I know things around here have been pretty quiet on the book front lately, but that has largely been due to my decision to reread the Stormlight Archive a short while back to prepare for Rhythm of War, the soon to be released fourth book in the series. Somewhere along the way, however, I signed onto a Kickstarter campaign and with it got my hands on this new novella set between the events of Oathbringer and the new release.
Taking place a few months after the Battle of Thaylen Field, the story centers around the merchant, a popular interlude character, Ryan Ftori. Since we last met her, she has been gifted control of a state of the art sailing ship named the Wandersail by her former master Vstim. Despite harboring doubts about the willingness of the crew to accept her command in light of the injuries she suffered in Words of Radiance, Rysn is eager to go out and get acquainted with the ship. Forgoing a number of more mundane trade missions, she ultimately chooses something far more adventurous for its first voyage after learning that the only hope for curing her pet Larkin’s mysterious illness is to bring it home to Aimia. Knowing the Alethi have a keen interest in the forbidding land and the strange, Stormlight stealing creatures guarding it, Ryan approaches Navani Kholin, newly crowned Queen of Urithiru, and accepts a mission to search for the legendary island of Akinah. Given the danger and sensitivity of the quest, a small contingent of ardents and Knights Radiant will go on the voyage as well, and they are headed by none other than Bridge Four’s own the Lopen.
I greatly enjoyed this novella and found it made me even more excited for Rhythm of War, something I wasn’t quite sure was possible. As fun as it was to have more time with characters like Rysn and the Lopen, this story was no mere side quest. No spoilers, but some major events happen to these characters that could greatly impact the balance of power on Roshar. Perhaps even more interestingly, the story also contributes greatly to filling in some of the gaps in our knowledge about Roshar and provides some tantalizing clues about Cosmere lore as well. For teasers, readers finally learn a bit more about the fate of Aimia and the Sleepless, and are treated to explicit references to the shattering of Adonalsium and the Horneaters’ role knowledge of Cultivation’s Perpendicularity. More generally, it was also fascinating to see how quickly fabrial technology is advancing for the Radiant forces. I’m really curious to see how this aspect of the story develops, especially as the various Cosmere novels start moving further along their timelines.
At this point I feel like there are so many things that I am tempted to explore and theorize about, but with a full length novel coming up (it’s out tomorrow!) I’m going to hit pause on that for now. My next order of business is to get through my reread of Oathbringer to fully prepare me for that experience. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with even more Cosmere stuff to share!