Sunday, June 29, 2014

Way of Kings Readalong: Week 2



Welcome to week 2 of the Way of Kings Readalong! For those of you joining in, this week we are reading pages 202-405 (up through Chapter 28). The full schedule is below:

Dates
chapters
June 22 – June 28
Finish through Ch12 (page 210)
June 29 – July 5
Finish through Ch28 (page 405)
July 6 – July 12
Finish through Ch42 (page 600)
July 13 – July 19
Finish through Ch57 (page 810)
July 20 – July 26
Finish book (page 1002)

Again, you can tweet your thoughts and updates to me @spidersilksnow and use the hashtag #WoKRA. It's never too late to join! If you're starting late, you can always comment on older posts or link me to your posts whenever you have them up.

What has happened so far (needless to say, spoilers!):

Prelude:
There are 10 Heralds with immense power who have just finished battling the giant stone beasts known as thunderclasts. One has died and returned to the torturous hell that all Heralds experience between Desolations, and the rest refuse to return, leaving their Blades in a circle in the sand. 

Szeth:

Szeth is an assassin and a Shin. As Truthless, he must obey everything that his master commands him to do except take his own life. He is able to perform Lashings and manipulate Stormlight, techniques he uses to kill the king Gavilar. He escapes by hitching a ride in a wagon and is eventually sold to many different owners who treat him as a slave.

Kaladin:

Kaladin "Stormblessed" is a darkeyes who fought in the emperor's wars until he was betrayed by the lighteye Amaram. His father was a surgeon, and taught him that there are those who take lives and those who save them, but Kaladin believes that there are people (like himself) who take lives to save lives. He later concludes that the third category is instead the victims, or people who merely experience the effects of the people saving and taking lives. He is labeled a deserter and sold as a slave, passing from master to master until he is finally made part of Bridge Four. He is almost broken by being a bridgeman, but a windspren encourages him and helps him get back his courage and strength to fight.

Shallan:

This determined, witty young woman put it into her mind that she would be apprenticed to Jasnah Kholin. Shallan comes from a lower noble family and is lighteyed. She is a skilled artist and loves learning for its own sake; while she initially wanted to apprentice herself to Jasnah to learn and make a name for herself, she changes gears when she discovers Jasnah has a Soulcaster. She decides to steal it now that her father is dead in order to help support her family and maintain appearances.

Adolin and Dalinar:

Dalinar is the brother of the assassinated King Gavilar, and Adolin is his son. Dalinar has sworn to protect his brother's son, King Elhokar, since he failed to save his brother. He was once a brave and respected warrior, but is now seen as weak, especially because of his fits of visions. Adolin is fiercely loyal to his father, but wants him to return to his former glory and is frustrated by Dalinar's weakness. Adolin, Dalinar, King Elhokar, Sadeas, and others go on a hunt for a chasmfiend on the Shattered plains. When one of the creatures makes a surprise appearance, Dalinar and Adolin pull out all the stops to save the impetuous king. They are successful, and King Elhokar harvests a giant emerald from the beast.

My thoughts and predictions:

I literally had to force myself to stop reading at page 210 so that I could write this post without spoiling anything. This book is so addicting!

I really like all the POVs so far. Although we have seen the least of Szeth, it seems like he is going to be very important later on. I love how mysterious and complex his character is - he hates assassination, welcomes death, even, but cannot keep himself from following orders to the best of his abilities. Seems like a more potent version of Ella's curse in Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted!


I also love Shallan's wit and I enjoy the conversations she has when she dissects other people's words and spits back a meaning more cynical than what was originally meant. Maybe it's the cynic in me that empathizes with her, but I really like her so far. I am also a huge fan of Yalb - I have a soft spot for lovable cons, and he certainly fits the bill.

Kaladin is a little harder for me to gauge. I understand that he is broken, but I feel like I don't really know enough about him in his non-weakened state to judge who he is. So far we have really only seen him take charge through the eyes of an adoring new recruit (Cenn), so it will be interesting to see how he grows and changes.

We hardly saw Adolin so far, so not much to say about him. I am kind of pissed off that he needs a beautiful woman around to constantly adore him, but hey, all characters have weaknesses. I'm just hoping he grows out of this one! Dalinar seems formidable, and I'm excited to see more of him in the future. I hope he reclaims his honor among his own people instead of being ridiculed - it always makes me sad when great people/characters are laughed at.

I think the concept of the spren is really cool! At first I had a really hard time imagining them, and just imagined something like a more ethereal version of flubber.

And as we learned more about the different kinds of spren (windspren, rotspren, creationspren, fearspren, etc), I started imagining them more like streaks or clusters of light.

I'm so curious about what the spren are and how they came to be. Are they alive? Sentient? It seems like the one that was talking to Kaladin was almost human, but then again he was surprised that she had any memories. Maybe we'll get some more answers about them later? We'll see.

Some predictions: I know all of these unrelated stories are going to have to collide at some point, but I honestly have no idea how at this point. I think Szeth and Kaladin are going to run into each other soon - both of them are such tortured souls, and it would be interesting to see how they view one another. I also think Jasnah's going to smell a rat with Shallan - she's a smart and formidable woman, and there's no way Shallan is going to pull wool over her eyes. I am also predicting (and this is just wishful thinking now) that there will be more Yalb. Because Yalb is cool.

Other stuff to check out:

Litha wrote this really helpful post with an overview of the main characters and some fantasy terms to know when reading this book. If you're confused about some of the words and characters in Roshar, you should probably check this out!

