The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)
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.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.In one such war on the ruined Shattered Plains, slave Kaladin struggles to save his men and fathom leaders who deem them expendable, in senseless wars where ten armies fight separately against one foe. Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Fascinated by the ancient text namedThe Way of Kings and troubled by visions of ancient times, he doubts his sanity.Across the ocean, Shallan trains under eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece Jasnah. Though Shallan genuinely loves learning, she plans a daring theft. Her research hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) Details

TitleThe Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 31st, 2010
PublisherTor Books
ISBN0765326353
ISBN-139780765326355
Number of pages1,007 pages
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) Review

  • Kogiopsis
    February 7, 2011
    I'm running out of superlatives.Seriously, after praising The Well of Ascension as a reader's dream book, I was worried. What would I say if The Hero of Ages was better? Even finding the perfect GIF for that book didn't solve the problem - because soon enough, there'll be The Alloy of Law, and I still haven't read Elantris.And then this book came along.Now, I'll admit that I took my sweet time. About six months, off and on, actually. For a lot of that, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. Ther I'm running out of superlatives.Seriously, after praising The Well of Ascension as a reader's dream book, I was worried. What would I say if The Hero of Ages was better? Even finding the perfect GIF for that book didn't solve the problem - because soon enough, there'll be The Alloy of Law, and I still haven't read Elantris.And then this book came along.Now, I'll admit that I took my sweet time. About six months, off and on, actually. For a lot of that, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. There were flashes of the sort of brilliance and depth I've come to expect from Sanderson, but it was nowhere near as fast-paced and engrossing as Mistborn: The Final Empire, and it took even longer for me to get interested than it did for Warbreaker. Part of that comes from how little time I dedicated to it. On a good day, I might get through a single chapter, and I could easily go a week or more without reading any at all, simply because I had other books at hand. And part of it comes from the fact that this book is, quite simply, ridiculously dense. There's a payoff, yes, but that didn't come for me until past the halfway point, and until it hits you're struggling under the weight of names, places, religions, histories, and even ecology.After that point, whatever it may be for you, things start to... well, not to make sense, necessarily, but to be confusing in a perfectly acceptable fashion. You know enough about the world and the characters to start going with the flow and trusting that eventually, all will be revealed. Even if 'eventually' isn't in this book.You see, at a certain point, you realize that Brandon Sanderson has never really demonstrated his writing ability before. He reminds me of a scene from The Princess Bride - the swordfight between Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black on the cliff. You've seen it, right? You remember the moment when Inigo switches hands in the middle of the fight and - even though he's been fencing beautifully up until that point - he seems to get even better?(I wanted a GIF, but couldn't find one.)That's what Brandon Sanderson has just done. He's been holding out on us all this time and here, finally, in this massive masterpiece, is a glimpse of what he's really capable of. Warbreaker is a great piece of work. The Mistborn trilogy managed to balance serious themes and reconstructing tropes of fantasy. I've no doubt that Elantris is, as well, a fantastic novel. Well, The Way Of Kings is going to redefine epic fantasy, and that is that.I'm guessing this book is going to be compared to one more than all others: The Eye of the World, the first entry in the Wheel of Time series. Now, I've read the first three WOT books, and I'm not a huge fan. They weren't horrible, and maybe the rest of the series changes things, but I found them dreadfully predictable. Anyone who didn't know that Rand Al'Thor was the Dragon Reborn by a few chapters into the first book wasn't paying attention. And the worldbuilding - don't get me started. Suffice it to say that Jordan ripped some things off and didn't even pretend to hide it.You cannot imagine how relieved I was to find neither of those problems here. Oh, sure, it was slow for a while, but it was never predictable - well, except for one bit at the end, where there was