According to mythology, mankind used to live in 'The Tranquiline Halls': Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms, but the Voidbringers followed. The Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, the Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won (or so the legends say).
Today the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself - and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.
On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes, a young spearman is forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn't understand and doesn't really want to fight.
©2010 Dragonsteel Entertainment LLC (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Fantasy fanatic, sci fi dabbler
This book consumed my life for 3 weeks. Not a second of it was wasted.
All of the characters are interesting and real. Even the bit players stuck with me - Ishic the Fisherman in particular. I really hope that Sanderson will expand on some of those in the next books - I'm optimistic, from all reports he'll have plenty of pages to fill :). I keep trying to imagine what will happen when all of the characters eventually meet (for instance, I'm certain that Rock will fall head-over-heels for Shalan).
The glimpses you get of the 'magic' systems are intriguing, and I kept catching myself trying to put the pieces of it together when I really should have been doing other things (sleeping, for instance).
The environment is unique, the plants and animals are a mixture of the familiar and strange and hint at events that must have happened in the world's past ... and even as I write this, I'm putting more pieces together :) I think I may have to listen to it for a 5th time.
I would recommend listening to the whole book at least twice. Listening over it again with hindsight/foreknowledge of where the story is going lets you see events in a very different way, and the simple length means that even the most careful listener will miss some gems. I'm considering buying the hardcopy as well.
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.
I have listened to over 100 Audiobooks, and this is the first time I really felt the need to write a review. I picked up a Brandon Sanderson book about two years ago, and was immediately impressed by his writing style. Too many fantasy writers forget how important it is that their worlds should also have rules and limits and plausible (if fantastic) magic. Every brilliant writer is an artist on his own, and should not be compared to another. Brandon Sanderson completed the Wheel of Time series, and I hope that he wouldn’t therefor mind being compared to Robert Jordan. An amazing story and a satisfying end, although I feel the itch of the addicted for the next book. The brilliant narration by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading (the narrators for the Wheel of Time) takes you right into the world and leave you hungry for more. I give this book my highest recommendation and my only wish is that I can have a selective memory loss so that I can enjoy this one again.
Epic, brilliant, extensive
Getting towards the end, I found every opportunity to listen.
Being such an epic this title begins by developing some backgrounds and history pertinent to the the overall story. In doing so the story takes a bit of time to form but when it does there is no disputing that this is an outstanding epic journey into a completely original culture and world. Initially I felt that Brandon Sanderson was, in a way, showing off his ability to create such a different society but after giving the title time to develop my opinion was utterly changed. Please stick with this book, you will be glad you did....
This was very new to me. I thought I was going to be bogged down with slow periods in a long drawn out novel. I was very wrong. Splendid.
Wow! Brilliant! One doesn't realise Brendan Sanderson's genius until you reach the end and can encompass the entire book. To write 40 hours of material with focus and and keeping the dialogues sharp and inventive is a unique talent.
This book had a great variety of characters. Some "critic" reviews on other sites have complained about characters lacking depth. But, I found all the characters were well rounded and had a variety of facets to their personality.
I would highly recommend listening to this book.
I've been looking for a good epic fantasy world since I've finished Sword of Truth and got as far as you can with Wheel of Time, and if this book is anything to go buy The Stormlight Archive is going to be an amazing Epic fantasy series.
It might just be because this book has the same narrators as the Wheel of Time but the writing style is very similar to Robert Jordan, this might be why he was asked to finish off the WoT series after Jordan's death.
The writing is great, the narration is great and the action scenes flow nicely enabling me to really visualise the story in my mind.
Love it, five stars isn't enough.
top story, characters and writing and really subtlety performed
the attack on the tower plateau
I have both audio and printed version of this book. I would listen to the audio and go back and re-read the printed version. I often found that while listening, my mind wondered and missed some small details. I enjoyed in re-reading the printed version to "catch up" or find the missing plot. Further, I use both printed and audio books to help me in my reading/diction and accent. It is a great way of learning English.
The Wheel of Times - an epic fantasy novel, where this book is shaping up to be. Just hope the series don't take several decades to complete!!
Accents, the emotions in the voice bring the characters alive.
No, the audiobook and the print edition have different qualities.
The book is a very good bok in itself. With a nice plot, good characters that are not black and white, but flawed as well, and set in an interesting world. Add the that two very skilled narrators that bring the story to life, and you have a masterpiece.
