the Envisagers survived?

As far as Teft knew, no innocents were ever harmed in what the Envisagers did, testing themselves to the point of death. But the cult members had kids. Teft was definitely scared enough to go to some outside authority for help. So, at the very least, one child was being psychologically scarred by the activities of the Envisagers. I would assume there were other young kids in the cult. Still, killing all the adults in the cult probably was an extreme. I can see where Teft gets some of his hang ups.

If none of the original Envisagers survived, I expect there are more like Teft – children of the Envisagers. I expect this cult to rise again, and in one of the previous questions, I pondered if they might seek out Dalinar and his visions.

7) Shallan and Kaladin learn several things about each other during their time in the chasms. What was the most interesting to you? How do you see their relationship evolving after this?

While we have known since Book 1 that Shallan felt responsible for her father’s death, I had figured that it was either a training accident or something done in hot blood while she defended herself or others. That cold, calculating Shallan was rather frightening and made me think of Jasnah – in Book 1, she on purposely lured some pesky robbers and murderers into an ally and killed them. Yet, I agree with Shallan and why she did it.

For Kaladin, there are two things that stuck out. Shallan’s appraisal of him – always angry, brooding, etc. We spend so much time in his head that we know him to be a good guy who cares deeply for his men. Yet, seen from the outside, I can see how he could appear to be a very enigmatic character. The second thing is that Kaladin now realizes that he is the one who actually killed Shallan’s brother, while Shallan believes the murderer to be Amaram.

Now, about their relationship. I have this big ugly fear that we are headed for a love triangle – Adolin, Shallan, Kaladin. I really, really don’t want some messy love triangle dropping this storyline down into some juvenile squabble over first loves. So, I am really hoping that the bromance continues between Adolin and Kaladin; that Shallan and Adolin happily continue their courtship; and finally, that Shallan and Kaladin become close, but platonic, friends and allies.

If I can’t have that last, then I want a three way romance, with lots of description. ;)

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

I can see how Kaladin’s refusal of the Shards was a bit embarrassing for Adolin, and yet Adolin went with it and it doesn’t seem to have broken this budding friendship.

I have images of Moash strutting around like a peacock in his new Shards, kneeling before Kaladin, kissing his blade, flexing his armored muscles, etc.

I can only wonder how Adolin feels to have lost some of his men, Shallan, and his new friend Kaladin all in one collapsed bridge. Do you think they caught Sadeas’s troll who threw the switch?

My Fellow Moss:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Making My Mark

Books Without Any Pictures

Stainless Steel Droppings

Words of Radiance Read Along Part VII

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Another slight change to the schedule: Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow is our host this week. Make sure to swing by her place to see links to all the participants.

This week we cover Chapter58 through the end of Chapter 65. Spoilers abound below!

So there are people with Radiant powers appearing the world over… What do you think of Lift and her “awesomeness”? And what about “Darkness”? Do you think Lift’s part in the story will tie into the main plot at some point?

My man and I were talking about this just the other day. We have a few characters now that are only seen in the Interludes that I hope we will see more of later in the series, like Rsyn, the merchants apprentice, and that tattooed fellow who was studying Spren in Book 1. So, yeah, I hope we see them join the main story line. After all, this is suppose to be a 9 or 10 book series, with each book being 1000+ pages.

I loved Lift’s spren Wendell (spelling?). He seemed so exasperated with her, and yet when under pressure, they worked together and accomplished something big – bringing Gauk (spelling?) back to life. And wow! Lift can transform food directly into Stormlight. How freaking convenient is that? Is it just her and her order of Radiants or can any of the Radiants learn this skill?

And Darkness seems to have rules, which is a very good thing for Lift. He follows the laws of whatever land he is in. Yet he is driven by an absolute certainty that Lift and all others like her must die in order to prevent some big calamity – another Desolation? The Desolation to end all Desolations? This makes him super scary.

Szeth seems to finally be taking control of himself… Will this be good or bad for Kaladin, do you think? Not to mention those who’ve been controlling him until now…

I am really hoping that this turns into a good thing. But I can see Szeth going all vengeful. He has a long list of people to pay back. There are those who said he was lying about the Radiants returning and turned him into Truthless and a slave. Then there are all those who used him to slaughter others. And finally, there is himself for putting control in other people’s hands. Yeah, he could go all evil vengeful.

But I am hoping that he will see that vengeance doesn’t work, not with what is coming. Just as I hope Kaladin eventually sees this too. Dork. And I can see Shallan struggling a little with it, with the death of her good brother.

