Spoiler-Free Reactions to Beta Reading Brandon Sanderson’s Rhythm of War


You didn’t think we’d let the hype rest, did you? Rhythm of War is almost here! And because you know you need something to do while you’re waiting, we’re here to give you something to puzzle over, play with, or otherwise entertain yourselves. We here present to you, to whet your appetite, a small (but still huge) selection of the comments from the beta-read spreadsheets. All the comments have been carefully edited so as not to give actual spoilers. The idea (in case you haven’t played before) is that you read these reactions, totally without context, and see if you can guess what triggered them. While you’re waiting for the book, the guesses will of necessity be wild; after you get it, well… they might still be wild, but at least they’ll be more informed! Come on in and join us while you await the arrival of the latest hefty tome.

Alice here, with another installment of the beta teasers! My apologies for leaving it until the last minute. My suggestion is to have fun guessing for a day or so, and then when you get the book and start reading, they’ll be fresh in your mind! (That’s why I did it this way. Really. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) My profound thanks to Paige for the massive job of helping me sift through our gazillions of comments! (She did the bulk of it, to be honest… -Alice ) (*smooches* -Paige)

If you’ve joined us on one of these little adventures before, you may notice that we’ve changed things a little. The obvious change, right off the top, is that we’ve left them sorted by parts. We thought maybe… you know, we’d give y’all a fighting chance at identifying the scenes we had in mind. A little chance. We’ve mixed them up within the part, so you can’t just keep reading until you find the next one, but you can narrow each one down to a few hundred pages.

The other thing we changed is that, after a while, we just couldn’t weed out any more, so you have a storming huge pile of comments to look at. Really, we weeded and weeded and weeded, and got it … well, it’s under a hundred reactions… Except that I cheated. As it got closer to the end, it was hard to pick just one good reaction from the whole list, some of which built on each other, so… you get bulk.

At the risk of too many disclaimers before we get started, I should probably note that there are a few minor vulgarities, which we left intact. They were, shall we say very real time reactions.

Last thing: those of you who have read Part One, please be kind to those who didn’t, and white-text or black-light any spoiler guesses in the comments for today. (That said, if you haven’t read Part One in the serialization, that would give you something else to do while you wait…) Also, for those of you who received your copy early for some reason, again, please don’t post unhidden spoilers for everyone else.

With that, here is a small selection of the wide variety of reactions the beta readers had, way back last winter. We hope you’ll have fun guessing what might have been going on in our heads, while you wait for Tuesday. Then, come back and see if you were right! We’ll post the “key” in a couple of weeks, when you’ve had a chance to read at your leisure.


Part One

  • Woooow, way to make Gavilar instantly unlikeable in this one.
  • I’m already disoriented by the time jump. And the ______________ has fallen. That’s… disheartening.
    • the time skip, and the entire chapter’s setting being predicated on an offscreen war that happened in the meantime, really left me scrambling to catch up, and not in a “ooh is this a tasty plot hint” way.
    • I’m glad that we get this established so formally here, so quickly, to help lessen the disorientation we are feeling.
  • Ooooh, does he have Breath?
  • I KNEW IT! You can’t keep catching spren with pokeballs without consequences!
  • Hoo boy, I wonder who this feller is?!
  • Congrats again, you rapscallion.
  • This is amazing. I might be tearing up a little bit right now. <3
  • Also a big depression mood. You feel like an utter Moash for burdening anyone with your needs, but you desperately crave support.
  • Navani has impostor syndrome. I think this really adds to her character… to know that she has these kinds of doubts. I love this.
  • I love ______ the lore dump master so much for this.
  • Adolin seems like just what Kaladin needs right now. Bridge Four are good for Kaladin, usually, but they listen to him. Hopefully Adolin can get past the nonsense the others can’t.
  • If that isn’t some Nick Fury helicarrier crap then I don’t know what is. Now THAT is how you close a chapter!
  • Well, now… hand that boy a spear and he’ll SHOW you what he is.
  • Bridge Four Salute! This makes me happy.
    • Actual tears are being shed. <3
    • I sobbed while reading this.
    • I took a moment here. That is really awesome.
    • What a wonderful gift this is. Tai’shar, _______ *B4 salute*
    • I knew this was coming, because of a comment Brandon made on one of his AMAs. VERY satisfying to see it.
    • OH MY HEART. Thank you for this. Thank you. (And yes, I’m crying.)
  • Brightly colored for now. Lol
  • The full set of what now they found where?
  • That’s a nice detail. Growing up in an Asian household, my parents weren’t really fans of me being so Americanized, not being more in line with their culture.
  • People are gonna LOVE that ____ is at least passingly interested in women. I hope Brandon expands on this some.
  • At least Shallan is well enough to recognize that she needs help.


