Prologue: To Kill
The prologue follows Szeth, an assassin from a faraway land to the West, who’s been hired to kill a King at a feast. As Szeth sets about his task of killing King Gavilar, we see that he’s not an average assassin. He has a pretty impressive Blade, weapons we’ll be hearing about a lot throughout this book. Not only that, he seems to be able to manipulate Gravity for himself and things/people around him, and Adhere objects to one another at will. Pretty deadly man, and pretty easily (mostly) completes his goal of killing the King, and making a big scene of it too.
King Gavilar is the only one who puts up a decent fight. He’s got some help some oooh-Oh! another Shardblade and a set of Shardplate. Fancy, and generally the as well-protected as you can get on Roshar, but not enough to protect him from Szeth, the human killing machine. Gavilar has some pretty ominous and paranoid dying words, and Szeth seems rather honorable, for a self-hating cold-blooded killer who asks no questions and does as his masters command, and carries out his mark’s dying wish.
“Brother, you must find the most important words a man can say”
So, HOW ‘BOUT THAT MAGIC? Szeth can do some crazy stuff, huh?
YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! I really loved the fight scenes in this chapter!!! More than once did I think of gravity manipulation in another book (“the enemy’s gate is down”) and I’m interested to see someone go through Lashings Training!
I wonder what Truthless means…. And why Szeth’s parshendi masters directed him to kill the King…
I wonder if the last-words quotes at the beginning of each chapter have anything to do with the King’s last words….
Did you notice any mentions of our 10 immortals from the Prelude?
YES. Well, at least the setting. The are statues of the Ten Heralds in the Alethi King’s Palace? (Is it Alethi? There are like 3 or 4 countries in the book, right?) And 1 statue was missing ……. Shalash..
Shardblades, Shardplate, fabrials — stormlight! What to you think about these powerful magical elements?
Shardblades can cut “any inanimate object”, eh? I wonder what that means for trees and grass and other questionably lifelike plants. (Speaking of, the plants in this book are quite strange. It kindof feels like everything is underwater…).
I guess I don’t quite understand what “fabrials” are just yet. Or “stormlight”. Though “stormfather” seems to be a phrase like “holy crap!!”, and “storm” seems to be a frequent prefix for words, so…. I imagine there is a rhyme/reason for what’s going on, I just haven’t gotten a handle on it just yet. Stormlight seems to be the actual magic that drives everything?
Part One: Above Silence
Chapters 1 – 5
Ooooweee, another time jump! Thankfully we just to stay in the same decade this time, and it’s only 5 years later when we meet some new characters, most importantly we meet Kaladin. In chapters 1,2, & 4 we start to get to know Kaladin. In chapter 1, Kaladin is leading a crew of spearman in a battle. We follow the perspective of Cenn, a young boy that newly adopted into this crew, often seen by the people around them as “lucky”. Cenn attributes it to Kaladin and his good leadership, but admits it’d also something more about him. After some impressive stabbin’ and shield-bangin’, things fall apart for our new little crew, as a Shardbearer descends on them. Cenn accepts his inevitable demise in the face of this majestic glowing godlike being, and all fades to black, sending us on another time jump, 8 months later…
At the beginning of chapter 2, Kaladin has been sold into slavery and branded with a big fat glyph on his forehead proclaiming him as “dangerous”. He’s vague even in his thoughts about how he got there, but don’t worry, we’ll unravel Kaladin’s past as things move forward. A mentioned spren in her review of the prologue, and we see more of these here. Most notably, a windspren that is following Kaladin around and acting strangely. The world we’re introduced to, the life our once proud spearman is living, is super harsh. Slavery is a thing here on Roshar, and it’s pretty terrible. In chapter 4, the caravan lumbers onto the “Shattered Plains”, the battlefield Kaladin aspired to make his way to before becoming a slave. Oh, sweet brutal irony. </3
In chapters 3 & 5 we meet Shallan Davar, a red-headed little artist savant weirdo from Jah Keved (Yaaaah Kev-Ed), who has been stalking a genius heretic princess via boat for months, in hopes of accepting a wardship under her. The princess is Jasnah (Yaas-nah) Kholin, daughter of Gavilar the slain king, and she’s traveling the word doing scholarly things, and leading Shallan on a wild goose chase. Eventually Shallan catches her, gets quizzed, meets a King with a very long name, and sees the heretic princess do some holy magic. After transforming a boulder into smoke with a strange piece of technology called a fabrial, Jasnah rejects Shallan’s petition to wardship, and walks off. Shallan gets frustrated, but isn’t swayed from her path. Apparently Shallan is full of secrets, and the first one is that she doesn’t care about a wardship with Jasnah, she just wants to steal her holy relic, and use it to save her family. Damn Shallan.
