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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings (2010)

by Brandon Sanderson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Stormlight Archive (1), Cosmere (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1331731,759 (4.43)2 / 255
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English (172)  French (1)  All languages (173)
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
One of my favorite books. ( )
  Nick_G | Feb 19, 2019 |
With Words of Radiance out, I realized I needed a reread to get all of the characters and events straight.

The Way of Kings is the first installment of a projected ten book epic fantasy saga by powerhouse professional* writer Brandon Sanderson. Most fantasy novels have such an aura of cheese around them I can't bring myself to invest increasingly valuable time with them - but Sanderson's tasteful completion of The Wheel of Time peaked my interest.

The setting, the continent of Roshar, possesses a sense of history and culture, which is to be expected, but what I felt set Roshar apart from most fantasy settings is the approach Sanderson took towards an alien culture and a foreign biology. Sanderson doesn't trifle with the usual stands of iron oaks and medieval castles (and 'inspiration' from historical events as plot) to set a scene. Sanderson crosses boundaries and treats his fantasy world the way the best science fiction authors do: as a thought experiment. How would our world look if it was beset by fierce unpredictable storms that could toss boulders, what species would survive, and in what forms and how would people adapt? That is just one of the aspects of Roshar that Sanderson has set into place, a foundation that he builds his nations, religions and people onto.

Sanderson takes many of the stock characters of fantasy: the determined princess, the fallen knight, the old warhorse, and the chosen-one and twists them enough to give them new meaning and prevents events from becoming too predictable. I enjoyed his use of epigraphs from fictional in-world texts before each chapter a la Dune and the illustrations coming from characters' own hands or future scholars. This being my second read, a few flaws came out - the boredom of invincibility being one - but all in all I was really taken in.

In part because of that, Shallan, as the most vulnerable of the protagonists, remains my favorite. A lifestyle of scholarship and jam-dates doesn't hurt either. Could have used a lot less of her wit though. Wit, on the other hand....hooked.

*Thank you for keeping your self-imposed deadlines! ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
I'm not a reader who has to finish every book that I start - if a book isn't holding my attention, I won't bother reading until the last page. The fact that this book of 1200+ pages kept me hooked right until the end is a strong recommendation. It's epic fantasy, with lots of sword and sorcery, and has an excellent balance between world-building and action. I also thought that the characters were portrayed with a realistic mix of both admirable characteristics and flaws. Sanderson sets up a lot of questions that aren't answered by the end of the first volume, so I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. ( )
  Erratic_Charmer | Jan 27, 2019 |
This book could surpass “Sabriel” to take the title as my favorite work of fiction.

Despite the enjoyment I found in the story, there is much about the paradigm from which it comes that I find repulsive.

And yet why do I find it so compelling then? For that we’ll need to revisit my childhood.

On winter break in seventh grade, my mom gave my a copy of “The Eye of the World,” the first book in Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. In not too long, my friends and I caught up to Robert Jordan, and couldn’t wait for when the next book would come out. As you may know, Jordan died before he could finish the series, and Sanderson seamlessly took over the reigns.

This group of friends and I enjoyed these books so much that we took to reading each new title together. This continued for a number of years, through the last book, which was published in 2013.

Needless to say, we became not only familiar with Sanderson’s writing during this period, but wanting for more. That is when we came across the Stormlight Archive. For whatever reason (I read non-fiction the vast majority of the time), I’ve been slow to pick it up. Coming into winter, it seemed the right time to give it a try (as I know it would be an investment of countless hours, as I’m a relatively slow reader and these books are massive).

What is to love? The creativity, the heroism, the romanticism, the magic, the intensity, the surprise, and the prestige.

All that said, the subtext of the book is very regressive. It is set in a world of slavery, sexism, and extreme wealth inequality—all of which are normalized. This is a work of fiction; why couldn’t Sanderson have envisioned a world that is more equitable and just than our own, rather than less? To romanticize such eras, however tempting, is inexcusable. My identity as a privileged white male allows me to look the other way without personal discomfort, but by no means is such oppression justifiable.

There are a few artifacts across works of fantasy that I find intriguing:
* The belief in an “Age of Legends” (ancient complex civilizations)
* The belief that we stand on a precipice—the turning between ages where a future is not only unknowable, but seemingly impossible

Although I would warn hazard against giving too much credence to such artifacts, I do think they say a lot about our collective unconscious, and merit further inquiry. Between climate change and the rise of fascist dictatorships wielding nuclear warheads, the second belief is easy to explain. The workings behind the former belief is are a little more elusive.

If you’re a privileged white male, or an apologist for such groups, you’ll likely love this book. If you’re an aspiring author, please don’t perpetuate the mistakes than Sanderson has committed. ( )
  willszal | Dec 22, 2018 |
Not gonna lie, I spent most of this book thinking this series might be a miss for me, no matter how highly praised it's been. But those last ten chapters turned me completely around, and now I'm 100% on board. ( )
  Ubiquitine | Nov 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brandon Sandersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Call, GregIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kramer, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McSweeney, BenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stewart, IsaacIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Emily,

Who is too patient
Too kindly
And too wonderful
For words
But I try anyway.
First words
(Prelude) Kalak rounded a rocky stone ridge and stumbled to a stop before the body of a dying thunderclast.
(Prologue) Szeth-son-son-Vallano, Truthless of Shinovar, wore white on the day he was to kill a king.
(Chapter one) "I'm going to die, aren't I?" Cenn asked.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Editions with ISBN 0575097361 are the first part only of this book and should not be combined with the full work.
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
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 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.
Haiku summary
Slave must now fight, again.

A woman must be a thief.

King sees the world's past.
Something is coming
A dark something is coming
Something is coming

No descriptions found.

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A new epic series by the best-selling writer of Robert Jordan's final Wheel of Time novels introduces the world of Roshar through the experiences of a war-weary royal compelled by visions, a highborn youth condemned to military slavery and a woman who would save her impoverished house.… (more)

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