A very well planned 1st chapter. A bit slow at first, and the indexes break the storytelling in my opinion. But interesting enough to grip you wanting to understand and find out what is happening and perhaps, why?
The narration is stellar and never boring.
"Enjoyable fantasy cycle"
Unlike many of the reviewers on here I didn't find the performances of the narrators to be poor - in fact by the end of the book I found myself really looking forward to Michael Kramer taking me through the second instalment! I agree that Kate Reading needs to confirm with her fellow narrator on how to pronounce one particular name though!
In terms of the story I found it to be well paced and I am intrigued to see how the author will develop the characters into the next book. I am also intrigued to see if the author will develop any of the subplots that we get in the interludes further.
A fine listen
"Great story, well read."
The story itself is fantastically written as well as being imaginative and well subtly woven together - meaning there are new things to captivate the interest every time.
Well that would be spoiling things wouldn't it!
Having two different voices for the two different narrators (well there's about five actually but Kramer does the males and Reading the females) really works on a book of this length as it prevents you being wearied. And it also gives extra personality to the characters. Found Kramer a bit difficult at first but he has a fantastic voice that really grows on you.
The most important words a man can say
"Such a shame about the narrater"
If the narrater learned how to use the correct inflection in his voice so that it didn't sound like he was reading a shopping list, so frustrating.
Massive disappointment because of the narrater, could not get past the first chapter.
"Slow burner, but interesting."
The pace is slow, but it builds well.
I'm not sure really. It's fairly unique.
Rather write properly.
Is this in any way a meaningful tool for reviewing a book?
This isn't one of the most riveting fantasy books I've read but there's a lot of good content here, moral decisions and interesting characters and back story. However, you wouldn't describe this book as a page turner. By the end of the book the story is really starting to come together, and then it ends!
However, I listen to audiobooks while working, and so this is really excellent value time wise. I look forward to listening to the rest of the series.
"Great story, great characters"
A great fantasy book with an interesting magic system and well-built characters.
The development of the main characters.
Maybe the revelation of why Kaladin was sold into slavery? However, I really could not name an individual scene. I mainly enjoyed the gradually developing story and how the main protagonists changed.
"Immediately engrossing and seductively cryptic"
I have already listened to this book three times (four?) and still find little (and sometimes large!) connections I missed the last time and fully intend listening to it again many more times. The story arc drew me in first time with all its initially hidden connections but it's the characters journeys that bring me back every time. The basis is an medieval landscape in a quite different world interspersed with much lost history and knowledge. A world full of mysteries and secrets, intrigue and war, the privileged and the persecuted - all realised in vivid beauty by a master world builder and storyteller.
Hoid, but not by much and its a tough choice! His complete irreverence for the entitled and courtesy for the deserving just draws you in and his story is as much hinted at as told. In short he is both a rogue and a mystery, how could I resist?
Michael Kramer gives easily recognisable characters with accents that feel true and realistic. I actually found Kate Reading to be quite irritating to start with but after a few chapters I started hearing the characters instead of a narrator and now I find her narration to be quite excellent.
In the way only a good book can, this one can swing you from tears to laughter in the space of a few pages. There are moments of heartbreak, pain and suffering that stopped me listening to compose myself in public and there are moments of such ordinary selflessness it can bring tears of joy. There are characters you can't help but hate and even some you aren't sure whether to hate or love.
I would recommend this to anyone that loves their epic fantasy with lots of characters and a massive scope. This is a lot of book for your money and unlike the print version this is a single volume instead of 2 parts.
"Gripping Slow Burn"
An intricately crafted and complex world with engaging characters.
First time I've listened to these narrators, would definitely listen to them again given their performance here. Most narrators put me off doing voices but Michael and Kate did a great job making each of the characters believable
Takes a while admittedly for the emotional engagement to kick in, but only because Sanderson takes his time crafting a believable background for the majority of the characters. Worth investing the time for the pay off.
Interesting and exciting first entry, looking forward to the second in the series.
Excellent book though I did need to listen to parts of it more than once as there are too many characters to keep track off. Not a book to listen to when otherwise occupied.
An icredible story and incredible narrators. A must read for any fantasy reader. 5 *
"Great story just a bit of a slow starter"
I really enjoyed this book in the end when everything started to come together.
At first I struggled to keep interested as it seemed to be slow starting but once I got into it I really enjoyed it and can't wait to start the next one in the series.
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