I feel like I really need to get to writing this review, but I was so let down by this work that I just don't know how to go about writing it. Course... I could always go the way of a list! It's a terrible way to review, but it'll work for now. Probably forever as I don't see myself spending too much time with it.
1. If you've read other works by Sanderson you'll recognize the character types. They're what he's grown accustomed to and uses for every book. Usually there's something to set them apart from the characters of other books, but this time it didn't happen.
2. The point of view changes were poorly placed. I'm not really much of a fan of having a set rotation for each character, but this... this was just too sporadic.
3. Palindromes. Palindromes are not cool. I know a lot of people seem to think words that mirror themselves are interesting, but they aren't. Sadly Sanderson is a fan of them so there are a ton of the things in this book. It's explained away as being tied into a religion, but it doesn't make them any less annoying.
4. World building isn't great. Throughout the entire novel I was left wondering about the world - not just the workings of society, but the terrain and how it all tied together. I'm left thinking of this world as a rocky wasteland, but I'm not sure that's right.
5. There are intermission chapters that come in sets of three throughout the book. They serve no purpose though. They introduce us to characters that will probably be in the story later, but being introduced now seems like such a waste and just a means to increase the pages of the first book. I certainly won't remember these random characters in a year or however long it is until we see them again. A few pages on them just isn't going to leave a lasting impression. They really should have been introduced when they served a purpose to the story. The chapters with Sveth were somewhat relevant and became more so towards the end, but even those felt out of place.
6. The dialog is pretty terrible. Well learned characters or characters with a sharp mind come across as nothing like that. There's the character Shallan who is supposed to have a sharp tongue, but her words are akin to a mdidle schoolers. She really has no good argument or comebacks. Then there's Wit... a character who is supposed to be witty. Wonderful play on his name, huh? He's not witty. He's an elementary school kid. He does nothing in the book to earn him the title of Wit. He calls people slow or says they wear silly clothing and that's his wit.
7. Sanderson just rambles on and on and on for no reason. He spends so much time writing about absolutely nothing. He tried to build up to stuff in the story, but failed miserably. By the time he ever got to a "big reveal" you already knew what it was and at that point you, frankly, just didn't give a damn. The book was never really interesting until the last 100 pages. Events happened there that were predictable, but it was entertaining still.