Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, readalong week 1

Today marks the start of a 10 week readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance arranged jointly by Dab of Darkness and Stainless Steel Droppings.  This is a very gentle readalong.  Only roughly 100 pages a week and  it’s going to be awesome so I really hope you’ll all consider joining in – it’s an amazing way to read a book like this in conversation with so many people (schedule here).  Anyway, this week’s questions have come to us via Liesel over at Musings on Fantasia.  I can’t wait, so, here goes:  (Oh, fyi – spoilers below, they’re like spren, if you read this they will pop up all over the place – readingspren!)

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 Parshman 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 thought this was really quite eye opening – it certainly gives the reader a good idea of why Jasnah is so determined to find out about the Parshmen and Szeth.  It’s also interesting that Jasnah’s assertion that Szeth walked on the wall was basically ignored.  These people really have forgotten all about binding!

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

I have a good feeling about this (so no doubt it’ll all go pear shaped).  I think that Andolin and Shallan could be really good for each other.  Andolin needs something to ground him a little and I think Shallan will do just that.  Also, he concentrates a lot on running around in fairly fickle company with a constantly changing string of partners – although, that being said, I like him and I think he’s changed already since the beginning of the story.  He had a shock about his father and has seen the right in that scenario.  By the same token Shallan hasn’t always been the most straightforward of characters.  I didn’t really like it when she went to work for Jasnah just in order to steal from her.  But, again, I have come to like her and I think the two of them could become a winning team.

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 that Kaladin will succeed at everything!  Of course I’m having a tiny little Kaladin crush so I could be slightly biased.  I don’t blame him for wanting to keep his powers secret – once word of that gets out it will be ‘a big thing’.  People don’t seem to realise that there’s already Szeth out there with similar powers so Kaladin could almost be looked upon as the ‘first’ one since the Radiants.  It could turn into one of those really terrible moments where everyone chases you out of town with pitchforks and torches or he could be put on a pedestal – neither would be really helpful.  Plus, he’s got rather a terrible history of everything being taken from him to date so it’s no surprise that he wants to hold onto this.

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?

I love this whole spren thing.  It’s just so intriguing and it kind of makes sense that Shallan’s spren is different.  I like the idea of a cryptic spren.  This spren seems to see things in a different way, nothing is simply straightforward.  Although, there is all this talk of one spren thinking that the other spren have been dishonourable so you can’t help thinking that maybe Syl will not like this cryptic spren?  Like maybe the cryptic spren have given something away?  There was mention by Shallan’s spren of  something along the line ‘no lies without truth’, or, I don’t think I’ve phrased that very well, but I think the spren was trying to say if you have one you have the other. Maybe the cryptic spren think that truth is all a matter of perspective.  I also wondered why certain types of spren attach themselves to certain types of people?  Like Syl being a Honorspren attached to Kaladin – who, as we know is full of honour.  Did Shallan attract this Cryptic spren for a reason – she was after all planning on stealing from Jasnah and did tell a few lies along the way, although she had her own justifications??

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?

Did I mention that I’m very fond of Kaladin?  No??  Well, I think he’s excellent.  I love this character.  And, yes, I think he can accomplish all these tasks. I think he’s the type of character that thrives on responsibility and tasks against the odds.  Plus, it’s an excellent idea to use the bridgemen and infiltrate them into the protection of the King and Dalinar.  After all, they’re going to have their own commitments and bonds and after everything that’s happened they have to start seeing Kaladin as something good.  As to the plans with the duels I was completely taken off guard with that.  It almost seems a bizarre plan – basically looking at using one person to undermine all the highprinces.  Seems tricky not to mention there is always the possibility of Andolin not beating everyone – however, having thought about it, it is quite a cunning plan.  Let’s face it, even if Andolin starts to hold duels and wins a few shardblades people will start to take notice.  Also, there is always a chance that Sadeas will challenge him and it would be so satisfying if Andolin kicked some Sadass butt! (I called him Sadass on purpose!)

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

I don’t think she’s dead and I hope that I’m right.  There seemed such a lack of detail – it feels somehow like a foil.  I don’t know how and I’m probably wrong but I’m thinking that maybe Jasnah had somehow conjured that scene.  I’m probably off with the detail but to kill off Jasnah at this point, for no particular reason or moving on of the plot, seems very unSandersonlike.

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

I can’t dislike Pattern.  It’s a bit like when Shallan first started to draw and then see the cryptics – I just didn’t think they were threatening.  I also think it’s interesting that Jasnah thinks the cryptics have driven Shallan to seek her out and train her.  If they were really bad wouldn’t they try and keep her away from any other influences.  Perhaps they want to help.  I don’t know!!

