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Brandon Sanderson’s “Words of Radiance” has made a significant impact in the fantasy genre, enchanting listeners with its intricate worldbuilding, compelling characters, and thrilling plot twists. As an audiobook, it brings life to Sanderson’s epic storytelling through a skilled narration that immerses the listener in a vast and awe-inspiring world.

In this audiobook review, we will delve into the world of “Words of Radiance” and explore the author’s mastery of epic fantasy. From its intense action scenes to its emotional depth, we will cover all aspects of the audiobook and provide an in-depth analysis of its elements. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Brandon Sanderson or a newcomer to the series, this review will showcase why “Words of Radiance” is a must-listen audiobook. So sit back, relax, and prepare to enter a world unlike any other.

About the Author

Brandon Sanderson is an award-winning fantasy author, born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He attended Brigham Young University, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in English literature. He is known for creating intricate and immersive fantasy worlds, with unique magic systems and complex characters.

Sanderson has written multiple bestselling series, including Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive, and the young adult Alcatraz series. He has also completed the Wheel of Time series after author Robert Jordan’s death, to critical and commercial acclaim.

His works have been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Library Association’s Best Young Adult Book Award, the Hugo Award, and the World Fantasy Award. Sanderson also runs a popular creative writing course on YouTube, where he shares his insights and advice with aspiring writers.


“Words of Radiance” is the second book in the Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson. The plot continues from the end of the first book, “The Way of Kings.” The story is set in the fictional world of Roshar. The book revolves around the lives of Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar, who are struggling to unite the nations of Roshar. Throughout the book, the characters face adversity and are challenged with their beliefs as they fight for their survival.

The fantasy world depicted in the audiobook is vast and intricate, filled with unique creatures, magical powers, and numerous kingdoms. The story explores the nature of honor, betrayal, and the consequences of choices. Brandon Sanderson masterfully blends action, humor, and emotion to create a gripping narrative, showcasing his exceptional storytelling skills. This audiobook is an exciting adventure that will leave readers hooked until the end.


The audiobook narration of “Words of Radiance” is one of its strongest aspects, with a standout performance from voice actor Michael Kramer. Kramer’s ability to bring to life Sanderson’s vivid characters and sweeping fantasy world is impressive, with his nuanced approach to each character’s voice separating them distinctively.

Kramer’s pacing and tone are also notable, with his ability to build tension during action-packed scenes and add emotional depth during quieter moments. His delivery is clear and easy to follow, making it a pleasure to listen to the audiobook.

The overall production quality of the audiobook is also exceptional, with a well-balanced sound mix and smoothly executed transitions. The audiobook narration of “Words of Radiance” is a prime example of how excellent narration can elevate even the best-written material to new heights.


Brandon Sanderson’s worldbuilding in “Words of Radiance” is a masterclass in fantasy fiction. The author’s intricate attention to detail and unique elements create an immersive world that captivates readers from beginning to end.

The fictional world of Roshar, where the audiobook is set, features a highly detailed magic system known as Surgebinding. This interweaves woven fabrics of culture, history, and political intrigue. The magic in “Words of Radiance” is unique, with a focus on gemstones, Spren, and highstorms, which have a significant impact on the ecology of the world.

Sanderson’s compelling worldbuilding also extends to the flora and fauna of Roshar, created with incredible detail— from the giant crustaceans that roam the land, to the unique plants with their alluring characters. This world is not only extensive, but it is also unique and cohesive, providing enough depth to fuel the imagination long after the audiobook ends.

fantasy worldbuilding

The world in “Words of Radiance” is not just a backdrop for the story; instead, it is an essential character that interacts with the plot and drives the narrative. Sanderson developed a world rich in history and cultural diversity, giving meaning and purpose to every aspect of it.

The fantasy worldbuilding in “Words of Radiance” not only captivates listeners, but it also sets a new standard in the fantasy genre of weaving together intricate details and unique elements that break the expectations of what a fantasy world must be like.

Character Development

One of the most compelling aspects of “Words of Radiance” is the nuanced character development woven throughout the audiobook. Brandon Sanderson’s ability to create multi-faceted and relatable characters is exceptional, and this installment is no exception.

The story sees several main characters experience significant growth and transformation, both in their personal lives and as they navigate the complex political landscape of the fantasy world. One notable arc is that of Kaladin Stormblessed, a former soldier turned slave who becomes a powerful and influential figure in the fight against evil forces. His journey is marked by moments of triumph, setbacks, and heartbreak, endearing readers to his character and making him even more compelling.

