Update: Click here to access published review for Deseret News.
Over the next several weeks, I hope to write a few more reviews and would like them each to be in-depth and focus on certain themes, characters, etc. These reviews will not be spoiler-free, but I'll provide spoiler notices and hold off until the most hardcore of the fans can work their ways through "Words of Radiance."
UPDATE 3/04/2014 --
Request for topic in series of Words of Radiance reviews?
If anyone has a specific request of a topic, character, theme, analysis, etc., to include in a planned series of "Words of Radiance" reviews, please feel free to make requests via email or in the comments section of this post.
Topics under consideration
Topics I am considering devoting 3-4 entire posts to include:
- Brandon's acknowledgement one book may be written from the perspective of a character who has already passed away
- Interludes: Integral or disposable?
- Grandiose scope
- Books No. 10+ - or the pros and cons of Brandon's verbosity and how many books the series is likely to have when the last words are finally published
- Social castes
- Cosmere: Magnum opus or too complex?
- Character names in fantasy as a method for engaging readers
Questions for Brandon?
I'll also be sending a short list of questions that Brandon will be answering via email. If you have a question you'd like me to consider including in my list, please let me know.
A unique portion of my review/assessment of Words of Radiance
Also, while this isn't something you'll find associated with most reviews, I will occasionally make notes about the quality of the paper, bindings, etc. Although I finished the book via an electronic copy sent by the publisher a good little while before the hard copy arrived, I still thumbed through the hard copy to get a feel for the physical copy - as well as see some things missing from the ARC.
In fact, I was very impressed by the artwork, etc. However, I was surprised for a book with such an affordable cost per page ($28.99 for 1,088 pages) to have such fine quality of paper and a binding of better quality that anticipated. For example, I once reviewed a book by a well-renown publisher who knows better than to produce shoddy material. The book was authored by a prestigious man, a master of many fields. The paper in a book of approximately 200 pages sold for approximately $2.00 less than Words of Radiance - yet the quality was so poor each time I touched the page it was like scraping fingernails across a chalkboard.
Tor has provided readers with durable, comfortable paper of a finer quality than is necessary at this price - something that should signal appreciation the publisher has for enriching the reader's experience. Additionally, the binding is not of poor quality - though this is likely out of necessity because of the page length.
In essence, Tor has encapsulated the masterful writing and artwork that comprise Words of Radiance in a hardcover book that should easily be able to withstand even a $10 increase in price. That the price is not higher suggests Tor is forecasting a high volume of sales. However, I also believe it is a sign of an ethical publisher in a number of ways. Now, I make this estimation based on a ludicrous sample size of one -- but as someone who has read from most major publishers, this quality appears to be more than a necessity to accommodate the massive size of the manuscript. Although this and sales forecasts almost surely played a role, Tor may be quietly providing readers with a high quality of workmanship for the cost in a lauded effort to retain its readers.