only a single solution that kept one character alive and allowed personal growth in another, but it was so damned awesome that I really didn't mind. In fact, it was one of my favorite scenes.And as for worldbuilding... well. This is what will make it or break it for a lot of readers. If you don't like worldbuilding, there's no way around it: don't even try. You've gotta love it to love this book. But if fantasy that is literally built from the ground up appeals to you, buy this book right now. The worldbuilding is the backbone of this novel and oh, what a strong thing it is. Even the ecology is stunning! The basic concept is pretty simple: on a fairly regular basis, the world of Roshar is scoured by incredibly powerful 'highstorms'. Being outside in one is a death sentence. That life even exists in this place is amazing, but it has clearly adapted. Plants retract into the rock or bend over to avoid the full brunt of the gale. Animals have thick, crustacean-like carapaces. It's a savage place in many ways, and yet so clearly filled with beauty and wonder - one has only to look at the gorgeous sketches sprinkled through this book to see that. Now, I'm a biology nerd, so I'm biased, but I loved this concept beyond all expression.The mythology! Holy shit, the mythology! I can't even - gah. The fact that the first of three prologues (yes, there are three; suck it up because they're all awesome) is set 4,500 years before the rest of the book should hint at how incredible the mythos of Roshar is. I hesitate to use the words 'epic' or 'sprawling', because they're kind of cliche, so instead: it's fragmented. One of my developing pet peeves in fantasy is the idea of the bajillion year-old prophecy that has somehow been retained without a word being changed, despite language shifts and translation errors and disasters and this and that and the other thing. That is not the case here. Shit Went Down in the past but no one really knows what happened. Did the Knights Radiant betray humanity? Well... maybe. But they don't even know what the Radiants were in the first place, so that's kind of begging the question. And oh, by the way, the first prologue seems to indicate - possibly, maybe, there's an off chance - that instead of the Radiants being the betrayers, it might have been the Heralds. Who are still revered by the religions of Roshar. Hmmm. I do believe I've spotted a Sanderson theme here - the fragility of religion. We'll see how it develops.But anyhow, I was raving about the mythology. Right. I can't say too much, though, because a lot of it is revealed very very slowly and carefully and frankly, I'm not sure how much I even understand yet. So maybe I should move on...Okay, how about characters. No doubt you've heard that this book has loooooooads. Believe that. It's true. Don't worry about it, though. There are four that you really need to know: the three protagonists (Shallan, Kaladin, and Dalinar) and Szeth-son-son-Vallano, who doesn't get nearly as much page time but is at least as important as any of the other three.Here's the rundown:Shallan is a young woman with more than a few secrets who, for less than honorable reasons, desperately needs to get apprenticed to Jasnah Kholin, a famous heretic and scholar. She's got a deep love of learning and a keen wit, which makes her an enjoyable protagonist just because she's fun to read about. Her internal conflict and her naivete make her more interesting and give her depth, and her relationship with Jasnah is fascinating and complex.Kaladin is a slave in a war-camp, son of a surgeon, who's hit rock bottom. He is also my favorite, and the one I can tell you least about because every bit of his character development plays into the larger plot. What I can say is that I was afraid he was going to be Kelsier the Second, and he was not - the critical difference being that when Kelsier was faced with a setback, he got angry; when Kaladin is faced with one, he breaks down. Not only does this make more sense, given Kaladin's age, it makes him a little more sympathetic since he's less inclined towards "KILL THEM ALL" speeches.Dalinar is the king's uncle, and he's seen better days. Once a famous warrior, he's now suspected by many to be losing his edge, if not outright insane. Strange visions haunt him, as does the guilt of failing to protect his brother, the current king's father, who was assassinated several years ago. He's caught in several wars, both political and violent, and doesn't seem to want to fight any of them. Dalinar did the most to shed light on the history and mythos of Roshar, though even that wasn't much, and sometimes his sections were boring... but not too often.Szeth is the man who killed Dalinar's brother, though not for any reason of his own. He's essentially a human tool, even a weapon in the hands of someone who knows his capabilities, and