Words of Radiance Read Along Part I

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! I am so excited to be diving into this book, and such a great group of folks to be sharing the experience with. Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE.

This week, Liesel is our host, so make sure to swing by her place (Musings on Fantasia) to see her answers and links to everyone’s posts.

This week we cover the Prologue through the end of Chapter 8. Spoilers abound below!

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 Parshendi 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 think it would be easy to dismiss a report of the assassin walking on walls, as Jasnah just lost her father, and so many others during the fight. Plus, it’s been how many thousands of years since anyone has seen a Surgebinder and what they can do. Well, anyone who doesn’t know about Szeth. Well, perhaps the Shin and the Parshendi both have Surgebinders on a regular frequency, but we don’t know that. That’s totally my suspicion.

And the Parshendi taking credit for the assassination right up front like that. Wow! All last book I was thinking that they were framed or used somehow. But with this new info, that may not be the case at all. I wish we knew more of their culture!

If the Parshendi wanted Gavilar dead, and Dalinar is becoming more and more like him, with similar goals, that means I need to be concerned for Dalinar. Perhaps the Parshendi will try to off him.

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

Snort!!!! OK, got that out of my system. I think someone for the read along of Book 1 wondered what it would be like to have Shallan and Adolin in the same room. I can’t wait to see Shallan unleash her sharp, and amusing, tongue on the poor man. And Adolin could teach Shallan about Shardblades. I expect initial amusement and maybe exasperation followed by some touching mishap that brings them together.

And Shallan was so very practical about it too! She was relieved to be engaged to such a powerful family, and the cousin of Jasnah. I have no clue how Shallan will get to Navani and/or Adolin now, but she’s a resourceful young lady. Good thing Navani was all for the engagement, with Jasnah gone.

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 Kaladin’s ability to keep his secrets depends on how soon his powers are needed. Since his men are willing to keep his secret, he can train in secret. After all, no one is going around looking for people with Radiant powers….well, no one other than Jasnah. Well, there might be some evil doers doing the same. Oh, and the Parshendi know he has Radiant powers. And once Szeth makes it to the scene to follow through on his assassination (that we learned about near the end of Book 1), he’ll surely recognize Kaladin’s powers. Shit, this list is getting longer and longer.

OK. So let’s say no one recognizes his powers and tells the Lighteyes, because really, the people in power are the ones he really has to watch out for. Then he can keep his secrets for quite some time.

But I expect some thing will happen that forces Kal to use his powers, potentially in some showy way. Like Szeth showing up.

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?

Based on just these two spren, it seems the spren are well suited to their companions. And they appear to have a learning stage. I remember from Book 1 that Syl started off very much like a simple Windspren and over time became more and more communicative and eventually morphed into that full fledged Honorspren. Shallan’s Cryptic (Pattern) appears to be going through the same learning curve. I can only imagine what Pattern will become. Very exciting!

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?

Kaladin is going to have to delegate more work. And I think he is going to have to eventually bring more men into his inner circle. He’s already delegated Teft to doing the basic training for the 1000. Rock and Sigzil have the task of supplying and cooking and training cooks for Kal’s little army. Still, he needs more trustworthy men to accomplish it all. I expect he will be hardest on himself and wear himself out and the others will chastise him for it by stealing all his clothes one day, so that he is forced to stay in bed and rest.

Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing Adolin duel. I know, it’s the little barbarian in me. Still, it is what the culture understands and Adolin can earn much honor for his house in these duels while capturing Shards and teaching the other high lords lessons. Will it help unite the high princes? I am not sure. It could unite them against Dalinar and his family. After all, if Dalinar & family hold the bulk of the Shards within 6 weeks, then the other lords may be quite disgruntled and even feel threatened.

And that voice in Dalinar’s visions that keeps telling him to unite them may not be talking about the High Princes. It may be encouraging him to unite the humans with the Parshendi. Until some greater foe rears its ugly head, that is unlikely to even occur to Dalinar.

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

Such a tough question. I actually had to listen to this section twice. Jasnah’s death broke my heart. I have to say that I am pretty sure she is dead, at least her body. Perhaps there is some slight chance that her spirit will be able to chat with Shallan in Shadesmar. I really got attached to Jasnah in Book 1 because she made me think (remember that incident in the alley with the cutpurses?).

I wonder what happened to her spren, Ivory. Will Shallan find Ivory again?

With Jasnah’s death, and Shallan lost at sea (at least until she reaches shore, because I assume we can’t lose two main characters to early in Book 2), I don’t think anyone will notice until the ship is reported missing at their next scheduled port. Eventually word will reach Navani & family. Perhaps they will contact Shallan’s family.

I did sniffle a little at the thought of all their books being lost to sea.

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

Haha! It was fun to watch Shallan and Jasnah watch Pattern explore his new world and Shallan finding him a bit imbecilic. I mean, Shallan, and even Jasnah, must seem like children (or imbeciles) when they go to Shadesmar, knowing so little.

If Shallan continues to spend time with Pattern and nurture his inquisitive nature, I expect he will continue to grow as Syl did with Kaladin. Also, I think Pattern will teach Shallan about Shadesmar.

Does anyone else want a crawling, talking cryptic tattoo? I know I do!

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.
Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Jasnah was meeting with a lady assassin shortly before Szeth struck. She ordered that Elhokar’s wife be watched. I really, really want to learn why, and what the assassin learned. Since Jasnah is now out of the picture, what will happen to her little spy networks?

Shallan and her immense sea creature. I have to say, that is totally me. More than once, I have asked my man to pull off the road 9or done so myself if I am solo) so I could play with some critter. Snakes are a big one around here. Once it was tarantulas migrating to water and mating. Buffulo in a national park….what else, Oh! A moose! My one and only moose! Once we came upon a full grown mountain lion at night on the way home. Did not leave the car for that as that would have been immensely stupid. That cat was in no hurry to get off the road and stared us and the car down.

That was pretty touching about the Bridge 4 tatts and the badges.

Haha! Kaladin thinks Elhokar is a whiny little snit too!

Only 62 days to get things right. I wonder if this book will cover those full 62 days, or if those days will be stretched over multiple books. I can’t see Szeth waiting 62 days to make his attempt on Dalinar. I wonder who wrote the glyphs?

Dalinar’s latest vision was so full of clues and I have no idea where they all go! Spren with red eyes, being hunted? Used as spies? giant rock like beast rising from the riverbed – is it a spren?

I love that Kaladin keeps calling Dalinar ‘sir’ and that he takes the time to explain why to Dalinar. And Dalinar accepts it! It’s great to have these two teamed up.

Is anyone else listening to the audiobook? Why did they change the accent for Yalb and those of his race? They now all sound French, and they definitely did not in Book 1.

My Fellow Cryptics:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

 Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers

Words of Radiance Read Along: The Schedule

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.
Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Everyone, the read along for Book 2 of The Stormlight Archives has arrived! Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings and I plotted and then planned. We are very, very glad to be joined by several other bloggers as hosts and of course, anyone is welcome to join in . If you would like to receive the weekly discussion questions a few days before post date, just leave me a comment to that effect.

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerAs you can see on the schedule, we are still finalizing a few weeks, still awaiting word from a few more bloggers to see if they would like to host. If not, we have several folks who are willing to host more than one week. So no worries. And I will update this post as we finalize the schedule.

The first posts will go up April 2nd, so consider start reading soon, perhaps now.

Week 1 – April 2 – Prologue – Chapter 8 110 Pages Musings on Fantasia
Week 2 – April 9 Chapters 9-15, 105 Pages Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 3 – April 16 Chapters 16-28, 112 Pages Stainless Steel Droppings
Week 4 – April 23 Chapters 29-39, 111 Pages Dab of Darkness
Week 5 – April 30 Chapters 40-48, 107 Pages Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers
Week 6 – May 7 Chapters 49-57, 110 Pages Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 7 – May 14 Chapters 58-65, 102 Pages Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 8 – May 21 Chapters 66-74, 104 Pages  Books Without Any Pictures
Week 9 – May 28 Chapters 75-81, 103 Pages Musings on Fantasia
Week 10 – June 4 Chapters 82-END, 94 Pages Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Book 1, The Way of Kings, was incredible. I am very much looking forward to spending 10 weeks on Book 2 with such a great group of bloggers. Hopefully, my internet service will be daily, if not hourly, for this affair. Haha! Even as I typed up this itty-bitty post, the internet went down twice. Cross your fingers for me (unless you live in a country where that is some sort of rude hand gesture).

