Published: August 31st 2010 by Tor Books
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Page Count: 1007
Amazon: Hardcover – $18.87 / Paperback – $11.76
Barnes and Noble: Hardcover – $26.99 / Paperback – $14.24
Description via Goodreads:
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.
Have you ever read a book that has stuck with you long after you put it down? Or how about a certain character? Well, I have found myself in both of these situations once again. The Way of Kings has found a way to stay in the back of my mind for the past two weeks while I formulated this review.
I jumped into The Way of Kings right after I finished era I of the Mistborn Trilogy. I was high on Sanderson’s writing and I couldn’t imagine not picking up another one of his books. This one grabbed me from the first chapter and it was hard to put down.
I love books that are character heavy and that focus on the characters and their backstories. Sanderson writes characters so well and I think that is one of the main reasons why I find myself coming back to his work. The Way of Kings is a monster of a book and I think that the characters that are present are fantastically written.
We follow three different characters and their journeys. This includes Kaladin (Hello new book boyfriend!), Dalinar, and Shallan. I took right away to Kaladin’s sections and they were some of my absolute favorites. There was so much dimension to Kaladin and his backstory. I found myself looking forward to reading about what shaped him to become the man he was when we meet him.
It took me more time to get on board with Dalinar and Shallan’s chapters. I wasn’t blown away by them at first but around 1/3 of the way into the book, I changed my tune. I found Shallan’s chapters very interesting because of her own personal mission (I don’t want to spoil anything so I have to leave it at “mission”) and her talks about her love of drawing. Dalinar’s chapters gave me more insight into the war and especially the past which was fantastic!
Since this book is so large, there will be slower sections, but even then there was no drag in this book. I believe that is partially because readers are essentially following three different storylines. What I loved the most was the side characters in the storylines, especially Kaladin’s bridge members. They were likable from the get-go and I loved the sections they were in because each one had their own contribution to Kaladin’s life and situation.
The plot is intricate and intriguing. There is a main component (I can’t spoil it!) that brings all of these characters to where they are in book one. I am interested in seeing how Sanderson continues to approach each book, because the The Way of Kings takes you several different places during its 1007 page run.
The setting is also fantastic! We follow 2/3 characters on the Shattered Plains and it is such a strange environment. The creatures and conditions that Sanderson introduces us to are creeping and scary, and utterly perfect. Our other main character is away in another part of Roshar and is in a kingdom where tensions are high and mysterious things are occurring.
I also have to highly recommend the audiobook for The Way of Kings. I started listening to the audiobook as well as reading my physical copy and I loved it so much! I usually don’t like audiobooks, but because I have a long commute now, I was able to listen on the go and it was fantastic. The narrators are Michael Kramer and Kate Reading and they elevated the experience.
Of course this book is a 10/10! I loved it so much and this was an amazing first chapter to an epic fantasy series. I am currently only a few pages into Words of Radiance but I am itching to get back in as soon as I can!
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”
This book was given 5/5 star rating on Goodreads.