Week one is here! I’ve been quite excited to start this read along, as it’s my first. (Yes, I’m a read along virgin! Hooray for cherry popping~!) This should be quite a lot of fun, I think. This week we’re covering the Prelude through Chapter 6, so warning you now that THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW FOR THIS SECTION. Early book spoilers, but nonetheless.
1) Is this your first Brandon Sanderson experience? Any expectations going into this read along?
Yes, actually. Though I do own Elantris and a box set of the Mistborn Trilogy in paperback format, and Steelheart on my kindle… Yes, I know I buy too many books and don’t read enough of them. (Owning the book is half the battle, right? Right?) Because of his presence on the NPR Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels as voted by fans, and this book’s presence on that list in particular, I do have some rather high expectations for this novel. Especially since it’s got over a 4.5 average star rating on Goodreads. I dislike having expectations of an author going into my first work of theirs, but I suppose it was unavoidable in this case.
2) In the Prelude to the Stormlight Archive, we see that Talenel (Taln) died and his sword is unaccounted for. Jerzien and company have decided it is best for 1 to suffer instead of 10. What do you make of this scene?
Due to the huge time skip (4500 years to the prologue? Crazy!), I can only assume this plays into the mythology of Sanderson’s world. We keep hearing mentions of the Radiants, which are revered as practically deities, so perhaps this is the source of the legends. I do remember reading a part that used names similar to Jerzien, Talenel, etc., though not quite the same, which makes this hypothesis a lot stronger. I’m quite curious to find out how this plays a role in the larger storyline.
3) What did you think of Szeth’s fighting abilities and the fight scenes? Any thoughts on the crystalline sphere and King Gavilar Kholin’s last words?
It was a bit difficult following along with the fight scenes at first. I tend to have issues when certain words and phrases get repetitive in text in too short of an interval, which became a slight problem in these scenes to me. However, with the explanation of the Lashings as the fight went along, while breaking the flow of the narrative to a degree, helped a lot with my understanding of what was going on. Szeth’s got quite a bit of talent going there… I certainly wouldn’t want to piss him off.
I’m sure the sphere will play some interesting role at some point in the story, as I don’t think it would be mentioned in a prologue if that wasn’t the case. Same with the last words. At this point I can’t quite speculate on what sort of role, but I have a feeling the crystalline sphere won’t be in the right hands and will cause some sort of chaos at some point.
4) Each chapter proper starts with a few words from a dying person, their station, and status in life. Any thoughts on what these portend?
It seems as though they’re having some insight to the bigger picture before death, regardless of who they are. It’s pretty foreboding. Possibly foretelling a great calamity to happen in the future? Someone’s obviously trying to figure it out through collecting these samples. It reminds me of the collective dreams that occur in “The Call of Cthulhu” to some extent.
5) Kaladin went from warrior to slave in a matter of the first 2 chapters. Care to speculate on the details of how his life changed so drastically?
He apparently didn’t kill the right man, as far as I know. He’s been painted falsely as a deserter, too… I can only assume he pissed off the wrong person. Probably this Amaram fellow. Poor Kaladin is suffering dearly, too. Someone really hates him and hates him a lot to do this to him. (Or is just a sadistic fucker.) I really want to give him a hug after all the shit that went down with his first experience in Bridge 4…
6) Sylphrena (Syl) the Windspren seems attached to Kaladin. Are you enjoying her character? Do you like the Spren in general in the worldbuilding so far?
She’s mischievous and fun while caring about Kaladin, so I definitely like her a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her and watching her character develop. Spren of the talkative sort are pretty much unheard of, so she has to have something that’s making her unique. The entire concept of Spren inhabiting the world is pretty interesting, though it seems like it could cause a lot of various issues. How the hell would you be able to keep emotions to yourself? Everyone could read what you’re feeling based on the Spren around you, so keeping secrets would be really difficult. It would drive me crazy… *shivers*
7) Shallan Davar has finally caught up to Brightness Jasnah Kholin and her soulcaster. Jasnah and the jeweled fabril can change stone to smoke; what else do you think it can do?
Apparently the best of the best fabrial can transmute quite a number of things, from what is mentioned. I mean, perhaps they could turn stone into rare gemstones or other things of an elemental nature. Would be a pretty great way to build wealth for the kingdom, though it would REALLY mess up the economic system. I got slight Fullmetal Alchemist vibes from this Soulcaster business, though I’m certain it’s not quite as extensive as that. And probably does not have an equivalent exchange principle. Don’t listen to me on this, really.
Other fun things:
I want to know what this safehand business is about. Why is covering the left hand necessary? It’s some sort of modesty thing, but what is it about a hand that requires modesty? Do they have a special use for their left hand that makes it obscene to look at? Are they marked in some strange way? I’m rather confused.
That’s that until next week. See you next Wednesday for the next installment!