The Way of Kings Read Along Part X

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

This week, On Starships and Dragonwings is our host, so make sure to swing by her place. Let me take a moment to thank everyone who participated. You’ve all been great and the turn out of co-hosts was far more than Anya and I were expecting when we put our heads together to plan this. Also, a super big thank you to Anya for working with Tor Publishing to pull together an epic giveaway, which added extra fun to this adventure.

There is a tentative plan to do a read along of Book 2, Words of Radiance (which just came out yesterday) but will post more details once I know them.

And just an FYI – my internet has been up and down the past week, which is frustrating when you have drafted up a big post and then can’t save it for 2-4 hours…..and then it becomes lost in the aether. Same with leaving lengthy replies to read alongs on other peoples’ blogs. I haven’t forgotten folks, and look forward visiting everyone and seeing what your thoughts are on this book. Thanks for your patience!

Without further adieu, The End!

Chapters 66-END are covered. Spoilers are having a party 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 spren are attracted to the element and once they start dancing with it, sort to speak, then they enhance that element. Also, I think if a spren is taken notice of by a human, defined by a human in any way, this becomes a part of the spren, even if only temporarily.

And I believe we heard of other honorspren earlier in the book….I can’t recall if it was Jasnah’s research or Dalinar’s narrative where he is thinking of the book, The Way of Kings.

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?

The end of this book left me with lots and lots of questions – of the good variety. Definitely looking forward to Book 2. But the Parshendi reactions to Kaladin are some of the biggest questions for me. They seem to recognize what he is and have some idea of his abilities. They fear him, they hold him in awe, they are practical and take the gemstones out of their beards.

And yet I still have this question – did they hire Szeth or do they simply know what a Surgebinder is because they have them among their own kind? Even Szeth’s narrative never definitely gave who hired him, and definitely not why.  So, still tons of questions around that one.

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?

There are two scenes with Dalinar that make him stand out for me in the book – 1) Where he trades his Shardblade for the bridgemen; 2) Where he gifts Kaladin a cloak in his colors, basically making Kaladin just one step removed from Family. Incredible! May Navani be worthy of this man.

Oh, and I thoroughly enjoyed the part where Dalinar kicks the King around his royal rooms after he finds out that Elhokar cut his own girth strap. That was very, very satisfying.

So, now Dalinar has Navani’s backing (and he openly accepts and acknowledges their relationship), he has straightened out the bullshit with the King (assassins everywhere!), and he has a new, certain to be incredibly loyal bridgecrew army. Oh yeah, Dalinar is going to kick some major ass in Book 2 if he doesn’t get himself killed…..like by Szeth.

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?

Wow, another set of questions that I hope we get answers to in Book 2. I think that Soulcasters may allow people with lesser abilities to tap into the ability. Or perhaps whoever creates the soulcaster can imbue it with some minor abilities. While Jasnah and Shallan obviously have great abilities in Soulcasting – and I don’t know why, but would guess perhaps they are a pair of lost Knights Radiants?

Now for Shadesmar – perhaps this is the place spren come from, like the Symbolheads. I also read some of the links provided by others on Hoid (Wit in this book) and there was a little snippet about Shadesmar (TINY SPOILER ALERT) being the realm that Hoid uses to travel between the various Sanderson worlds (END TINY SPOILER). I expect we will get more info on this Shadesmar in Book 2, especially in how it relates to this world.

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?

What I hope is that Kaladin and/or Dalinar will be able to subdue Szeth and talk with him and eventually get him to walk over to their side. They may have to locate Szeth’s Oathstone to do this. And since the current Oathstone holder is in Karbranth, Shallan and/or Jasnah may very well put their hands on it. Without Szeth there to protect the King of Karbranth, how would the king keep Jasnah or Shallan from rummaging through his stuff until they found the stone?

What I fear is that Szeth will succeed in killing Dalinar and will be forever hunted by Kaladin for this deed.

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?

Ah, yes! I have been wanting to discuss this the entire book. First, are we sure that Jasnah is right? Are the Parshendi the Voidbringers? All the descriptions we have seem to make the Voidbringers into big whirling dark shadowy beings of death – chaotic and perhaps malevolent. The Parshmen haven’t struck me as particularly Voidbringer-ish. The Parshendi definitely have warrior skills, but are they chaotic? No, they seem pretty organized. Are they malevolent? I am not sure. As we understand so little of their culture, it is hard to say.

But like all people, the Parshendi could have various cultures, religions, city-states just like the humans. I wonder if the Parshendi see the human Surgebinders as their form of Voidbringers? Are the Parshmen the equivalent of the peace-loving Shin? So much to learn about them!

And if Jasnah is even close to right, then a good chunk of humanity has chosen to surround themselves with descendents or distant relatives of the ancient Voidbringers. This could be very, very bad for society as Jasnah and crew know it.

As to why the Parshendi are now changing, I am not sure. Perhaps they didn’t hire Szeth – perhaps it was a ruse by humans as Gavilar’s family assumed, by the Parshendi reaction, that is was them. Perhaps the Parshendi recognized Szeth and his abilities and to them he is a Voidbringer. So they have reacted with in a way that makes sense to them.

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?

First, I would really like Syl to tell Kaladin whatever she knows about Odium. And I think it was Sue from Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers that put forth the idea that this world has Honor and Odium paired. Is Syl THE Honor? Or is she just in service to Honor? We’ve seen how Syl with small words and actions has kept Kaladin going, has helped him make really difficult choices. Could Odium being doing similar things in the opposite direction with key people – like the King of Karbranth? Like with Sadeas? Or are people so selfish and cruel on their own that Odium just has to sit back and wait?

I think Dalinar has already started to make the hard and right choices. He gave up his Shardblade (Syl was very pleased by this, saying it makes him a better man, which now makes me suspicious of all Shardblades), he is openly courting Navani (which was very hard to do as he felt it might be perceived as inappropriate), he kicked King Elhokar around for his stupidity (my personal favorite of his decisions), and he has given bridgemen places of honor in his personal guard. I think the final vision will reinforce all these decisions and push Dalinar to get to the bottom things – like all those ‘whys’ surrounding the Parshendi.

Other Tidbits:

A full-sized Syl! We knew that spren could get big, but I didn’t know a little spren could become a big spren. And she needed Kaladin to say the words! Such a long sequence of intense scenes.

Navani! I am so glad she turned out to be on Dalinar’s side and it was amazing her putting together that ‘Justice’ symbol (rune thingy?) on the ground and burning it to send it heavenward. Nicely done. Intense.

So this large, capable Parshendi fighter spoke to Dalinar – saying something like ‘It is you!’. I forget exactly, but what do you think the Parshendi meant? Do you think they wanted Dalinar alive? Or did they see he was related to Gavilar and want him dead?

The King of Karbranth and his sick ward! I don’t mind him taking the verbal samples from people who are beyond medical help, nor even him and his folks assisting the hopeless cases into an easy death….but they are going beyond that!!!! So, I wouldn’t mind seeing the king end up giving his last verbal sample.

My Fellow Honorspren:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

The Way of Kings Read Along Part IX

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Musings on Fantasia is our host, so make sure to swing by her place.

Here is the SCHEDULE in case you want to jump in and join us. Anyone is welcome.

And don’t forget that awesome giveaway that is still going on – both The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance are part of the giveaway.

Chapters 58-65 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Adolin 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?

