I started with Elantris (another Sanderson novel) and was so impressed with the originality and talent Sanderson showed, i thought "is he really this good or it is it a fluke?" So i moved onto the misborn series- not a fluke. I seriously listened to the last part of "The Final Empire" for 6 hours straight dying to know how it would end. Dont stop here- Keep reading (listening). I have moved onto "Warbreaker."
This book is exactly what fantasy should be and often isn't. Rather than trying to write the most unique mysterious gritty violent book ever this author sets up a good solid fantasy world with easily understandable rules and proceeds to tell an excellent and exciting story. The magic system is refreshingly understandable and usually sticks to its own rules. The action scenes are extremely well choreographed (think The Matrix in a fantasy setting) For a first book in a series the conclusion is remarkably conclusive for a change. Rather than leaving a bunch of loose ends this author nicely ties up the original questions the story starts with while still leaving enough of the world unexplored to make you want more. The narration is first class.
While the actual writing is undoubtedly a step above that found in most fantasy novels, a fact which I greatly appreciate, the novel itself still falls far short of the truly excellent fantasy works available. It is all concept, concept, concept. Sanderson does indeed follow and develop the consequences of his ideas, such as metal-eating and falling ash, and some readers will definitely enjoy that aspect of the book. But the concept is developed at the expense of character and story, which are both ultimately uncompelling.
Overall, this book has a very "workshopped" feel, as though the author has learned rules of "good" writing through workshops and how-to books, and then applied them here. (Create a conflict, heighten it by impeding your character's progress toward his goal, ensure that your ensemble cast consists of contrasting personalities, etc.) There is none of the rich atmosphere of Tolkien, nor the character complexity of Martin, nor even the fancifulness of Jordan. Listen to it while you wait for the next work of genius to come along.
I found myself being drawn into this new world where magic operates differently then in any other fantasy series. The characters had depth and the narrator was easy to listen to. I first ran across Brandon Sanderson form the Wheel of Time series he is finishing up for Robert Jordan. So I decided to check out some of his solo writing... And I am glad I did.
I have read fantasy for over 20 years and was thrilled to find a new twist on magic. I have listened to the first two in this series and am downloading the third now. I can't wait to see what Sanderson does next. Gotta love Michael Kramer...hope he does the last Wheel of Time when it comes out.
Good characters, and an engaging story, as long as you don't pay too close attention to the holes in the plot. Well-developed world, although parts of it seem like as much a surprise to the characters as to the reader. The prose is passable, and parts of the story are self-indulgent and heavy-handed. But I enjoyed it enough to finish, and I'm enjoying the second installment as well. Three stars is maybe a little low, but four stars is too high.
The narrator does an excellent job with a large, diverse cast of characters.
Briefly, I (like others) wanted to know more about the author. The world evoked here - in the best tradition of speculative fiction - is wide-open but we rapidly get a sense of the time and place covered in this story. There is more of the history of this world to be explored and explained. There are few 'good guys' here which is often a problem for me as a reader but the characters are revealed in such a way that we feel that we understand them almost right away. I enjoyed the readers' work in keeping the cast-members distinct and recognizable. If I have a complaint it is with a couple of fight scenes - it could be just me - but, I had to replay the scenes at least twice to understand what had occurred. I am happy with the book and very glad to see that there is a sequel!
WOW! The twist and turns of this action-packed fantasy kept me gripped from beginning to end. If you enjoy Robert Jordan or George R.R. Martin, be sure to add Brandon Sanderson to your library.
There's nothing cliche, overused, or tiring in this novel. Everything seems fresh, new, and inspiring from the characters to the questions it leaves you asking. An emotionally satisfying ride full of as much spirit as any Goodkind novel, or Sanderson's first work, Elantris.
All this tied with an amazing narration makes for a must have for any Fantasy fan looking for a new take on the genre.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
Why does he smile all the time? Because humor is all He has left. He believes that if you are always on time, it implies you never have anything better to do. He says "I've been very confident in my immaturity."
Brandon Sanderson earns five stars with this book, as he has with three of the four books of his I have read, the other just getting four stars. Sanderson is the Fantasy Writer of this Century so far. He does not borrow from anyone else to write his fantasy, it is all out of his head. Matter of fact this goes against all the fantasy laws. Usually iron is the bane of magic, which explains why elves, fairies, etc disappeared with the coming of civilization and metals. Sanderson has made metals the magic element. All of his books that I have read so far are totally different from the norm. In Elantris, Magic is the enemy. The Way of Kings is his masterpiece so far.
Look at the ratings on this book, thousands have read it and it has an average of 4.6 stars. That alone speaks volumes.
The book is not perfect and it was written early in Sanderson's career. For instance having a Feruchemist or Keeper sure comes in a little too handy as more then once he saves the day. There is also, especially in the beginning a lot of talking and planning. Hours of planning. Still I enjoyed it, the writing was great, the character development excellent, lots of twists and turns, and even with the planning there is still lots of really cool action. Fighting with metals reminds me of a character in Erickson's Gardens of the Moon, who is able to turn up down or sideways or left to right, etc. The characters are not black and white. Sometimes you are not sure who is the bad guy and who is the good guy (I love that).
Fans of Abercrombie and Paul Hoffman will love this.
Fans of The Wheel of Time series will recognize the great narrator Kramer.
Listen to the story to see why I compare Atium to Spice.