The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Publication: August 31, 2010
Series: The Stormlight Archive #1
Genre: Fantasy | Audience: Adult
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...more
Holy shit! I did a thing that I swore I’d never do
I’m pretty vocal about the fact that I don’t like big books so reading this big dense book days before it was due back at the library was quite the feat. I was genuinely terrified when I realized the audiobook was FORTY-FIVE HOURS long. FORTY. FIVE. HOURS. I almost returned it to the library unread because it was too much of a commitment for a first book in a new-to-me series written by a new-to-me author, but Twitter convinced me to give it a chance and Bookstagram encouraged me to keep going as I provided reading updates on IG story.
The major players in this epic fantasy
The Way of Kings is an epic fantasy novel that’s kind of difficult to succinctly summarize because the plot is intricately woven and there are quite a few characters. However, the book follows these four main characters:
➢ Kaladin: soldier-turned slave
➢ Dalinar: Highprince and warrior. A little old-school.
➢ Shellan: scholar-in-training with an ulterior motive
➢ Szeth: Assassin in white
Each of the characters have a POV, but I got the impression that Kaladin is supposed to be the main MAIN character (at least in this book). This worked out perfectly for me because I was really invested in his arc. From the moment Kaladin was introduced, I wanted to know everything about his background and desperately wanted to speed through the story just to find out how he ended up where he was. I didn’t feel the same way about the other characters. I liked Dalinar and Shellan, but their chapters dragged at times.
I didn’t think I’d be so invested or that it would keep me engaged for very long, but I was wrong!
This book is difficult to get into at first. The beginning is extremely confusing and I had to restart the audiobook multiple times because I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. Sanderson throws you into the story and expects you to figure it on your own and I didn’t like that at all. Fortunately, 16% into it (and multiple restarts later), I finally understood and by the time I was 43% into it, I was really enjoying it and loved the way everything was coming together.
This is only the second book I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson. I read Skyward last month and, similarly, I was really impressed with the world-building in this book. Sanderson’s magic system is unique and has very specific limitations that I don’t see often. Roshar has a rich history and culture. And while this book is fantastical in nature, it tackles human emotions and has an underlying race-related plot (eye color instead of skin color). It also touches on religion, trauma, depression, grief, and mental health.
The one thing that annoyed me quite a bit (other than the slow pacing) were the interludes and introductions at the beginning of each chapter. I kept waiting for an “aha” moment, but they never connected with the rest of the story (to my knowledge). In the end, they felt pointless so I wasn’t a fan of that.
Overall, I feel powerful
This is undoubtedly the longest book I’ve ever read and my whole identity as a reader who’s “intimidated by books over 500 pages” is shooked. Instead of easing into Brandon Sanderson with Mistborn like a normal person, I dived head first into this. I’m proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone AND actually finishing. I plan on continuing the series at some point, but for now I’m just going to bask in this moment and treat myself for doing what I swore I’d never do: read a book that’s over 1000 pages. I gave this 4.5 stars.
This book isn’t for everyone, but if you’re in the mood for an epic fantasy novel with an intricate plot, intense world-building and have the patience for a large undertaking, you might enjoy this.