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Words of Radiance

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Words of Radiance
First edition book cover
AuthorBrandon Sanderson
IllustratorIsaac Stewart
Ben McSweeney
Dan dos Santos
Cover artistMichael Whelan
SeriesThe Stormlight Archive
GenreEpic fantasy
PublisherTor Books
Publication date
March 4, 2014
Publication placeUnited States
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
Pages1087 (hardcover)
LC ClassPS3619.A533 W67 2014[1]
Preceded byThe Way of Kings 
Followed byOathbringer 

Words of Radiance is an epic fantasy novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson and the second book in The Stormlight Archive series.[2] The novel was published on March 4, 2014, by Tor Books.[3] Words of Radiance consists of one prologue, 89 chapters, an epilogue and 14 interludes. It is preceded by The Way of Kings and followed by Oathbringer.

In 2015, it won the David Gemmell Legend Award for best novel.[4] The unabridged audiobook is read by narrator team Michael Kramer and Kate Reading.[5]


The release of the book was delayed due to Sanderson's commitment to writing the final book of The Wheel of Time.[6][7]

Initially, Sanderson planned that this volume would be named after the tome Shallan is given at the end of the first volume: The Book of Endless Pages. However, the name was changed after the editor commented "Uh, are you sure you want to name a very long, very thick fantasy book The Book of Endless Pages?”[2] The book, at 1088 pages, was the maximum printable size of a book for its publisher, Tor Books, making it the biggest book printed by the company up to that point.[8][9]

On July 1, 2013, Sanderson announced on his official Twitter account that he had finished the first draft of Words of Radiance.[10] On July 3, Tor Books officially released an early excerpt of the novel, containing the beginning of an interlude starring Taravangian, the King of Kharbranth.[11] On December 10, 2013, Tor Books announced on its official website that Sanderson had turned in the manuscript of the book, commenting that production could now begin.[12] On the same day a second excerpt of the novel was released, containing an interlude starring the new character Lift.[13]

On December 30, 2013, Tor Books revealed the endpapers for Words of Radiance, painted by American artist Michael Whelan.[14] It pictures Shallan while painting at the Shattered Plains. In the same article Whelan states, "When Irene Gallo proposed a second painting for Words of Radiance, I immediately knew it was Shallan we were talking about. Indeed, like many fans, I had felt that the story was becoming as much Shallan’s as Kaladin’s; she merited equal representation in the book’s design, as far as it was possible to do so."

On January 8, 2014, Tor Books released the prologue and first two chapters of the book as previews with points-of-view of Jasnah, Shallan and Kaladin.[15] A week later, on January 14, Tor Books released the 3rd, 4th and 5th chapters of the book,[16] followed by the 6th, 8th and 9th chapters on January 21.[17] The last chapters to be released before the publication of the book, Chapters Ten, Twelve, Fourteen and the first Interlude, were released on January 28, 2014.[18]

Tor Books revealed the dates and locations for the Words of Radiance book tour on January 29, 2014.[19] On February 4, 2014, Tor announced 'The Glimpses of Radiance', a series of daily previews of the book running from February 11 to March 4, 2014.[20] Non-spoiler reviews were released by Alice Arneson[21] and Carl Engle-Laird[22] on the Tor website and by 17thshard.com, the official fansite of Brandon Sanderson, 17th Shard calling the book, "truly an achievement. It expands on its predecessor, fulfilling the promises it sets up, and manages to surpass it".[23] Samples of interior art painted by Ben McSweeney and Isaac Stewart were released on February 26.[24]



Six years ago at the festival celebrating the Alethi peace treaty with the Parshendi, Jasnah Kholin encounters a mysterious Spren and falls unconscious only to receive her soul-casting ability. After awakening from Shadesmar, she witnesses Szeth-son-son-Vallano assassinate her father, King Gavilar. The Parshendi confess that they orchestrated the assassination, claiming that Gavilar was about to do something very dangerous. This drives Jasnah to investigate the Parshendi's history and the Last Desolation.

