Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jasnah and Shallan are headed to the Shattered Plains when the boat they are on is attacked. Shallan is able to save herself with the help of the Santhid, but believes that Jasnah is dead. She stumbles into the camp of some slavers and demands they take her to the Shattered Plains. She uses the engagement Jasnah arranged for her with Adolin to convince them it will be worth their while. When the slavers are trapped between two bands of bandits Shallan convinces the smaller band (deserters from Sadeas army) to join her by promising to get them pardoned. Shallan's group of slavers and bandits join with the larger merchant caravan and successfully fight off the larger band of bandits. Shallan becomes friends with the conwoman Tyn (who works for The Ghostbloods), who doesn't believe Shallan is really Shallan, but assumes she is a fortune hunter trying to trap Adolin. When they encounter Kaladin's patrol Tyn has Shallan con him out of his boots. Tyn has a spanreed and one of her communications that Shallan sees shows that Tyn was behind the assassination of Jasnah. Tyn realizes that Shallan is indeed really Shallan and attempts to kill her but Shallan manages to kill Tyn and has her bandits kill Tyn's remaining men. When they reach the Shattered Plains Shallan fabricates a relationship with High-Prince Sebarial (Uncle Sebarial) in order not to be beholden to the Kholin's as well as to have time to investigate The Ghostbloods, and search for Urithiru. Adolin is enchanted with Shallan which may lead to problems in the future. While Shallan likes Adolin and finds him handsome, she is very attracted to Kaladin and both men are besotted with her. I really hope Shallan doesn't mess up the friendship that is developing between Adolin and Kaladin.
Adolin thinks there is something off about Kaladin, but in spite of that learns to trust him and they begin to develop a friendship. Kaladin is head of the bodyguards (comprised mainly of members of Bridge 4) for Dalinar, King Elhokar, and their families. A strategy to weaken the other High Princes by Adolin dueling their Shardbearers and wining their Shardplates and Shardblades is developed, with the eventual goal of forcing Sadeas into a duel. Although the Shardbearers are hesitant to fight Adolin. This eventually leads to Adolin putting himself in grave danger when he winds up dueling 4 Shardbearers at one time.....
Meanwhile Kaladin is having trouble dealing with the fact Dalinar considers Brightlord Amaram a friend. Syl (Kaladin's spren) encourages him to tell Dalinar about Amaram's betrayal. Kaladin does and Dalinar promises to look into it. Kaladin is hurt that Dalinar didn't take his word for it. An attempt is made on King Elhokar's life. Kaladin figures out Moash is behind it. Moash reveals that King Elhokar had his Grandparents sent to prison where they died because Brightlord Roshone didn't like the fact their silversmith shop was doing better then his. Kaladin makes him promise not to assassinate King Elhokar but agrees to meet with Moash's new friends, ostensibly to uncover the conspirators............
