Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson is the fourth and the latest book from The Stormlight Archive a.k.a the best fantasy series I have ever read.
About Rhythm of War
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: The Stormlight Archive #4
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy
Page Count: 1232
Audible Listening Hours: 57 hours and 26 mins
Goodreads Rating: 4.61/5
My Rating: 3.5/5
The plot of Rhythm of War can be neatly divided into three parts. One main plot and two subplots. The main plot revolves around Navani and her struggle with new technology that threatens to change the course of the war for the worse. But it is also the definitive proof of her intelligence which she constantly doubts.
Kaladin is coping with the changes in his role as a Knight Radiant. He seems to finally leave the war behind and support his people behind the scenes. But enemies intervene in his quiet life and he has to fight back with more disadvantages on his part than ever before. Urithiru is explored more through the Fused's POV. I loved this plot. I never knew I would love Kaladin and Navani working together this much.
Another major plot revolves around Shallan and Adolin as they are preparing to convince Honorsprens of the Lasting Integrity in Shadesmar to bond with humans. But they are wary of Nahel Bonds with humans because of the betrayal during Recreance that killed many Honorsprens. So, Shallan, Adolin, Pattern and Maya go on an adventurous journey to Shadesmar and convince the Honorsprens of Lasting Integrity to allow Sprens to bond with humans.
During this voyage, Shallan discovers more about her bond with Pattern and gives us some major revelations. Adolin is another integral part of this plot. His arc seems to be the most interesting here. His bond with Maya is amazing.
The third plot has the most political intrigue. Dalinar, Jasmah, Taravangian and Szeth are succumbing to the changing political environment and are unable to fight back. Jasnah has some powerful scenes here But she is absent from Rhythm of War most of the time. Szeth is the main attraction of this subplot. He carries it with amazing grace and a charming partner called Nightblood. I didn't care much about this subplot. I kept waiting for the book to go back to the main plot whenever these chapters came about.
Rhythm of War follows Navani's POV the most. In a way, you could argue that this is Navani's book. We get to see more about her relationship with King Gavilar who was murdered in The Way of Kings. And it's not good. King Gavilar made her feel small at every chance he got and filled her with imposter syndrome. Despite being an awesome inventor and visionary, she constantly doubts her capability and the authority she has been given.
Her and Raboneil's collaboration is something to marvel at. When Robenei seized control of Urithiru and forced Navani to work on making Anti-Voidlight work, Navani shows her immense wealth of intelligence by not only working on the most innovative piece of technology but also guiding Kaladin to take back control of Urithiru and convincing The Sibling to help her.
The growth she goes through in Rhythm of War is amazing to read. I was so disappointed when she wasn't the one selected as the Queen of Alethkar. But her being the second Bondsmith makes sense in the end. I loved her character so much. She is fully realized in Rhythm of War which is why I am struggling to see where she goes from here in the next book.
Kaladin's arc is yet again the most satisfying in Rhythm of War. His taking a back seat from war and violence doesn't last long when Urithiru has been seized by the Fused. I loved his struggle with the need to fight on the front lines and following his father's philosophy of saying no to any kind of violence.
The best part of Rhythm of War was his working with Navani and taking care of Teft. His friendship with Teft shines in Rhythm of War which is why when Teft dies it absolutely broke me. I was so angry at the universe for making Kaladin suffer like this. Teft's death was too painful.
The top moment of Rhythm of War also comes from Kaladin. His uttering the Fourth Ideal was the best moment in this book. It was poetic. Kaladin finally accepts that he can't save everyone right after losing the most important person of his life at that moment. It was truly gut-wrenching. The whole book is worth reading just for experiencing this scene. I truly have no complaints about Kaladin's character.
Adolin goes on one of the most interesting journeys in Rhythm of War. His bond with his Shardblade Maya seems to bring her back from the dead. What's that about? It is the most fascinating thing to read. I loved every chapter where Adolin is talking with Maya, training or defending her. It is so heartwarming.