Meanwhile, Shallan Davar’s growth is also fascinating to watch. As she uncovers dark secrets and mysteries about her past, she also confronts personal demons and navigates complex relationships with other characters. Her resilience and intelligence make her a fan favorite and a standout among Sanderson’s diverse cast.

Overall, the character development present in “Words of Radiance” is expertly crafted and adds depth and richness to the audiobook’s world. Readers will find themselves invested in the fates of these complex and dynamic characters, eagerly anticipating their next moves and transformations.

Plot Twists and Surprises

One of the most remarkable aspects of “Words of Radiance” is the numerous plot twists and surprising moments that keep the readers engaged and thrilled. From unexpected character revelations to shocking developments in the story, Sanderson’s plot twists analysis is unparalleled. The unpredictability of the audiobook’s plot keeps the listeners on edge, making it impossible to put down.

“Words of Radiance is a gripping, unpredictable audiobook that kept me on the edge of my seat!”

One of the most riveting plot twists involves the corruption of a major character, presenting complex ethical questions and adding layers of depth to the story. In another surprising moment, the audiobook introduces a mysterious, powerful force that challenges the established laws of the fantasy world. The vivid imagery and impeccable worldbuilding make these plot twists even more impactful, leaving a lasting impression on the listener.

The surprising moments in “Words of Radiance” demonstrate Sanderson’s mastery in the fantasy genre and his ability to deliver a compelling and unpredictable story. These plot twists and revelations convey themes of morality, power, and sacrifice, making it an engaging and thought-provoking listen.

Themes and Messages

Brandon Sanderson’s “Words of Radiance” is more than just a thrilling fantasy audiobook. It is also an exploration of complex themes and deep messages that resonate with listeners long after the story has ended. Through an in-depth thematic analysis, we can uncover the intricate threads of meaning woven throughout the narrative.

The Importance of Trust

One of the central themes in “Words of Radiance” is the importance of trust. Throughout the story, characters struggle to trust one another, often with disastrous consequences. However, the narrative also highlights the power of trust in building relationships and achieving common goals. This theme reinforces the idea that trust is the cornerstone of any successful community or organization.

The Search for Identity

Another significant theme in the audiobook is the search for identity. Many of the characters in “Words of Radiance” confront questions about who they are and what they stand for. As they grapple with these issues, they discover new facets of themselves and uncover hidden strengths. This theme resonates with listeners who are also on a journey of self-discovery.

“The most important step a man can take. It’s not the first one, is it? It’s the next one. Always the next step.” – Dalinar Kholin

This quote from the audiobook highlights another powerful message: the importance of taking action. Even in the face of adversity, the characters in “Words of Radiance” never give up. They continue to push forward and take the next step, even when it seems impossible. This message encourages listeners to do the same in their own lives.

Pacing and Structure

One of the key aspects of a successful audiobook is its pacing and structure. The audiobook should maintain a consistent pace throughout the story to keep the listener engaged and prevent them from losing interest. In the case of “Words of Radiance,” the pacing is well-balanced, with the story gradually building up to its climactic moments.

The narrative structure is also important, as it can greatly affect the listening experience. For “Words of Radiance,” the story follows a clear and coherent structure, with each chapter moving the plot forward and contributing to the overall narrative arc. This makes it easier for listeners to follow the story and understand the character motivations.

The combination of excellent pacing and a well-structured narrative makes “Words of Radiance” an engaging and satisfying listening experience.

Action and Adventure

Brandon Sanderson’s “Words of Radiance” is a thrilling audiobook with plenty of action-packed scenes that will have listeners on the edge of their seat. From the epic battles between the Alethi armies to the high-stakes chases through dangerous landscapes, the audiobook is a non-stop rollercoaster ride of excitement.

One of the most thrilling moments in “Words of Radiance” is the showdown between Kaladin and Szeth, where the fate of the world rests on the outcome of their battle. The intense action and high stakes of this sequence make it a standout moment in the audiobook.

“‘I will protect even those I hate,’ Kaladin whispered as Szeth moved out onto the rocks to face him, ‘so long as it is right.'” – Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance

Additionally, the scenes featuring Jasnah Kholin and Shallan Davar exploring the mysterious and dangerous city of Kharbranth are filled with tension and adventure. With danger lurking around every corner, these scenes keep the listener engaged and eager to see what happens next.

Overall, the action and adventure in “Words of Radiance” are some of its strongest elements, keeping the listener hooked and engaged throughout the audiobook.