the brief scenes with him in them seem inconsequential until near the end, when it all builds into something that will no doubt fuel the next several volumes. All I'll say about Szeth is that I feel really, really sorry for him.There are, of course, a bevy of supporting characters. Shallan's brothers; Jasnah; the priest who tries to convert Jasnah through Shallan; Kaladin's fellow slaves and the family he left behind long ago; Dalinar's two sons, Adolin and Renarin; his brother's widowed wife, Navani; the young king, Elkohar; the king's other adviser, Sadeas. And more. Many of the negative reviews mention the one-shot characters who appear in the 'Interlude' sections as useless fluff, but I respectfully disagree. Part of their virtue is for worldbuilding, but no doubt we'll be seeing more of the characters and areas they introduce later in the series, and as far as I'm concerned that makes them worth it.GUESS WHAT?IT'S TIME FOR THE JASNAH KHOLIN APPRECIATION SECTION!I am an atheist. So, it would seem, are a lot of fictional characters, if only because their author hasn't bothered to create believable religions in their world at all. You get your standard Christianity rip-offs, the evil flesh-eating cult or two, and maybe some basic Greek-style polytheism or the occasional animist. Main characters, it seems, very rarely have a defined relationship with religion, which I often read as atheism by default. And that's fine. I'd rather slot a character into my personal default than go through something ham-handed like the discussion of faith in Eldest. If the writer doesn't want to include religion in their worldbuilding, that's okay. It's hard to do right and can ruin everything if done wrong.Brandon Sanderson does it right. We know this already - from Mistborn, if you've read nothing else of his. Think of Sazed, always able to list off another faith and explain their beliefs in a perfectly plausible, tolerant manner. Think of the way a religion cropped up around a brutal tyrant. It's part of the world and it works.But just because he can do religion right doesn't mean he can do atheism right. It's hard for people who hold one belief strongly to create detailed, well-rounded, authentic characters with directly contrasting beliefs. Fantasy gives a level of removal from that problem, but it's still there: how can you write someone if you can't see from their point of view?I don't know. I honestly don't. Sanderson does, though. Jasnah is a very believable atheist, and she can argue her points eloquently and intelligently, as befits someone as renowned for intelligence as she is. I was so, so worried she was going to be a strawman, set up just to be knocked down by TEH TRUTH ABOUT GAWD but she wasn't, she wasn't, she wasn't! and I cheered, a little bit, in my head, because she was so awesome. I love the way she thinks. I love her intelligence, her devotion to research, her snappishness, her ideas about justice. I love the idea of this strong, beautiful, powerful, confident, courageous, wise, good-hearted woman. Oh, she's flawed, but despite that - or maybe because of it - she is a celebration of what it means to be female.Particularly worth noting is this conversation, after Jasnah and Shallan go looking for trouble, find it, and Jasnah obliterates it:"That was horrible," Shallan finally said, hand still held to her breast. "It was one of the most awful things I've ever experienced. You killed four men.""Four men who were planning to beat, rob, kill, and possibly rape us.""You tempted them into coming for us!""Did I force them to commit any crimes?""You showed off your gemstones.""Can a woman not walk with her possessions down the street of a city?""At night?" Shallan asked. "Through a rough area? Displaying wealth? You all but asked for what happened!""Does that make it right?"Victim blaming: addressed, debated, PUT IN ITS PLACE, and then later framed in the context of one of the themes of the book: justice.She is the kind of character that makes me think, I wanna be like her when I grow up.END JASNAH KHOLIN APPRECIATION SECTION.Now... the plot. Well, it's not fully hatched yet. It kind of pupated for the first 400+ pages, which is fine, really, because big plots need big expositions. When it gets going, it's properly high-stakes and awesome.The shifting focus can get frustrating, just because at the end of a chapter about one character, all you want is to know what comes next - but then you read the next chapter, which is about someone else, and you finish it wanting to know what happens to them and almost having forgotten about the other one until you get into their chapter and get absorbed again and, well, it keeps repeating. I'll admit, I flipped ahead sometimes to skim the first few paragraphs dealing with whichever character I was most worried about and find out a bit of what