---"Kaladin was like a moldy crust on a starving man's plate; not the first bite, but still doomed." (Page 263)
"A man's emotions are what define him, and control is the hallmark of true strength. To lack feeling is to be dead, but to act on every feeling s to be a child." (Page 377)
In a recent interview Brandon Sanderson mentioned that the interludes are meant to show us parts of the larger world since much of the action is focused in one or two places. What do you think of the first two sets of interludes? Any characters or situations stand out to you?
Szeth the Truthless is definitely one of the most interesting characters so far. His powers are fascinating, but the mystery that surrounds him--what exactly is a Truthless? why is he in the state he's in? who's he gonna kill next?--is pure brilliant. I feel quite sympathetic for him, but I'm not exactly sure why.
I'm equally fascinated by Hoid, a man who's only barely been mentioned thus far, during the first Interlude. Hoid is a unique character in Sanderson's cosmere, as he (or a man named Hoid) has appeared in all of Sanderson's original fantasy novels so far. Sanderson has hinted that his books all share the same universe, and I suppose that this Hoid is somehow more important than we currently know.
The Shattered Plains are mesmerizing. I love the plateaus and how the armies cross them (bridges, poles, or jumping). The chasms make peril imminent for anyone forgetful or clumsy, even posing dangers to Shardbearers. This is a brilliant setting for the novel, methinks.
In particular I'm intrigued by the highstorms and the crem that falls with the rain. Professionally, I work with rainfall and flooding, and the fact that rain in Roshar is poisonous and heavily polluted is another brilliant world-feature of Way of Kings. I can imagine the stalactites forming on unkempt houses, or worse, sticking to a condemned man forced to weather a highstorm.
Other than that, there are so many minor tweaks that make Roshar what it is that I'm sure I keep forgetting things, picturing an Earth-like world as opposed to the one the story's actually in. Multiple moons. Rockbuds. Strange grass. Orange, blue, and purple wine! Craziness.
No cabe duda, the second section blew the first one out of the water. The fight with the chasmfiend was thrilling (no pun intended). The politics of the warcamp intriguing. The visions of Dalinar baffling. And Kaladin's renewed zeal encouraging. Dalinar, and indirectly, Adolin, show one side of the war effort, and Kaladin shows the polar opposite. This dichotomy is well played and very informative to the reader.
In particular, Dalinar's visions make him another sympathetic character, though less so that Szeth. Sadly, I don't see him lasting much longer. His age (and his decision to abdicate to Adolin) all but beg someone to assassinate or duel him.
I also really liked Kal's flashback scenes. I love that he's a trained surgeon and that he's a gifted warrior. Again, the conflicting views and motives make for great storytelling.
I like this approach to fantasy. Typically we see magic dying off and leaving the lands, often relegated to arcane sciences and superstition. Here, magic definitely has birthed mythology, but also religion. The Heralds and the Radiants and Voidbringers are definitely magical, but so are the Shards and Soulcasting. People understand that these things are mystical, and while they're not prevalent, they're at least present.
Sanderson has an open door for where he can go with the return of magic. Perhaps more and more people will start having visions (like Dalinar, though to me he seems chosen for a reason), or more Shards will be found or the plethora of gemhearts will lead to more Soulcasters. Dalinar's visions must be foreshadowing, and if that's the shape of things to come, the rest of the book/series will be phenomenal.
I think everyone must have forgot about the pre-chapter quotes last week. I meant to say something, but it slipped my mind. Book One's quotes have me perplexed. Who is keeping these things recorded? Do all men and women get some sort of erratic "vision" when they die? Are they somehow related to the spren? Soulcasting? This, coupled with Kaladin hearing a dying bridgeman's last words, have me eager to find out the importance of these quotes.
Book Two's pre-quotes were in the form of a letter. I wasn't as intrigued by them, though they did offer some insight (albeit obfuscated and minuscule) to the world. I particularly liked the section written to the immortal recipient.
These quotes and letter will undoubtedly be important to the Stormlight Archive, I'm just not sure if we'll find out their significance in The Way of Kings.
Like last week, the spren are still holding my attention. I cannot dismiss their importance in the grand scheme of things. Syl's fluttering insights and fuzzy memories seem to point to something, but what that something is I can't grasp.
I'm also very curious to learn more about Dalinar's purging of his wife's memory from his mind. How is this possible? And what implications does this have for the rest of the world? And, dang it, are the spren somehow involved here?
On spren, Axies the Collector and his hunt to find all the spren just whets my appetite. Does this Axies know Hoid? Are there beings that are charged to observe things throughout the worlds and archive them or something?