Here's Brandon Sanderson's introduction to this book, as well as more tidbits from the book jacket. It's pretty cool to see how the author frames the novel. (Interestingly enough, I had somehow never read the description of the book until I linked this post - I'd just heard so much about it that I started reading without any idea what this series was about!)

What did you think of the first chunk? Let me know in the comments and link me to your posts! The more the merrier!

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8 comments:

  1. Michelle {Book Hangovers}June 29, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    Yay! It's discussion day! I am UBER impressed with this book, like totally engaged and obsessed with it. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting this kind of story at first. I thought it was going to have more of a mid-evil times, Game of Thrones feel to it. Boy, was I wrong and thank goodness I was!
    I agree with loving all of the POVs and I'm really enjoying all of the characters we've met so far. I, on the other hand, really love Kaladin. I'm hoping for success and vengeance in his future. Poor Shallan, with this massive burden she has to accomplish for the sake of her family. I have a feeling she's going to be caught...soon too. Jasnah is not dumb.
    Oh my gosh...the whole spren concept is awesome! I think adding Syl made the book that much more magical. When I picture them, I can't help but think of Tinkerbelle. Hahaha!
    I'm so excited to continue reading. How cruel was it that right when we had to break for discussion, MAJOR action is happening with Dalinar, Adolin and King Elhokar and that behemoth of a creature, the Chasmfiend! Eeeeekk!!!
    I'm absolutely thrilled that we're doing this. Your were right about how doing this is making you pay closer attention to detail and the storyline, by reading at a slower pace and then group discussion.
    We definitely have to do this with Words of Radiance (which I'm buying today since I'm at Barnes and Noble right now) and other books.
    Thanks for coming up with the idea Kritika :)
    BIG hugs xoxo
    MICHELLE @ bookhangoversbb.blogspot.com



    @Michelle {Book Hangovers}

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  2. AHHHHH, I have so much to say, but like... I know what's coming so I can't spoil anything!! Ummmm, Kaladin - just wait. JUST WAIT. His growth throughout this book (and the next) is my favorite thing EVER. When he "takes charge", as you put it, he flipping TAKES CHARGE and it is glorious. He still suffers from times of intense doubt and sadness, but he pushes through it and just... ahhhhh my Kaladin feels.

    Szeth is a really interesting character. You don't get TONS from his POV, but it's all super intense. You mentioned that his predicament is kind of like Ella's in Ella Enchanted........ that's a really interesting comparison, because I don't THINK that Szeth is actually magically forced to do anything (this isn't a spoiler, as I don't think it's ever clearly explained... so I actually could be wrong). He feels compelled to follow orders, but he COULD refuse, I think? Maybe. His mental state doesn't really let him, but I *think* he technically could say no. Which just makes his mental state really scary and kind of tragic and gahhh.

    SHALLAN IS FLAWLESS and she's really going to surprise you. If you like her now, you're going to continue loving her later!

    Adolin is probably my biggest surprise of this series. He seems kind of just like a spoiled prince in the beginning, but man, as you learn more about him... I won't say anything, but he's one of my favorites now. (Okay let's be honest they're all my favorites.)

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  3. I'm just waiting for Kaladin to pull himself together haha
    Huh, I never thought of Syl being like Tinkerbell but now I can't un-see it! Great comparison :D
    I know, right? Dalinar seems so badass. I hope more epic battles are in our future!
    I'll probably go buy Words of Radiance next week! Thank you for joining in and being so excited! It's so much more fun to do things with people who are as excited as you are!

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  4. haha that's why I wrote down what has happened so far - so people who've read it can't spoil anything for us :)
    mkay I'll be keeping an eye on Kaladin! Oh I kind of assumed Szeth had some magical thing going because of the special stone and the way he kept telling his masters about his having to obey them. But if you're right, that makes his life even more tragic and scary...
    AWESOME I need more awesome fantasy women in my life haha
    Yeah, definitely got the spoiled prince vibe. We've only had one chapter with him, so I'm excited to see more of the new (and improved?) Adolin!
    Thanks for sharing! :D

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  5. Hmmm ... interesting, like Kritika I assumed that Szeth is forced to obey the person who holds the Oathstone, but I guess he could just feel compelled by his sense of honor. It isn't explicitly said either way, so I guess you can kind of draw your own conclusions there (at least for now).

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  6. I'm actually really loving Kaladin. I think his story is my favorite so far. I totally agree with you about Shallan. I'm loving her wit and how she's struggling with the "proper" image society expects vs. her natural tendency toward sarcasm. :-)


    The sprens are awesome as well. I stil kind of see them as amorphous blobs of light, but Syl definitely brings Tinkerbell to mind!


    I'm definitely enjoying the book so far. I'm eager to see how the disparate storylines end up intertwining!

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  7. Reading part 2, and Kaladin is growing on me for sure. Haha, yes, Shallan's sarcasm and trying to remain "ladylike" is pretty great.
    I feel like Syl is special somehow, but I don't know how or why yet. I'm going to imagine bells tinkling every time she appears now haha
    Me too! I'm excited :)

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  8. Michelle {Book Hangovers}July 2, 2014 at 4:48 AM

    Kaladin's story is definitely my favorite so far. I'm also liking Dalinar's! Keep hoping nothing bad happens to him :(
    All I know is, the more the story continues, the better it gets. I can't believe how fast I'm rolling through this thing. It's hard to stop after 200 pages. Lol! Everyone is telling me that their favorite is book 2. That excites me bc this one is so fabulous, I can't wait to see what book 2 is all about!!!

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