I’m hella late on this one, but better late than never.
One of the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the Stormlight Archive is its length. Strength because it gives readers plenty of bang for their buck. Weakness because a) the books take forever to catch up on and b) you need to keep track of tons of information. You’d either need to keep notes or reread the series several times to keep track of everything.
Guess which one I did.
Dawnshard is a book that’s been building up silently in the background of the series for a long time. Every scene with Rysn, an interlude in Oathbringer, and a few mentions of the mysterious Dawnshard itself throughout the books. Sort of like a gentle breeze that suddenly turns into a storm.
But now the storm is here. And it’s much more intense than we had expected.
Dawnshard stars an unusual duo of characters. Rysn’s Stormlight-consuming pet, Chiri-Chiri, has grown ill. The only hope of curing her is hidden on an island that has long been blocked off by the world with mysterious forces. In order to reach it safely, she travels on her ship, the Wandersail, along with everyone’s favorite Windrunner: Lopen. Together, they sail to the island in search of the ancient secret that has been hidden from the world for centuries.
This book features one of the most unpredictable and enjoyable character combos in the whole series: Lopen and Rysn. Surprisingly, these two actually work incredibly well together! The former cripple helping the current cripple overcome the struggles of her disability and live a happier life! It’s a smaller part of the adventure, but it’s definitely one of the more memorable aspects. Plus, it’s nice to see these two characters, who have always been hanging out near the background, step into the spotlight.
They don’t just rely on each other, either. Each one has their own individual struggles that they must overcome in the story. Lopen struggles to speak the third ideal of the Windrunners because… well, he’s the Lopen! He doesn’t have anyone, so how can he swear to protect those he hates? Meanwhile, Rysn struggles to earn the respect and loyalty of her new crew, which had previously worked under her master.
Plus, the whole being in a wheelchair and having a dying pet thing.
This book also brings the Sleepless into the limelight. Don’t know what those are? I can’t exactly blame you. One made a very brief appearance during Edgedancer and it’s revealed that they have a connection to the Horneaters, meaning that all of Rock’s stories from the previous books (namely Words of Radiance) are related to these guys. Essentially, they’re a super-creepy new antagonist that has their own aims and motivations completely separate from the Radiants or the Voidbringers. It’s a refreshing change of pace, considering how all the other books focus exclusively on those two factions.
Overall, this book is a fun and short little adventure. It’s a great change of pace from the usual Stormlight Archive stories, featuring some of its best characters getting some time to truly shine. If you need something relatively short to satiate your hunger until the next book, give Dawnshard a read.
Although you may wanna go slowly. We’ve got a while yet until the next book…