happened. This was particularly prevalent in Part Three, which alternated only between Kaladin and Shallan right as really important, exciting things were happening to them both. And being without Shallan's narration for all of Part Four was difficult, even though what happened to the others was still intensely interesting.I can't say too much about the climax because, of course, that would give away tons and tons of important information. I will say that it was what cemented Kaladin as my favorite - in particular, that he had a serious badass moment when he was all:and everyone, even really high-ranking people, just did it because he is really that awesome.Oh, and about twenty pages from the ending, we get a little more Shallan, which is when Sanderson decides is a good time to drop a tremendous reveal on us. My experience of it went something like this.Never fear, though, because it's not a nasty cliffhanger. Indeed, the various plot threads are wrapped up pretty satisfactorily, with plenty of room and impetus for a sequel. It's a complete book, not the first half/third/tenth of one. Thank goodness.There are going to be nine sequels to this, right? And if I guesstimated correctly, we'll be waiting at least two years for the next one. Hopefully it won't be much longer. But anyhow, nine sequels.And to those of you who didn't like this book and maybe think I'm crazy to be showering it with praise, that's your problem. There's a part of me that thinks if you don't like this book, maybe epic fantasy just isn't the right genre for you, because this is epic fantasy at its best. But, you know, whatever floats your boat, I guess. You can call it bloated and boring all you like. I will be over here eagerly awaiting the next one and crossing my fingers that Sanderson goes on tour soon.
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  • Patrick
    June 9, 2010
    I got to read an ARC of the book and I really enjoyed it. Sanderson really knows how tell a story and create an interesting world....
  • Felicia
    October 5, 2010
    WOW. Ok, so I actually cried during this book (it was a stressful day, but I'm usually not a weeper). This book captures the epic grandiosity and scope that I remember as a kid reading Eddings and Feist and Jordan. I didn't know what was going on all the time, but I was keenly aware of the great plot, the secrets, and the depth of world building and character in this book.Yes, it's REALLY long, and yes, it lags a bit from time to time under all the philosophy, but honestly I was just staggered b WOW. Ok, so I actually cried during this book (it was a stressful day, but I'm usually not a weeper). This book captures the epic grandiosity and scope that I remember as a kid reading Eddings and Feist and Jordan. I didn't know what was going on all the time, but I was keenly aware of the great plot, the secrets, and the depth of world building and character in this book.Yes, it's REALLY long, and yes, it lags a bit from time to time under all the philosophy, but honestly I was just staggered by the scope of what this book is, and what the rest of this series has the potential to me. I've read most of Sanderson's books (save the Wheel of Time which NEED TO BE READ) but he has really outdone himself with this. BIG FAN TO SAY THE LEAST! If you like big epic fantasy you have to read this.
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  • Carol.
    May 18, 2011
    A three and a half star read."What?" Sanderson's fans say, "this is a classic!""What?" people who read my reviews say, "you gave the same rating to that mess of a zombie book!"Let me 'splain.No, there is too much. Let me sum up.Ignore comments about the length. I've read books that were as long (hello, The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition), and everyone has read series that were over a thousand pages. What troubles me about The Way of Kings is that I felt like I was reading the fantasy equi A three and a half star read."What?" Sanderson's fans say, "this is a classic!""What?" people who read my reviews say, "you gave the same rating to that mess of a zombie book!"Let me 'splain.No, there is too much. Let me sum up.Ignore comments about the length. I've read books that were as long (hello, The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition), and everyone has read series that were over a thousand pages. What troubles me about The Way of Kings is that I felt like I was reading the fantasy equivalent of a walk through The Field Natural History Museum. Thorough. Detailed. Interesting. And equally devoid of action. Put another way: a saltwater fish tank at the Shedd Aquarium (give me a break; I like visiting Chicago's Museum Mile). Watching the sea anemone wave pink arms as the clownfish darts in and out, chasing little bites of fish food. Again, interesting. But worth six hours of