Here. We. Go.
Title: The Way of Kings
Series: The Stormlight Archive; Book 1
Author: Brandon Sanderson
ROTS Setting: Cosmere, Magic, Big Swords
Synopsis: Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of Knights fell, their Shardblade swords and Shardplate armor still transform men into near-invincible warriors. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.
Recommendation: This book (& everything Sanderson) is highly recommended!
The world is a classic Sanderson filled with awesome magic and contradictions that just work. I love hearing about how he came up with the idea and why he started writing it. That being he wanted people with massive swords having epic battles and since his other work wasn’t selling he decided to write what he liked to read. Later he would go on to write and sell (get published) Mistborn. So this is actually a pre-Mistborn novel.
I find the idea of a world (or half of it) without soil and all rock to be fascinating. How does life exist and what things are needed to have a semblance of human life also exist? If rock is continually eroding then we should eventually get soil or sand at least, but he figured that out too. The highstorms are pivotal to it all and while it’s a simple idea the complexity is by applying it fully in every aspect of life.
The cultures are fairly distinctive but we’re also getting a fairly narrow view so far. There’s a lot of historical significance that’s all myth and legend at the moment so by its very naturally confusing and murky. It’s too early to make predictions.
Dalinar is a strong, distinctive character. He’s trapped between who he was and who he’s becoming. His position as a highprince has thus become precarious. There’s an air of prophecy and fate about him with his visions and focus on the past. He’s either going to cause bad things to happen or will be pivotal in combating something bad that happens……I haven’t decided which.
Kaladin is both the luckiest and unluckiest person ever. He’s alive and survived things he shouldn’t…..but everyone else dies around him and he ends up a slave where death is all but a daily certainty. His conflicting nature of soldier and healer show up in all the right places and ways. My biggest issue with the book though is that we get way too much of his back story way too quickly. I dislike him but that is the only reason.
Shallan would be the last of the main characters. Her story seemed like the most straight forward, but it’s actually surprisingly complex. Sadly it’s completely overshadowed by Kaladin’s POV chapters except for close to the end when things happen very fast and reveal so much about pretty much everything.
I can see how this is one of the foundational books of the cosmere. Mistborn has a good story but Way of Kings has so many establishing points for the broader universe. Hoid is actually present and pleasantly endearing with an air of mystery. We see a glimpse at the “gods” of this planet, Roshar. Of course, we get the magic systems. There’s at least two……maybe three, separate systems of magic which are becoming increasingly complex and detailed.
Ah! There’s so much to love about this book.
I did feel that the pacing and plot may have been a bit off, but it’s mostly a gut feeling. I think it’s partially due to the length, which I don’t have much experience with books that arethis massive. There were some clever things done which can only be done with that much length though, so that kind of balances out a bit.
Over-all it’s really good. Don’t know if I’d rate it a full 5 starts but I’ll be rounding to that anyway. So whatever. I plan to read the second book next month to have the review out right before Oathbringer is released on Nov.14.2017. I might try and get a hold of Edgedancer before then too since I skipped it because I didn’t want anything spoiled.
Coming Soon – Words of Radiance; Book 2 >>