Here's my belated thoughts and comments about WoR.
- I've discovered over the years that to truly satisfy me, a work of fiction must have at least one major buildup -> climax -> resolution sequence. WoK had at least one (the battle at the Tower), and WoR, by my reckoning, had three: the expedition to the center of the Shattered Plains, Kaladin losing and then regaining Syl, Shallan admitting to herself and coming to terms with what really happened to her family. So on that account, I was well satisfied with WoR, which is more than I can say for the last two ASOIAF books.
- Sanderson continues to write engrossing actions scenes. The arena fight, the large-scale battle against the Voidbringers, Kaladin's airborne duel against Szeth were all thriling, page-turning moments of the book for me.
- The great worldbuilding continues. Sanderson has obviously devoted a lot of time to his world's various elements (history, geography, biology, politics, magic system, etc.), and it shows.
- The characters had greater depth than in WoK. Kaladin lost his way and his powers for a time due to his hatred for certain nobles, Dalinar became more efficient at politics, but it was Shallan who changed most. In fact, I throught her change from the sheltered girl frightened of confrontation we first met in WoK to the highly skilled observer/manipulator/spy she is at the end of WoR was a bit too quick, but not totally unrealistic.
- Wording and dialog are sometimes rather clunky. This has been covered extensively in the previous thread. I too sometimes thought that a particular word was too modern, or at least modern-sounding. However, my biggest gripe with Sanderson's prose is that much too often he just uses a bland, boring "said" when a character expresses him/herself. He could and IMO should instead add an adjective, or replace "said" with another verb like "insisted" or "snapped" to give the reader a better understanding of the character's current feelings, demeanor and/or personality when he/she speaks.
- Sexual content unfortunately remains at what would, in a movie, IMO be labeled K level. This is rather jarring considering that Sanderson doesn't hesitate to use graphic descriptions of bloody battles and their grisly aftermath that would be said to be PG-13 in a movie, and IMO sometimes even rise to a R rating. I'm not saying I'd like Sanderson to switch to full-blown sex scenes like those GRRM writes, but - and I find it hard to believe I'm actually typing this - I do wish he would at least increase the sexual content to the PG-13 level Robert Jordan sometimes used.
So, my final score for WoR is 8 out of 10. Its weak elements prevent it from being a truly great fantasy novel in the 9+ range, but for me the pros still substantinally outweigh the cons. When book 3 comes out, I'll be willing to once again pay for a physical hardcover, something that I almost never do anymore.
Edited by Noroldis, 18 April 2014 - 09:57 AM.