"He couldn't know how long it lasted; time had no meaning in this place of fury and tumult." (Page 520)
"Was it possible to do something horrible in the name of accomplishing something wonderful?" (Page 532)*
"It might be religion, but it still has to make sense." (Page 635)
Part III reunites us with Shallan, who we haven't seen for a few hundred pages, and separates us from Dalinar and Adolin for a few hundred more. How do you feel about leaving characters behind for such long stretches? Did you lose any of your connection to them during the break?
The splitting of the characters is slightly frustrating, but not to the point where it's detrimental to my enjoyment of the story. I say frustrating because I'd like to stick with the characters longer and follow their story, but then at the same time, there's likely little-or-nothing going on with them at the times Sanderson gives us different POVs. Maybe he's just cutting out the redundant fluff that doesn't really add to the main story when he omits POVs?
Compared with other epic fantasies I've read, Sanderson's world and tale is definitely fresh and unique. It defies many traditional cliches, but at the same time it resonates with the general "feeling" epic fantasy gives off. Oddly enough, the other books it reminds me of are also by Brandon Sanderson: Mistborn, Elantris, and Warbreaker. Nothing major really connects these, but the way Lashing works instantly brings to mind Vin Pushing and Pulling in Mistborn. The Shardblades remind me of the fascinating sword Nightblood in Warbreaker. And the glyphs (and symbolheads?) are bringing back imagery from Elantris and the language used there. I think this is more than mere coincidence, but I can't say why exactly.
I love this part of the Alethi culture. It's reminiscent of our culture's history, but it's vastly different, too. Sexism doesn't seem to exist for the people, and yet to our liberated 21st century American minds, the whole thing screams its wrongness.
I say that I would be willing to shirk the soldiering life for a scholarly one, but I'm unsure whether or not I really would. It would have to depend on which nahn I was in, whether or not I was a lighteyes or darkeyes, and whether or not I wanted glory (which I can't see myself wanting) or simplicity. An ardent's life sounds appetizing, but I'm not sure how sinister these people are yet. I do find the dissolution of the masculine/feminine arts in the ardentia an interesting fact.
I picture a lot of the food like Indian foods. Curried, heavily spiced, and naan for bread. As it just so happens, I love Indian food, so this works for me. (Of course, I also love ice cream and chocolate chip cookies, and I would be sad not have these.)
Oh, I also think it's pretty clever that the women write their own subtext after a man's dictation. This opens the doors for all kinds of disagreements in the texts. (And I think it's obvious now that these opening bits of the chapters are coming from books Shallan/Jasnah/Someone is researching, and could very well be their own notes? I'm not sure if the death-quotes fit this category, but they could... The letter for Part Two doesn't, though, unless it's something one of them read?)
At first I didn't care too much for them, but as they've progressed, I grew more and more intrigued. I love that Kaladin is a surgeon, trained in healing arts with a healer's mindset, and yet he's a renown warrior.
When I was reading the last few flashbacks, as time was drawing closer to the present, I kept waiting to see what would happen to Tien. It's amazing that Sanderson's not told exactly what went down, but we've enough of an idea that Tien's death utterly changed the young healer-soldier. And then when Kaladin faced down the Shardbearer! Breathtaking. I can't believe we've gone this long into the novel and just now found this out, but it's omission from Kaladin's thoughts imply truly how much he hates the lighteyes.
I've got theories a-plenty. Dalinar will die. I just don't see him living. Adolin will step into his place, possibly, or the young Kholin will have to leave the Shattered Plains for some reason. Dalinar's death could come by Szeth's hand (which seems possible), or it could come from Sadeas (which seems possible). Kaladin and his men will rise up, but like the times before, many of them will die, but Kaladin will escape. He may get some Shards by the end, and surely he'll end up working alongside Adolin at some point, where his opinions of lighteyes will have to change. Shallan will tell Jasnah about her visions before she leaves and the woman will allow Shallan to stay on because of her sight into whatever the symbolheads are. I have no clue about them, other than they're somehow connected to Soulcasting.
Odium reigns. This Odium must be the series' main antagonist, but I don't see it as a Dark Lord archetype, though I could be wrong. Odium may be using Szeth's new masters to accomplish its chaos and destruction of Roshar.
I am eager to see more Szeth, of course, but even more so eager to find out more about the symbolheads and about Kaladin's apparent use of Stormlight. Sadly, I don't think we'll get much more of Shallan until possibly the final part of the book. Kal, though. That'll be fun.
I'm really enjoying The Way of Kings. The book keeps me interested, and I really feel like we've only got the faintest notions of what's ahead of us. I see nine more books of great storytelling and beautiful worldbuilding.
*I've noticed that this theme crops up in an awful lot of books and movies, and I suppose it's because it makes for compelling characters.