I gave myself some time after finishing this book, hoping that a little distance would make the review easier to write without sounding all gushy and fangirlish, but I'm not sure it helped much. The book is huge, both in length, scope, and importance, and there's no way my pitiful reviewing skills could come close to doing it justice. So, gushing it is.
In my review of book 1, 'The Way of Kings', I said that anyone who likes fantasy should read it because it's awesome (to paraphrase). Well, I want to retract that. I now believe that even people who don't normally read fantasy should suck it up and wade through the fantasy elements because it's just that stinking good. I loved book 1. LOVED it. And now that I've finished book two, I almost feel like book 1 was just a warm up. I still loved it, but when compared with this one… It's worth it, people. It's worth stepping out of your norm and into the world of Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar. Open your brain to spren and Shardplate. Take the time to immerse yourself in a fantasy that shows a pointed reflection of our reality.
So many things that I assumed were simple fantasy elements in book 1 turned out to be integral to the world and story in book 2, fitting everything together in a fantastic, seriously epic set of intertwining tales. And many, many times I laughed loudly, surprised by hilarious dialogue and a couple of awkward moments. The humor was a perfect balance for the more serious themes and dire situations. I was cheering aloud during several scenes. How could I not? I feel like I know these people personally. Not only was the reader in me impressed beyond any expectation (which is saying a lot. I might have mentioned that I loved book 1), the writer in me was inspired to do far greater and bigger than I'd ever considered before. Not that I would presume to ever reach this level of awesomeness, but I can aspire to it.
Violence: Of course.
Sexual Content: Nope.
Foul Language: Sort of. They say 'damnation' and use an impolite designation for a man conceived during an affair.
Overall Message/Plot: I've already said it. I can't recommend this book any more highly. After much serious thought, I can say that this is the best fiction I have ever read. I'm looking forward to reading it all over again before book 3 comes out so it'll be fresh in my mind.
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