Book Review

Book Review: The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Epic fantasy
Length: 1007 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: August 31st, 2010
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again. 

EPIC FANTASY IS RIGHT.

I am once again kicking myself for not picking up Brandon Sanderson’s novels sooner. I HAVE LOVED THEM ALL (Current total: 5). I also listened to this as a FORTY FIVE AND A HALF HOUR audio book. It admittedly took me months to get through. But, now I want them as actual books because hot dang. I love his fantasy writing.

So much world building. And it’s clever to boot. The more intricacies that are woven into the daily life of everyone astounds me. I can’t even begin to imagine how he comes up with all of this to make anything coherent. I find it fascinating and entrancing to listen to how Sanderson’s world comes together for his characters.

Speaking of characters, Kaladin. KALADIN. I am here for the greatest that this man will command. He was fearless, lovable, and I would be in his bridge crew too (but not really because that sounds awful). Dalinar was amazing too. In audio books, I know it always takes me longer to get into them because I’m trying to remember who’s who and where people are. And after that point I was heavily invested in these lives colliding. They’re so many other characters I can point out and talk about, but trust me. Everyone is well thought out, serves a purpose and makes this book what it is.

I love how I can never quite figure out where Sanderson is taking us. It’s not until the last chapters of the book where you realize where everything has been building towards. I love being on my toes and being hooked by this kind of format. There’s enough teasers along the way that keep you flipping pages (or in my case listening, but either way you have to love it to do this for 1000+ pages).

Overall audience notes:

  • Epic fantasy
  • Language: bastard used a few times
  • Romance: a kiss, some hugs
  • Violence: war and battle scenes, swords, creature battles; all fairly detailed, a bit gory & bloody

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