undivided attention? Surely you'd want to take a break and watch shark feeding time, right? Wander off to visit the dolphins and the otters?Narrative shifts primarily between three people; Shallan, a penniless noble who wants to apprentice herself to a scholarly heretic, intending to steal her Souljewel; Kaladin, a former surgeon and talented soldier who now wears a slave brand; and Dalinar, a prince and uncle to the king. I appreciated their different viewpoints; Shallan is a naive young woman, Kaladin a member of the underclass and Dalinar is the king's uncle; from all three, we get a remarkable range of insight into the society. This is a slow, thoughtful book, close to the exact opposite of The Alloy of Law, my only Sanderson book to date. He builds a complete world with varied landscapes and an unique social and spiritual culture. I should have loved it, but what I found is a complete absence of grippingness, that take you by the throat experience. The problem? A lack of dynamic tension. Internal tension comes out of the conflicts each of the three main characters are facing, and their indecision at how to act. Thus, about 700 pages are of them gradually backing themselves into a corner and undergoing a personal crisis. Action picks up around page 800 or so. The last three hundred are the most significant and dynamic of the novel and finally had me turning pages in earnest. (For those who are counting, I know it doesn't add up. There are a few sets of random character narratives that build more background and richness--in other words, add pretty backdrop in the dioramas or the coral reefs). The fans argue that it took the building in the first part to create the dynamic tension of the last, but I'd have to disagree. If it takes 700 pages to get to your main conflicts, are those pages story or indulgence?Update 9/7/16: Click for my review on The Author's Notes to Way of Kings: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/wp-adm...
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  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    May 15, 2013
    FREE on Tor.com 3/23 - 3/24 ONLY:http://www.tor.com/2017/03/23/downloa...Even if fantasy isn't your normal thing, GET IT. B/c FREE. And Brandon-frickin'-Sanderson.Reviewed by: Rabid Reads4.5 starsI have a new favorite author. His name is Brandon Sanderson. This book . . . made me curse like a sailer.If I had tried to read it in public, at the very least, I would have been banned from the property. More likely, I'd have either been locked up for 24-hour observation at the local mental health ward FREE on Tor.com 3/23 - 3/24 ONLY:http://www.tor.com/2017/03/23/downloa...Even if fantasy isn't your normal thing, GET IT. B/c FREE. And Brandon-frickin'-Sanderson.Reviewed by: Rabid Reads4.5 starsI have a new favorite author. His name is Brandon Sanderson. This book . . . made me curse like a sailer.If I had tried to read it in public, at the very least, I would have been banned from the property. More likely, I'd have either been locked up for 24-hour observation at the local mental health ward or at the local precinct for Disturbing the Peace, but only after having passed numerous drug tests, proving that I wasn't Drunk and Disorderly.If you think I'm exaggerating, check out my status updates on Goodreads .I am not exaggerating.Honestly, in a book this large, it's nearly impossible to touch on every highlight, so I'm left trying to decide which are the best . . . it's a thankless task, but here goes:Worldbuilding:If it's been done before, I haven't read it, and like Wit said, it's novelty we humans appreciate most.The majority of the world in THE WAY OF KINGS is like a tropical ocean habitat on dry land. Plants retract completely into the ground before a wagon wheel or foot can tread upon them. Instead of cows or oxen pulling those wagons there are "chulls" which are over-large hermit crab-sounding things. The monstrous "chasmfiends" the nobility hunt for sport are basically giant badass lobsters. Instead of ants or beetles scuttling on the ground, there are "cremlings" that sound an awful lot like crawdads. It's kind of awesome.More awesome than that are the people groups.While there were separate and distinct cultures, that wasn't the focus of the differences. The focus was on their Extras: the Alethi who fall into a kind of Berserk warrior state they call the Thrill when they are in battle. Purelakers who can communicate with the fish that fill the waters of their home. Parshendi who grow their own carapace-like armor and have legs strong enough to jump chasms in the Shattered Plains that everyone else needs a bridge to cross. Horneaters who have a kind of fairy sight that allows them to see elemental spren whether the spren wish to be seen or not.I absolutely loved it.Characters:There are so many great characters that I can only