In the realm of epic fantasy, where sweeping landscapes and intricate worlds collide with complex characters and enthralling narratives, few series can match the grandeur and ambition of The Stormlight Archive. At the heart of this extraordinary literary tapestry lies Rhythm of War, the fourth installment in Brandon Sanderson’s monumental saga. Published in 2020, this novel continues in with the beautiful world of Roshar.
Do you think you’re ready to jump back into a work of legends, knights, battle, and war?
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The Stormlight Archive is an epic fantasy series penned by acclaimed author Brandon Sanderson. Set in the richly imagined world of Roshar, the series follows a grand narrative filled with political intrigue, magical systems, and larger-than-life characters. With its meticulously constructed world-building, complex plotlines, and intricate magic systems, The Stormlight Archive has captivated readers with its sweeping scope and masterful storytelling.
The series explores the Knights Radiant, legendary warriors who possess magical abilities known as Surgebinding. As the ancient order then resurfaces, their return brings hope and fear in equal measure. These Radiants, along with other key figures, are burdened with the responsibility of unraveling the mysteries of Roshar’s past and finding a way to save humanity from an impending cataclysm.
Each instalment of the series follows a different character, which we have included below!
The series currently contains 5 books:
- The Way of Kings – Kaladin Stormblessed (2010)
- Words of Radiance – Shallan Davar(2014)
- Oathbringer – Dalinar Kholin (2017)
- Rhythm of War – Venli (2020)
- Knights of Wind and Truth – Szeth-son-Neturo(Planned for 2024)
As well as three novellas:
Rhythm of War
After forming a coalition of human resistance against the enemy invasion, Dalinar Kholin and his Knights Radiant have spent a year fighting a protracted, brutal war. Neither side has gained an advantage, and the threat of a betrayal by Dalinar’s crafty ally Taravangian looms over every strategic move.
Now, as new technological discoveries by Navani Kholin’s scholars begin to change the face of the war, the enemy prepares a bold and dangerous operation. The arms race that follows will challenge the very core of the Radiant ideals, and potentially reveal the secrets of the ancient tower that was once the heart of their strength.
At the same time that Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with his changing role within the Knights Radiant, his Windrunners face their own problem: As more and more deadly enemy Fused awaken to wage war, no more honorspren are willing to bond with humans to increase the number of Radiants. Adolin and Shallan must lead the coalition’s envoy to the honorspren stronghold of Lasting Integrity and either convince the spren to join the cause against the evil god Odium, or personally face the storm of failure.
Rhythm of War is the fourth installment in the epic fantasy series “The Stormlight Archive” written by Brandon Sanderson. Set in the world of Roshar, the novel continues our favorite journey of the Knights Radiant and their struggle against ancient enemies.
The story picks up after the events of the third book, Oathbringer. If you haven’t read it, read about it here! The powerful Knights Radiant, led by Dalinar Kholin, successfully thwarted the forces of Odium, the malevolent god-like being seeking to dominate Roshar. However, the victory came at a great cost, leaving the world shaken and its inhabitants grappling with the aftermath.
Now the focus shifts to the character of Navani Kholin, Dalinar’s wife and a skilled scholar. As the war against Odium’s forces continues, Navani takes center stage as she delves into the mysteries of ancient technology called fabrials and attempts to unravel their secrets. She aims to harness the power of fabrials to strengthen their defenses and win against Odium’s seemingly unstoppable forces.
Meanwhile, our other favorite characters face their own difficult challenges. Kaladin Stormblessed, the Windrunner, battles with depression and doubts about his own worthiness as he tries to protect and lead his Bridge Four comrades. Shallan Davar, a Lightweaver, confronts her fractured identity and struggles with the dark secrets she keeps hidden within herself. Adolin Kholin, Dalinar’s son, strives to find his place in a world overshadowed by his father’s accomplishments.
As the novel unfolds, tensions rise within the Knights Radiant. Rapport sinks among their ranks, fueled by conflicting ideologies. Some Radiants question their oaths, while others become disillusioned by the constant war and its toll on their lives. The fragile unity among the Radiants threatens to crumble, just as Odium’s forces grow stronger and more cunning.
Interwoven with the present-day events are flashbacks that provide crucial insights into the characters’ pasts and the history of Roshar itself.
As we were gripping our pages, a cataclysmic battle ensues. The forces of Odium launch a full-scale assault on the city of Urithiru, the primary bastion of the Knights Radiant. The defenders must rally together, set aside their differences, and unite against the overwhelming enemy. It is a battle not just for their lives, but for the future of Roshar itself.
Rhythm of War contains some of the highest highs that ‘The Stormlight Archives’ has to offer but also falls victim to Sanderson humming excessively to the rhythms of indulgence and exposition as well as some lacklustre flashback chapters. Whilst we’re never one to turn down more Sanderson work, this novel is regarded by some as being a tad too long.
Sanderson did an excellent job of making the characters feel vulnerable and in genuine risk in this novel. We always want to truly worry for our characters, and in this novel we truly did. You know those books you crack open and forget you’re even reading? Rhythm of War graces us with one of those gems.
The portrayal of mental health themes in Rhythm of War is exceptionally well-crafted. A rarity in a genre that rarely delves into such topics. Brandon Sanderson’s dedication to researching and comprehending conditions like PTSD, depression, dissociative identity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder is evident. The narrative dedicates significant time to the beloved characters as they confront their personal struggles, with particular emphasis on Kaladin Stormblessed. It can be argued that the most poignant moments in the book revolve around him and his relentless battle against the darkness lurking within his own soul. The intensity of his pain resonates profoundly, evoking a strong desire for this fictional character to conquer his inner demons and ultimately find solace and happiness. The emotional impact of Kaladin’s journey is palpable, and we found ourselves drawn to him more than any other character as a result!
There were some scenes in which we felt a little overwhelmed with information that was presented quite quickly with little time for stewing. Whilst the theory on fabrials is interesting, at times it became a little repetitive. It didn’t really impact on our enjoyment – but for those who need a little time to take things in, you might want to prepare for these chapters!
Whilst it may be one of the weaker books in the series, Rhythm of War in and of itself is a wonderful piece of fiction. Sanderson has big boots to fill when he takes on writing another book in this series!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Rhythm of War book 4?
Rhythm of War is the fourth book in the Stormlight Archives series. Whilst there are novellas along the way, this is the official 4th novel in the series.
Who is the main focus of Rhytm of War?
We center around Eshonai, the Parshendi Shardbearer first seen in The Way of Kings, and her sister Venli. In a slight deviation from previous books, the flashbacks are shared by the sisters
Will there be a 5th Stormlight Archive book?
Yes! A fifth novel is expected to be released in November 2024. Currently, the working title is known to be Knights of Wind and Truth. Keep your eye out for our review!