Well, if Dalinar should fall or be incapacitated, or decide to leave, or be captured, etc., then I think Adolin is much more ready to take the reins and lead people towards a real, honorable goal. Not just gemheart hunting. I think he sees the worth now of treating this like a war instead of some tournament game. And along with that comes the understanding of being sober, being uniformed, being armed, etc.

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?

I wouldn’t think that Elhokar and Shallan have a lot in common. Shallan is artistic, brainy, curious about the world around her, a scholar. Elhokar is still a young man enjoying the game of ruling and racking up gem hearts. So I would suspect this means that the Symbolheads are attracted to people who can affect the course of mankind. Yeah, it’s a big guess.

Shallan can soulcast, and we are pretty sure she has a Shardblade. And now she is attached to Jasnah in a way. All of these things together could mean that Shallan will become a mover and shaker of events.

Elhokar……while not the brightest pea in the pod, he is the King. He can drastically affect events with a nod of approval or a tantrum of disapproval.

Maybe the Symbolheads are simply recording history? Following the movers and shakers about real time to write about events in the Human Realm?

3. What do you make of Dalinar’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?

I think it was Nohadon. In each prior vision, Dalinar was meant to help out, assist, or watch something tremendously important that would change his thoughts on the past event. Like Dalinar helped safe that small family from the Voidbringers. In another vision, he witnessed ‘the day the Radiants forsook humanity’ which was them giving up their Shards. He didn’t understand why they did it, but it wasn’t the denouncement as recorded in the ‘history’ books.

So, in this vision, I think Dalinar’s role was to encourage Nohadon to write his book, planting the seed for later in Nohadon’s life. Nohadon, after the cities are rebuilt, after the farms are back in business, once peace reigns again and he is bored old man, he will sit down and write The Way of Kings.

I am not sure about the Voidbringers and the rock-like corpses. As this is a reread for me, I kind of know the answer to the Voidbringer question. So, I won’t spoil anything here.

4. Dalinar 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?

I am so glad these two finally got some of their feelings out in the open. Well, I really hope that Navani is being honest. I am still a little leery of her, but that might be because of her cold-then-hot behavior of the past (explained by her not knowing if Dalinar was interested in her, or hated her gut). If she is being truthful, then she may well turn out to be an awesome character.

As for their relationship, I expect Dalinar to take the longest to get use to it, especially in public. Haha! And I expect Navani to occasionally enjoy making him blush in public, on purpose!

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.

So if Kaladin isn’t executed for his independent thinking, then I expect that Sadeas (or his underlings) will require Kaladin to do the bone-arrow dance each time his bridge crew is called out.

As for the war at large, this is a trickier question. We know that both the Parshmen and Parshendi become enraged when one of their dead is touched. So I expect that seeing a human dressed in Parshendi bones will become a sign to the Parshendi of what depths of depravity the humans are willing to go to. I wouldn’t be surprised if this stirs them into being more aggressive or resuming raids on the war camps or bringing more warriors, especially archers, to the plateau assaults.

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

A lighteyes? But that covers a lot of people. I think it is someone who, directly or indirectly, got someone killed he cared about. Perhaps one of the highprinces? Or maybe the dufus king himself? That would be quite an endeavor if Moash plotted and tried to take out Elhokar. Haha! And then Elhokar would be vindicated that ‘someone’ was really trying to assassinate him.

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

As this is a reread, I remember this part. So let me just say that my emotions were all a-twist the first time I read this section. It seemed that the visions had been guiding Dalinar, had held true. Sadeas had his chance to gut Dalinar’s credibility with the king and he didn’t. They teamed up and Dalinar saved his ass. Sadeas was even giving The Way of Kings a listen. The two might never be really good friends, but they seemed to have common goals.

And then Sadeas leaves midfight. Is he injured and his men are falling back on established protocol? Does Sadeas see some bigger, badder threat that Dalinar hasn’t seen yet? So many questions!

Other Tidbits:

Adolin’s friends, Toral, Danlan, and Jakamav, all seem a bit vapid. But, until recently, Adolin himself was a bit vapid too.

Adolin seems to be quite the duelist. Resi was a poor loser. I wonder if it is just him (Resi) or if most of the lighteyes who enter these little war tourneys have the same petulant reaction when they lose a duel?

Any speculation on what has happened with Gaz? Kaladin asked Brightness Hashal about him, is he well? And she curtly answered, No. Hmm….well, that doesn’t sound good. But why keep Gaz’s whereabouts a secret? The lighteyes seem to love making examples of people.

Syl had my favorite quote this section: ‘Don’t be so risky. If you die, I go stupid again, you know.’

Followed closely by: ‘Chasmfiend,’ Kaladin said. ‘Really?’ She (Syl) sounded excited. ‘We could chase after it!’

It was pretty freaking awesome when Kaladin trusted Syl by cutting the rope and dropping back down into the chasm. Very impressive!

Navani and her painrial. Now that would be immensely useful on a farm!

Navani figured out that Dalinar was speaking a line from a Dawnchant, in a language all but dead and forgotten. This proves that Dalinar isn’t crazy, but it just seems to raise more questions.

At one point, the Parshendi archers are getting ready to send a volley of 50 arrows at Kaladin, after he’s done his little bone dance and used up him Stormlight. And Dalinar crashes into the back of the Parshendi and saves Kaladin and his men. But the thing that stands out for Kaladin is that Dalinar salutes the bridgemen. Could this be the first, tiniest turning point for Kaladin and lighteyes?

My Fellow Artifabrians:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

The Way of Kings Read Along Part VIII

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Caffeinated Life is our host, so make sure to swing by her place.

Here is the SCHEDULE in case you want to jump in and join us. Anyone is welcome.

Chapters 51-57 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) What do you think of Dalinar’s latest vision concerning the Radiants? Can you make sense of them? Do you think Jasnah will prove or disprove Dalinar’s visions? And what did you think of Dalinar and Navani’s almost moment? 😉

Dalinar’s latest vision seems to be a moment that went down in history-faded-to-myth, the day the Radiants turned their backs on humanity. I wonder why so many Radiants (all of them?) marched to that fortress and gave up their Shards without a word. If the leaders understood then, they didn’t record it for posterity. And then men started fighting over the Shards! Messed up!

I think Jasnah will do her best for her uncle. I think Jasnah and Dalinar has a good report, but more so, I think Jasnah likes a challenge. And this is indeed a challenge.

Dalinar has it bad for Navani. But at this point, I am not sure if Navani has the same sort of feeling for Dalinar, or is this is just sport to her. Hard to say as we don’t get to ride around in Navani’s head.

2) Dalinar proposes a military alliance with Sadeas. Given what we’ve read of their relationship and of Sadeas’ character, did Dalinar make the right move? How long do you think this alliance will last? Has Dalinar finally gotten Sadeas on his side by using Sadeas’ interests (gemhearts, the Shardblade, etc.) as incentive or does Dalinar have something else up his sleeve?

I know the answer to this question and I will have to walk a fine line so I don’t give anything away.

When I first read this book back in 2010, I was very pleased that Dalinar finally got someone, and not just anyone, but the Highprince of Info, to team up with him. Surely this is a good thing? A turning point in the war? If Sadeas and Dalinar can work together, then the other Highprinces would soon join forces and do likewise, right?

And during my first read, I expected their alliance to last until one of two things happened: 1) Dalinar prohibited Sadeas from using and abusing bridgemen and/or 2) Dalinar discovered something about the Parshendi that prohibited him from slaughtering them.

No, I don’t think Dalinar has anything further up his sleeve because he is such a straightforward guy. I don’t think he is really capable of deception.

3) This is the first time we’ve read in detail what it’s like to be a Shardbearer fighting with Shardblades in battle through Dalinar. What did you think of it?

The Thrill sounds intoxicating! The Highprinces have been treating this war like a game: Who can win the most gemhearts in a season? Who can get to the plateau the fastest? But now we see that the game isn’t the only reason they play. No, the game gives them the excuse to put on the Shardplate and to ride the Thrill. In some ways, this is very human, but in others it is rather disturbing (such as the slaughtering of all those weaker than you).

