“Do you know,” the Fused finally asked, “how Honor was killed?” ~ Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War
Rhythm of War (Part Four) 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 previous discussions here: Part One –Part Two – Part Three
Pete: As we’re approaching the end of the book, it’s interesting that it doesn’t feel like the climax has begun as it normally would have by now. Instead, we sort of had a climax in the first two parts, and the third and fourth parts have been more about the slow collapse of Urithiru and Adolin’s trial in Lasting Integrity. That’s not to say I haven’t been enjoying it—the character development has been fantastic throughout this book. But I was expecting things to ramp up a bit by now.
Indiana: Same here. I expected the action avalanche to start up by now but it’s been mellower. Well, mellower when compared to the first three books. There is that whole situation with Kaladin almost dying and we still don’t know where Syl is do we?
Pete: Yeah, small-scale exciting things are certainly happening. I think that’s why I’m still so captivated. The stakes may not be quite as high, but I’ve really enjoyed the focus on Navani, Kaladin, Shallan, and Adolin. Sanderson can’t just ramp up the plot indefinitely—I think this book has done a good job of grounding the series and reminding us that these are heroes who have plenty of personal problems to work out.
Indiana: I feel like we’ve continued to get a great plot with Navani, who is finally able to pursue scholarship. Though it’s under extremely unfavorable circumstances (okay, she’s been kidnapped so it’s pretty bad), she gets to explore a possibility she thought was long since lost. What she’s been discovering about how the magic works is interesting too.
Pete: Her moments of discovery are surprisingly fun to read, and her complex relationship with Raboniel is fascinating and possibly a microcosm of the Fused-human war. I missed her banter with the Sibling in this part, but I’m sure we’ll see their return in the final part. What did you think of Shallan’s deepest, darkest secret?
Indiana: The fact that she broke her bond with her spren and then completely blocked it from her memories? Yeah, that’s a pretty big revelation. So what does that mean for how Pattern became her new spren then?
Pete: I don’t know—I wonder if he is even aware of this fact. But maybe it’s possible that, like Maya, Shallan’s first spren chose to allow their bond to be broken. We’ve learned a ton about the Recreance and the nature of the Radiant-spren relationship. I can’t wait to see how that culminates in the final part!