The Way of Kings Read Along: Week Seven

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I can’t believe there’s only 30% of this book left to read!  These last seven hundred pages have been amazing and I’m excited to see how this book will end in a couple weeks~  I’m so glad I decided to participate, haha.  Anyway, this week we’re discussing chapters 43 through 50, with Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers hosting!  MAJOR SPOILERS ARE IN THE CHASMS BELOW, BEWARE.

1. What did you think of the replacement for the delightful Lamaril, or rather, what did you make of his wife, who seems to do all his work? She assumes that chasm duty is the worst punishment that she can throw at the bridge crew, so were you surprised that Kaladin saw an opportunity in it so quickly?

Everyone’s got it out for Bridge Four, I swear.  I mean, I suppose they don’t want the other bridgemen to follow their example, as broken bridgemen seem to be what Sadeas prefers.  They’re arrow fodder, barely even human in these people’s eyes.  I’m glad Kaladin didn’t let despair overcome him again with the new assignment, and though this opportunity is essentially their last hope, he is dedicated to this (likely) futile plan.  I can only hope things go well in the end, but with his track record thus far, I’m afraid we’ll see disaster.  But, we have three hundred pages left and the rest of the series, so maybe they will prevail? :O

2. Please use this opportunity to list all the imaginative ways that you would like Roshone to suffer for forcing poor little Tien into the army. 😦

That man needs to fall into a chasm in the Shattered Plains (or pushed, perhaps?), somehow survive the fall, and then get dismembered one limb at a time by a chasmfiend.  And then subsequently eaten.  Or he could be soulcast into fire.  I could also go with him being dragged behind a chull for as many miles as it takes until he is barely alive, then leave him for whatever equivalent of buzzards Roshar has.  If the “buzzards” don’t get him, the highstorms will.  *laughs maniacally*

3. Finally, somebody is asking questions about the inconstancy of the Parshendi artifacts and how Gavilar changed in the months leading up to his death. What do you make of the accounts that Shallan is reading? Also, what do you think about Shen, the Parshman added to the bridge crew?

The Parshendi have to be getting their Shardblades and plates from SOMEWHERE.  Whether it’s from ruins they’ve stumbled upon or if some figure is gifting them, I don’t know.  But it seems to be the root of most of the problems.  As for our Parshman, he’s definitely got more to him than meets the eye.  As do the rest of the Parshmen, I would think.  I wonder when they came to be used as slaves by everyone else?  And if they have a hivemind type thing like the Parshendi?  If they do… I would be afraid of what happens if they all decide to rebel at once.

4. Shallan has some seriously bizarre visions or hallucinations. Do you have any new ideas about the nature of the symbol-headed figures: are they good or evil? What about the alternative world and the beads: could that really have been the soul or essence of the goblet that she spoke to before it changed into blood?

At first I thought they were malevolent beings… Now I’m not so sure.  They definitely have something to do with Shallan figuring out how to Soulcast, but the connection with the king and a supposed future demise also bothers me.  Or maybe I’m reading too much into things?  The alternate world with the beads made me think almost of the atoms binding the goblet together, or seeing the goblet at a more molecular level.  At least, this seems like an interesting way to think about it.

5. Does Kaladin’s dream / vision seem similar to those that Dalinar has been having? He is called the ‘Child of Tanavast, Child of Honor’ and there is mention of an entity called Odium, who appears to be rather bad. Do you have any speculation about these two beings, how they fit into the world that we have seen so far and why the name Odium makes Syl hiss and fly off?

It is definitely of a similar source, for sure, but they obviously have different roles to play and therefore receive different messages.  I don’t really know what they are, to be honest.  Odium sounds like the embodiment of evil from the information we have so far, but perhaps that is too broad of an assessment.  Whatever they are, they definitely have a connection to the impending calamity that Roshar will likely face in the near future.

6. We have learnt some more about the events following Cenn’s chapter way back at the beginning of the book. Were you surprised that Kaladin defeated a Shardbearer almost singlehandedly? This still does not explain why he is a slave, but does it bring us closer to guessing?

Kaladin is the best, I swear.  I’m not entirely surprised he managed to do it himself, but I WAS surprised that he relinquished his rightful prize to another.  I mean, from the past info I thought it was stolen directly from him… But now I can only assume it could have been taken from the man he gave it to.  We are definitely closer to the heart of the truth in this matter.  Amaram was NOT prepared for that at all.  Which begs the question… Why WAS there a Shardbearer in that battle in the first place?  *ponders*

7. I think I made it quite clear last week that I did not trust Kabsal, so I am now feeling rather smug. However, I did not guess at the poison in the bread: did it surprise you as well? Can you see any way that Shallan can reconcile with Jasnah now that the theft has been revealed?

