Rating: 5/loved (1-5/hated-loved)
Guys, I don't know how to review books anymore. Book one of this series was so long that it took me a month to read. Book two was even longer and took me almost a full two months to read. (That's with a lot of reading per day, I didn't leave them sitting around for days on end!) So I've written one review in the last three months, and now I'm all rusty.
Words of Radiance was longer than anything GRRM has ever written. It's longer than anything Stephen King has written. Never once, for a single moment, did I think "Man, this book needed a good editor" -- there was no extra padding, no useless stuff, nothing I for even a moment wanted to skim over. Not a single word. I've many times thought that King's books had too much fluff, and GRRM's need of a good editor is nearly meme-level known.
The series is set on a fantasy world that has been built from the ground up by the author. It has a weather pattern that drives everything on the planet, and the path evolution took on the world is so wonderfully clear. Everything from plants to insects to animals exist as they currently are because of the weather. Interestingly (oh so so so so interestingly) there are a few things from our planet (like horses, though there's a native(???) species of them as well). And humans, of course. I'm dying to know how/why there are horses there. The human population treats them as alien creatures (they don't fit in with how the rest of the wildlife on the world evolved). They have to be a giant clue as to the reality of this world, but as of now there's just no way to know more.
Unlike the first book, this one was told mostly from the POV of two characters (with a few other chapter POV characters now and then). Unfortunately I didn't like one of the two much, but that did not lessen my enjoyment of the book one single bit.
Brandon Sanderson is such a good writer. He's written thousands of pages of notes about his world, setting, background, and characters, and all of that shows in the finished story. This is one of the most real fantasy worlds I've ever read about.
The first book of the series is about $5 on Amazon, this second one is $10. You could easily add a zero to both of those figures and still get your money's worth.
This series is planned as ten books long, but he seems to be a seriously fast writer, so hopefully it won't be too long until book #3.
Between these two books, my chances of hitting 50 books this year is pretty darned low, but it was worth it. If I had only been able to read two books this whole year, these would be the two I'd pick.