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
Wow, what an amazingly complex and incredible story! There is a great deal to learn about Sanderson's world, past and present and it's characters, past and present. The characters are deep and rich and so intricately woven into each-other, whether they know it or not, and they are all steeped in ritual, pride, honor and ignorance. Sound familiar?
I lost myself in the imagining of what was happening at any given time during the story and this allowed me to easily endure the sometimes slow and monotone nature of the narration. I am always aware of being to critical of something I can't do better than another, but the narration was my only hurdle with this wonderful story. Michael Kramers voice was clear, concise and unwavering, but lacked some charisma and personality. Kate Readings voice had more of those desirable qualities but I still found myself wanting more 'zip' in the story-telling. Over-all, I put it at #16 of my listens- out of several hundred.
When I read the Mistborn series with metal magic I thought wow what an imagination! How does Brandon come up with such a compelling new magic system, weave in engrossing story and keep me locked until I can finish. He couldn't do that again, right? Well Brandon did it again and just enthralled me for 45 engaging hours. Lashing stormlight? How does he do it? I know I'm not saying much about the compelling characters, interwoven story lines and apocalyptic feeling of doom but I just finished and I'm still reeling! I can't wait for the next book! Well done Brandon!
What Brandon Sanderson does better than any other fantasy author is combining immense scale with amazingly intimate character arcs. As much as I love The Wheel of Time one of its great failings is that epic set pieces come and go in a couple of pages. The Way of Kings revels in its set pieces, and they are magnificent! That's not to say the characters suffer in favor of battle scenes like a Joe Abercrombie novel. The three character arcs in this novel are some of the most satisfying I have ever read. Combine that with a beautifully realized world that unfolds wonderfully throughout the book and you have one of the best fantasy novels ever written.
The narration is very well done. At first I was concerned by the narrator's slow pace but it flows well with the novel and somehow makes it feel like you are being told the story rather than read to.
First and most importantly to any audio book, the performances by Mr Kramer and Mrs Reading are very well done. Note that each narrator reads an entire section of the book at a time, one reader when the section is dominated by the female lead characters, the other when the story is dominated by the male character. They don't switch between the two narrators within a single dialogue. It works well.
Brandon weaves an excellent tale that draws us into a well described and thought out world. Never sacrificing the movement of the story with overly done prose or details, Brandon strikes a great balance here. The story follows a number of different main characters, who live in the same world and whom may or may not cross paths during the book. There are a few side stories that could stand as separate short stories, but each of these side tracks enriches the world we are being put into, and were always fun to listen too. Never does the listener feel like he is being sent on some irrelevant, tangental, meaningless filler (something I found all to common before giving up on The Wheel of Time). Meanwhile, the main arcs of the story stayed coherent throughout the length of the book.
The storytelling here is some of the best I have read. The best in a long time.
Clearly this is meant as a epic series. Thankfully this first book wraps up nicely leaving the listener satisfied but yearning for more.
It took me awhile to get with it, but once I did, I was hooked. My son and daughter had read and loved it, so I downloaded it. I have now listened to it twice, and think I have a good grip. Only problem--How long do I have to wait for the next installment. Very original and interesting. I highly recommend it.
This is the best book I've listened to this year. Brandon Sanderson is officially my favorite sci-fi author. The characters and world he creates in this one are amazing. I can't wait for the next one in the series. I highly recommend this book!
Get the whole series now and find a deserted island Very entertaining! Sanderson rarely disappoints
I loved this book. I want more. More More MORE MORE MORE!
I think Sanderson is the one who can really deliver on a well planned out epic series, and I'm eager to continue the journey.
This is the best of the Sanderson books. I can't wait until the next book. Incredible narration and compelling, inspiring storyline. Highly recommend. Just bought the book (physical) so I can display it in my library.
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