Part One[edit]

After departing from Kharbranth, Shallan Davar and her mentor Jasnah Kholin head to the Shattered Plains to prevent the return of the Voidbringers and their civilization-ending Desolation. Along the journey, Jasnah discusses with her mother Navani, who decides to name Shallan as Adolin's betrothed while absolving the Davar family's financial debt. Shallan later meets and befriends a Cryptic fractal-shaped Liespren named Pattern while continuing her studies about the Shadesmar. Their ship is attacked en route to the Shattered Plains and while Shallan survives, Jasnah is believed to be killed. Shallan quickly uses her Soulcasting ability to transform the ship into material only to cause her to sink. Injured and stranded, Shallan is rescued by the Santhid she had encountered earlier. Having recovered Jasnah's research, Shallan continues her mission to deliver Jasnah's notes to the Shattered Plains.

After rescuing Dalinar from the battle, Kaladin is given command of the royal bodyguards to protect Dalinar and his family (including King Elhokar) from perils and the threat of the Assassin. With new outfits granted and respected by Dalinar's followers, Kaladin discusses with his bridge crew their purpose to protect Dalinar in exchange for their freedom. Moash, one of his allies, has grown to distrust the royal family. However, Kaladin struggles with his feelings regarding Lighteyes (the nobility of the Alethi) and his past with Brightlord Amaram. He begins his training and practice to master a Windrunner's powers linked to the bond with his Honorspren, Syl. The situation gets worse when Brightlord Amaram arrived to support Dalinar's plan of uniting the Highprinces of Alethi.

Dalinar Kholin, after receiving the vision of the almighty's death, continues to delve deeper into his vision only to learn that the Knights Radiant were a solution to stopping the Desolation and a cryptic message that foresaw the arrival of the Everstorm. Dalinar gathers the meeting with his family, the royal administrators, and Kaladin. Dalinar discusses his plans to disarm the Highprinces to cooperate and unite them to stabilize Alethkar. Following the concerns of the assassin and upcoming threats, he plans to restore the Knights Radiant much to everyone's shock. Meanwhile, Torol Sadeas, having claimed the Oathbringer, begrudges Dalinar's decision based on his codes on uniting the Highprinces and decides to play politics to rival him.

Meanwhile, in the isolated village of Narak, Eshonai (who is revealed as the Parshendi Shardbearer who fought Dalinar), and her sister Venli discover a Stormspren that allows Parshendi to summon a storm similar to the Highstorms and turn the tide of the war. Some Parshendi believe using Stormform will summon the Voidbringers, but the ruling council allows the form. Eshonai wants to parlay with Dalinar to bring an end to the war before Stormform is used.

Part Two[edit]

At the duel, Adolin successfully defeats an opponent and gives his brother the rival's Shardblade as a gift. Following the upcoming battle support with Jakamav, Adolin confronts Eshonai for the first time. Eshonai makes clear her intention to have peace talks with Dalinar.

With Amaram's arrival, Kaladin chooses to remain silent about Amaram's history and instead focuses more on training his surgebinding. While protecting Dalinar's sons, Kaladin meets Zahel, a veteran hired to train Renarin. During his teaching with Renarin, Zahel questions Kaladin about his motive for his guard duty from the assassins. With Kaladin's willpower to attack Adolin's shardplate, Zahel is soon impressed. Kaladin privately confesses Amaram's betrayal to Dalinar, who informs him not to speak of this. During the training, Kaladin and the crew are instructed in basic horse training which Adolin mocks to ride his Ryshadium horse. Kaladin decides to send his scouts outside to train more while providing security from bandits.

