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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
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The Way of Kings (2010)

by Brandon Sanderson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Stormlight Archive (1), Die Sturmlicht-Chroniken (1), Le cronache della Folgoluce (1), Cosmere (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,9482021,513 (4.43)2 / 269
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 is desperate to save her impoverished house.
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Showing 1-5 of 199 (next | show all)
This is my second read and it's noticeably better this time. I even knocked it up a full star, remembering my original complaints about how LONG it is and how so much of it could have been excised without any real difficulty only to realize, at long last, that I was and am quite invested in all these characters.

Kaladin, for example, had the classic tragic feel, a man brought so low that he can never find the light of day again, working with super-expendable slaves meant to draw fire as they carry bridges across a vast network of chasms on a fractured plane while armies fight for the chance to get valuable magic stones. The battles are ongoing and seemingly without end, and the bridge crews have a very short lifetime. Kaladin is earmarked right off the bat for great changes and a meteoric rise, and most of the novel is spent with him depressed and suffering and we get more and more reveals for his backstory.

Believe it or not, he's my favorite character and all that buildup has a very satisfying conclusion. Very. It's just getting there, the first time, seemed like such a long slog.

Since then, I've read the second book and getting back into his tale again, this time, is a completely different ride. Far from complaining, I've found myself really enjoying the hell out of the step-by-step rise and slide, rise and slide and finally his explosive level-up. :)

Dalinar Kholin is a Brightlord who has visions and is also rather honorable in comparison to all the other Brightlords and he lets us, as readers, get an expansive overview of the cultures and big army movements and a feel for the whole kingdom. It's good and he's set to make big changes based on the ancient text of The Way of Kings which is meant to help defeat the Void Bringers, impressive monsters from the deep past that no one really understands anymore, plus he's having visions. Even this feels like pretty standard fare except the for the level of detail and the interesting explorations of the visions, the battles, and the politics.

Lastly, we work with Shallan, and out of all three characters, I suppose I was most taken by her. Scholar and liar and murderer, she's out to save her family by getting in good with a notorious heretic to steal her Soulcaster. She's got a very sharp tongue, an even wittier artistic talent, and serious willpower. I admit to falling for her both times I read this. :)

Of course, these stories end with grand reveals and situation reversals and complications because it's the first book in what is planned as an ENORMOUS FANTASY EPIC. :) They level up, but we're not to expect anything close to a full resolution. Just a taste of even bigger and badder to come. :) Fine? Fine. :)

But it's the worldbuilding that really shines in this Sanderson Epic. He's known for this stuff, after all. Magic rules. Interesting applications. Implications. Blowout awesomeness. And he's delivering over and over, too. It's a good enough reason, alone, to read this stuff.

But all together?

Wow. Just wow. Got my heart pumping and imagining such beautiful visuals... :) If I had to compare this to other huge volumes of epic fantasy, I think I would still put it up there with the very best, but it's really the full weight of everything that has happened and will happen, as in expectation, which really puts this on the radar.

I probably wouldn't have ever bothered with Sanderson at all if he hadn't done such a fantastic job finishing the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan after his death. But because he rocked it, I've been a big fanboy and so many books later, I'm still a big fanboy. Mistborn was great. Elantris was great. I've enjoyed everything else, too, but it's this book and this series that's meant to be his magnum opus. 1000 pages each book, that shouldn't really be a surprise, right?

Patience is required, but the payoff is seriously here, too. :) Even in this first volume. :)
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This book is long. Super long. (So long I started reading it with regular season baseball is on and now the season is over.)

However, it feels really short. It's the shortest-long book I've ever read. As with any epic, there is a ton of character building. Definitely took me several hundred pages to get my bearings. The similarity in names didn't help, especially when the book changed focus.

Once I've had a chance to reflect more, I may change the rating (currently 4 stars). Just a ton to process in one tiny box.

Overall, definitely worth the read. ( )
  cgfaulknerog | May 28, 2020 |
It had an interesting story (in there, somewhere), yet was slow and repetitive. ( )
  AshuritaLove | May 24, 2020 |
With a four-star rating, I'm obviously generally well-disposed towards this book. However, it does drag at times, and probably could have been tightened up by 100 pages or so. Overall, I'm intrigued and entertained enough to keep on with the series and even have a hard-core character crush on Jasnah. It's definitely another wonderful addition to the world of epic fantasy.

What did I love?

Incredible World-Building
The history, the culture, the embedded systemic classism, the values, the religions, and so on. I've seldom had the pleasure of reading such a well-thought-out universe.

The Ending Was Phenomenal
I was hit with bombshell after shock after revelation as the last 150 pages careened to an explosive finish. I was repeatedly taken by surprise, which is an incredibly rare thing for me after 45 years of reading.

Subtle Social Commentary
In fact, it's so circumspect that for the first bit of the book I was wondering if it was actually there or if I was bringing it. But inherent in the world-building is a sly examination and questioning of our ideas of gender roles, class, and racial differences.

Well-Developed Characters
Complicated in motivations and backstory, the book is full of characters that behave in truly human ways and respond to the events of the story believably and imperfectly.

What could I have lived without?

FFS Can You Just Stab Him Already
There is far too much detailed description of battle and war strategy for me. The descriptions are incredibly well-written and I'd love to see them played out on a screen; however, I'm just not interested enough in the mechanics of war to read quite that much about it.

Watch That Male Gaze, Bro.
Despite only being given the briefest sketch of the appearances of male characters, upon meeting the first primary female character, we are provided with a description of her beauty that is some 6 paragraphs long. We then are reintroduced to the extremely well-established fact that she is pretty several more times. Likewise, when the second female character comes along, the very first sentence is about her attractiveness. With that said, the female characters turned out to be incredibly well-developed—complex, capable, nuanced, and fully autonomous. There is even a distinctly feminist commentary discreetly tucked away in the world-building. It's simply unfortunate that the author's male gaze was so dominant in the introductions since he clearly has a genuine respect for women.

All in all this is a pick for me, though I will be skimming the fuck out of the battles going forward. If you aren't a fan of 1000 page tomes already, this may not be the place to start. But if you are a world-building aficionado, you won't want to miss out on it. ( )
  Zoes_Human | May 22, 2020 |
What an awesome journey. Awesome characters, awesome arcs, expansive world - everything you'd want in an epic fantasy over 1200 pages long.

This is the first book in a series I am looking forward to being a part of. The history of the world of the Stormlight Archive has so many twists and turns in itself, let alone the plot of the main story. Its extremely rich in character and mystery. Even after finishing, I don't know what to believe.

It loses a star for some kinda bland moments, but if I could give it 4.5, I would. You can easily overlook them to see the glory of this book. ( )
  lostmonster | May 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 199 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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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

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