Maybe all the Radiants-to-be have to face this challenge of good for the individual versus the greater good.

Eshonai is getting more and more dangerous in her new form. Do you think she’ll succeed with her plans? What about the dissenters who have escaped? Where do you think they’ll end up going – assuming they survive the next storm?

I expect Eshonai will convert the remaining Parshendi to Storm Form. But I don’t think she will succeed in destroying the Alethi armies. At least, not all of them. The Alethi are in for a HUGE surprise when they next meet the Parshendi in battle and they are going to suffer and bleed for it. But I think they will not be wiped off the face of existence.

I am hoping that the Parshendi dissenters will unite with the Alethi, perhaps seek out Adolin and Dalinar, or even Kaladin (if they have heard from Shen that Kaladin is a good man). This would be huge for the Alethi. It would give them so much info on the Parshendi and perhaps eventually these two peoples could put up a united front against Odium.

Wit returns to pay Kaladin another visit, leaving him with an important thought… What did you make of the story? And now Wit has visited Kaladin and Shallan both. Do you think he sees some connection between them? If so, any thoughts as to what sort?

I found that story very interesting, as Kaladin told half of it. The man starts off running before the storm, for his own reasons, his own personal battle, his own glory. At the end, he can run no more, but his will (or spirit) now has a new purpose: to hold the storm at bay, to protect those he can from the storm. Does it matter that he died? No, it doesn’t. I wonder what Kaladin will make of it.

I did notice that this time, Wit did not gift Kaladin his musical instrument, being as Kaladin lost Wit’s flute from the last storytelling (from book 1).

Of course Wit sees the potential in both of them. That is why he makes himself a pest to both of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually see Wit with Lift and Szeth. We have already seen him with the Madman. Perhaps he is spending more time on Shallan and Kaladin right now because he knows they are at crucial points.

Shallan’s continuing to develop her skills, but refuses to listen to Pattern’s advice about remembering what she already learned. It seems she’s almost afraid to, not that I blame her… Do you think she’ll change her mind on her own?

I got the impression that Shallan and Pattern bonded in Shallan’s youth and that as she developed her skills, something bad happened. I still think this has to do with the death of her mother, and perhaps later, the death of her father.

I think Shallan will be pushed at some point by circumstances to perform whatever skill she developed in the past. And either she will collapse into silent jelly over the shock of the returned memories, or she will push through it and learn to master whatever skill that is.

Kaladin’s reaching a dangerous position regarding the King… Do you think he’ll really go through with some plan to kill Elhokar?

I think Kaladin will be left in his prison cell while the King and others go out to face the Parshendi and the King may be captured or killed there. If Adolin, Renarin, or Dalinar is hurt, captured, or killed in the same fight, then Kaladin will feel like he failed in his duty and will regret being so focused on vengeance. Idiot.

Or, if he is let out to go on the plains to the Parshendi battle, Kaladin may plan to ensure the King and Amaram have ‘accidents’ on the battlefield. Then if Dalinar and family get injured, etc. Kaladin will feel like an ass and hopefully this will snap him out of his vengeance mode.

Lastly, what do you make of the snippets of the letter that start off each chapter? Who could be writing it, and who is it addressing?

I think these snippets are either to Wit or from Wit to another who knows quite a bit about him. I hope we get more info on this because it is fascinating!

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

I loved Lift’s spunky attitude through that entire section. Too funny!

I know there is a piece of Eshonai that finds all this highly disagreeable, but if that good Eshonai can’t win out, then I hope evil Eshonai and her sister get into a fight and this breaks the evil Parshendi into groups.

Also, do you think that little bit of good Eshonai put that particular guard on the dissenters knowing he would do the right thing and flee with them?

I found it very interesting that Syl doesn’t like the Cryptics. Can there be things that Syl still needs to learn about? Like how to play nice with other Spren?

Oooo! Shallan snuck in to meet the Madman. She copied his words. Do you think Pattern will see something in them that Shallan doesn’t? And she is perhaps making friends with the masked lady. I hope that turns into something good.

Dalinar isn’t such an ass as I thought he might be – concerning Amaram. He looked into it. 17 accounts by light eyes and dark eyes. That makes it hard to put weight behind Kaladin’s words.

And Kaladin deserved the dressing down he got from Dalinar. He has all this time to think, and he is focused on vengeance and not on how the consequences of his own actions have damaged those around him.