Meanwhile, Shallan continues her research and regains her confidence by using her light-weaving ability to intimidate others. Shallan and the slaver merchants are trailed by the deserters while encountering the local travelers who were previously raided by bandits. As the bandits attack the travelers, Shallan confronts the deserters and convinces them to fight against the bandits. After defeating the bandits, Shallan earns respect from the deserters for their heroism except for Vatham who distrusts her. Shallan befriends Tyn, who recognizes her based on her family's name, and asks her for aid on her journey to visit the Kholin family while avoiding Tyn's suspicion. Along the journey, Shallan learns about the Veden king's death and the Highprinces of Jah Keved competing with each other for the throne. Tyn plans to have a private conversation with Shallan in her tent for further discussion. While spending their time at Tyn's tent, Tyn reveals her traitorous nature by trading the deserters to Sadeas. Shallan opposes this but Tyn exposes her deception for her pretentiousness. However, the informants from the Spanreed reveal Jasnah's ward name causing Tyn to turn on Shallan. Pattern quickly distracts Tyn and calls the deserters for aid allowing Shallan to fight back and kill Tyn with her own Shardblade. Shallan orders the deserters to hide Tyn's remains and kill off her supporters. Shallan notices that the informants are the Ghostbloods who are planning their meeting at the war camps. Seeing an opportunity to discover how much the Ghostbloods knew, Shallan responds affirmatively.

Kaladin receives a vision and encounters the Stormfather who scolds Kaladin for betrayal before warning of the upcoming threat. Upon awakening, Kaladin and Syl sense the assassin's approach and order Dalinar and the royal family to evacuate. As they arrive at the corridor, Szeth thwarts their escape as he takes out the rest of the guards and dims the Stormlights. With the King, Navani, Renarin, and the others quickly escaping, Dalinar, Adolin, and Kaladin fight off against the Assassin In White but are outmatched by his Lashing abilities. Szeth attempts to kill Dalinar but is stopped when Dalinar catches Szeth's Shardblade with his bare hands. Kaladin ends the attempt by knocking himself and Szeth into the open air. During the melee after landing, Szeth sees Kaladin use Stormlight and flees from the duel, realizing that the Radiants are back and he is not Truthless as his people disclaimed him. As Kaladin departs, Adolin grows suspicious of Kaladin until another cryptic message appears unknowingly. While Kaladin recovers the bodies, he finds Hobber, one of the bridge men he rescued earlier, injured from Szeth's attack and decides to retire him as a military cook.

Eshonai departs Narak, confronts the Highstorm for the first time, and plans to obtain the power of the Stormform by freeing it. Without prevention from the Rider of the Wind about the Spren's hostility, the Stormform strikes Eshonai with the red lighting causing her to transform. The next morning, Eshonai returns with her new form and addresses a large crowd about her betrayal from Stormfather. With the new form granted by the Spren, Eshonai claims to her people that they have a chance to fight back despite her voice screaming in her head.

Part Three[edit]

After suffering injuries from Szeth's attack, Adolin struggles to regain his fighting ability while Navani devises an observation platform for archery.

Arriving at the Shattered Plains, Shallan travels towards the Kholin's war camp along with deserters, slaves, and Jasnah's items with the new palanquin gifted by the travelers. With Gaz and Vathah as assistants, Shallan enters the palace and learns about the Highprince meeting. Kaladin stops Shallan and accuses her of being an imposter, causing Shallan to have a heated argument. Shallan shows him the proof of her identity as Adolin's betrothed. Kaladin stalks away angrily, but Shallan feels that the disturbance will lead to the desired result of her receiving an audience with Dalinar. Gaz mentions that Kaladin was a slave in the lumber yards recently and is very dangerous. Shallan overhears Dalinar's discussion with the Alethi Highprinces about the war against Parshendi and decides to stay with Highprince Sebarial for hospitality. She sent off her first attempt to infiltrate the Ghostblood while concealing her identity. With her discovery of her light weaving ability, she can change an Alethi character form based on her drawing and takes the name "Veil," hoping to learn more about the legendary city of the Radiants, Urithiru, and the Voidbringers. Shallan even spends time with Adolin for her betrothal. The Ghostblood instruct Shallan to infiltrate Amaram's camp, believing that he knows secrets about the Parshendi and the Shattered Plains. Shallan manages to record the entire files. Upon meeting Amaram, she recognizes Amaram's Shardblade and learns that her eldest brother died in battle.