Looking forward to everyone’s comments which will no doubt put me back on the right track!

Don’t forget to stop over all the others.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson…

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s here.  You’ve waited.  You’ve been patient.  And now, it’s arrived.  THE readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance is finally here.  It’s grand, it’s epic, dare I say, monumental!  So, what are you waiting for?  You know you want to read this and you know you want to read it in good company with a load of other people who will bend your ear about the finer detail, argue, debate, discuss, speculate, etc, etc.  If I’m wrong then I’m wrong!  But, you know I’m right.  Check out the details of this readalong hosted by Dab of Darkness and Stainless Steel Droppings and sign yourself up (starting beginning of April).   Seriously, this is a fairly relaxed readalong with a nice gentle pace (which of course doesn’t prohibit you from racing ahead) that gives you the chance to fit other things into your busy schedule.

If you want to join on board then pop over to one of the sites above and sign in blood on the dotted line (actually kidding about the dotted line!) (okay, and kidding about the blood).

Join up if you want to have immenseness – because it is going to be immense, epically immense.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Week 1

Welcome to week 1 of the Way of Kings readalong this week being hosted by Dab of Darkness.  A readalong that is going to be pretty awesome by the way so you might want to take a peek at the schedule here and throw yourself into this event!  It’s not too late.  Week 1 covers the Prelude through the end of Chapter 6. If you haven’t read the book you should probably stop reading now for fear of spoilers – unless of course you’re a bit of a glutton for spoilers in which case dive right on in:

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

No, I’ve read The Mistborn books (also a readalong which was very enjoyable) and also The Emperor’s Soul which was actually on my best of 2013 list – so based on those you could say I’ve got fairly high expectations.  I have faith in Sanderson though, I fully expect that my expectations will be met, or probably exceeded!  Also, I know that Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings read this some time ago and loved it and he doesn’t steer me wrong with books!

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?

My first impression was wtf – they’re just leaving Taln in a pretty horrible situation right there.  Doesn’t feel very honorable – and also I was a bit puzzled about why they were breaking the pact – but I’m sure all of this will be revealed eventually, they seem to be holding their own? Can’t help thinking that Taln has been greatly wronged – won’t he seek some sort of revenge?  Maybe he’ll just turn the other cheek but then again.. maybe not.

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?

Sanderson can certainly write a gripping fight scene.  He just manages to make the scene come alive for me personally.  I can find some fight scenes a little tedious or more to the point difficult to envision but never the scenes he writes.   I haven’t got a clue about the sphere to be honest or the last words from King Kholin – I don’t imagine that Sanderson just put that scene in on a whim so something must come from it. In terms of Szeth’s fighting abilities – he was a bit of an unstoppable force wasn’t he – not to mention that sword did give him a massive advantage.  Couldn’t help feeling sorry for the King – and at least he didn’t try to run and hide – I thought that was a good twist that he stayed behind to fight.

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?

Mistborn had similar chapter starters and they turned out to be another story in themselves.  Not sure if that’s happening here or not but I certainly feel like I need to pay proper attention to them.  I wonder whether they relate to some sort of reincarnation type of situation – just wondering why the need to show the status??

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? 

One minute in the midst of battle then next in a caged truck.  For one moment there I thought I’d accidentally flipped ahead on my Kindle by accident.  I had to sort of flip back and have a little look just to reassure myself to be honest.  I find this development really intriguing (or perplexing) – he’s a great soldier, his men respect him, he tries to help them, he wants to be promoted to fight in a bigger war – why would he be accused of deserting – I mean, obviously, he didn’t desert, that much is evident and equally clearly he’s a strong asset in battle.  Part of me thinks perhaps he went missing in action and his men all died?  But then that’s clearly not the case – he’s been set up for some reason.   Whoever set him up better make damned sure he’s looking over his shoulder though – Kaladin doesn’t seem like the kind of foe that you want to betray and leave alive.

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? 

I love the Spren.  Mischievous, curious little sprites that they are – they sort of remind me of Tinkerbell (although they’re not little fairies).  I think Syl is a really good addition.  The fact that she’s so curious about Kaladin makes me believe that there is something out of the ordinary about him.  Time will tell I suppose.

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? 

