Monday, January 10, 2022

Book Review | The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Warning: Lackluster review ahead. Proceed with caution.
Source: personal purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

The Way of Kings is the first book in The Stormlight Archives series by Brandon Sanderson.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

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 ten 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. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten 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 over-powering 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.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

I'm finally hooked on The Stormlight Archives, but this book was a struggle. I tried reading this back in 2011, I think, but I wasn't ready for it. The learning curve was too steep for me, and I had no reason to have faith in Brandon Sanderson at the time.

There's a reason no one can really explain what this book is about. It's a book of world building and character introduction. It's Sanderson so it has plenty of brilliant moments. I love all of those moments so much and I'm excited to continue on with this series, but The Way of Kings can't stand on its own, and it took me an entire year to get through it.

But like I said, it's Sanderson. I have fallen in love with these characters and the magic system, and I also have 100% faith that this series is going to be incredible.

If you haven't read Sanderson, I honestly wouldn't start here unless you are used to reading epic fantasy with a steeper learning curve. I'd start with the first Mistborn trilogy and go from there. That's not to say I don't recommend The Way of Kings because I do recommend it. It's not as accessible as his other works, but I know it will be worth the effort.

3.5/5 stars


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  1. I haven't read anything by Sanderson! I think I'm intimidated by the length of his books.

    1. I get that! His Stormlight books are all over 1000 pages. I do love Sanderson, though.

  2. I've never read any of Sanderson's books, but I have a nephew who loves him. Good to know to start with one of his other series. :)

    1. Yes, definitely. I think the first Mistborn trilogy or one of his stand alone books would be a good place to start.

  3. It really is a tough one to start with! The scope is very intimidating.


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