Kaladin continues his training with the Bridgemen to improve their patrol unit. Moash reveals his past and resentment towards Elhokar, blaming the king for the death of his grandparents. Moash invites Kaladin to visit the conspirators for privacy. Graves, leader of the assassins, insists that they are patriots determined to stabilize Alethkar by removing Elhokar from the throne due to his lack of leadership. While spending time on the chasms, Kaladin manages to master his lashing ability, similar to Szeth's.

Adolin goads one of the Highprinces for the upcoming duel against Sadeas. However, Adolin fails to specify the number of challengers, forcing him to face four Shardbearers. Renarin intervenes but fails due to his lack of training. With Kaladin's help, they successfully defeat the four. After receiving a boon, Adolin invokes the right of challenge against Sadeas. Kaladin, however, uses this boon to challenge Amaram, accusing him of treason. An enraged Elhokar has Kaladin arrested. Sadeas escapes before they can set a date for this duel with Adolin. He accepts the challenge, but sets the date for a year in the future.

In Azir, the Reshi thief Lift and her spren Wyndle take part in a heist. As she sneaks into the palace, the city's constable arrives to arrest her. Lift quickly escapes until one of her pursuers inadvertently kills Gawx. She manages to save Gawx with her Edgedancer abilities. Seeing this resurrection, the Azish priests elect Gawx as Prime Aquasix, as he is capable of surviving the Assassin in White. As a result, Gawx pardons Lift and the constable spares her. Meanwhile, Szeth isolates himself in a tower and questions his motives for killing before returning to Taravangian.

In Narak, Eshonai, driven insane by Stormform, takes over the city with her troops and plans to transform more of her people in two days. She imprisons those who dissent, and those she does trust to take on Stormform. Eshonai's own guards allow the dissenters to escape, signifying unrest and a potential civil war in the Parshendi.

Part Four[edit]

Kaladin stews in a prison cell and gets a visit from Hoid while providing a story about a man named Fleet. Dalinar revisits Kaladin and informs him of Roshone's abuse towards townsfolk with Elhokar's lack of response. When released, he learns that Adolin demanded to be imprisoned himself to convince Elhokar to release Kaladin, softening Kaladin's distrust toward Adolin and Lighteyes in general. Adolin invites Bridge Four to celebrate his release and offers him a Shardplate and Shardblade. Kaladin opposes this and gives them to Moash for his concern. After learning about the Herald, Shallan visits Talenel (escorted by Hoid) for further research and records most of his repeated lines before Amaram's arrival.

Fed up with public humiliation, Dalinar outs himself by performing the speech and confessing the truth about his visions after which he plans on ending his vengeance pact by silencing the crowd. When the army goes to explore the Shattered Plains, an assassination attempt, orchestrated by Sadeas to dispose of Dalinar, sabotages the bridge causing both Shallan and Kaladin to fall into the chasm but survive using their Stormlight. During their time in the chasms, they both experience hard lives together, and both reveal much about their past that led them here. During their journey, Shallan discovered that the Shattered Plains chasm is based on cymatics and confirmed that the abandoned city, known as Stormseat later named Narak, is found at the center. As they travel close to the war camp, the Chasmfiend ambushes them. Kaladin provides a distraction while Shallan retrieves her items. Kaladin kills a Chasmfiend with Shallan's Shardblade at the cost of his injured leg and they ride out a high storm together and survive, but Kaladin has lost all contact with Syl due to his conflicted involvement over his decisions on Elhokar's life. During the storm, they both receive a vision of Stormfather before passing out for the night.

With the countdown clock almost to zero, Dalinar prepares to make his assault against the Parshendi. Shallan insists on going, having mapped out the Plains' description while exploring the chasms. Dalinar also agrees to leave the enslaved Parshmen behind to prevent further incidents. Kaladin is forced to stay behind with a grievous wound to the leg bitten by the Chasmfiend and gives Dalinar the gemheart for proof. Shallan informs the Kholin family about her discovery of Narak's location.

