I long for the days before the Last Desolation.
The age before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. A time when there was still magic in the world and honor in the hearts of men.
The world became ours, and we lost it. Nothing, it appears, is more challenging to the souls of men than victory itself.
Or was that victory an illusion all along? Did our enemies realize that the harder they fought, the stronger we resisted? Perhaps they saw that the heat and the hammer only make for a better grade of sword. But ignore the steel long enough, and it will eventually rust away.
There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to put aside healing to become a soldier in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar’s mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the highprince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the past as his thirst for battle wanes.
The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days can become ours again. These four people are key.
One of them may redeem us.
And one of them will destroy us.
Wow. Cryptic, isn’t it? This novel is what you’d call epic. It follows three people (plus flashbacks) through four parts, and one more character through the interludes, which are set between the parts. Each has different goals, and all are separated, though their paths and pasts do intertwine. Also in the interludes are characters you pretty much never see again that give little hints of information pertinent to the plot. That helps give the book a wider range, making it more of a world than the journeys of a few characters. The huge scope of the book makes it 1,252 pages in the paperback, but don’t let that deter you. The length is definitely an advantage.
Kaladin is the son of a surgeon who went to war. Now he’s headed to the Shattered Plains as a slave, with only an unusual windspren to keep him from madness.
Shallan is a scholar under proclaimed heretic Jasnah, but only because she needs to steal a religious artifact from the princess. She’s finding it difficult to enjoy her work while her family’s peril looms over her.
Dalinar is getting to be an old man, and fewer and fewer people are paying heed to his words, even though he’s sure the Almighty is speaking to him through visions. The other highprinces play their games on the Shattered Plains but forget their true goal of revenge for their king’s life.
Szeth kills, and hates it. Not that he can do anything about it. He’s the infamous assassin who killed the king.
There is way too much I could say about this book. Spren, highstorms, Parshendi, the King’s Wit (who is my favorite character, by the way), Syl, chasmfiends, bridgerunners. Be prepared to hypothesize and draw conclusions. Brandon Sanderson doesn’t hint here and there. He dumps the clues in like a 5-year-old with sprinkles, yet the ending and real connections surprise you every time. Don’t let this one get away.
Rated: Moderate for some intense battle scenes, very slight sexual innuendos, and lots of death.