Well, A…we didn’t end up with our prelude characters, we’ve left Szeth behind as well, and even Dallet & Cenn from in chapter 1 seem to have gone, and we have our first two main stories of the book beginning to form. Part One deals with Kaladin & Shallan on their respective journeys, which are happening at the same time, on the same continent, but figuratively they are worlds away.
So A, any more thoughts about spren after seeing some more examples of them?
I guess I imagine spren as … physical manifestations of energy? Though I’m still not quite sure. They are referred to as “spirits”, but are not generally intelligent? Hm… I wish I had one of Shallan’s drawings to help me out…
How about the one following Kaladin around?
It doesn’t seem like the windspren that’s following Kaladin around is seen or heard by other people. “Many of the larger ones were invisible except to the person they were tormenting.” Though, this spren seems like a tinkerbell, more than just electricity. It also seems to have been watching the story unfold for an unnaturally long time. I wonder what the lifespan of these sprens are.
What’s your favorite piece of dialogue between two characters so far?
(You can pick more than one, I don’t mind ^_^)
Here are a coupla quotes that I’ve highlighted and liked.
“A scholar knows not to waste time rediscovering information already known. It’s a lesson I sometimes forget.” Me too, Jasnah.
“Ignorance is hardly unusual, Miss Davar. The longer I live, the more I come to realize that it is the natural state of the human mind. There are many who will strive to defend its sanctity and then expect you to be impressed with their efforts.” -Jasnah
What are your initial impressions of our two main characters?
Shallan is so cool!!!! I love a good coming-of-age story, and her spunk might just mature into a tenacious penchant for power and/or knowledge and/or both (magic?). Though, the revelation that her intentions are not quite noble gives me the feeling that she may struggle with some sort of Dark Side …. and I do wonder whether her Resolve will lead her to make less-than moral life choices.
Kaladin definitely seems like a reincarnation of Kalan. Maybe just cause the names are so similar, and there’s something positively supernatural about him. He clearly is an honorable and intelligent man, wise far beyond his years, and wait – who IS his father who seemingly forced most of this knowledge into his brain? Was his father preparing him for what he knew would be a Consequential Life?
Do you, as I do, wish you could create art like Shallan???
100% absolutely yes. Must practice more.
Anything major that stuck out to you as very interesting, maybe something that I did not include in my super abbreviated synopsis of chapters 1-5?
I would like to have a dress that buttons up the sides. I also think the buttoned up safehand is interesting, and I would like to learn to sew dresses so that we can cosplay. Though, I’m glad I don’t *have* to lose half my dexterity for modesty’s sake.
I’m really interested in the flora and fauna around. The grass seems to be alive, but obviously rocks aren’t (since they can be shattered by Shardblades). I need Shallan to make me more pages to explain what creatures are in this world.
Also, I am not going to google anything about this book (yet). I’ve been *so* tempted, but I’m holding back. I will rely on you to share with me what I’m ready to see! (That being said, when I answer these questions, I *do* go back through the book to look at notes I previously made and to get names right and such. But you know this.)