I want Adolin to be the one who finds a way to bring back all the Deadeyes so badly. If Brandon Sanderson delivers this one to us, no one will be happier than me. But then will Adolin become a Knight Radiant? I don't want Adolin to become a Knight Radiant or become one without something big happening for him. I want his arc to be the one where nobody questions or points to his privileged life being the reason for his becoming a Knight Radiant. I want him to earn that.
I loved his trial in the Lasting Integrity. The only thing I don't like about him is his interactions with Shallan. But that's not because of flaws in Adolin's character. It's because I don't like Shallan. Maya defending Adolin is my second favourite moment from Rhythm of War. That scene was so powerful I almost cried.
Venli is a bit confusing to me. I like her but her internal dilemma is not something I can fully relate to. I understand she is the last Singer and everybody else has been turned into fused. But why keep her a Singer? What's stopping the fused to force her to change?
The explanation given in Rhythm of War was not strong enough for me to make sense. Her failure to complete the ideals to become Knight Radiant is interesting to me. Also, we spend criminally less time with her learning about her powers as Willshaper and training with them.
I used to not like Shallan, but now I hate her. Her Dissociative Identity Disorder is shown very well in Rhythm of War. We get to know the cause of Veil's creation and it made me hate her. Her third truth is the biggest revelation in all of The Stormlight Archive series. She killed her first Spren called Testament. I am sorry but I can't forgive her for this cardinal sin. This is the point of no return for me. I absolutely hate her now. I hate her more than Moash.
Shallan gets to be the one interacting with Ghostbloods, the most mysterious secret society there is but her interaction with them is subpar. The Ghostbloods are more interesting than her. I am interested to know more about them. They seem to have a deeper connection in Cosmere. I think I need to read the Mistborn series to understand more about them.
Overall, Shallan is my least favourite in the entirety of The Stormlight Archive series.
Dalinar takes a back seat in Rhythm of War. His arc came to a satisfying close in Oathbringer and I am happy with it. I loved his conversations with the Stormfather. He made Stormfather realise that intervening in events is not so bad after all. I am stressed about his deal with Odium. From what I understood, I think Dalinar will be the one leaving Roshar and play a bigger role in the overarching plot involving Cosmere.
I have no major gripe with Dalinar's character in Rhythm of War. I am quite happy with the turn his character is taking. However, I want him to spend some more time with Adolin and give him the appreciation he is craving from his father his entire life.
Worldbuilding is great in Rhythm of War but not as great as the previous books in the series. Cultivation and Sibling are explored more but they were still very limited. Ghostbloods need work. I know I have to read the Mistborn series to understand the Ghostbloods. But it should have been able to stand on its own as a multi-planetary secret society before connecting with the Cosmere. I appreciated the brief introduction of them but I want this part of the story to develop more in the later books.
There are other orders of Knights Radiant that are yet to be explored. We get introduced to Malata as the Dusrbringer but nothing is known about that order. Skybreakers looks the most interesting to me. I am predicting that Skybreakers will be clearer in Stormlight #5 as it will most probably going to be Szeth's book. And I can't get enough of Nightblood. Every scene with Nightblood is spectacular to read.
Magic system is established well in the previous books in The Stormlight Archive series. Rhythm of War builds upon it spectacularly. I have no major gripe with how things turned out in Rhythm of War. The magic system in Cosmere is ironclad. Brandon Sanderson definitely thought this out well and executed it perfectly. I have rarely seen books with this complicated magic system without taking away from the overarching story and character development. If you are looking for something like that this book series is for you. Learning about the magic system is fascinating to me. Some people might find it overcomplicated but I personally enjoy watching things coming together involving complex worldbuilding and rules.
Rhythm of War finally cuts some pages out of the book compared to the previous one. It's still one of the biggest books I have ever read. But the small reduction in page count definitely did wonder for my motivation to pick up the book. If it was bigger than Oathbringer or was of similar size I would not have been able to continue the series this year. But it was not and I am so happy about it although the reduction is negligible.