4) We get a big reveal about what’s happening with Kaladin this week regarding the Stormlight as well as a revelation regarding Syl’s nature. What did you think of it? Given what we know now, what else do you think he is capable of?

I was a little surprised that Teft threw an unexpected punch at Kaladin, with Lopen there. Maybe there just isn’t much privacy in the life of a bridgeman. Maybe Teft felt Lopen would be a good accomplice to keeping Kaladin charged?

And Syl seemed a bit foggy, as if she is having trouble remembering something she knew a long time ago. She binds things, and the changes in Kaladin are caused by the two of them together. And she brings up a good point – do Flame Spren cause fire? Or are they attracted to it? And then Kaladin goes into his ‘I’m cursed!’ mode and Syl feels understandably hurt by this. Since Syl is a part of the change, is she the curse, or part of it? I don’t think so. I would feel quite sad if Kaladin and Syl stopped doing whatever it is they are doing, mostly because Syl would fade back into a near-mindless Spren.

As for what Kaladin is capable of, well we just saw him bind a pack to barrel. So, I think, with time, he will be able to do many if not all of the things that Szeth can do. We’ve also seen him ride the Highstorms in some manner. I expect he’ll have a few more tricks for us.

5) Kaladin initially blames his curse as the reason why people around him keep dying. Is there some truth to his claims, that this binding ability has some correlation with the casualty count around him, or is Kaladin simply grieving over recent losses? If the former, do you think this might have any connection to what the Radiants are and whatever happened to them?

I think Kaladin is grieving losses, and not just the recent ones. But perhaps even as far back as Laral’s father and the loss of that life – the possible path of marrying Laral and becoming a surgeon. Of course Tien, I think he will always grieve over. Then all the men he tried to protect. He goes on and on about all those he tries to protect end up dead. But I think Kaladin forgets that many of those, especially the military men, tried to protect him too. Did their efforts save him from torment? From a slave brand? From being placed on a bridge crew?

6) Wit/Hoid is turning out to be more than just the life of the party and a thorn on the sides of the other highprinces. As we’ve seen, he’s not very playful with Dalinar and is quite sober, even ominous, with Kaladin. What did you think of his conversations with Dalinar and with Kaladin? What do you think he’s up to? How does he factor in with everything else that’s going on at the moment (or what’s to come)?

I think Hoid has a bigger picture than the Highprinces and the bridge crews. So I think he is trying to help these two, as he can see they are pivotal to whatever is to come. I love his intensity!

Hoid asks Dalinar if her has ever heard of Adonalsium. Dalinar hasn’t, but I have the power of El Internet, so here is a link to info on Adonalsium. Beware that it is a little spoilery (big, giant over arching world building kind of stuff).

The conversation he had with Kaladin, with the flute and the fire, was deep. I expect Kaladin will be thinking about that for some time to come. I liked the story Hoid told of the people who blamed all their killings on their ruler….who had been dead for years. Hoid uses this story to point out how people, for various reasons, use some higher power (whether Earthly or spiritual) to blame their damaging actions on. Avoiding responsibility. I see Szeth caught in this trap. While he despises himself for the killing, he keeps doing it because this higher power (his master via the Oath Stone, a deep part of his culture) tells him he has to. Perhaps Hoid needs to pay Szeth a visit and give the same talk?

And Kaladin fears his power (or curse as he sees it). But he also uses that believe that he is cursed, that he can’t do anything about it, that he is doomed to bring bad luck upon those around him, as a crutch. I think he needs to let go of that before he can reach his full potential.

And Sigzil was Hoid’s apprentice???? How do you think Sigzil will react when Kaladin passes on Hoid’s message? Why did Sigzil try to kill him?

Other Tidbits:

We finally learned all the truth of how Kaladin ended up with a slave brand. I want to give Amaram a good kick to his tender bits. But I also want to ask him why he felt what he did was necessary. It seemed that there was something more than greed motivating him.

Ooo! The Old Magic! Baxil mentions it during one of the Interludes (and what the hell were they doing breaking precious objects and then fleeing?). Anyway, Baxil is considering asking his boon of the Nightwatcher. What would you ask? What do you think your curse would be? And Dalinar received a boon and a curse. I believe his curse to be losing the memories of his wife. What do you think his boon was? I wonder if it was something to do with his younger, sickly son, Renarin.

What do you think Geranid’s and Ashir’s recent discovery of measuring and recording Spren means? Seems the Spren to some extent are defined by those who take note of them, or interact with them. Hmmm… I wonder what this means for Kaladin’s and Syl’s relationship?

Szeth slaughtered a lot of people at the Jah Keved King’s feast. I know that Szeth feels trapped in this existence, feels he must carry out these orders. And yet…..Well, Kaladin or Jasnah or Dalinar may just have to put him down.

Moash seems to have taken a more active role in the crew, keeping Kaladin from getting trampled when he went for Dunny.

So Sadeas found Dalinar to not be at the root of the King’s cut saddle strap. Do you trust Sadeas now? When I first read this book, I definitely perked up at this and had hopes that Sadeas, Dalinar, & Elhokar would make a kind of triumvirate that united all.

Shen was seriously disturbed by the Bridgemen scavenging the Parshendi dead. He struggled but didn’t injure anyone. I wish he would talk a bit, or that Kaladin would take the time to try to get more than a word out of him.

My Fellow Wits:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

The Way of Kings Read Along Part VII

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers is our host, so make sure to swing by her place.

Here is the SCHEDULE in case you want to jump in and join us. Anyone is welcome.

Chapters 43-50 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. What did you think of the replacement for the delightful Lamaril, or rather, what did you make of his wife, who seems to do all his work? She assumes that chasm duty is the worst punishment that she can throw at the bridge crew, so were you surprised that Kaladin saw an opportunity in it so quickly?

Well, Lamaril, even though we saw very little of him, seemed quite a dishonorable fellow. I wasn’t too sad to see him lose his head. But, alas, now we have this she-devil of a light eyed woman who is pretty hard-nosed. I don’t think this is a good change for any of the bridge crews. Her husband, Brightlord Matal, seems to be a non-entity, merely a tool for Brightness Hashal to use.

And Kaladin barely kept his temper in check. He knew he could take the guard, maybe several of them. But the outcome would still be a nasty beating for him and possibly for his men. So, instead he took a hit to the head. Yet one more opportunity for brain damage. Haha! Perhaps that is causing his visions? Just kidding.

Chasm duty seems the perfect opportunity to plot and train. Even gather some supplies, if only they had a way to keep them. Once they come up out of the chasm, they are thoroughly strip searched. Orifice searched, if I understand correctly. Ugh….No wonder it is the least desirable duty.

2. Please use this opportunity to list all the imaginative ways that you would like Roshone to suffer for forcing poor little Tien into the army.

Roshone is suffering partly through his own personality and partly through the loss of his son. He hated being assigned to Hearth Stone, seeing it as a backwards ass place not worthy of his care. Basically, he was a pretty unhappy and angry man before losing his son.

But even through that pain, he punishes the surgeon who saved him. Maybe that is part of the reason he is punishing Lirin and his family – because Roshone would rather have died than live to bury his son.

But, yeah, the dude should not be in charge of anything, unless it is a pigsty and his only ‘underling’ is his pitchfork. Even Lord Amaram seemed a bit disgusted with being drawn into Roshone’s little ‘feud’.

3. Finally, somebody is asking questions about the inconstancy of the Parshendi artifacts and how Gavilar changed in the months leading up to his death. What do you make of the accounts that Shallan is reading? Also, what do you think about Shen, the Parshman added to the bridge crew?

We know from a few things now, like the chasm duty scavenging, that the Parshendi have beautifully crafted weapons. Seems pretty sophisticated for ‘barbarian savages’, yes? From Gavilar’s encounters with the Parshendi, we know they have their own language and also religion. So I wonder where are the scholars today that did all this translation for Gavilar & crew while they were hunting with the Parshendi? Are they no longer used? Did they die? What do they think of the current war?

