I went into this book fully aware of its reputation as a Tolkien knock-off. That didn't bother me in the least. And it turns out that I find negative comparison to Tolkien unfair and irrelevant.
What actually makes this audiobook unlistenable has nothing to do with its questionable creative origins. It is a combination of gutwrenchingly bad melodrama, death by self-congratulatory exposition, and a narrator who just feels like he's along for the ride.
I was worried leading up to this release that Tor wouldn't shut up about how Sanderson was finishing Wheel of Time. No mention of his already impressive previous works, they made it sound like this was his first original novel. Thankfully, the book stands on its own, despite the aggravating marketing.
I finished the Way of Kings audiobook last night, having dropped the hardback in favor of listening.
The story starts off slowly, almost unbearably slowly. But it continues to gain momentum for its entire 45 hour length until the point of bursting. The world is new and exciting and dangerous, and also strangely familiar at the same time. It gives the very real sense of being part of an idea much larger than itself.
As always Kramer and Reading are very good. There are a few minor hiccups in this edition - the only really jarring one was when somewhere around chapter 60, Kate decided to change the pronunciation of a major character's name... But the offending scene passed quickly and all was soon back to normal.
Mistborn is the most compelling fantasy series I've encountered this decade. The world is rich with flavour, the characters are human and believable - and likeable.
Michael Kramer's performance is amazing, the book got the treatment it deserved.
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