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 have become a big fan of Brandon Sanderson's work and this new series does not disappoint. He has created another interesting world full of rich characters and I can't wait for book two.
The same narrators from the Wheel of Time series re-unite with Sanderson to create another winner. Mistborn, Warbreaker, Elantris, and now this work vaults Sanderson to the top of my must-read list. This book is so good I will gladly listen to it again as a refresher when book two comes out!
I really, really enjoyed this book. The performances and story easily in my top five favorite Audible titles.
I was was introduced to Sanderson by listening the Mistborn series (which I enjoyed). Sanderson is very good at making his characters three dimensional as well as bringing his settings to life. He creates a full background and mythology for his characters that give a fullness to the experience of his stories.
The performances here are top notch. I significantly preferred the sections performed by Michael Kramer but both narrators fit their main characters well and do a great job of creating separate, distinguishing voices for their characters.
HERE'S THE WARNING: This book does not have a complete ending. I hadn't realized that book two isn't out yet. When I finished this book, I was ready to skip all of the other titles on my listening list and go straight into the next book. I've listened to enough preexisting series (Dresden Files is a good example) that I expected to continue the story when this book left me hanging. I know I'm spoiled and I'm whining a bit but hurry up! I was already feeling extremely impatient waiting for Rothfuss's next Kingkiller Chronicles (another don't-miss-it series with a similar epic feel to Sanderson's) but now I've definitely become a whiny-baby.
The book does have a partially satisfying ending but, like most series premiers, it leaves many things unresolved and many questions unanswered. This book is still on my list of must-listens but be prepared to long for book two.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
I gave up on the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series by Volume 5 so never got to Brandon Sanderson’s concluding contributions to that series. My first books by Sanderson were those of the Mistborn Trilogy. I was totally captivated by the story and its writing. I avoided The Way of Kings because of its Audible 2 credit price but finally caved because I had lusted so long for something so good as Mistborn. I should not have delayed. The Way of Kings was well worth the price and promises to be one of the best ever series by Sanderson or any SF/Fantasy author. This is Book 1 of the Stormlight Archive.
Coming in at over 45 hours on audiobook or over 1000 pages in print, for some TWoK might seem too lengthy. Personally, for me, it ended all too soon. The book was totally gripping and absorbing. I could not put it down. The writing contains wit and charm, adventure and philosophy, comedy and pathos. It’s all there, a wide range of human thought and emotion. While constructed of multiple arcs, the writing is completely straight forward, accessible and easy to follow.
I became totally invested in each character and cared for everyone of the good guys and even some of the bad ones. One of the most interesting characters, one named Szeth, is a peace-loving believer in nonviolence but is also an ultimate, ninja-like assassin who hates to but is forced to kill and cries each time that he does. How’s that for a crazy mixed-up contradiction. Frankly, I think that Szeth is a metaphor for many of us and our behavior. But among my favorite and central characters were a peasant, apprentice surgeon named Kaladin and a spren named Syl with whom Kal has a rather magical and symbiotic relationship.
Spren appear throughout the book. They were for me various types of conscious energy or spirit-like entities that were part of or associated with almost everything on the planet including specific kinds of thoughts and emotions, wellness and sickness, life and death. They particularly seem to appear when “change” happens and it is at least at this point in the series difficult to know if they are responsible for, contribute to or are just present when changes in anything from one’s health to the weather occur.
Speaking of the weather, the environment and particularly the atmosphere of the planet and how the geology, flora and fauna have evolved within the influence of extreme weather is integral to the storyline. The book describes and develops half a dozen interesting and well defined fictional races. Wars exist on the planet among them over the power and dominance brought by the magical weapons known as Shardblades and Shardplates. And, while war is one of the central themes of the book, descriptions of battles and war do not dominate the narrative.
What came across most movingly, uniquely clear and beautifully written were the two human qualities of love and compassion. I do not think that those two attributes have ever been more deftly portrayed than it is in this book. Some of my other favorite SF/Fantasy writers including Dan Simmons and Peter F. Hamilton while brilliant in almost every other respect, fail to adequately communicate those two essential qualities of our nature. Other authors talk about it, their characters go through the motions and maybe say the words but I just do not always “feel the love” in their writings like I do in reading this book. The humanity and heroism portrayed by some of the characters in TWoK were strikingly remarkable. It is another one of those attributes of Sanderson’s writing that makes everything more real and capable of eliciting emotions within the reader.
Magic abounds in the book and all of it seems to make sense if ever magic can be made sense of. It was once said that any technology sufficiently advanced will appear as magic and this is that kind magic, magic that can almost be but not quite understood. There is plenty of adventure and excitement contained within the pages and Kate Reading and particularly Michael Kramer bring it all to life. Yes, this is the same duo that narrated the Wheel of Time saga. Their talent was well highlighted there but I believe even more so in The Way of Kings.