Part Two

  • Mic drop. Haha I can just see him saying this, all fired up. :)
  • Am I the only one who couldn’t get the image of the infinity gauntlet out of my head? :)
  • I love seeing how excited ______ is to see ____ again. It makes my heart happy.
  • Made me immediately think of unseelie _____.
    • Honestly I just started rolling my eyes at how Extra these kids are. The ______________ sounds like vampire wannabes. Does Roshar have a Hot Topic?
    • At least they didn’t go the “obvious” route and call themselves “The Eyeless”
    • I like how extra and dramatic they are.
  • I suddenly don’t like this ardent.
    • Oh, the irony.
  • Lol Legolas moment anyone?
  • Next thing you know, the back 5 prologues are all Dalinar’s assasination. :P
  • Hi, Isaac!
  • dog_in_house_on_fire.jpg
  • God, it’s just so freakin’ obvious to EVERYONE, isn’t it?
  • So touching, _______ you are Radiant, you are healed.
  • Well, Adolin has a knack for helping friends deal with trauma. So storm off.
  • Yes you will. And you’ll reach it soon, because I say so.
  • Oh, no. Not Adolin. Please no. (face clutching moment)
  • Fireshadowing!
  • Haha! I suddenly imagined the two of them playing rock, paper, scissors to see who had to do it.


Part Three

  • Wow, so the Rosharan magic is based on light AND _____?
  • Oh my gosh, this entire scene is wonderful.
  • Hissssssss
  • Dang it, Brandon! Stop making me feel sympathy for the bad guys!
  • Oho. So THAT’S what happens when you fake it. Serves her right.
  • Oh, he is totally going to Spiderman this up!
  • So much for getting a happy viewpoint anytime soon.
  • This must be a world-hopper. And doesn’t he know that going back in time does weird things to the continuum?
  • Oh no. No no no, Dangit this is the middle of the book, isn’t it? THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET REALLY BAD I CAN’T WATCH.
  • Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a trap!”
  • You can go perform an anatomical impossibility, _____.
  • WOW. WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW. Oh, my stars and little fishies. WOW.
  • I’m so amazed and delighted that Dalinar can control _____________ like this!
  • Awww… Kaladin gets to do the Superman pose up the Tower. :-D giggle
  • [Wit] only has one gear. BURN BABY BURN
  • He’s just looking to see if his crush is watching him do cool stuff.
  • WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP! I actually guessed right on this!! _________ FTW.


Part Four

  • I laughed, and then was grateful being locked up didn’t break her.
    • Alice & Lynsey, I think you have the new “tight butts and coconuts” section heading.
  • Oh, the poor child. Everyone overreacted, didn’t they? No one had any idea why he would do such a “horrible” thing, but it made perfect sense to him.
  • Okay. I’ve got to admit it. This reveal is /brilliant/
    • Doh! Right in front of us the whole time!
    • Didn’t like the reveal overall, but this line was FANTASTIC.
    • Ugh. I feel horrible for not noticing this before! Very clever.
    • D A M N A T I O N
  • Oh my gosh, so crafty!
    • Mind. Blown. I can’t believe _______ did this!! It’s so smart, but at the same time
    • I’m still a bit sad for ______. I’m so conflicted!
  • That sounds very disorienting! Another nice touch of flair!
    • Sounds a very Escher-like place!
  • I love how, in true scientific fashion, she made this discovery by complete accident while trying to do something entirely different.
  • “Oooooh crap. This is definitely _________
    • ^^That makes so much sense… I don’t like how much sense that makes…”
  • I wonder if there are any sort of long term implications here?
    • I don’t know why, but this made me tear up.
    • I hate that I want to like her so much and just KNOW that I shouldn’t.
    • Oh that is lovely. I don’t know what she means by it, but it is lovely.
  • Oh, that’s *dirty*
    • No no no nope. I hate it. I hate it a lot.
    • Clever plan! Not too sure it’ll work, but clever nonetheless!
  • Literally the last thing I expected. But beautiful.
  • I loved this so much that I laughed out loud! Perfect story for Kaladin.
  • YES YES YES YES YES. (I quite literally fist-pumped several times here.)
    • Wow. This was unexpectedly emotional. It’s probably because we know how hard it is for her to commit to an action, especially a dangerous one.
    • I can feel her terror at admitting this, and it’s fantastic.
  • There is not enough profanity in the world for you right now.
    • Yeah, I’m upset at him… but I kind of already saw this coming. Vichy France in a person.
  • HURK. That was a whiplash. I kind of expected her to kill a Regal.
    • Excuse me, but WHAT THE ACTUAL @#$%!?
    • WHOA WHOA I did not see that coming :(
    • I’M SORRY, WHAT????
  • Ho. Ly. Balls.
    • Storm it, you were played again!
    • Table flipped. Screams and curses to the skies. I really hate this book and _____ right now.
    • I feel sick inside
    • NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!
  • Wait………..
    • Holy. Shit.
    • I got goosebumps reading this (also, called it)
    • I actually sobbed out loud at this. My husband was worried for a bit.
    • The feels! This was so awesome! And what a reveal!
    • YEEEEEESSSSSSSSS I’ve been saying this for ages!! … I knew it!