My Fellow Edge Dancers:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Making My Mark

Books Without Any Pictures

Stainless Steel Droppings

Words of Radiance Read Along Part VI

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Another slight change to the schedule: Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog is our host this week. Make sure to swing by her place to see links to all the participants.

This week we cover Chapter49 through the end of Chapter 57. Spoilers abound below!

1. Shallan and Adolin meet up for a nice glass of wine and a pleasant chat!!  What did you make of Shallan’s winning conversational tactics and what do you think will eventually come of this ‘relationship’?  Navani doesn’t seem to be warming to Shallan – do you think this will cause problems between Shallan and Adolin?  Also, Shallan seemed to be almost drawn to the storm and mentioned being able to see something in it?  Any guesses as to why and what?

Shallan made me laugh so hard! OK, those questions are totally me. I know, nice restaurant, wine, budding romance, etc. And yes, I would dive into the nitty gritty. And it really seemed to work with Adolin. Shallan showed that she cares about more than the glory of the battle. And she also showed that she doesn’t shy away from the dirty realities of battle.

At first, I didn’t really like the idea of Adolin and Shallan together. Quite frankly, I didn’t think Adolin would be able to keep up with Shallan and, possibly, he wouldn’t treat her right – marriage of convenience, etc. But now I see that they seem to compliment each other rather well. Adolin has stopped trying to be charming and is just being himself. Shallan still has a ton of secrets and I don’t know if she will ever share all of them, but she is opening up to him. I think there may just be hope for these two.

I think Adolin is correct about Navani – she needs time to grieve. However, I think we already know that Navani’s hesitance in dealing with Jasnah’s death causes issues. the beginning of the chapters from the previous part were words from what Navani’s journal. She commented at least once on how she regretted that she was distracted by the news of Jasnah otherwise she might have seen what was to come. Pretty freaking ominous!

I wish Shallan had taken an image of the storm to draw later. I think she is drawn like Kaladin and Dalinar are affected. They are all potential Radiants in the making. Or so I guess. And yes, there is something, or several somethings, that live in the storm. Not sure yet if it is just elementals or evil red spren.

2. So much intrigue.  Shallan found out about her brother (or at least the evidence points that way) – and what an awful way to find out such a thing!  She found out a bit more about the Ghostbloods and she also uncovered some of Amaram’s secrets – what do you make of it all and what are the bigger connections here?

As heartbreaking as it was for Shallan to have confirmation that her brother was dead, I think it will be even harder for her once she realizes that Kaladin did the actual killing. After all, she has gotten to know him a bit, owes him a bit of gratitude (boots, saving Adolin, etc.).

It appears that Amaram is a Stormwarden in secret and for some reason, that is taboo. I probably missed the detail of why that is taboo. Perhaps that was explained when Shallan was encouraging her brother to play with calculations and predicting the weather. Anyhoo, Amaram doesn’t want folks in general to know and that makes it interesting. He also has lots of maps and a glyph script talking about intentionally bringing back the Voidbringers.

And then we have the Ghostbloods. They kept watch on Amaram’s place, trying to observe Tyn at work. Did anyone else feel like maybe Shallan as Vale was set up? I mean, someone high up is tied in with the Ghostbloods. Initially, I thought perhaps it was Sadeas because he is an ass. Now I wonder if Amaram is the guy and set Vale and Tyn to attempting to spy on himself as a test of their skills. As Shallan noted in her last meeting with the Ghostbloods, Mercer (spelling?) speaks and acts like a high lord but has lots of scars and old broken bones. Is Shallan the only one at that meeting in disguise? I am wondering…..

3.  What did you make of Dalinar giving Amaram an elite role in his latest scheme to bring back the Radiants?  Do you think it’s a test of some sort or has he simply ignored Kaladin’s story?  Kaladin does seem to be becoming a little bit obsessed by Amaram and Syl seems to be struggling with him at the moment.  Do you see a difference in their relationship as Kaladin develops his abilities?

I think Dalinar ha a lot on his plate and also a time limit. So, he set aside Kaladin’s story for now, perhaps telling himself that whatever Amaram did he did it for a good reason, and made Amaram the first Radiant in order to pull the other high lords into it. Of course Kaladin is obsessed with Amaram. That issue, that horrible event, has no closure for Kaladin. His friends are still dead and not honored. His slave brands refuse to heal so everyone who looks closely can see that part of his past. And Amaram walks around a free and honored lord. Syl and the men want Kaladin to declare his abilities to the world, his Radiant abilities. But if he did that, he might very well have to serve under or with Amaram in the Radiant Brotherhood of Love and Honor Squad. That would suck. So, I can see why Kaladin NEEDS closure on this.