give you the gist. These people . . . I wept, but not from sadness, not from loss. I wept b/c my heart could not contain my awe and gratitude and respect for these men, these dregs of society, who one man and one spren had bound together into something so valiant, so courageous, so honorable . . . that I could do nothing but weep. Some people shy away from that sort of thing, and being the kind of person that I am, I view that as its own tragedy. Suffice it to say that if you are a character-driven reader, you will leave this world with a much expanded family.Master of Misdirection:I read this as part of a massive group buddy read (SHOUT OUT to my peeps at Sanctum of Fantasy (view spoiler)[(hide spoiler)]). Several members achieved "Master of . . . " titles during the read, and I'm granting Sanderson Master of Misdirection status.Not only did he expertly paint characters as non-threatening nonentities so that your mind was blown when their nefarious true natures were revealed, but he stealthily laid the groundwork consistently throughout the story, making it utterly believable.But he didn't limit himself to grand scale misdirection, no, he did not. He also regularly made your heart stop for the three seconds it took to get past the obvious reaction to the reality of the situation that was entirely different from the path he had lead you down.*salutes* *fights urge to gesture rudely once back is turned*Moral Ambiguity:The singular complaint I saw voiced during the BR was that there wasn't an identifiable Great Evil that Good needed to triumph over. By the end of the book that was no longer the case, but even before that I didn't mind, b/c Sanderson constantly makes you question: what is right? What is good? It's a deliberate tactic to both make the reader really think about right and wrong, good and evil, and also to eventually make the difference abundantly clear. So if you're the kind of reader that needs that distinction, don't give up, b/c, man alive, you will get it.The last 10%:Sanderson followed a strict formula for the last 10% of his book. It goes like this: 1. What's the worst thing that can happen? Let's do that. 2. How can we make it even worse? Let's do that, too. 3. Now let's make it look like--despite overwhelming odds--everything will work out fine. 4. Now let's crush that hope. Rinse, wash, REPEAT.Part IV will leave you emotionally wrung-out (in a good way), and Part V will give your FEELS a chance to recover whilst blowing your mind (really, your mind should be in pieces by the time you finish).Having just finished yesterday afternoon, I'm surprised that I'm not still in some kind of stupor, but I've prevailed. I did have to step away several times during that last 10% to give myself a chance to recover. I used that time to: order paperbacks of both installments for my dad and hardbacks for myself, b/c these books . . . they deserve shelf space.What kept THE WAYS OF KINGS from being a 5.0 star read were a handful of issues in the beginning of the book. I've been told that WoK was shoved through the editing process to get it into bookstores quickly, and it shows in the repetition of phrases, especially in the prologue. The third time Someone came at Someone Else with "broad, sweeping strokes" (of his sword), I was over it. And when an Assassin continually referred to a hallway runner as being red . . . like blood . . . well, despite how fantastic the rest of the book was, I couldn't entirely overlook it's less than stellar start. However, overall . . . again I say, I have a new favorite author.Pre-Review:I'd like to say something simple and profound like, "I have no words . . . "Sadly, the truth is that I have too many. Once I've pared them down into something reasonable, we'll be speaking again.In the interim, I shall leave you with these:“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”Draw your own conclusions.My other reviews for this series: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)
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  • Petrik
    December 10, 2016
    Buddy reading this epic book with these lighteyes:Brightness CelesteBrightness AriaIncredible, impressive or fantastic, all these words are an understatement to the quality this book holds. Way of Kings is the beginning of a masterpiece series in high fantasy. It is now my lifetime goal and a new addition in my bucket list to obtain and read the entire series of Stormlight Archive, which will probably took at least another 13-15 years from now to complete.Before you started reading this book, le Buddy reading this epic book with these lighteyes:Brightness CelesteBrightness AriaIncredible, impressive or fantastic, all these words are an understatement to the quality this book holds. Way of Kings is the beginning of a masterpiece series in high fantasy. It is now my lifetime goal and a