At long last, it’s time to return to Roshar! Book four of the Stormlight Archive is finally here! And boy howdy, does it give us a lot to talk about!
One year after the events of Oathbringer, the war against Odium continues. Thanks to the advances made by Navani and her scholars, the humans are now equipped with all manner of advanced Fabreals to aid them in their efforts. However, the struggles of the Knights Radiant are only growing tougher. Will they be able to push Odium into a corner and find a way to end this eternal war? Or will things take an even darker, more dire turn?
There is a lot that I need to leave out in that synopsis to avoid spoiling anything. This is easily the most spoiler-heavy book to review out of this entire series. I’m going to be walking a tight line for this entire article as to not ruin anything for you guys!
One of the biggest changes I noticed from the other books is the balance of character focus. This story centers mostly around three characters, with all the others getting significantly less time in the limelight then them. I found this to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the characters that got the most time got to star in one of the most tense and engaging plots in the series yet. All the while, the other characters feel like an afterthought.
Which is kind of a problem, given how important what they do is to the overarching story of the series. They really could have used the extra time. Yes, the book would’ve been insanely long, even more so than it already is. But I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something important. Like the b plots were just rushed through so we could focus on the a plots.
Don’t get me wrong, though: the a plots are really good! Not only do our returning characters get plenty of cool stuff to do (my boy Kaladin got even better; every one of his chapters was a god damn treat), but we also got plenty of new characters to spruce things up! Including not one, but two of the most interesting antagonists in the entire series!
Although the Pursuer is pretty boring. He’s more of an obstacle to overcome than an actual character. A cool obstacle, make no mistake. But the point still stands.
This book also ups the ante even further as it expands into the cosmere. We get hints at the power dynamics of the gods beyond Roshar. Some of them are even connected to previous Sanderson works (thank God I read Mistborn before this came out)! This ties into the motivations and backstory of Odium, which goes a long way in making the evil god much more interesting than just ‘I am evil and want to rule the universe’.
We even get to see more of the Spren world! We get to see how the Spren reacted to the betrayal of the old Radiants. Not only that, but second-best boy Adolin actually has to face it! It’s one of the most interesting and engaging plotlines in the book!
Which culminates into one of the most groundbreaking twists in the franchise. What does it mean? We don’t know yet. But I can’t wait to find out!
Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait. Probably for a while. God damn it.
All in all, this is yet another solid entry into the Stormlight Archive series. I have my grievances with it, but I still enjoyed it from beginning to end. If you loved all the others, and you have the patience for another book longer than the bible, I’d highly recommend checking it out!
And if you haven’t read this series yet: now’s the time! You’ve got a few years until book five!