Kaladin is a bridgeman, the lowest of the low in a war that’s been going on for over half a decade.
Shallan is on a quest to save her family from debt, quest to steal a soulcaster from the king’s sister.
Dalinar, the king’s uncle, strives for honor in a word where ten armies are barely united, all the while he has visions he fears could be a symptom of insanity.
Note on ratings:
** Below average
*** Average. Not good or bad.
**** Above average
***** Above and beyond
Content: *** (Content based off my personal level of squeamishness.)
One group of characters are used as human shields in a war. Being war, there is a lot of death and violence, some of which is a bit detailed due to Kaladin being a surgeon. There is also some swearing, a few mentions of rape and prostitutes, but the main issue is violence.
Another issue is that Shallan is less-than-honest. The story makes what she does understandable, but it still can be a little annoying.
Originality and world building: *****
This is where the book shines. The author did a ton of worldbuilding, down to details like chickens being an exotic food, and it being indecent for women to expose their “safehand.” Sanderson also does a good job of keeping the characters in their culture. The characters don’t have the same views of things as modern person would have.
Characters and their Arcs: ****
There are three main point of view characters, and each of them gets a character arc. There are also a bunch of more minor characters. I especially enjoyed Kaladin’s arc. His flaws tend to cause trouble for him.
Writing style and Pacing: ***
The book started out a bit slow, and at first, some of the characters didn’t seem that interesting, making it annoying when I had to read about two or three POVs I wasn’t interested in yet.
What I liked:
The worldbuilding is very deep. The characters have good arcs, and the ending of Kaladin’s arc was amazing. Once I got into the book, it was hard to put down.
What I didn’t like:
The slow pace at the start. It took a while to get into the book.
Is it worth reading?
Yes, but I’d recommend the ebook version. The print book is over a thousand pages long, making it rather unwieldy. It’s well worth the read. I’m partway through the sequel, which is even better.