And the Parshendi are confused by the Parshmen. This makes me think that if they are related, they have been separated for some time. Like divergent evolution. And the Parshendi singing? Being in sync even when they are not within earshot? telepathy? Or perhaps they communicate on a lower frequency that more humans can’t hear – like elephants. Yep. I just compared the Parshendi to elephants. But you didn’t see that coming, haha!

I am glad that Kaladin refuses to treat Shen as so much of the army treats the bridgecrews. I am glad he sees that if he behaves the bully towards Shen, then he is really no better than Gaz, or Lamaril or Hashal, etc.

4. Shallan has some seriously bizarre visions or hallucinations. Do you have any new ideas about the nature of the symbol-headed figures: are they good or evil? What about the alternative world and the beads: could that really have been the soul or essence of the goblet that she spoke to before it changed into blood?

I remember a little about this from the first time I read the book. While I we get a little more info in this book (and I won’t spoil anything), we are left with some questions at the end.

The Symbolheads seemed intensely curious about Shallan and her ability to to see them. I wonder how much of our world they can perceive? Can they see her drawings? She said that as they came towards her in a crowd, they went around the people. So that implies that they can see much of our world, and for whatever reason, don’t want to bump into, or go through, people.

And WTF? Talking beads? A see of them? And some bigger entity? Somehow that world is connected to ours and Shallan was able to enter it and influence a small piece of her regular world (the goblet). Is this what Soulcasters do all the time? Or is Shallan doing something different that gives the same results?

5. Does Kaladin’s dream / vision seem similar to those that Dalinar has been having? He is called the ‘Child of Tanavast, Child of Honor’ and there is mention of an entity called Odium, who appears to be rather bad. Do you have any speculation about these two beings, how they fit into the world that we have seen so far and why the name Odium makes Syl hiss and fly off?

Kaladin, alight within the storm, can see a symmetry to the Shattered Plains. What does that mean? We’ve heard Kabsal talk about certain cities being symmetrical. Was there once a city on the place now known as the Shattered Plains which was symmetrical? Could that city have been Urithiru? I am totally stretching my imagination at this point and not really answering the questions.

Yes, I think Kaladin’s storm vision is very similar to Dalinar’s visions. I can’t wait for these two to meet, during a highstorm!

I expect that Odium is an odious being causing disgust, abhorrence, and hatred throughout the land. Asshole! And he is the most dangerous of the 16. So there are 16 assholes? I wonder what the others are called – calumny, vilification, obloquy, vituperation?

It is interesting that Syl knows that name in some way. It appeared instinctual, her flying off. I noticed that she didn’t explain herself to Kaladin and I don’t think she would forget so quickly. So it is something she doesn’t want to chat about.

Oh! And during Kaladin’s storm flight, he saw a bald man in white standing over 2 bodies. I think he saw Szeth!And what’s more, it appears that Szeth sensed Kaladin some how. Freaky! If I can’t wait for Dalinar and Kaladin to meet, then I definitely am having trouble waiting for Szeth and Kaladin to meet.

6. We have learnt some more about the events following Cenn’s chapter way back at the beginning of the book. Were you surprised that Kaladin defeated a Shardbearer almost singlehandedly? This still does not explain why he is a slave, but does it bring us closer to guessing?

The first time I read this book, I had guessed that Kaldin had taken his men towards the Shardbearer with the intent to try to take him out. So when we finally get back to that section of his life, I had this little burning hope that he would take out the Shardbearer, but that wouldn’t explain how he ended up a slave. So, I thought perhaps his men made the attempt, failed, and were taken captive and made slaves.

What really happened seems to much worse. Kaladin lost so many of his men and he is heart broken over it. Was I surprised he took out a Shardbearer singlehandedly? Yes. I expected that he needed help, or a horse to have fallen on the Shardbearer, pinning him, or him to be distracted or  something.

7. I think I made it quite clear last week that I did not trust Kabsal, so I (Sue from Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers) am now feeling rather smug. However, I did not guess at the poison in the bread: did it surprise you as well? Can you see any way that Shallan can reconcile with Jasnah now that the theft has been revealed?

I just can’t be smug about knowing that Kabsal had ill intent. I think his character was more than that. We see hints of something deeper going on with him. He talked about the ardents being property, being owned. Who forced him into poisoning the bread? And Kabsal offered to leave with her. I think this was a true offer. Whatever he was directed to do, he was willing to give that up. Perhaps leaving with Shallan would have been fleeing his ardent responsibilities. He once said that he had suggested to his superiors that he steal the Soul Caster and they had prohibited it. Perhaps they did so because they later directed him to poison Jasnah.

And, yes, the first time I read this book, I was surprised that the bread was dusted with poison and that the jam held the antidote. I wonder why the strawberry jam in this case was gross? Did the antidote mix badly with the jam?

I know the answer to the reconciliation question, so I won’t spoil anything. I will say that Jasnah’s reaction to the theft was milder than I expected.

Other Tidbits:

Syl talks about helping kill men before. She can barely remember it, and it is a faint memory. Hmmm…..Syl’s a badass in more than one way.

Lost Radiants’ motto: Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. What do you think? Like it enough to have it tattooed to a public part of your body?

Kaladin and his wretch: Apathy. He calls it a false refuge. I like that he has this inner conflict. He recognizes this wretch, struggles with him, doesn’t like him. But can he win against that part of himself?

Rock, the Horn Eater, sees fighting as beneath him. Interesting. The Shin also see their warriors as a lower caste.

Hesina speaks of a time when men supposedly learned to read. Kaladin is a little scandalized by his mother’s talk. Haha!

The prayers sewn onto sleeves seemed an interesting idea. Laral had a bride’s prayer. And I think this means she’s engaged to Roshone, since his son is now dead. Ugh!! I wonder if Laral was thinking along those lines when she was crying and screaming while Lirin tried to save Rillir.

Ooo! Discussion of the mythical Urithiru! It was the center of the Silver Kingdoms, and had 10 thrones, one for each king. I think it was Book Vulture from last week that pointed out how often 10 shows up in this story.

Kabsal & Shallan have a discussion about the Almighty and how all good has its opposite – hence the Voidbringers. So for every great good the Almighty did, it brought forth the opposite in bad – birthing the Voidbringers. More philosophy. But it makes me wonder in my life for every good I do, does it slight someone else? Pfft….maybe I don’t care that much.

Everyone assumed Shallan was distraught and attempted suicide. I know she didn’t have much time to think, but wasn’t that the perfect opportunity for Shallan to tell Jasnah everything? To show her all the drawings? Oh! I wish she would!

Sigzil’s story about the Babatharnam’s way to rule – the oldest rules, so supposedly, everyone would have a chance to rule sooner or later. But the ruling family makes sure to kill off anyone who gets old enough to possibly be competition. Messed up! The elderly bickering and slitting each other’s throats.

Kaladin briefly met Adolin. Adolin saves a prostitute from a beating by one of Sadeas’s men. After the minor conflict, he flips a sphere to Kaladin to have him run a message. But Kaladin doesn’t run the message. Tsk, tsk. Even Syl chided him for taking the sphere but not running the message. Right? Or wrong?

My Fellow Symbolheads:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

The Way of Kings Read Along Part VI

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

This week, There Were Books Involved is our host, so make sure to swing by her place.

Here is the SCHEDULE in case you want to jump in and join us. Anyone is welcome.

Chapters 33-42 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. Both Kabsal and Jasnah have spoken to Shallan about stealing the Soulcaster, and both have done so in a pretty lighthearted manner, considering how serious it would actually be to steal it. Do you think Kabsal was telling the truth when he brushed off Shallan’s questions about his plan to steal the Soulcaster? Is he still interested in stealing it? Does he have other, deeper motives??