I wondered whether Jasnah could change her appearance maybe.  I read ahead – only by one chapter (so this next thought could be spoilery – although I’m usually quite wrong with my speculation), where Shallan was waiting for Jasnah- the scene with the adept – I couldn’t help thinking it was maybe another challenge??  The way the adept wasn’t bothered about all the respect that Shallan was giving him, also he was fascinated with the picture.  And remembering that Jasnah didn’t believe in religion I couldn’t help wondering if it was really her??  But I’ve probably just put two and two together and come out with 4.7!

Great start.  Just what I would expect from this author, he doesn’t beat about the bushes or go round the houses just gets straight into things. There’s no major info dumps but there is still plenty of detail to reflect upon.  Loving it so far.

‘Time is precious and my knife is sharp…’

That’s right, Jean Tannen is back *faints*.  Okay enough of that!

This week we join in the read along for Republic of Thieves being hosted by the lovely Dab of Darkness.  Schedule for rest of read along here (it’s never too late to join in!  ‘Mmm, do, or do not, there is no try’.

I loved getting back into this world.  In fact I read this with a stupid grin on my face for the majority of the time – not a pretty look for me!!  Plus snorting and laughing. (Ladylike at all!)  Lynch has come up with a whole new world of insults that are so funny that I actually think I hurt myself while reading!  So to the Q&A.  Also, people reading this who haven’t read the first two in the Gentlemen Bastard series, really?  Why??  Come on folks get on it – it’s simply too good to miss.  There, that’s my gentle encouragement, plus, we may not be able to be friends if you don’t share my ridiculously out of control and a little over the top love of Lynch – well we probably can but I would so like to talk to you all about these books.  And, there will be spoilers to follow so close your eyes now:

1) We get to reminisce with several old friends in this section – Carlo, Galdo, Chains. How did you like this? Bitter sweet or happy dance? Aww, this was like happy dance followed by sad face, because it is bitter sweet.  I’d get all drawn in and be reading about something and then be brought up sharp by the remembrance that they’re not with us any more.  It really is a guilt trip.  Happy one moment and then feeling almost guilty because you realise it’s only a temporary, short sugar hit of happiness.

2) Finally, the infamous Sabetha makes a physical appearance, albeit in Locke’s reminisces. What are your impressions? How do you think the romance, if there is to be one, will play out?  I think it will play out all on Sabetha’s terms.  Right from square one you can see Locke is in awe and from there onwards they’re never really on a level playing field.  You can also see how competitive and ambitious Sabetha is.  Her and Locke are in a battle of the wills except Locke doesn’t seem to realise it.  It feels like even at this early stage Sabetha is trying to best Locke and yet he so casually seems to achieve things – it must be damned infuriating I suppose and yet she surely knows she has the upper hand in terms of pulling Locke’s strings?

3) After trying absolutely everything to save Locke, Jean still won’t give up. What did you think of that little pep talk he gave Locke concerning Patience’s offer of healing?  It made me well up!  Really it did.  I mean I know I have a soft spot for Jean (okay a bit girly crush) but it was a bit of an eye opener – especially the bit about he’s going to be the last one left.  I had shivers.

4) Locke has a few caveats to working for the Bondsmage. Wise or just Locke grasping for some control over his life? What would you ask Patience? It felt a little bit like grasping at straws really.  As though he knows he doesn’t have any real sway but he’s trying to impose some sort of semblance of having authority.  Mmmm, what would I ask Patience.  That’s very tricksy of you and my mind has gone blank (let’s face it it wasn’t a big step out of character – I just know that everyone is going to come up with all sorts of awesome answers to this and my mind is refusing to comply.  Empty.  Zip!)

5) At the end of this section, we see that all is not as Patience laid it out. How much do you think Patience knows of the plot to off Locke and Jean? Do you see it interfering in the rigged election? Well, I found that exchange totally perplexing – but, as I’ve already read this once I’m not going to comment too much.  What I do remember quite clearly though is being totally clueless by this brief conversation, I mean, it seems that Patience wasn’t involved in whatever the discussion was so it was clear to me then that she wasn’t involved but I genuinely didn’t know and so just raced on to try and find out.

On a separate note – we got to go back to the tunnels and is anybody else finding themselves picturing Fagin from Oliver when they read the

Ron Moody's Fagin or the Thiefmaker??

Ron Moody’s Fagin or the Thiefmaker??

Thiefmaker.  I just can’t help it and more to the point I’m seeing and hearing the actor Ron Moody – which is no bad thing because he owned that role. (I have a strange sense of deja vu from prior readalong with this).

