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Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

So the next instalment of the Stormlight Archives is done, it was a beast of a book as expected but overall I enjoyed it.

I won’t say much about the plot except that it’s set around a year after book three and mainly follows Kaladin, Navani and Venli. Shallan has a fair few POV’s as well though not as many as the others and the rest of the main characters just have a few bits here and there.

Unusually, so far anyway, the flashbacks weren’t as prominent as they have been in other books and only started in part three. That meant that the vast majority of the book was set in the present day timeline. You would expect that meant the plot moved forwards loads but it didn’t really. This was very much an introspective book and so though we had a lot of character development, the plot didn’t move forward all that much.

So the heart of this book is about self realisation. Kaladin is severely traumatised and needs to learn to take a step back. Shallan is even more messed up and has to come to an understanding with herself. Venli is trying to live with what she’s done while moving on to what she is to become and Navani is trying to balance her responsibilities as a ruler with her desire and skill as a scholar. It’s an unusual book in that respect and fair play to Sanderson for tackling such issues in a truly epic fantasy setting.

Saying that parts of it I felt dragged a bit. The parts with Navani and Raboniel were some of my favourite bits but it got very technical in places and I found myself glazing over it. Some people are probably going to love it though. This book also got very cosmere heavy which is both a good and a bad thing. Myself twenty years ago would have absolutely loved it, I had the time to constantly re-read my favourite books and I’m sure I would have read all three again in preparation for this. However me nowadays still loves it but since I’ve only read most of his books once, I was constantly wondering what bits of the cosmere he was talking about and if I should know certain names etc. I know the most obvious ones but I’m sure I missed loads and the significance of some stuff we found out. It is still pretty great and again this will be an added bonus for others.

As you will expect if you’ve read any of his other books, Sanderson has ended it with a bang (which I’m still thinking about) and now must wait patiently for another three years until the next one. This time I will re-read them as it will be the final part of this arc.

4 stars

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