Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive.
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 10 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. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where 10 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 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.
©2010 Dragonsteel Entertaiment, LLC (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
I wish I would have waited until all three books were out and I could consume them as one story. As it is, this book series has jumped to the top of my anticipation list. As good as any fantasy series could hope to be. Bravo Brandon... send us more.
They are the best.
As an avid reader of multiple genres with a weakness for epic heroic fantasy, I was absolutely blown away by the scale and character building of this first installment. If you are a fan of Martin, Rothfuss or Jordan you are probably hesitant to start another series so far from completion (I resisted the temptation for almost a year before I finally gave in), but you NEED this book. I cannot say enough good things about it. From the presence of heroes and heroines with unknown yet potentially awe inspiring abilities to political intrigue and a system of magic which is plausible enough to quickly become part of the background, I could not put this book down. Imagine Jordan minus all of the simpering and braid tugging, Martin without the tantric approach to magic and Rothfuss with a hero who is capable of doing truly heroic things. All of that from a writer who keeps his deadlines and is young and healthy. Is it painful waiting for the next book? Without a doubt, but having begun both Wheel of Time and A Song of Ice and Fire within a few months of their initial installments, I've learned to accept the anticipation as part of the ambiance. Of course, that doesn't stop me from writing the occasional email with a subject line like "Write faster, you lazy &@#%#@!" :)
I found my first encounter with Brandon Sanderson's work (The Final Empire) to be a slow, tedious headache. The concepts were unique, the plot inventive - but Sanderson suffered greatly from an immature sense of pacing. Too much internal monologuing, too little action. I don't mean action in the sense of swashbuckling, I mean it in the sense of moving the story forward. I was not excited about the prospect of listening to this book.
However, my friends insisted that he had really grown since The Final Empire and then I saw Patrick Rothfuss' comment about this novel on GoodReads. So I downloaded this book.
His storytelling is much improved in this tale. I found myself truly attached to Kaladin, Szeth, Dalinar and their fates. But writing alone did not do this. Michael Kramer brings this work to life. A lesser narrator would have let the story take over and run roughshod over the listener, but Michael demonstrates again why he is one of the best. Even in the most frustrating moments of the story, when you just want to skip the repeated internal monologues, Kramer skillfully maneuvers the listener through the muddy parts and sets you down safe on the other side, back in the action where you want to be.
Kate Reading however, could take some lessons from her counterpart. Mispronunciations of names littered her chapters and her inflections bordered on pouty valley girl at times. It's not enough to kill the mood, but it's noticeable.
There are still some pacing issues where Sanderson cuts away from the action and the moment and delves into a chapter of quiet introspection that reinforces a key characteristic of the hero. This characteristic has already been bludgeoned into you repeatedly at the outset, but I suppose he can't let you forget why the hero is so heroic.
All in all, it's a solid first entry into The Stormlight Archive. I will undoubtedly come to appreciate it more as time passes and I will definitely purchase the sequel the minute it debuts on Audible.
I listen in my car on the way to work and this book on tape makes it hard to turn the engine off and walk through the front door as you want to know where you will be going next in the story line.
First, a disclaimer: I will admit to being an unabashed Brandon Sanderson fan (though I have not loved everything he was written). The Mistbourne trilogy is one of may favourite books, but this one tops it. Sanderson is so creative (every book introduces something new), and his magic systems are amazing. Way of Kings has all of that, but also really engaging characters, a great story arc, and some great surprises. I can't wait for the sequel!
The headline for this review says it all. This is the best book I have read since Tolkien at age 12, and that says a lot.
You should definitely read it.
I think Brandon Sanderson has been improving notably as he writes more. His first book, Elantris, has a good premise and was interesting, but some of the silly things that happened at the end left me rolling my eyes. There is none of that silliness in The Way of Kings.
The book is long, but I never found it to drag. The story was always interesting and I was always eager for my next chance to listen. I thought the narrator's were great. Honestly, I never even really noticed the narrators; what I noticed was always the story and never the narrator. The narrator is there to give us the story and not draw attention to himself or herself, so this was perfect for me.
There are many interesting questions left unanswered, and things hinted at or only partially explained. This makes the story more compelling to me and find myself thinking about this book months after I have finished listening to it. This is a good sign to me of the quality of the storytelling and thought in the story. I read a lot of books and most of them are never thought of again after I am finished.
Listen to books....much easier on the eyes!
I originally started reading Brandon's stuff because of the Wheel of Time series. Mistborn was my first taste of Brandon's work and I absolutely loved it! I have to say, it just keeps getting better! He develops characters very well and in a way that always keeps you involved in the story. If your looking for a good read (not a quick read) pick up this book...figuratively of course.
I am now on my second listen through this book, and it is absolutely amazing. I am considering listening through it again for a third time or maybe reading the paper book I have instead. Michael Kramer shines as narrator in this book even more so than he did in the Mistborn books, and the Wheel of Time books. I love how he moves the story along so smoothly and when the story picks up the pace, so does he.
I genuinely feel the emotions of the characters as the story unfolds and there are a lot of parts where I get so excited I cannot stop smiling and cheering the characters on. They are all dynamic and fun, and this book doesn't really have any boring parts unlike some books I've read where you just want to skip to the next part. In fact, the book was even better on the second listen even though I knew what was going to happen. I kept picking up on details I had previously missed and it just made it that much better.
All I can really say is - read The Way of Kings. You won't be disappointed.
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