In Kholinar, the capital city of Alethkar, riots suddenly erupt when Elhokar's wife Aesudan Kholin, and the Alethi Elites ordered the execution of the young ardent Pai who questioned their faith. While testing his intelligence level based on his age, Taravangian and his advisors arrived at the battlefield of Jah Keved where most of the Vedens celebrate his support. Szeth revisits his master and informs him about Kaladin's interference. Intrigued by Szeth's description, Taravagian reviews his diagram journal for further research and orchestrates a plan to send his Alethi spies for Szeth's support in preventing Kaladin. He then visits King Valam, dying from illness while pleading with his son Rebin to kill him. With Valam deceased, Taravagian takes over Jah Keved as regent believing he had succeeded as his Diagram predicted.

Part Five[edit]

As Dalinar gathers the troops to venture further into the Shattered Plain, Highprince Roion, Sebareal, and Aladar join for support despite other Highprinces' refusal. Dalinar manages to bond Talenel's Honorblades and expose Amaram's deception for lying about the Shardblade. Humiliated, Amaram leaves in disgrace along with his reputation, and Kaladin feels relieved with Dalinar.

As the army approaches Narak during the Weeping, Shallan completes her cartographic sketches of the Shattered Plains and decides to travel to the ruins along with Renarin, ardent, and scholars for assistance. Reunited with Bridge Four with a new form, Rlain informs Dalinar about his people using the Everstorm to crush the army and pleads with him to stop them. Eshonai and her troops summon the Everstorm moving from the opposite direction towards the army. Despite the attack from the lightning, The Alethi continue their attack on the Parshendi, but not before the storm is summoned. Adolin finds the underpass and ambushes the Parshendi troops and defeats Eshonai as he pushes her off into the chasm. During the battle, Adolin encounters Szeth, who is on his way towards Dalinar.

Meanwhile, Kaladin tries to recover and continue to train himself despite his injured leg. Elhokar invites Kaladin in privacy and Kaladin confesses that Elhokar is a terrible king. Following Zahel's advice about his moral choice, Kaladin confronts the conscriptors and rescues Elhokar who is heavily drunk is later wounded in the process. As Kaladin escorts the king to the corridor where Szeth first appeared, Moash and Graves, covered in Shardplate, corner them. Refusing to deny his revenge on Elhokar, Moash turns on Kaladin and attempts to kill him, but the attempt is foiled when Kaladin speaks the Third Ideal. With his oath fulfilled and his connection with Syl restored, Kaladin summons Syl with the form of a Shardblade which also empowers his surgebinding abilities becoming the Knights Radiant, forcing Moash and Graves to flee in shock while revealing the Diagram's plan about the assassin. With the Parshendi defeated, Szeth overpowers Adolin and clashes with Dalinar who is using Talenel's Shardblade. Szeth manages to defeat Dalinar and uses his Lashing ability to lift Dalinar into the cloud awaiting his death. As Szeth disarms Adolin, Kaladin approaches Szeth for the duel while rescuing Dalinar from falling. As Kaladin and Szeth clash at the Highstorms, Dalinar and his army quickly evacuate into Narak to avoid further casualties from the Everstorm. During the duel, Kaladin overpowers Szeth and disarms him from the Honorblade, after which Szeth severs its bond. With the Honorblade recovered, Kaladin watches in shock as Szeth falls to his death within the Everstorm.