Emotional Impact

The emotional depth of “Words of Radiance” is what sets it apart from other fantasy novels. Brandon Sanderson’s storytelling is masterful, creating powerful moments that resonate with listeners long after the audiobook has finished. From heart-wrenching scenes of loss and sacrifice to triumphant moments of victory and hope, the audiobook takes listeners on an emotional journey that is both thrilling and deeply moving.

“The emotional impact of ‘Words of Radiance’ is impossible to ignore. Sanderson has crafted a world and characters that elicit both tears and cheers from listeners, making it a true masterpiece of the genre.”

The Power of Words

One of the most notable powerful moments in “Words of Radiance” comes from a stirring speech given by one of the main characters. The words spoken not only inspire the other characters in the story but also leave a lasting impression on listeners. It’s a testament to Sanderson’s ability to use language as a powerful tool in crafting a narrative that resonates with people on a deep emotional level.

A Tale of Redemption

Another powerful aspect of the audiobook is the theme of redemption that runs throughout the story. Through trials and tribulations, the characters are forced to confront their past mistakes and work towards a brighter future. These moments of redemption are some of the most emotional in the audiobook and serve to make the characters even more relatable and human.

Reception and Awards

Since its release, “Words of Radiance” has received critical acclaim from readers and critics alike. The book has an average rating of 4.67 out of 5 on Goodreads, with over 170,000 ratings. Many readers praise the book for its intricate worldbuilding, well-crafted characters, and fast-paced plot.

In addition to its popularity, “Words of Radiance” has won several awards. These include:

Award Year Category
Hugo Award 2015 Best Novel
David Gemmell Legend Award 2015 Best Novel
Whitney Awards 2015 Best Speculative Fiction

These accolades speak to the quality and impact of “Words of Radiance” in the fantasy genre, solidifying it as a must-read for fans of the genre.

Comparison to Previous Installments

Brandon Sanderson’s “Words of Radiance” is the second book in “The Stormlight Archive” series, following the success of “The Way of Kings.” While “The Way of Kings” introduced the fantasy world of Roshar and its unique magic system, “Words of Radiance” continues to build upon the intricate worldbuilding and character development.

Compared to its predecessor, “Words of Radiance” delves deeper into the lore and history of Roshar, revealing new insights into the world’s mythology. The plot also becomes more complex and intertwined, with several storylines converging in a satisfying way.

The character development in “Words of Radiance” is also more nuanced, with characters like Kaladin and Shallan undergoing significant growth and facing new challenges. Sanderson’s ability to create well-rounded and relatable characters continues to strengthen in this second installment.

Overall, “Words of Radiance” builds upon the foundation of “The Way of Kings” and expands upon Sanderson’s epic fantasy series in a compelling way.

Comparison to Previous Installments

Fan Reactions

Since its release, “Words of Radiance” has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from fans of Brandon Sanderson’s work. Many have praised the audiobook for its captivating story, immersive world-building, and well-developed characters. Fans have also noted the audiobook’s seamless narration and engaging pacing.

One fan, who goes by the username @Sandersonlover on Twitter, raved about the audiobook, saying, “I just finished listening to ‘Words of Radiance’ and it was amazing! The story had me on the edge of my seat, and the characters were so well-written. I highly recommend it to any fantasy fans out there!”

Another fan, @Fantasybookworm on Goodreads, applauded Sanderson’s world-building skills, saying, “The world of ‘Words of Radiance’ is so vivid and unique. The details are incredible, and it’s easy to get lost in the story. The audiobook does an excellent job of bringing this world to life.”

The impact of “Words of Radiance” on the fan community is clear, with many eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series.


Overall, “Words of Radiance” by Brandon Sanderson is a truly exceptional audiobook that is sure to captivate listeners from start to finish. The immersive worldbuilding, intricate character development, and thrilling action all come together to create a truly epic experience.

The narration by voice actor Michael Kramer is masterful, further adding to the engrossing nature of the story. Sanderson’s incredible attention to detail and ability to craft a compelling narrative make “Words of Radiance” a standout installment in the series.

With its powerful themes, surprising plot twists, and emotional impact, “Words of Radiance” stands as a shining example of what fantasy storytelling can achieve. This audiobook is a must-listen for fans of the genre, and for anyone looking for a captivating listening experience.

In conclusion, “Words of Radiance” receives our highest recommendation. Brandon Sanderson’s exceptional writing, combined with Michael Kramer’s masterful narration, results in a truly memorable experience that will leave listeners wanting more.

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