Adolin is being severely beaten in the dueling ring and his four opponents will not allow him to surrender as they want to punish him. Dalinar begs someone to help his son. Renarin goes to his brother's aid (even though he is a terrible fighter) with only a Shardblade, he didn't have time to put on his plate. And Kaladin jumps into the ring with only his staff. Together the three manage to win the duel. When King Elhokar offers Adolin a boon and he demands the chance to fight Sadeas immediately (as planned), Kaladin sees a chance to get even with Amaram and demands the chance to duel him. King Elhokar is outraged that a dark eyes (Kaladin) would challenge a High Prince and allows Sadeas to weasel out of the duel. King Elhokar has Kaladin seized, and wants to have him executed but Dalinar intercedes and Kaladin is thrown in prison instead. When he is released he discovers that Adolin insisted that he be imprisoned too and that Adolin believes his allegations against Amaram. But still angry over his imprisonment Kaladin agrees with Moash that Elhokar needs to be removed and promises not to interfere with the assassination plot. Syl states this is dishonorable and against his oath. Kaladin realizes he can no long breath in stormlight. While they are on a scouting mission Kaladin recognizes one of Sadeas men, and realizes he is fixing to pull a lever that will send the bridge Dalinar is on plummeting into a chasm. Without stormlight Kaladin is unable to get to Dalinar in time to save him. Luckily Adolin is able to save his Father but Shallan, Kaladin and many others plummet to their deaths in the chasm. Syl gave Kaladin enough stormlight to save him but it caused her to die and Shallan (with the help of her spren Pattern) was able to save herself. Kaladin discovers that Shallan is a Surgebinder when she manifest a Shardblade for him to use to fight a Chasmfiend. His leg is badly wounded in the fight but he kills the Chasmfiend and Shallan uses the blade to carve a shelter for them to ride a highstorm out. They arrive back in camp in time for Shallan to give Dalinar the maps she made and tell him about Urithiru and the Oathgates. Before the war party leaves Dalinar comforts Amaram in front of Kaladin, and promises to deal with Amaram when he returns. Shallan goes with the war party to attack the Parshendi who have bonded with evil spren and become the Voidbringers who plan to call up the Everstorm. Shin (the Parshendi from Bridge 4) surrenders himself to Dalinar reveals his name is Rlain and that he was spying for the Parshendi but that they no longer exist and begs Dalinar to kill the evil Voidbringers before they can call up the Everstorm.
Kaladin is stuck back at the Shattered Plains with his broke leg. A drunken King Elhokar comes to apologize to him and to beg him to teach him how to be a King. He reveals he was jealous of Kaladin for behaving like a hero when he came to Adolin and Renarin's aid. After he leaves Kaladin realizes that he was wrong to agree to the King's assassination and sets out to stop it. Kaladin manages to kill the two fake guards and finds King Elhokar passed out drunk he manages to rouse him enough for them to flee but Graves and Moash both in Shardplate and with Shardblades follow them and attack. Kaladin is seriously wounded and they are fixing to kill him when Syl defies the Stormfather and bonds with him after he says the words making him a Knight Radiant. Graves and Moash flee but before they do Graves reveals that the assassin in white is attacking Dalinar (Moash was unaware of that part of the plot). Kaladin leaves the King somewhere safe and flies to Dalinar's aid.
Shallan found the Oathgate and plans are being made for the army to flee to Urithiru when Adolin spots the assassin. He is seriously injured when he tries to stop him from killing Dalinar. Dalinar manages to defend himself but is eventually thrown into the air. Kaladin intercepts him and makes sure he gets safely back to the ground and then fights Szeth who is shocked to realize that Kaladin is a Knight Radiant (this means Szeth wasn't Truthless and didn't have to kill all the people he was ordered to kill). Kaladin manages to kill Szeth but Nin revives him and plans to train him as a Skybreaker (one of the orders of the Knights Radiant). Kaladin retrieves Szeth's honorblade which Syl reveals will give anyone the ability to be a Windrunner (I am betting they will eventually give it to Adolin).
Dalinar orders everyone to come to Urithiru, surprisingly Sadeas obeys. But when he is alone with Adolin he reveals his plans to discredit Dalinar by claiming Dalinar plotted with the Parshendi. Adolin murders Sadeas.
Dalinar bonds with the Stormfather and becomes a Bondsmith. Renarin reveals he is Truthwatcher one of the Knight Radiants (his spren is Glys) he sees.
Jasnah arrives in the middle of nowhere to be meet by Wit who reveals that Shallan has taken care of things in Jasnah's absence.
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I am almost certain that 1.) Kaladin did not kill Shallan's brother (Helaran) and 2.) that Helaran is still alive and is ROCK. After all if you were on the run and needed money would you cart around very noticeable and identifiable Shardplate or would you sell it to someone else? Remember according to Amaram the face of the Shardbearer was destroyed beyond recognition. Also the fact that Wit took an interest in Helaran leads me to believe he will have an important role to play.