Meanwhile, Shallan and the scholars find the center of Narak and discover that most of the structure was based on Fabrial. Shallan uses her Lightweaving to brighten the Stormlights and summons her Shardblade to activate the gate. The Alethi armies are only able to escape the storms through Shallan's discovery and activation of the Oathgate (a system of teleports usable only by the Radiants), which transports the entire army to Urithiru. With the Everstorm moving eastwards toward Shinovar, Kaladin reunites with Bridge Four and sends the Honorblade to Dalinar declaring the assassin's death. With Elhokar safeguarded by Bridge Four Herdazian Lopen, and Vengeance Pact fulfilled, the Alethi settlers from the Shattered Plains begin to desert their war camps and plan to settle Urithiru. Amaram escorts Talenel away from the Warcamp upon learning of the GhostBloods' ambush. Shallan confronts Mraize who congratulates her while offering her membership after exposing her identity as Veil and informs of her brothers' safety from the conflict. Following their romantic embrace, Adolin escorts Shallan to a private room as Pattern persuades Shallan to confront her past. Shallan remembers the incident and revealed that had manifested her surgebinding when she was young which caused her mother to panic and plot to kill her. As her father had tried to protect her, Shallan killed her paranoid mother in self-defense which caused her father into the violent abusive man he has now become. This event had driven a traumatized Shallan to abandon her Spren and erase her memory as a result.

After arriving at Urithiru, Dalinar confronts the Stormfather, who later reveals himself as a Spren, and swears the oaths of the Knights Radiant as the Order of the Bondsmiths - binding the Stormfather as his Spren while disconnecting his bond with the Shardblade. As Dalinar, Kaladin, and Shallan meet up for their surgebinding, Renarin arrives and reveals himself as the Truthwatcher, a member of the Knights Radiant. After learning about the Everstorm and Odium's approach, Kaladin departs to Hearthstone to check on his parents and his townsfolk. Adolin, having fed up with Sadeas' treachery despite the warning of the desolation, kills Sadeas after a short struggle and throws away his father's Shardblade, Oathbringer, to hide further evidence. Szeth awakes from a near-death experience and meets the executioner named Nale, Herald of Justice and leader of the Skybreakers, who has healed him before he could truly die of his injuries sustained fighting Kaladin. Nale gives Szeth a new Shardblade known as Nightblood to fulfill his path of justice.


In the epilogue, Jasnah is met by Hoid after she returns from Shadesmar following her escape from the attack on her ship to the Shattered Plains. Upon her arrival, Hoid informs Jasnah about the entire event and offers her to pool their knowledge as they settle with the residence.

Viewpoint Characters[edit]

The primary chapters within the book are told from the viewpoint of several major characters, while the book's interludes are told from the viewpoint of other characters (not all of which repeat).


  • Shallan Davar: A minor lighteyes from the nation of Jah Keved. Her family has fallen on hard times after the death of her father. She is the ward and student of renowned scholar Jasnah Kholin. Shallan is a Lightweaver; she is able to, with a single glance, remember and recreate a scene with charcoal and paper and able to Soulcast without a Soulcaster. She travels to the Shattered Plains to learn more about the Voidbringers. She becomes betrothed to Adolin Kholin after Jasnah sets it up as a way to help save House Davar from ruin. She has a spren, named Pattern, accompanying her.
  • Kaladin: A darkeyes from the nation of Alethkar who serves as the captain of Dalinar's personal guard, and subsequently the king's Honor Guard. Formerly an apprentice surgeon to his father and member of the army of brightlord Amaram. Kaladin is a Windrunner; he is able to use Stormlight to heal himself and make himself stronger and faster than any normal human being. He is accompanied by an honorspren named Syl.
  • Szeth-son-son-Vallano: An assassin from the land of Shinovar. He refers to himself as a "Truthless" who must serve those who bear his Oathstone. Bearer of an Honorblade which gives him the power to use Stormlight and the abilities of a Windrunner. He hates being forced to murder and weeps as he does.
  • Dalinar Kholin: A highprince of Alethkar, brother to the slain King Gavilar, uncle to the current king and Highprince of War. Nicknamed the Blackthorn. A general who helped unite the kingdom with his brother. A man who experiences visions during the highstorms, and a Full Shardbearer, he is criticized as weak because he follows the Codes and talks about stopping the pointless war Alethkar is engaged in. He plans to unify Alethkar and refound the Knights Radiant. Dalinar is revealed to be a Bondsmith at the end of WoR, and his bonded spren is the Stormfather himself, a splinter of the Almighty.
  • Adolin Kholin: A lighteyed prince and heir to his father Dalinar's highprince seat. A skilled duelist and a Full Shardbearer, he loves and respects his father. He is betrothed to Shallan Davar.
  • Renarin Kholin: The younger son of Evi and Dalinar Kholin, Renarin is also Adolin's younger brother and is revealed to be a Truthwatcher, a type of Surgebinder. He has a spren named Glys.
  • Navani Kholin: Widow of King Gavilar, mother of King Elhokar and Jasnah. She is a skilled artifabrian. She has always loved Dalinar, even when she was married to his brother, Gavilar, and eventually rekindles her relationship with Dalinar.


