The sky was black as midnight, only without stars. The sun seemed too distant, too frail to properly lite the place, though he wasn’t in darkness.
~Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War
Rhythm of War (Part Two) by Brandon Sanderson
Published by Tor, 2020
Rhythm of War is the fourth entry in the massive epic fantasy series The Stormlight Archive. As we did with Oathbringer, we’ll be doing part-by-part reviews so you can read along and discuss with us. You can read our part one discussion here.
Spoilers ahead for Rhythm of War Part Two!
Pete: I think it’s safe to say that no Stormlight book has started off this quickly. Already we have Shallan questioning Pattern’s loyalty, Adolin being tried in court to defend the Radiants against the honorspren, and Kaladin and Navani surviving in a Fused-occupied Urithiru.
Indiana: It feels like the avalanche has already begun. We’re also getting the perspectives of several different characters within one chapter, which didn’t happen quite as often in earlier books. It’s a refreshing change and one that makes the chapters go even quicker.
Pete: You pointed out earlier today the possibility that we’re seeing the start of the avalanche (or Sanderlanche) of the whole five-book arc, and I think you’re right. The multiple perspectives is refreshing and keeps us more in-the-moment. I think it just makes for better pacing. There’s a lot going on in this part, but whose story are you most interested in at this point?
Indiana: I think it’s a tie between Adolin and Shallan. So far, this book has just further confirmed that Adolin is one of my favorite characters and I have no idea what will happen when he’s tried by the honorspren. Then, with Shallan, there’s just so much to unpack between her doubts about Pattern and her battles with mental health and the “formless” thing that she’s been dealing with. What about you?
Pete: I’m really enjoying Navani’s story, in part because we’ve gotten so little of her perspective. It will be interesting to see how the Sibling’s argument against fabrials impacts her role as an engineer—and of course to see how she continues leading the people of Urithiru during occupation. But Kaladin’s arc in this book has fascinated me, especially as he’s started trying to understand how to care for those with mental health issues.
Indiana: Yeah, I feel like he’s being forced to explore the roots of his identity, for better or for worse. We’ll see what happens next though as it sounds like he might become a slave again.
Pete: I honestly have no idea what direction the whole book is taking—which is a very exciting point to be at. Onto part three!