Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson: Read, Part 24 (Chapters 74-Epilogue)

This is the last segment of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I hope you’ve learned as much from this book as I have.

To catch up or review previous parts of this read, click here.



Chapter 74: Ghostblood

Summary: Once Shallan is generally caught up on what Jasnah has discovered, Jasnah informs her that they will go to the Shattered Plains. If Jasnah is indeed correct, they must discover how peaceful Parshmen get turned into warlike Parshendi before someone else does it and turns the Parshmen into a horrible force that would destroy civilization itself. A group called Ghostbloods are looking for the same answers. Kabsal was one of them, and when Jasnah shows Shallan their symbol, Shallan realizes that her father was probably one too.

Reader Comments: Ah, the plot thickens. I’ll feel much better for Dalinar when Jasnah is at the Shattered Plains. Of course, it will also probably mean that their assassination attempts double. I wonder if Taravangian is a Ghostblood and sent Kabsal after Jasnah. Hmm, this is getting more interesting by the chapter.

Writer Comments: Connections are being made, clicking into place like Legos. Sanderson is cinching the plot closed at the end where all the strings come together to form one thread. This is essential for a solid, strong plot and satisfying story.

Chapter 75: In the Top Room

Summary: Once more, Dalinar has a vision. This time, he’s on the spiritual plain rather than in the real world’s past. This vision is much like the very first he ever had. He yells at the being that insists he must unite them because it lied to him and because he cannot get a straight answer. Then the being shows him a destroyed world and where it appears that even the lights in the sky wink out. And Dalinar realizes that the being cannot hear him and so had not, in fact, responded to his questions. Rather, it is leaving a story behind, a plea for action, to stop the destruction of all. Dalinar vows to do what it asks, to unite them, to rebuild the Knights Radiant, to fight. And at last, the being reveals its identity as the one Alethkar calls the Almighty and says that he has died. Odium, instead, has killed him and risen.

Reader Comments: Okay, so Sanderson has created a much bigger universe with much bigger implications than it first appeared. Based on this being’s comments, I’d say that Sanderson isn’t just setting up a fight for the world of this book, but one for all the worlds he’s created for his multiverse.

Writer Comments: Because there are so many main characters in this book, Sanderson requires several chapters to bring their individual stories to some sort of conclusion. Most books, which are far less complex, can do this in a single chapter, maybe two at a stretch.

Epilogue: Of Most Worth

Summary: Wit has returned to Kholinar where he baffles the night watch with a riddle: What do men most value? It’s something he does to pass the time, waiting for the world to change. In Wit’s opinion, the answer to this question is novelty and timeliness. Upon answering his own question, something massive hits the city gates, and then a Shardblade slices them open. A man, haggard and worn, with dark eyes enters and insists the guards must give warning. He is Talenel’Elin, a Herald of the Almighty, and he falls in their midst.

Reader Comments: Hmm, the Herald that the Heralds at the beginning of the book abandoned I’m betting. I do hope he lives. It would be very interesting to see this play out with him.

Writer Comments: How do you end the first book in a series? You must end it with internal resolution, and you must end it with enough of a cliffhanger that your readers will want to pick up the next book but still feel satisfied with the book they just read. In this case, Sanderson ends this first book by resolving, to a certain extent, the lives of his main characters: Kaladin is free, Shallan is abandoning her brothers for a greater cause, Szeth has discovered who has really been pulling his strings, and Dalinar has come to understand his visions and taken a new place amidst the highprinces. Yet, it is but a small step in a greater story, a prologue if you will. Yes, over a thousand pages for one prologue. The world has just changed and the true dangers are just now starting to come to light. Sanderson is, in essence, telling us readers that the real conflict is yet to come, and if we want to know if and how these characters we have grown to love survive, we better keep reading.

To that end, the sequel to The Way of Kings came out last month. To read more about these characters, check out Words of Radiance.

Next Monday, we’ll start a new book for these reads to uncover the techniques of successful authors. We’ll begin Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. Until then, swing back by on Friday for further forays into books, the speculative, and life.

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