  • Jasnah Kholin: the sister to the king of Alethkar and the greatest scholar in the world. She is capable of Soulcasting without a Soulcaster, and is bonded to a spren named Ivory, who gained her the abilities of Stormlight used by the Knights Radiant. She is a member of the Order of Elsecallers, which has the Surges of Transformation and Transportation.
  • Eshonai: one of the Listeners, known by the Alethi as Parshendi, and the only Shardbearer among her people. She seeks peace with the armies of the humans. However, the Spren, known as the Stormform, corrupted her and transformed her into a warlord in an attempt to destroy Alethi army out of spite.
  • Ym: a shoemaker in Iri, bound to an unnamed Spren. Once a beggar, he now makes shoes, which he gives to urchins on the street. He is later killed by Nale who claims himself as an executioner.
  • Nale: a bounty hunter who sought to execute surge-binders for their commitment to crime against humanity. He is a Herald of Justice who sought to find justice.
  • Rysn: a young Thaylen who serves as an apprentice merchant of trade and culture. She travels with her babsk to the Reshi Isles.
  • Zahel: a swordmaster and ardent, training both Adolin and Renarin.
  • Taln: known as Talenelat or Stonesinew, he is a Herald of the Almighty, aka the Herald of War, sent to prepare humankind for the Desolation.
  • Lift: a Reshi thief who works in Azimir in Azir. She has Surgebinding abilities that correspond with the Order of Edgedancers.
  • Lhan: an ardent in Kholinar. He is lazy and often drunk. He explains 'the easiest job in the world' to a woman called Pai, who - a day later - starts riots in the city.
  • Taravangian: the king of Kharbranth. He employed Szeth to kill a great number of leaders around the world, following the Diagram, a master plan to prepare the world for the Last Desolation, made by himself.
  • Wit: also known as Hoid, is the court jester of King Elhokar Kholin at the Shattered Plains.


Critical response and sales[edit]

In its first week of release, Words of Radiance debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list.[25] It also reached No. 1 on the combined print/ebook bestseller list and the Kobo Bestseller list.[25] It was at No. 3 on the National Indie Bestseller list, and at No. 6 on the Southern California Independent Bookseller Association bestselling hardcover fiction list.[25] The UK publisher of the book, Gollancz, debuted with Words of Radiance at No. 2 on the Sunday Times of London Bestseller list.

A review written by Rob Bricken of io9 called the book an old-school, "90s fantasy-style behemoth",[26] also commenting, "While Sanderson continues to build his characters and reveal who they are (especially in the case of Shallan's past) it still clings to one overarching plot that drives relentlessly to an ending that can only be described as 'epic'."[26]

The Lincoln Journal Star called the book "an extremely satisfying read that shows what the beginning of an epic fantasy series should look like."[27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2014 Whitney Awards Best Speculative Fiction Won [28]
Goodreads Choice Awards Best Fantasy Novel Nominated [29]
2015 Audie Award Best Fantasy (audiobook) Won [30]
David Gemmell Legend Award Best Novel Won [4]


An audiobook version was released by Macmillan Audio on the same day as the hardcover version read by narrator team Kate Reading and Michael Kramer, who also read The Way of Kings.[31] A 5-part GraphicAudio version of Words of Radiance was released from September 2016 to January 2017.