I love how Syl tries to keep him on the good, focused on protecting instead of tearing down. She has her hands full. Yet, he experienced pure joy for the first time in years, and finally accepted his abilities as a gift and not a burden. That changed everything for him….except for his need to punish Amaram.

Quite frankly, I think if Kaladin merely let Amaram know he was around, Amaram would have tried to do something stupid and would have provided enough rope to hang himself. too bad Kaladin couldn’t take this route.

4. Shallan and Kaladin seem to be rapidly developing their own abilities with Kaladin finally finding his feet in rather spectacular fashion.  Shallan seems to have the most extraordinary abilities – she’s almost perfectly set up to become a spy!  What did you make of her latest encounter and ‘near thing’ with the Ghostbloods?  Do you think she’ll meet them again??  Can you guess at what other talents she might pull out of the hat?

The Ghostbloods are deadly and smart. Not a good combination for Shallan to deal with. I am guessing they know that they didn’t manage to kill Vale/Shallan in the coach. They took the time to kill the driver and the Parshmen and set a fire on the inside of the carriage. So, yeah, I think they will be keeping an eye out for her in the future. If she runs into them later, I expect it will be as Shallan and she will have to play it cool as she tries to gather more info about them.

Shallan and Pattern talked a bit about being able to mimic voices as she mimics other people’s looks. So that would be a useful talent for her to learn. Also, I think she might be able to learn to cast an image, of herself or another, somewhere else. Like if she got cornered in a dark alley, she could throw an image of someone else at the mouth of the alley (like a patrol guard) yelling for the assailant to halt, etc. That would be a useful skill.

5. Wit – it appears he did meet Shallan after all – and, is it just me or is anybody developing a little bit of a Wit crush?  Why do you think he’s reappeared?  He’s always giving out cryptic messages and disappearing again mysteriously but I’m in a quandary as to know what his meaning really is most of the time!   What is his role in all of this?  Does he really have a side as such?

Haha! Oh yes. I expect entertaining Wit would be a lovely way to pass an evening.

Wit reappears to keep an eye on things or to push them in a certain direction. Perhaps he wanted to check on both Kaladin and Shallan – two people he had given (cryptic) guidance to in the past. Shallan’s reaction to seeing him was quite touching.

I believe Wit is looking out for the greater good of the Cosmere. He knows way more than anyone else about the bigger picture because he travels among all these worlds connected by the Cosmere. But that also separates him too. Who could he explain it all to? And would it matter if he did? Can he save all the worlds or just a few? I think Wit is trying to figure out some of this stuff too. But overall, I think he is a positive force, if annoying and cryptic at times.

6. Finally, can we just discuss that duel?  I think that was one of the most exciting things I’ve read so far.  I literally gasped out loud at one point.  What did you make of it all – the scheming, the conspiring, the fight itself, Kaladin’s heroics – and, finally and importantly, the conclusion?

That was a game changer!

We all know Adolin is arrogant, and here it bit him in the ass and nearly injured his brother. Still, he fought hard and well. I was impressed.

And then Pattern joined in, distracting Renarin’s opponent. And then Kaladin! That was freaking incredible. He definitely got the Shardbearers to respect the spear. And that was a neat trick with the lashing, even though he ended up breaking bones. Good thing he had stormlight to heal himself. When he took that helm from the defeated Shardbearer and used it as an odd gauntlet, that was awesome! That is when I creamed my panties. And still, it looked like they would lose. Nailbiting!

Haha! But then Adolin uses the last of his stormlight to lock he opponent in a wrestling grip while Kaladin finished his remaining opponent. Awesomesauce on the epicness!

Then that jerk said Adolin lacked honor for using a wrestler’s grip! Fucking hypocrite! Four on one? And forcing Adolin to stay in the fight by threatening his brother? Oh yeah, there is a special circle of Hell for that asshole.

And the conclusion? Well, The lead opponent ran off screaming and I don’t understand why. Perhaps Syl used a special power to scream inside his head? Though the guy did say he was suppose to be dead. I am not sure if he meant Kaladin should be dead from the overhead sword cut, or if he saw someone else for a moment and lost him mind over it.

And then the kingly boon was handed out to Adolin. He wants to fight Sadeas right there and now? Idiot! He is exhausted, burned through. While Sadeas is fresh. And then Kaladin demands the same (to fight Amaram) for his boon (though he wasn’t granted one by the king). Adolin groaned immediately after Kaladin made the demand, so I think Kaladin is going to be detained by the king’s guards. Sigh…..