I definitely remember what happens with Kabsal from my first reading. I think Kabsal tries to be truthful with Shallan, like she tries to be truthful to him. But they both have things they can’t speak about. I think Kabsal can’t truly steal the Soulcaster. If he did, and it was guessed he did, him and his votary would feel the entire might of Jasnah bearing down on them – which means the entire might of Alethcar.

Perhaps converting Jasnah to a votary, any votary, would be enough. Perhaps he is just there to gather intel to feed back to his votary. Perhaps it is something more sinister. While we do get a good solid answer on this question later in the book, we never learn Kabsal’s motivations. So I like to guess on those (but not in this section of the reading as that would be spoilery).

2. By the end of the section, Shallan has found out that she’ll be able to return home in one week, but she’s torn between wanting to continue her studies, and being able to take the stolen Soulcaster home. So far it looks like her theft hasn’t been detected, but do you think she’ll be found out before that time? Do you think she should leave, or might decide on her own to stay? Could something else happen to make her stay?

Well, again, I remember what happens with Shallan on this point. But I do remember wondering all sorts of things with my first read. This book is so excellent, and one of the ways I know that is because I spent lots of time thinking about the characters during boring work meetings. Let’s say she makes it back home with the Soulcaster. Will she learn how to use it? If she learns how to use it, will her brothers use her? And what about those men who came to visit her brother and are demanding the Soulcaster back? Will they take it? If they do, Shallan will not longer be of significant use to her brothers. Which means they would probably marry her off for political gain.

On the other hand, if she stays with Jasnah, she would either need to confess her theft or switch it back. Staying would probably create some consternation for her remaining family. Again, marriage to a strong, wealthy political ally (maybe partially due to Jasnah’s influence) might solve the problem. Or clever Shallan might come up with some other way to finance her family, at least temporarily.

Or perhaps something completely unexpected will decide the matter. 😉

3. How much do you think Jasnah actually knows about the theft of her Soulcaster? Is it even remotely possible that Jasnah is still in the dark about it? If she knows, did she in fact dupe Shallan with a fake, as Shallan theorizes? Or did Jasnah let her steal it? Why??

I’m starting to sound like a broken record. I totally know the answer.

Jasnah is very smart, but also highly focused on her studies. Other than their academic conversations, has Jasnah shown any interest in Shallan’s personal life or history since taking her on as a ward? No. So, has she noticed that her Soulcaster has been swapped? Hmm….Well, if she knows, why would she let Shallan hang on to it? Is it a test? If it’s a fake, is it to see if Shallan will confess her theft? If it’s the real one, is it a test to see if Shallan is clever enough to figure out how to use it?

4. During the Highstorm, Kaladin experiences a lull during which the wind and rain stop, he feels no more pain, and he sees an enormous “face of blackness, yet faintly traced in the dark”. The face is described as, “Inhuman. Smiling.” Was Kaladin just hallucinating? If not, do you think this being had something to do with recharging the sphere? With Kaladin somehow feeling better before the storm kicked up again? Or could this being be malevolent? Thoughts/theories??

Well, I don’t think Kaladin was hallucinating, but I also don’t recommend that he step out into a high storm to try to see the being again. I think the highstorm recharged the sphere. I don’t know if the entire highstorm is part of this being, or because of this being, or if this being gets swept up into the storm like Kaladin was, like Dalinar gets caught up in them. I do have the impression that this being is bigger, perhaps even more elemental, than us mere mortals (including Kaladin and Dalinar). Still, lots of questions about it.

And is it malevolent? Well, if it was malicious, I would think it would have ripped Kaladin off the roof to be smashed and torn to bits in the storm. But it didn’t. It wasn’t particularly gentle either, but this could be due to it’s elemental nature (if I am right about that).

5. Before Kaladin is forced to endure the Highstorm, he tells his men to come out after the storm is over; he says he’ll open his eyes and look back at them, and they’ll know that he survived. Kaladin obviously survives, and everyone in Bridge Four is really glad about that. But we haven’t yet seen a reaction from anyone other than Kal’s men. Do you think Kaladin’s survival could have a wider impact than just giving his own group of bridgemen hope?

I am not sure Sadeas will acknowledge Kaladin’s continued existence. And if he doesn’t acknowledge it, then it would probably be unwise for anyone else to do so. Still, there are the other bridgecrews that can probably give Kaladin a nod and not get whipped for it. Maybe some of the common soldiers. He could inadvertently start a revolution!

Or not. I think it would be too simple to start a revolution this early in the what is to be a lengthy series.

6. We learn quite a bit about Teft in this section… kind of. But pretty much everything we learn just leads to more questions. What do you think about these “Envisagers” Teft mentions? How much do you think Teft knows about Kaladin’s ability to use Stormlight? It seemed like Teft became wary of Kaladin after he recovered – why? Do you think he’ll tell Kaladin about what he knows?

Teft’s an interesting character. There is so much we have to guess about his past based on his few remarks we catch. He has mentioned that Kaladin shouldn’t depend on him, he’ll just let him down. Sounds Like Teft was charged with some important task, or secret, or item and somehow couldn’t keep to that charge. And now we hear just a little bit about the Envisagers and Stormlight and we see how the spheres seem to give up their Stormlight to Kaladin. There is definitely plenty for Teft to explain, but will he? And how much does he know? Is what he ‘knows’ just rumor and children’s tales? Or does he know something from some ancient text, like The Way of Kings?

Yep, Teft is definitely a great one to contemplate.

Other Tidbits:

What did you think of Jasnah’s philosophical lesson in the alley? Tough lesson. Did you agree with Shallan’s conclusion?

Syl got to stay with Kaladin in the highstorm. I just love her loyalty.

My Fellow Rockbuds:

Musings on Fantasia

There Were Books Involved

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

Over the Effing Rainbow

Book Vulture

Lunar Rainbows

Novel Reflection

Doing Dewey

 

The Way of Kings Read Along Part V

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Tethyan Books is our host, so make sure to swing by her place.

Here is the SCHEDULE in case you want to jump in and join us. Anyone is welcome.

Chapters 28-32 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1.Dalinar made a very dramatic decision at the beginning of this section.  Do you think it was the right one? What do you think will happen to him, Adolin and (and the not-united Alethi) if he follows through?

Unless Dalinar becomes a trusted and highly placed mentor to the king, no I don’t think he can unite the Alethi by stepping back and letting Adolin lead the family. And I think Adolin is a little too focused on the gemhearts and still too easily insulted for his to make a solid leader at this time.

If Dalinar were to step away, I would expect Adolin to do a lot more plateau assaults, win some gemhearts, have fame & glory (at least temporarily). Over the long run, I would then expect the Alethi to continue to focus on the gemhearts ingnoring their kingdom’s needs back home, and also not really seeing whatever the Parshendi may be up to. Also, I would expect Alethkar to have other enemies, and those enemies may see an opportunity to take over the home land while the lords are off playing their games in the Shattered Plains.

But Dalinar is going to come to his senses and not step down, right?

2.We’ve gotten to see a little more of Shinovar with Rysn the apprentice merchant.  In terms of plants and animals, it seems to be pretty much like our world.  How do you think it happened that there’s such an ‘ordinary’ place, or what do you think might have happened to turn the rest of the world so unusual?  Given this and the chapter on Szeth, do you have any more ideas on what the meaning of his “Truthless” title might be?

It seems that the further one gets from the Shattered Plains, the more plants, the more soil, etc. The center of the Shattered Plains (or beyond it?) seems to be the point of origin for whatever calamity struck the world. So I think Shinovar is an example of one of the least most affected areas. It also explains some of Szeth’s cultural norms, especially concerning the sacred nature of stone. If bare stone is somewhat rare in Shinovar, then it might very well be revered in some way.

And, hence, Szeth, being stuck in a part of this world where there is little to no soil, starts to question all sorts of things. He considers it sacrilegious to walk on stone, to build with it. Yet he has to admit that it would be impossible for people to not walk on stone and very, very difficult to not build with it as shelter is definitely needed and what else is there to build with? And I think this leads him to just barely start to question his Oathstone. Things are looking very interesting for Szeth indeed.