The third book in the series, Oathbringer, was released on November 14, 2017.[32]


  1. ^ "Words of radiance" (first edition). LC Online Catalog. Library of Congress (lccn.loc.gov). Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "The Title for Brandon Sanderson's Second Stormlight Archive Book Has Been Revealed". Tor.com. February 28, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  3. ^ De Groote, Michael (March 1, 2014). "Words of wonder: Brandon Sanderson seeks, delivers 'something big' in epic fantasy". Deseret News. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Liptak, Andrew (August 9, 2015). "Here's The Winners Of The 2015 David Gemmell Awards". io9. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  5. ^ Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive): Amazon.co.uk: Brandon Sanderson, Kate Reading, Michael Kramer: Books. ASIN 1427233071.
  6. ^ Sanderson, Brandon. "Tweets Dec 19-21 2011". Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  7. ^ "Words of Radiance Release Date has Moved". Tor.com. July 30, 2013.
  8. ^ "Words of Radiance and the Art of Creating Epic Fantasy". Tor.com. March 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  9. ^ "Twitter / BrandSanderson: The press Tor is using cannot". Twitter.com. December 19, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  10. ^ "I just sent in the completed first draft of Words of Radiance". Brandon Sanderson on Twitter. July 1, 2013.
  11. ^ "Words of Radiance: Interlude: Taravangian (Excerpt)". Tor Books. July 3, 2013.
  12. ^ "This is How Big the Words of Radiance Manuscript Is!". Tor Books. December 10, 2013.
  13. ^ "Words of Radiance: "Lift" (Excerpt)". Tor Books. December 10, 2013.
  14. ^ "Michael Whelan's Endpapers for Words of Radiance, Featuring Shallan". Tor.com. December 30, 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  15. ^ Brandon Sanderson (January 8, 2014). "Read an Excerpt from Words of Radiance: Prologue, Chapters One and Two by Brandon Sanderson". Tor.com. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  16. ^ Brandon Sanderson (January 14, 2014). "Read an Excerpt from Words of Radiance: Chapters Three, Four, and Five by Brandon Sanderson". Tor.com. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  17. ^ Brandon Sanderson (January 21, 2014). "Read an Excerpt from Words of Radiance: Chapters Six, Eight, and Nine by Brandon Sanderson". Tor.com. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  18. ^ Brandon Sanderson (January 28, 2014). "Read an Excerpt from Words of Radiance: Chapters Ten, Twelve, Fourteen, and Interlude I-1 by Brandon Sanderson". Tor.com. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  19. ^ "Announcing the Words of Radiance Brandon Sanderson Book Tour". Tor.com. January 29, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  20. ^ "Announcing Glimpses of Radiance: Daily Previews of Words of Radiance". Tor.com. February 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  21. ^ "Reflections of Radiance: Spoiler-Free Reactions to Brandon Sanderson's Words of Radiance". Tor.com. February 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  22. ^ "Worth the Wait: A Non-Spoiler Review of Words of Radiance". Tor.com. February 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  23. ^ "Our spoiler-free Words of Radiance review - Brandon and Book News - 17th Shard News". 17thshard.com. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  24. ^ "Interior Art from Words of Radiance". Tor.com. February 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  25. ^ a b c "Brandon Sanderson's Words of Radiance Debuts at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List!". Tor.com. March 12, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-29.
  26. ^ a b 3/11/14 1:30pm 3/11/14 1:30pm (11 March 2014). "Words of Radiance puts the "epic" back in epic fantasy". Io9.com. Retrieved 2014-04-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ Mason-D'Croz, Michael (23 March 2014). "Book review: 'Words of Radiance' long but engrossing and action-packed". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  28. ^ "2014 Whitney Award Winners". May 18, 2015.
  29. ^ "Best Fantasy Novel". Goodreads. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  30. ^ "2015 Audie Award Winners". May 29, 2015.
  31. ^ Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive): Brandon Sanderson, Michael Kramer: 9781427233073: Amazon.com: Books. March 4, 2014. ISBN 978-1427233073.
  32. ^ "Revealing the Cover to Oathbringer, the Third Book in Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive". Tor.com. March 16, 2017. Archived from the original on March 16, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017.

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