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Shallan has such a steep learning curve, I know, but it is too bad she let slip her drawing abilities with the Ghostbloods. That could get her killed later.

Also, I like the trick she did with the boulder, also she does need eye holes and also some sort of real cover to protect her from the elements.

Dalinar seems convinced that he is the one leaving the cryptic count down messages. And I wonder where Renarin was during each of these episodes? Could Renarin have been doing this, in a trance? Perhaps that would explain a bit why the boy has been distracted lately.

Shen left! He told Kaladin he was good man, said he learned a lot, and gave his real name and then left!

When Adolin told Wit to date women his own age, Wit said there was really only 1 lady on the Plains his age and that they didn’t get along. Was he referring to Navani? Or was he referring to someone else, like maybe a Parshendi lady?

Oh and that whole Parshendi meeting didn’t go as Dalinar hoped! Quite frankly, I was pretty worried we were going to see the Parshendi attack Adolin (disguised as Dalinar) and perhaps lose another main character.

Do you think Shallan will get to breed Chasm Fiends? See any problems with this? And why was Syl so concerned for the Chull in the menagerie? From the way she talked, it seems that Chulls and Chasm Fiends have lives of their own with places to go and people to see.

I know Adolin was high from adrenalin and exhilaration once the fight was done, but he kind of took credit for defeating all 4 opponents and didn’t give thanks to Kaladin, or even Renarin. I hope Adolin notes this later and makes an effort to correct his oversight.

Why was Renarin crying? Did he realize somehow that his presence was a hindrance to his brother?

I think Syl took note of Pattern on the dueling field and went over to investigate. Will she know Pattern? Will she connect Pattern to Shallan? Will she tell Kaladin?

My Fellow Duelists:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Making My Mark

Books Without Any Pictures

Stainless Steel Droppings

Words of Radiance Read Along Part V

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Another slight change to the schedule: Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host this week. Make sure to swing by her place to see links to all the participants.

This week we cover Chapter40 through the end of Chapter 48. Spoilers abound below!

1. Sebarial and Palona seem to be quite good fun. Do you accept them at face value, or are they playing a much deeper political game? Are you concerned that Jasnah’s intelligence on them seems to have been wrong?

Based on what I have seen so far, Sebarial is more of a merchant or town mayor than the typical war-mongering high prince. He’s built a town, an economy, commerce. And he seems quite proud of it. Palona seems to be quite the effecient house mistress, keeping everything in order, including Sebarial.

If these two are up to something more than attaining and keeping a comfortable lifestyle, then I would say they are looking for some sort of political reform to give more people equal rights. But that’s just a guess.

And now that Shallan is in their midst, I would not be surprised if they get dragged into something more!

As for Jasnah’s intelligence – Shallan said it was based on infrequent visits to the Shattered Plains. And Sebarial definitely shows one face to the High Princes, the face Jasnah’s notes described.

2. When Kal finally works out how to alter gravity, he sees a shadowy world with a distant sun. Is this Shadesmar, or do you think that there is yet another parallel world in this universe?

I think it is Shadesmar. So far, there has just been the one parallel world and I don’t think we have had hints of yet another world. And we don’t know much about Shadesmar, not even how big it is.

I did get a kick out of Kaladin training and the peanut gallery egging him on. Plus, Syl begging him to show the world what he really is, to stop hiding. For a brief moment, I thought he just might do it. And then he fell to the ground.

3. Renarin has demanded to be trained with the other Bridgecrews. Am I the only one to find him unbearably cute? Do you think that Kal can eventually train him to be partially competent with his Shards?

I was quite surprised by this. True, we haven’t seen much of Renarin other than him being timid. What surprised me was his lack of prejudice for the Dark Eyes. His brother, and even his father to some extent, believe that there is a hierarchy of people and the Dark Eyes are definitely below the Light Eyes. They can treat them with respect, but they have a place in society, period. Renarin either has set this aside or never really had the prejudice.

I think Kal can train him to be a soldier, think like a soldier, automatically fall into fighting stances, etc. But I still think it will be Zahel who teaches Renarin how to fight in Shards.

I can’t wait to see what Adolin and Dalinar make of this!

4. Shallan has learnt how to use her Surgebinding to adopt disguises. What did you think of her meeting with the Ghostbloods? Do you think that she can fool them successfully long enough to discover anything? Any ideas on why they want to remove Amaram?