Rysn and the merchant had a nice little conversation about the need to always be truthful with the Shin, telling them exactly what they have for trade, even undervaluing it. Perhaps this indicates that the Shin prize honesty above many other traits. Perhaps Szeth lied about something important and he was labeled with ‘Truthless’ for it. Shall be interesting to find out.

3.  Shallan and Jasnah’s story has returned!  Based on Jasnah’s words to Dalinar, and the clues Shallan is picking up, what do you think Jasnah’s project is about?  What do you think she hopes to accomplish?

I think Jasnah is researching the validity of the book The Way of Kings. If that book proves to be based on facts, then perhaps Gavilar’s last words will make sense. And perhaps Dalinar’s visions will make sense too (though I am not certain he has shared his visions with Jasnah).

I think Dalinar has started to think of the Parshendi as more than mindless beasts. And Jasnah chronicled Gavilar’s earliest interactions with them. If they hammered out a treaty, were feasting together, then the Parshendi are more than monsters. I think Jasnah wants to unravel that mystery too. Why the Parshendi assassinated Gavilar, or were framed for it?

4. Concerning Shallan, it’s starting to seem that her drawing ability is a supernatural gift. Do you have any theories on the bizarre figures Shallan accidentally drew behind the king?

I think we have seen Shallan draw something similar once before, when she first came to the Palleneum seeking Jasnah out. I think she was in one of the alcoves, thinking a lot and drawing and she draw some ‘fanciful’ figures that weren’t really there. Here, we see she becomes lost in a conversation, in thought as she draws and Shallan ends up with a ‘ruined’ picture.

Shallan wouldn’t have this ability if it wasn’t important. Nor are the figures mere fancies. Brandon Sanderson wouldn’t do such a thing to us poor readers. So, it is a gift, probably an important one, and the figures will play into the story at some point. We’ve heard a lot about the Radiants and the Voidbringers. These figures seem malevolent to me. Also Jasnah said that something had been weighing on the king, worrying him, distracting him. Could these figures have such an influence over the king?

If that’s true, then who else may be affected by such figures? What about King Elhokar? He seems to be too paranoid of his uncle. Could such beings be influencing his interactions with his strongest supporter?

5. Back to the bridge crews, now that we’ve seen a bit more into Gaz’s perspective, does he seem any more sympathetic?  Why do you think he owes Lamaril money?

No, I am not sympathetic towards Gaz. He is out for himself. If he showed the bridgecrews any decency, he wouldn’t have to fear ending up in one so much. They way he has treated them, he wouldn’t even get to go on a run before meeting his demise. I am sure a certain percentage of crew never wake. Or have ‘assistance’ leaping into the Honor Chasm.

I am not sure why he owes Lamaril money. Gambling debt? Did Gaz inadvertently piss on the man’s shoes and he has to pay for a new, fancy pair? Maybe he has a weakness for women and borrowed from the lord? Perhaps Lamaril paid for his wounded eye to be sewed up after whatever battle he lost it in; and now Gaz has to pay off that medical debt. All sorts of possibilities.

6. Kaladin has won over his bridge crew, and enacted a brilliant plan to protect them—which utterly ruined the military strategy. Do you think his plan was a good one, or should he have seen the chaos coming? What do you think will happen to him next?  Also, what do you think he’ll do if he figures out the real reason why bridgemen aren’t allowed shields?

I think if Kaladin had been given the time to think it through, he would have seen how his maneuver would have wreaked chaos on the field. But he thought of it that morning, or the night before, and the crew only had the chance to practice the side carry a few times that day before going on a run.

I know what happens next. It is a pivotal point in the book. So I won’t give it away. Personally, I found it spectacular.

I am not sure what Kaladin will do once he understands that bridgemen are there to distract the Parshendi, to be easy targets. Hence, no shields. What can Kaladin do? Can he and the men build a shield on the front and sides of the bridge that quickly removes or folds under? Other than Dalinar, is there anyone he could appeal to? And how would he appeal to Dalinar?

Other Tidbits:

The span readers are a very interesting bit of technology (magic?). Also, the men must have code with their family and friends because they must always need a woman to do the writing and reading. What is the trusted woman lies about what is written? Or writes something else? It’s like trusting a translator.

So many spren! And so many ways to catalog them! What was his name again? The man who can basically temporarily tattoo himself and is composing a book on spren? He finally found intoxication spren – cute little brown bubbles!

I found it amusing that Dalinar forgot to indicate that Jasnah’s mom was in the room and Jasnah made a near-rude remark about her. It would be interesting to see some interactions between Jasnah and Navani. Do they get a long? Do they detest one another? Are they rather indifferent?

My Fellow Skyeels!

Lunar Rainbows
Lynn’s Book Blog
Tethyan Books
Musings on Fantasia
Over the Effing Rainbow
Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers
The Caffeinated Life
On Starships and Dragonwings
Book Vulture
Novel Reflection

The Way of Kings Read Along Part IV

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

This week, Lunar Rainbows is our host, so make sure to swing by her place.

Here is the SCHEDULE in case you want to jump in and join us. Anyone is welcome.

Chapters 20-27 are covered. Spoilers are having a party below!

1.  We seem to be getting more and more proof that there is some ”luck” or magic at play when it comes to Kaladin’s safety,  survival and his skills – especially during those battle scenes.  Even when performing that Kata in the Chasm, there was something  incredible about his movements according to the rest of the crew. Initially the blade seemed to be the source of his skills (to me at least) , what do you think might be fueling his powers?  Do you think they’re getting stronger?

Since this is a reread for me, I remember the answer to this question. So, let me just go on about how awesome Kaladin is and I am looking forward to more of his awesomeness as we move forward in the book. Last week, a few people touched on the drained spheres as a potential source for Kaladin’s abilities. So, keep that in mind.

2. We were introduced to Navani, King Gavilar’s widow and the current King Elhokar’s mother.  What was your initial impression of her?  There seems to be some complicated history between her and Dalinar,  do you think she might end up being an ally or an eventual hindrance?

She’s seems to be a respected and formidable woman. However, there were some references to her openly toying with Gavilar and Dalinar before eventually deciding which brother she wanted in marriage. I don’t really like that aspect of her. And I have the sense that she is toying with him again, even if only slightly. Dalinar is the kind of guy who would feel awkward looking at a dead third cousin’s wife askance, let a lone his brother’s wife. I think she knows this.

I totally forget her subplot. So I am going to say that unless Dalinar is furthering her or her son’s power within the kingdom, then she will be a hindrance. She does seem to enjoy her power. With cream and strawberries on top.

3. What did you make of Sadeas’ maneuver against Dalinar to gain the King’s favor by being named the High Prince of Information?  How do you reconcile his actions with the advice Dalinar received ”to trust” Sadeas?

Well, Dalinar put his trust in his vision and approached Sadeas about uniting, and then the King about naming a High Prince of War, but it was deemed too soon and inappropriate at this time. And then the King names Sadeas High Prince of Info. I think this was underhanded by Sadeas, who proposed the idea, but also by the King because it undercuts not only one of his High Princes but also his uncle (all in one person).

I worry that it would be too easy to lay false tracks pointing to Dalinar or his household as the reason for the strap being cut. Because of the King’s announcement, the entirety of the war camps know that Dalinar and his camp are being questioned. It would be so, so easy to frame him for something and Sadeas is such an egotrip he would be easy to lead.

4. Where you surprised when Rock admitted to Kaladin that he was seemingly born being able to see the Spren and therefore could see Syl following Kaladin around? That led to a pivotal point for Kaladin, gaining Rock’s favor and then Teft’s.  What were your thoughts on that whole scene? Can you speculate as to why some people are able to see the spren when others can not?

