Short Book Synopsis: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

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Shallan is the main focus in this book, and we get her flashbacks featured at times throughout the book. The flashbacks slowly reveal the gradual destruction of her family, and the details of her two potential murderous and/or abusive parents.

The Interludes introduce Lift and follow Eshonai as she, at first, reluctantly changes to stormform and then stages a coup, taking complete control of the Parshendi.


We start the prologue with Galivar’s assassination told from Jasnah’s perspective. We see the horror she witnesses and her bond and eventually Soulcast for the first time.


The main story starts with Shallan and Jasnah traveling by ship to the Shattered Plains. Jasnah tells Shallan of Shallan’s betrothal to her cousin Adolin. Shallan continues her teachings until she is woken during the middle of the night and witnessed the murder of Jasnah.

In an attempt to save the rest of the crew, Shallan soulcasts and causes the ship to sink.

She makes it to shore but is unable to soulcast a simple stick when she tries. She eventually joins Tvlakv’s slave wagons and heads towards the Shattered Plains.

Meanwhile, Kaladin sets up training exercises for other bridge crews and begins experimenting with his newfound Adhesion abilities. He gets upset when he finds out that Brightlord Amaran arrives in Dalinar’s camp.

Dalinar keeps trying to unite the Highprinces by using his authority as the new Highprince of War. In one of his flashbacks he and other Knight’s Radiant fight against a Thunderclast in the middle of a Highstorm.


Back to Shallan, she eventually joins Tyn’s caravan and joins with them to defend against bandits and winning over a group of deserters that were chasing them.

Tyn assumes she can’t really be who she says she is, so Tyn takes her on as an apprentice con artist. She eventually finds out the truth, but is killed by Shallan using her Shardblade.

Tyn assumes she can’t really be who she says she is, so Tyn takes her on as an apprentice con artist. She eventually finds out the truth, but is killed by Shallan using her Shardblade.

Adolin starts winning some duels and obtaining pieces of shard plate, following his father’s plan to unite the high princes. Renarin trains with Shardblade and plate while Torol Sadeas works against Dalinar, consolidating power and sending troops on gemstone raids when it is not his turn.

Szeth attempts to kill Dalinar, but Kaladin defends him. Kaladin tells Szeth he is a Windrunner just like him, but Szeth flees in confusion and anger.


Shallan finally arrives at the Shattered Plains in the middle of a conference between the King and the Highprinces. She informs the royal family of Jasnah’s death and cons her way into being hired by Seberial. Using her Lighweaving skills, she takes on the persona of “Veil” and does some work for the Ghostbloods. She uses them in an attempt to learn about Urithiru and warn Dalinar of the Parshendi Voidbringers.

During the day she manages Sebarial’s books and courts Adolin, who she begins hitting it off with.

Kaladin continues training the bridegemen, promoting more men capable of command so he can delegate more patrols and guard duty.

He attempts training like Szeth to walk on chasm walls, but instead flies high above the ground in control of his abilities.

Moash reveals his dark secret and out to kill the King. Kaladin is torn – he knows the king is week and should be killed, but he has sworn to protect him.

Adolin makes a mistake, and accidentally challenges four Shardbearers at once to a duel. With Kaladin’s help, Adolin manages to win the duel and Kaladin asks for a boon from the king; a challenge with Prince Amaran, but he is arrested at his declaration.


Kaladin stews in prison and is visited by Wit, who ends up making things worse. When he is eventually released, Kaladin learns that Adolin demanded to be imprisoned as long as he was, which softens Kaladin’s feelings towards Adolin and lighteyes in general.

An assassination attempt on Dalinar during a scouting mission leaves Kaladin and Shallan at the bottom of the chasms, but both used stormlight to survive the impossible fall. They both don’t trust each other at first, but they both lighten up and share some of their pasts with each other. Kaladin kills a chasm fiend with Shallan’s shardblade but then realizes he has lost all contact with Syl because he is involved in Moash’s scheme to kill the King.

The countdown clock ticks towards zero. Dalinar prepares an assault against the Parshendi. Kaladin and Shallan make it back to camp and Shallan insists on going on the assault, having mapped out a good amount of the Shattered Plains in her trip with Kaladin, who stays behind with a wound to his leg.


Dalinar leads his army, guided by Shallan, to the centre of the Shattered Plains to end the war once and for all. Kaladin falls into a deep depression over his loss of Syl and his injuries, before having an epiphany that he must protect the incompetent king from assassination.

He confronts Moash and almost dies before uttering the words:

I will protect even those I hate so long as it is right. 

When he speaks these words, Syl returns and becomes his shardblade once again. He fights off Moash and Graves who flee after failing to kill the King.

Dalinar and the Alethi army encounter the Parshendi, who have taken on a strange new form. A portion of them fight while a portion of them sing a strange, foreboding song. The Alethi manage to win, but not in time to stop the Everstorm from coming at the same exact time as a Highstorm.

Szeth arrives at the scene of the battle to finish the job on Dalinar, but Kaladin intervenes and stops Szeth, driving him away.

Shallan solves the age-old puzzle and finds the portal. She activates it using her shardblade and the Alethi are transported to Urithiru, making it through the Highstorm and Everstorm.

Dalinar, Shallan, Kaladin, and Renarin gather in Urithiru and declare themselves as Knights Radiant.


Did I miss anything? What were your favourite parts of Words of Radiance? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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