Shallan has a pair of big brass ones, that’s for sure. She risked much going to meet the Ghostbloods. I expect we will see the Light Eyes again as Shallan has pretty free reign to move among the nobility. I am not sure about the woman in the mask who followed her when she left. Is she Parshendi? Or is there some other magic at work here?

Shallan is still so very new to this game and I worry that she will over play her hand and be discovered by the Ghostbloods to be a threat. They seem extremely tight lipped. So while she may not learn anything directly from them, she may learn quite a bit while running errands for them.

The main speaker (Merser?) said that Amaram was not to be harmed by Tyn and her associates, that he was marked for another. I wonder if Sadeas has his fingers in this as well? At any rate, I expect Shallan will find it quite interesting to go snooping through Amaram’s closets and underwear draw (whitey tidies? red hot thong?).

5. Ok, so I was wrong: sorry, Elhokar, for assuming that you had made another rubbish attempt at a fake assassination. Were you surprised that Moash was involved in such an organized conspiracy? Do you agree with the ‘patriots’ and what do you think Kal should do about them?

We had a hint 1 or 2 weeks ago that Moash was in the right place at the right time to have attempted this latest folly. But I didn’t expect him to be in league with others. He just isn’t the trusting kind. But this group of patriots seems to have won him over, even more completely than Kaladin.

So far, I haven’t seen the patriots try to remove or set aside Elhokar in other ways – like having him declared incompetent or simply getting him sent home and allowing Dalinar to reign as regent. So I am not on board with the assassination attempts. I think Syl is right about the difference between vengeance and killing to protect. Moash wants Elhokar dead as payback for his grandparents dying. Kaladin wants Amaram dead for killing his friends, betraying him, and enslaving him. If Kaladin thinks Moash’s actions lack honor, I think he will have to reassess his own desires concerning Amaram.

I expect that Kaladin will decide to deal with the patriots in his own way instead of snitching on them, due to his loyalty to Moash. However, Moash could easily break this by being an idiot.

6. We are seeing much more of Shallan’s family life. Can someone explain why nobody has killed her father yet? Also, is anyone concerned about the girl that Nan Balat has his eye on: will he become a wife-beater himself?

I think Shallans’ memories clearly show us a family that grew up dominated and terrorized by their patriarch. On one hand, yes, I want someone to kill the old bastard off now. On the other hand I totally get why the family hasn’t done this yet. I believe that part of it is the fear of the unknown – this is the only life they have known so far, and what would it turn into with the patriarch? And I think another big part of it is that they each fear to become the asshole, even if it is to kill the main asshole off.

In Book 1, Nan Balat has a fiance who does the span reader communication for Shallan’s brothers. I can’t remember her name. But there was no hint in Book 1 that Balat was a wife beater. So, perhaps having the love of at least one person (fiance) helps Balat refrain from vivisecting too many animals? The dude still creeps me out, but perhaps he would be so much worse without Shallan and a female life partner in his life.

7. Any guesses about the identity of the messenger who speaks to Shallan at the fair? Also, what do you make from the sections of the Words of Radiance that are included at the beginning of the chapters?

I thought perhaps it was Hoid/Wit, but he didn’t through any riddles or quips at her. Perhaps it is another Worldsinger, trained by Hoid?

I think those sections are hints to help prepare us for things to come. Obviously, I haven’t figured them out yet. But I do love how Sanderson builds these things in as they make the book excellent for rereads.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Shallan easily left and returned to the Sebarial palace without be noted, once in disguise. Did she go out a window? I know it’s a war camp, but still, wouldn’t Palona have a guard or two posted at the entrance to the home?

Kaladin decided to trust Chen and gave him a spear. Chen seemed really touched. But now that I know a little more about the Parshendi, I wonder if Chen is one of their spies. I could see how that could be bad or perhaps good.

Haha! I loved how Shallan got onto the practice field for sketching the Shards. And her comments to both Adolin and Kaladin were very funny! And Adolin’s reaction was hilarious!

It was fun to watch Shallan interacting with the crowds as a simple Dark Eyes. She waited for a group to move out of her way, and eventually realized she has to move. She bought some candied fruit with way too much money. Hopefully she will learn quickly.

Shallan risked much to save her brother, though the heavies did let Shallan keep her necklace. I hope this brother doesn’t turn around and get himself killed.

My Fellow Ghostbloods:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Making My Mark

Books Without Any Pictures

Stainless Steel Droppings