The plot was also neatly divided into three subplots which helped me a lot with following it. The interludes were not too far off from the main plot. The Way of Kings really threw me off with its interlude. But with each book, the interludes are getting better and more related to the plot. I love it.
My enjoyment of Rhythm of War increased whenever Kaladin, Adolin-Maya and Szeth-Nightblood were on-page. These characters held my interest throughout the story even though the book is excruciatingly long. However, this book had less impact on me than the previous books in the series. What made Rhythm of War worth the time was the scene of Kaladin finally uttering his fourth ideal. I loved that scene. it is of my top five scenes in the entire Stormlight Archive series.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Rhythm of War. I think it’s hard for me to hate something written by Brandon Sanderson at this point. I have been officially converted to a Cosmere fangirl. I loved everything he has written so far. But the future may prove me wrong. I am so excited for the next book in The Stormlight Archive series.
Rhythm of War has a strong foundation to be the most interesting story to read. The work that has been put in by Brandon Sanderson in building this world is commendable and it shows when you read his work. There are some scenes in Rhythm of War that absolutely steals the show and makes it worthwhile to read. I got some of my favourite fantasy scenes in this book. The worldbuilding and magic system are the best of their kind as always. But the best part about this series is Kaladin's character. He is my favourite fantasy protagonist of all time. I will be devasted if he doesn't survive the future books. I don't think I could handle the pain.
There are so many characters in Rhythm of War but none of them lacks depth. Even my least favourite character Shallan is a fully realized character and never felt unreal. I didn't think I will ever read a book that I will think is impossible to adapt to visual media. But this series is it. I truly don't think anyone can do justice to this story if adapted into a tv series or a movie.
I love to spend my time in this world and going to fully get into the Cosmere books in 2023. The Mistborn series is at the top of my list at the moment. I can definitely say that The Stormlight Archive filled the gaping hole left in me after finishing House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas. I was craving something filled with amazing worldbuilding involving multiverses after reading that book. The Stormlight Archive series outperformed my most vivid imagination.
“You just want to stop existing,” Kaladin said. “You don’t want to actually kill yourself, not on most days. But you figure it sure would be convenient if you weren’t around anymore.”
“Heroism is a myth you tell idealistic young people—specifically when you want them to go bleed for you.”
“His entire life had been a futile effort to stop a storm by yelling at it. The storm didn't care.”
“The baking thing is an actual tradition,” Wit added. “I once visited a place where—if you lose a battle—your mother has to bake the other fellow something tasty. I rather liked those people.” “Pity you didn’t remain with them longer,” Dalinar said. “Ha! Well, I didn’t think it wise to stay around. After all, they were cannibals.”
An instant #1 New York Times Bestseller and a USA Today and Indie Bestseller!
The Stormlight Archive saga continues in Rhythm of War, the eagerly awaited sequel to Brandon Sanderson's #1 New York Times bestselling Oathbringer, from an epic fantasy writer at the top of his game.
After forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion, Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted, brutal war. Neither side has gained an advantage, and the threat of a betrayal by Dalinar’s crafty ally Taravangian looms over every strategic move.
Now, as new technological discoveries by Navani Kholin’s scholars begin to change the face of the war, the enemy prepares a bold and dangerous operation. The arms race that follows will challenge the very core of the Radiant ideals, and potentially reveal the secrets of the ancient tower that was once the heart of their strength.
At the same time that Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with his changing role within the Knights Radiant, his Windrunners face their own problem: As more and more deadly enemy Fused awaken to wage war, no more honorspren are willing to bond with humans to increase the number of Radiants. Adolin and Shallan must lead the coalition’s envoy to the honorspren stronghold of Lasting Integrity and either convince the spren to join the cause against the evil god Odium, or personally face the storm of failure.
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