Oh, Kabsal.  Oh, oh Kabsal… The poison was completely unexpected, especially with the antidote in the jam.  Though, Kabsal was acting rather suspicious and I had already thought he had ulterior motives, I just didn’t believe he would actually go to such lengths.  At this point, I don’t know if Shallan can reconcile at all with Jasnah, though I think Jasnah has a lot more up her sleeve than I think.  She had to have known before.  She had to…

So we’ve got a big spooky force that makes our lovely spren hiss, ehh?  Sounds like signs of big things going down. 😀  See you next week, guys~

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The Way of Kings Read Along: Week Four

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Hello, again~ I know I’ve only been posting for this read along, but hopefully with some good time management I can be posting more often soon.  We’ll see – I really can’t stress myself too much or I’ll go insane, haha.  Anyway, this week propelled the book even more so as we begin to finally get some answers and yet are given more questions to consider.  It always seems to be that way though, doesn’t it?  Regardless-  SPOILERS FOR CHAPTERS 20 THROUGH 27 RESIDE BELOW, LIKE KRAKENS IN THE SEA.

1.  We seem to be getting more and more proof that there is some ”luck” or magic at play when it comes to Kaladin’s safety, survival and his skills – especially during those battle scenes.  Even when performing that Kata in the Chasm, there was something  incredible about his movements according to the rest of the crew. Initially the blade seemed to be the source of his skills (to me at least), what do you think might be fueling his powers?  Do you think they’re getting stronger?

I believe I mentioned in a comment section that I think Kaladin is drawing upon Stormlight without quite realizing it, a more untrained version of what Szeth has going on.  I may be way off the mark, but the series being called The Stormlight Archive makes me think my thoughts could be very much possible.  I don’t know if his powers are necessarily getting stronger, but perhaps more noticeable by others?  Or he could be exhibiting them more since he found a sense of himself again.  I’m not quite sure.

2. We were introduced to Navani, King Gavilar’s widow and the current King Elhokar’s mother.  What was your initial impression of her?  There seems to be some complicated history between her and Dalinar, do you think she might end up being an ally or an eventual hindrance?

I’m on the fence as to whether Navini scares me or if she’s just a bad ass woman who doesn’t take shit from anyone.  Most importantly, she knows how to use her assets to toy around with others and get what she wants.  This would make her quite a dangerous player if she wished to cause trouble.  I have some inclination that she’s trying to get power herself and may be one of the more important players in all of this to watch.  Overall, her appearance makes me nervous, as does that appointed meeting with Dalinar.  Oh, and the fact that she criticizes her son, THE KING, at the table!  She is certainly crossing lines she should not be crossing… if anything, from what the current atmosphere is like, she’ll end up causing some sort of trouble.  That term femme fatale comes to mind…..

3. What did you make of Sadeas’ maneuver against Dalinar to gain the King’s favor by being named the High Prince of Information?  How do you reconcile his actions with the advice Dalinar received ”to trust” Sadeas?

Sadeas, Sadeas, Sadeas… Tricky son of a bitch, that one.  I keep not wanting to be wary of him because of how obvious him being a villain would be, you know?  I keep wanting to know more of his backstory than we do and figure out what makes him tick.  Being named High Prince of Information makes him like the head of the new secret police, and I don’t like it one bit.  Though, perhaps he has a grander plan in all this that isn’t as obvious.  I really want to trust the advice given to Dalinar, but we’ll see, I suppose.

4. Were you surprised when Rock admitted to Kaladin that he was seemingly born being able to see the Spren and therefore could see Syl following Kaladin around? That led to a pivotal point for Kaladin, gaining Rock’s favor and then Teft’s.  What were your thoughts on that whole scene? Can you speculate as to why some people are able to see the spren when others cannot?

I wasn’t entirely surprised?  I mean, the existence of races that can more readily see the spren isn’t something that seems unheard of.  Perhaps some races are more sensitive to such creatures than others.  I was just happy Kaladin finally has allies.  Rock as a character is absolutely hilarious too, with that whole deal about using chull dung in Sadeas’s food.  Funniest reason to become a bridgeman ever.

5.  We got to see Adolin confront his father Dalinar because of his visions and lay all his cards on the table. Clearly Adolin thinks his father is losing it and his words seemed to shake Dalina’s own convictions as well.  Do you think this will have a lasting effect on Dalinar’s belief in his visions? Not to mention his acting on them?  Moreover, do you think Adolin will ever be convinced that there is more to Dalinar’s visions any time soon?

I don’t think Adolin will be convinced until some calamity happens where Dalinar can say “I told you so”.  Poor Dalinar, however… He keeps trying to do the right thing but is so torn, which doesn’t help things at all.  His disgust during the battle with the Parshendi, for example, worries me a bit.  The only way to ever convince any of his fellow highprinces or the people close to him is to work at things slowly and not try to cause massive change instantly, which to an extent he’s doing.  The whole confrontation with Adolin, due to how high profile it has become, will be hindersome at best and devastating at worst.  I don’t blame him for questioning the things he’s seen after that.