This was one great book and the only downside is that Sanderson is so prolific with his other literary pursuits that the sequel to this one is long overdue and the Audible rendition even longer than that.
The Way of Kings is Sanderson's greatest work to date. the characters, the world, the story are all masterfully written, and truly comes to life with the reading of Micheal Kramer and Kate Reading. getting those two to narrate the book was a truly brilliant decision on the part of the publisher.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. from beginning to end, despite the book's length, it held my interest like few books I've read recently. There really aren't any truly slow periods. there are periods without action, or without exposition, or without drama, but there is never a scene that feels unnecessary. Normaly, i only listen to books when I am at work, but this one pulled me in so completely that i listened to it every free moment, and it even kept me up into the wee hours of the morning, unable to tear myself away. the last five or six hours were, hands down, the most riveting fiction I have ever encountered, and far beyond what one might expect from merely the first book of what is planned as a ten book series. Where the Wheel of time starts at a slow burn with The Eye of the World, The Way of Kings hits the ground running.
The Stormlight Archive is the new face of epic fantasy, like the Wheel of Time was before it. Sanderson has truly come into his own on this one.
Say something about yourself!
I was introduced to Brandon Sanderson when he was hand picked to finish the Wheel of Time series after the passing of Robert Jordan. I was impressed with his work on the WOT series, and have since enjoyed several of his books. The Way of Kings is a tremendous beginning to a series that has the potential to be epic in its own right.
The character development was awesome. The deep rooted sense of honor of Dalinar, the earned cynicism, mistrust, and self doubt of Kaladin, The internalized pain of regret of Szeth, the planned deceitfulness of Shallan; the characters exhibit a wide gambit of traits typical of everyday humans in our trek through life.
The premise of the story at first, seems to be a touch disjointed as the you are introduced to the various characters spread throughout the world, seemingly with no connection what so ever. The quotes at the beginning of the chapters from people just before death? What do they have to do with anything? The characters lives are revealed to be more and more intertwined as the story develops and the quotes are also shown their relevance near the end of the book. The lost histories of the Knights Radiant and the importance of their apparent betrayal of the humans are bound to have a key to humanity's survival of the Last Desolation.
Micheal Kramer and Kate Reading continue their simply amazing narrations. They both have an astonishing number of vocalizations they impart to the various characters, allowing us to connect just that much more with the story.
If you are a fan of fantasy, this should find its way onto your 'must-read' list.
"Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination"
"I will protect those who cannot protect themselves."
I was pressured to download this book by a sci-fi loving boyfriend and sister. Since it was so long, and only one credit, I went ahead. I expected to let it sit in my library to get them off my back, but instead started listening to it while in traffic one morning. I stayed in my car for an extra 20 minutes in the parking lot because I couldn't get enough! I have seen some reviews that say the entire book is character development. Aren't all stories? The narration was incredible - as was the recording (although Kate and Michael pronounce one of the main characters names differently at the very end of the book which was a little confusing at first). I cannot wait for the next one!
If I could give more stars I would. I am a fan of Brandon Sanderson's other works, along with the wheel of time series. I also have listened to 'A Song of Fire and Ice' series, 'Harry Potter', 'Twilight', 'The Dark Tower', 'The King Killer Chronicles' and several other fantasy series type books. This one is by far the very best. There is not even a close second. Can't wait for book 2 to come out.
This is a very, very long book. When it ended, I wished it were ten times this length. By the end, I truly cared for all of the main characters, and I'm eager to know what happens next. I didn't care as much for some of the intermissions, because they tended to focus on more disposable characters, but mostly just because I wanted to know what was going to happen to Kaladin, Dalinar, and Shallan. It's a great book, and I think it is required reading (or listening, I suppose) by every fan of epic fantasy.
The narration is really good. It took me a little while to adjust each time the narrator changed, but both narrators were great.
I read Warbreaker when Brandon became Robert Jordan's successor, as I wanted to measure his writing style against my expectations for the Wheel of Time. I have since devoured every novel (except the Alacatraz books) he's written. I expected TWoK to be on par with all his other excellent works, but I was completely blown away. This is far and above Sanderson's best work, and that's really saying something because all his other books are, in my opinion, outstanding.
Oh, and Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are awesome. That is all.
I've written less than 5 reviews despite owning literally over a hundred audible audiobooks. But this one warrants a review! DON'T BUY THIS BOOK, UNLESS YOU WANT THIS AS YOUR FUTURE:
(1) You will literally put your life on hold to listen to this book. This was so bad, that I actually downloaded the barnes and noble nook software so I could buy a written copy, so I could READ it faster. I have too much to do to take 5 days listening to this but it was soooo good that I was going to do that.
(2) If you're like me, you may love the book. But that just makes you want the next installment more. On Sanderson's site it says it's not even planned to be released until Fall 2012. D'oh!
But what you'll get is a great book. Great characters who you'll care about and who'll grow. Great world that will make you think. Great narration. 5 stars! And what a bargain for just one credit!
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