Part Five

  • This person is immediately terrifying.
  • This is a terrible deal that will come back to bite Dalinar right in his too-firm butt.
  • DON’T START THAT AGAIN!!! Oh, that’s just painful, reflecting that back at us. She’s certainly made mistakes, but… why?
    • What a horrible way to end this scene :(
  • Oh bless you, indignant, stubborn, WONDERFUL Dalinar.
  • Okay okay, still scared of nightblood, okay okay.
  • It is unexpected, but I adore how this whole arc played out. The give-and-take, the mutual respect, and the constant revelations between these two have been one of the biggest highlights of the book so far.
    • I’m just sad we won’t get to see more of her. At least we don’t have to watch her Return as a madfemalen. …. I loved her send-off.
  • What’s that supposed to mean?
    • ^^ Angsty-Grumpy with Unhinged-Grumpy who carries Enthusiastic-Death
  • It’s always nice to see that she isn’t perfect. She does worry about things, she gets paranoid.
    • I wouldn’t say it’s paranoid if they’re really out to get you.
  • That would be delightfully twisted. *Brandon cackles evilly and rubs his hands together*
    • I’m reduced to incoherent screaming. There are no words foul enough for this.
  • SO awesome!
    • I LOVE the way _______ is messing with ______’s mind! (what’s left of it, anyway…)
    • The more weak taunts he speaks, the less scary he becomes.
    • That’s a really nice, clever, and almost sinister twist to his whole schtick.
    • Ohohoh, I am a BIG fan of sinister _____ here.
  • Awww. I like how vulnerable she sounds here. How very. . .human of her.
  • I felt goosebumps reading this.
    • In fact, I felt goosebumps just reading my notes about how I had goosebumps when I was reading this.
  • OH FRICK. I really didn’t think [that was going to happen]. Uhhh… This is real bad. Also really sad. Aaah. I’m panicked and devastated at the same time! Oh no!
    • Aaahhhhh. @##$#$# I did not want to be right!!!!! #$$% you _____! You are irredeemable!!!
    • I was still for a long moment after reading this. Then, I teared up. But you know what? He’s right… I feel that he won…
    • I’m back here crying my eyes out again. I almost hope we get to see a moment with him in Shadesmar, though that was one of the best exit lines I’ve ever seen.
  • Oh hey, that means Amaram actually did keep his promise … Minus one rat bastard point for Amaram, I guess.
  • Wow. If you are gonna kill an enemy this is the one I least want dead :(
  • Whoa, I swear I could hear it. That was an incredible description.
  • That’s right. So glad her Light is making you FEEL something. SUFFER.
    • That’s right you’d better run you storming bastard.
    • Good. Suffer, you bastard. #NoRedemption.
    • Hands down, one of the craziest Brandon twists I think I’ve experienced. If someone had spoiled me on this going into the series, I wouldn’t have believed it.
  • HOLY
    • I screamed internally (would have been out loud but I had a baby sleeping on me). He’s not bound by any oaths or pacts is he? Is he free?
    • I screamed internally and externally. Good god what a great development.
  • So it is, in the end, ______. Also, this is a wonderful line.
    • I am glad I was wrong. It feels awesome and what a line
    • OMG this is wonderful. Such an awesome line!
    • I can’t remember a time when I have exulted, shouted in joy so loudly EVER before…..and that sentence belongs on a t-shirt
  • Okay, the fact that THIS is the last chapter of the book is immediately fascinating. After everything that just happened—THIS is the end? What the heck is gonna blindside us next?


Yeah, so that last one is a gimme… but it’ll make you really curious until you get there, won’t it? BUT DON’T LOOK AT THE LAST CHAPTER UNTIL YOU GET THERE. Journey before destination, y’all. See you in the comments!

Alice hails from the Pacific Northwest, and contrary to expectation, has not yet developed webbed feet. Believe it or not, she’s also an introvert. And a Skybreaker. If you wanted to know.

Paige resides in New Mexico, of course, and writes in an attempt to stay sane. No, really. Imagine if she didn’t write. Yeesh. She’s a champ at the in-person social distancing; no really, back away. Links to her Patreon and her available works are provided in her profile.


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