6.  As if in further indication of Dalinar and Kaladin’s collision course towards one another, Dalinar has agreed to train a bridge crew – without putting them directly into assault or harm’s way (of course, love these two!!) do you think their joined efforts might be enough to change the way the other High Princes  go about things during battle?  Especially Sadeas?

I feel that this collision course can only do good things in the end, especially in Kaladin’s case.  I’m hoping his skills in leading others and perhaps in battle can be realized by better people, elevating his status to a place where he could actually do something.  Kaladin on Dalinar’s side could only be beneficial, it’s just a matter of time to see when he gets noticed and what ultimately comes out of it.  Only with evidence will the highprinces change their ways.  Let’s see if we get it.

Other things:

Kaladin is slowly revealing what actually happened to make him a slave.  From what I can gather, Brightlord Amaram probably did not like the fact he defeated a shardbearer and likely secured Kaladin’s winnings for himself, citing an arbitrary reason that would send the poor man down into the cracks of society.  Selfish bastard.  Ugh.

I managed to get this up only a day late this time!  Perhaps next week I will be caught up and posting on Wednesdays!  Or not.  I do have two exams next week.  GAH.

The Way of Kings Read Along: Week Two

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Apologies for being late on the second week!  I finished Chapters 7-13 a couple days ago, but the semester started back up on Wednesday and I found out that my apartment’s internet has decided to go absolutely bonkers.  Haven’t been able to get anything up until today.  Gah.  Anyway!  Onward with the read along~  Spoilers for Chapters 7-13 reside below.

1. Shallan’s determination pays off, but Jasnah Kholin seems to change her mind a bit suddenly, and when Shallan isn’t expecting her to. She mentions knowing of Shallan’s family… Do you think perhaps she knows more than she admits? Or is she really just a bit more soft-hearted than she lets on?

I have a feeling that it’s a mix of both.  I doubt Jasnah realizes Shallan’s true plot, but she probably knows more details about the going-ons of the family than we think.  Perhaps not that Shallan’s father is dead, but maybe she knows about how he used his fabrial or other such secrets.  I believe though that she has to seem, on the surface, tougher to be able to stand the criticism she no doubt gets from being an atheist, which I can respect.  Otherwise she may have been torn down long ago by the opinions of others.

2. Yalb comes to the bargaining rescue as Shallan tries to buy books… Do you think there’s going to be a bigger part in events for him to play?

I really hope so!  Yalb is quite the interesting and resourceful character and I would really like to see his character explored in more detail.  I’m sure he has quite a history; with all those tricks up his sleeves I think there is more behind him than just a simple sailor.  I don’t think he will end up being antagonistic at least.  …I hope.

3. Part One ends with a ray of hope for Kaladin, as he rediscovers a sense of purpose… What did you think of the scene in the Honour Chasm, and then with Gaz afterward?

I think the whole scene in the Honor Chasm just made me love Syl more.  Without Syl, Kaladin would be a mangled mess at the bottom of the chasm and of no use to anyone.  There seems to be some hope that Bridge 4 can become less deadly and, most importantly, united to stand against the dangers they face.  And the whole thing with Gaz afterward… I still don’t trust the guy whatsoever, but boy did it feel nice to see him get back some of what he’s given.

4. We catch up with Szeth for an interlude, and things are very different for him… What do you make of his choice to enslave himself – if it is in fact a choice…?

His status as Truthless goes back well before the assassination, so I can only suppose if it was a choice he is punishing himself for actions he performed in the past.  Possibly much worse than killing the king.  I wonder the extent of the crimes he has committed?  With that sort of power, he certainly has the capability of creating mass chaos.

5. We also meet Dalinar Kholin, Jasnah’s father, and get something of a hint that he’s important where the Radiants are concerned… What do you think Dalinar’s ‘fits’ might mean?

There seems to be some sort of impending calamity that Dalinar’s visions are hinting at.  Perhaps uniting the kingdom will help either stave off this “Everstorm” or at least minimize the damage that happens.  Either way, it seems that no one really wants to listen to him.  No one ever listens to the person who can help it seems…  Then again, it is a bit hard to believe a person who is essentially having hallucinations.  I’m sure there will be a lot of regret later on.

Other fun stuff:

I worry about Elhokar’s behavior.  Such recklessness is going to get him killed if Dalinar or others aren’t around to save him.  And if he dies… things will become quite chaotic, to say the least.

AND I KNEW IT.  THEY BROKE THE DAMN ECONOMY WITH THOSE FABRIALS!  Obviously it’s quite frowned upon if they had to hide this fact, though…

I promise to get the third post up on time!  Thank you for reading, and see you next week~

The Way of Kings Read Along: Week One

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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!