Well, we need to meet some other Horn Eaters so that we can see if some or all Horn Eaters can see Spren so easily. But Syl seems to like him and he treats her with reverence, so I think this is a good thing. Perhaps if you treat something with reverence, even just politeness, you are more likely to see it? It seems that nearly everyone else treats Spren dismissively. Even Kaladin did before Syl kept messing with him.

I thought it was a lot of fun watching Syl lead Rock around to the weeds….and the occasional dung pile. Such simple jokes, but so well placed in the narrative that I laughed out loud.

5.  We got to see Adolin confront his father Dalinar because of his visions and lay all his cards on the table. Clearly Adolin thinks his father is losing it and his words seemed to shake Dalinar’s own convictions as well.  Do you think this will have a lasting effect on Dalinar’s belief in his visions? Not to mention his acting on them?  Moreover, do you think Adolin will ever be convinced that there is more to Dalinar’s visions any time soon?

I know, I should remember how this plays out. But I don’t. I think there will be further strife between Dalinar and his sons, and some of it will be over his visions and his ‘obsession’ with the old ways. But also, he promised Renarin the next set of Shardplate, but then he also promised the very next one to that other High Prince. If that falls out like that, I think Renarin will be hurt and Dalinar’s word to his sons might not mean as much. Also, Adolin had to assist Dalinar in the middle of the gemheart battle, and Adolin might chalk this up to the heat of the battle and slipping, or he might question it.

And once Dalinar starts to see his own family falling apart, I think he will question the visions, his obsession in the old ways, and finally, his sanity. Dalinar, I am afraid, is in for a rough time of it.

6.  As if in further indication of Dalinar and Kaladin’s collision course towards one another, Dalinar has agreed to train a bridge crew – without putting them directly into assault or harm’s way. Do you think their joined efforts might be enough to change the way the the other High Princes  go about things during battle?  Especially Sadeas?

I do remember a little bit about this and I will say that it is going to be messy. Yep, very messy. Nothing can be simple and easy, like having the two most honorable people join forces, solve all the riddles, and put the bad guys out of their misery, or at least send them home without rewards.

Other Tidbits:

I thought it was fascinating that there was male and female food, and never shall the twain meet. Though this is so for some Asian foods, right? Educate me folks. Still, fascinating.

I worry that this latest rub between Dalinar and Sadeas will be too much for Dalinar’s sons and that one or both of them will do something stupid. Anyone else worried?

I get a kick out of Syl walking around the apothecary’s head, his counter, on Kaladin’s shoulder.

Kaladin, Rock, & Teft telling stories by sap. Ah, male bonding. So cute.

My Fellow Chull:

Musings on Fantasia

Coffee, Cookies and Chilli Peppers

Book Vulture

Novel Reflections

Lynn’s Book Blog

Tethyan Books

On Starships and Dragonwings

Over the Effing Rainbow

The Caffeinated Life

Doing Dewey

The Way of Kings Read Along Part I

Stout as a bookstand.
Stout as a bookstand.

Welcome everyone! This is quite the big turnout for a read along and I am ever so glad folks came out of the woodwork for this one. You can check out the schedule HERE if you want to jump in and join us. We’re taking this large book at ~100 pages per week. Also, make sure to swing by my coconspirator’s realm – Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings to check out details on a giveaway sponsored by Tor Publishers.

Bloggers playing along, leave your link in the comments so we can all jump around and visit each other.

Now, on to the fun stuff! This week we covered The Prelude through the end of Chapter 6. Spoilers for this section reside below!

1) Is this your first Brandon Sanderson experience? Any expectations going into this read along?

No, actually. I have read his Mistborn trilogy, Legion, and Warbreaker. A few years ago, the very first Sanderson book I read was this one. And now is the perfect time for a reread before Book 2 in this series comes out in March. I expect, since I am taking it slower this time, I will remember more of it.

2) In the Prelude to the Stormlight Archive, we see that Talenel (Taln) died and his sword is unaccounted for. Jerzien and company have decided it is best for 1 to suffer instead of 10. What do you make of this scene?

I think these are the 10 Radiants we hear referred to throughout the book, usually in a legendary, mystical, or religious sense. I also want to say from this scene, that these Radiants are reborn when they are needed. So which of our characters may indeed be reborn Radiants?

3) What did you think of Szeth’s fighting abilities and the fight scenes? Any thoughts on the crystalline sphere and King Gavilar Kholin’s last words?

When I first read this book, I found the rules that governed Szeth’s fighting abilities a little confusing. But a similar mechanism is used in the Mistborn trilogy (linked more to metals). So reading it the second time for this read along, it was much easier to picture. Oh, and his opponents are fucked. That is all.

As to Gavilar Kholin’s last words, I don’t remember what they mean…but since Book 2 is titled Words of Radiance, I want to say we may find out in Book 2. As to the sphere, I am sure it will cause some mystery, grief, and consternation.

4) Each chapter proper starts with a few words from a dying person, their station, and status in life. Any thoughts on what these portend?

It seems that someone is recording them for perhaps a scholarly purpose. And each seems to describe some impending, cataclysmic doom. I don’t recall if we get any real answer to these entries this book. But by now I know enough of Sanderson’s works to know that nothing is frivolous; it all means something. Given the dark nature of these phrases, I expect that at some point in this series our heroes will have to face something huge.

5) Kaladin went from warrior to slave in a matter of the first 2 chapters. Care to speculate on the details of how his life changed so drastically?

I am guessing that Kaladin managed to piss off someone of importance in his quest for glory and his desire to get himself and his men transferred to the Shattered Plains. Still, slavery seems pretty harsh for some battlefield slight. I don’t recall the particulars as to how Kaladin ended up this way, but I do know we eventually get the whole story through flashbacks. He seems pretty disillusioned with Light Eyes and their honorable word. Someone screwed him over thoroughly.

6) Sylphrena (Syl) the Windspren seems attached to Kaladin. Are you enjoying her character? Do you like the Spren in general in the worldbuilding so far?

There seems to be two kinds of Spren. Windspren and Stormspren seem to have some free will and can move about as they like, even affecting their surroundings (such as playing little jokes on people). Then there are the fear spren, the pain spren, etc. These seem to be attracted by certain emotions, but not causal. The Spren in general do add another element to Kaladin’s world. If you are afraid or angry or sad or in pain, but want to hide it, how do you hide it from the Spren? Which also means, how do you hide it from the world because everyone else can see the spren gathering around you, feeding (?) on your fear/anger/pain.

Syl is great. I remember her from my first reading and I really like how she starts out like any other Spren. But then, little by little, her character grows. Kaladin seems a little mystified with her. After all, she does chat with him, which other spren don’t do.

7) Shallan Davar has finally caught up to Brightness Jasnah Kholin and her soulcaster. Jasnah and the jeweled fabril can change stone to smoke; what else do you think it can do?

Shallan talked of most soulcasters could only do smaller things, like changing stone into food. Her father had a secret one and seemed able to create minerals worthy of mining. So, the fabril can be used to transform one kind of rock into another. Supposedly, Jasnah is the strongest soulcaster living. can stone be made into anything with a hearbeat? Into flame? I really don’t recall the limitations on this one. I am going to say that flame may be possible, but not things with a hearbeat.

Other Tidbits:

Safe hand? Like for washing? Putting on makeup? Eating?

Bridge 4 crew! Perhaps someone could have given Kaladin the slightest warning.

Did I read that right? The storms make seasons near impossible. One can only hope for a few weeks of this weather or that. Makes for crazy plants, and even crazier animals that feed on the plants. Diving air eels!

Yarb Yalb. Go on, Say it out loud. Yarb Yalb. I am going to name a future cat or dog Yarb just so I have an excuse to shout it out loud. Yarb Yalb! Stop piddling on the rug!

My fellow Shard Bearers:

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, and Chilipeppers

Caffeinated Life

On Starships & Dragonwings

Novel Reflection

Lunar Rainbows

Doing Dewey

Lynn’s Book Blog

Musings on Fantasia

Bookvulture’s Perch

Tethyan Books