“Sad day, my loves, a proper tragedy but when the milk’s gone bad you might as well look forward to cheese, hmmm?’

Also, I couldn’t help myself from highlighting a few things here and there:

‘A real smirking rat fucker’ – had me in stitches

‘sweet dancing donkey shit’; and

‘slower than an underwater fart’! – Yes, I will use this.

Also, I can confirm that Jean is still my book crush.  I hope you realise how loyal I am to stay so dedicated for this length of time – let’s face it though he’s just a hunk!  And he get’s some of the best lines which means he’s pretty funny as well! (Hah, caveman, wise-cracking bad ass! – what more could you possibly want?)

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett readalong, final instalment

Crivens!

We’ve come to the end of the readalong, which is frankly a little bit sad.  I’ve enjoyed spending time with Tiffany and the Wee Blue Men and will miss them.  But, nae bother, onto the questions and if you haven’t read these books you definitely want to read no further.

The readalongs for Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight have been hosted by the lovely ladies at Dab of Darkness and Over the Effing Rainbow for which I give much gushing goodly thanks and praise!  Onwards:

Well, now. It seems Letitia is much more than just a snivelly ‘princess in the tower’… What do you think of the way she handles the ghosts at Keepsake Hall?  I thought it was great!  She’s definitely a witch.  She has that ‘caring’ thing down to a tee.  On top of that I was impressed with that whole chapter.  Letitia almost changed personalities when she was on her home ground and became a different person – it shows how out of water she was really feeling and how stressed with the whole ‘wedding’ thing.  Not to mention, and don’t pelt me with rotten fruit – but even the Duchess came out of that scene looking kind of good!  She looks after her staff in their dotage.  Okay, she can be a bit of a mare but that was touching and definitely helped me to look at her with a ‘less frowny face’.

“We do right, we don’t do nice…” Miss Smith turns up again – in another unusual way – and she’s got some eye-opening words for Tiffany here… Do you agree that Tiffany’s got to grow up a little more still, or should she just ask for help with the Cunning Man?  I quite like that Tiffany wanted to sort this out by herself – even more so as it wasn’t all her own creating.  I thought on the contrary it almost made her seem more grown up – she’s on her own turf, erm, chalk, and she’s taking the responsibility.  And, okay, things could have gone wrong but she has pride in herself which as she said isn’t necessarily bad.

Preston earns even more trust from Tiffany, and she makes an interesting point about whether or not the Cunning Man will be dangerous to him… Do you think the two of them can take him on? I really like Preston even more now I’ve finished!  To be honest it never occurred to me at the time just how terribly wrong it could all go – I suppose the Cunning Man could have tried to overtake Preston’s body just the same as the man in the jail and being worn as a suit by Dr Evil doesn’t sound like much fun to me.  But, Tiffany seemed to think he was safe so I did also.

Speaking of taking on the Cunning Man, he’s getting closer – and in a very alarming way. This is certainly different, and it’s keeping Mrs Proust involved. Do you think she might be the exception to the “kindly assistance” rule among witches?  It certainly seems that way.  She  made an enormous effort to reach Tiffany and warn her about the Cunning Man having acquired a body – and all the witches managed to get on together when they finally met.  It was like a standoff.

O-ho, so the Duchess has a secret of her own… Are you surprised?  I’m not surprised that she had a secret – you could tell her behaviour was wrong.  But I hadn’t figured it was about being a dancing girl!  It certainly brought her down a peg or two although I don’t know why she was so scared about it all coming out – it’s not exactly the end of the world and perhaps she would have been able to remove the ramrod from up her backside and get on with people in a normal fashion if she wasn’t so scared people would find out.  I guess the whole hint about all her family being dead was a giveaway – they were probably all still alive!

Tiffany defeats the Cunning Man! What did you make of this scene?  I didn’t really figure out what her plan was – right up to the end – Okay, I could tell she was running into the fire but I kind of thought she’d do that transference thing (although it’s not like she had a bucket of water handy so DOH!)  I liked that she used the whole harking back to the ancient wedding ceremony trick with the language and all – although I wondered why she was calling Letitia names and I thought it was cool that in actual fact she did really have help through the use of time travel – but actually helped herself.

Extras go here!

I loved that all the little odds and ends were worked out.  Amber, Letitia, Preston – even the Feegles being handed the land which the mound sits on.

Also – I loved the use of the Macbeth line!

I could definitely do with some more Tiffany reading material so side note to Mr Pratchett – if you want to write any more – or just the Feegles all by themselves – nae problemo, I’ll be there.

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