new addition in my bucket list to obtain and read the entire series of Stormlight Archive, which will probably took at least another 13-15 years from now to complete.Before you started reading this book, let me do you a favor. Go outside your home, look at the sky, the stars, clouds, the moon or if you’re brave enough, the sun. Done? Good, raise your expectation of this series that high. My expectation for this book was probably higher than that and it still managed to blow me away. I’m pretty sure the title Way of Kings is a hidden message by Sanderson for his reader, telling us that this is his first step in the way of becoming the king of epic fantasy genre.Obviously I can’t tell you anything about the story but I’ll tell you this, Way of Kings is the beginning of tales that will remain inside your mind palace. It’s a heavily character driven book filled with tales of life & death, love & hate, bravery & cowardice, hope & despair, trust & betrayal, faith & atheism. Basically all elements required for a great story are here, told from multiple POV.Even though there’s multiple great POV to be found here, each book in the series will focus more specifically on one main character. In Way of Kings we’ll see more into Kaladin's journey.We’ll see all his thoughts, life from past to present, feelings and motivation behind his actions from this book. I’m not saying this lightly but Kaladin is now one of the best written characters out of all books I’ve ever read and definitely one of my favorite of all time out of all medium. Trust me I’ve seen plenty of fantastic fictional characters throughout my whole life. 22 years of gaming, hundreds of manga read, hundreds of anime watched and Kaladin Stormblessed is definitely one of the best out there.Way of Kings can be considered a bookporn for lover of world building. Sanderson proved himself once again to be the master of creating worlds out of words.The world, Roshar, are fully written with intricate description of every single thing in the world, ranging from weather, the creatures, history, mythology, magic system, races, culture, even the fucking grass that it made this world truly believable. Combined with brilliant, simple and fluid writings plus several detailed maps and beautiful illustrations, the images formed in your head while reading every scene will be so vivid as if you’re really there in Roshar, joining on the adventure with each character.The real actions only happened around three times in the book, prologue, somewhere in the middle and the climax. However I can assure you this, while in total there’s only a total of around 150 pages of actions, nothing can prepare you for the impact you’ll receive in the last 100 pages climax of this book. Intense battle sequences, gigantic swords, magic armors & unique magic system revival occurred in the climax. It’s deeply rewarding as everything in the book build up towards that moment. I’ll admit I legit almost cried during this section, the impact was too great even though I can see the moment coming.Some may find this book to be really intimidating to start because of the size it has. However, I find that the only con I have for this book is that it’s not long enough. 1004 pages long, filled with 380k words (bigger than the Hunger Games trilogy combined) and by the end of the book I find that it’s still not enough for me.I’m closing this review with the ancient oath: “Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.” I hope my review can do justice to the quality this book holds. It’s really a blessing to have live and read this book, to have the strength to read and to join in this epic journey of a lifetime together with every reader of the series. If you’re really a fan of epic fantasy genre, you really can’t go wrong with starting this series. This is epic fantasy at its best. Sanderson had created an epic world and journey for us to dive into and all we have to do to experience it is really simple, read the book and let this story lives inside you. “A story doesn't live until it is imagined in someone's mind.” –Hoid
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  • Evan Leach
    February 11, 2012
    When I was a kid, I was never able to get the best of those damned Magic Eye paintings. I would stare and stare until my eyes watered, but to no avail. All I see is an OK fantasy novel. Well, looking at The Way of Kings and its glittering, 4.58 rating is bringing back some painful childhood memories that I’ve tried really hard to repress. Because like those stupid paintings, I just can’t see what all the fuss is about. To be clear, I didn’t hate this book: I thought it was sort of O.K. But this When I was a kid, I was never able to get the best of those damned Magic Eye paintings. I would stare and stare until my eyes watered, but to no avail. All I see is an OK fantasy novel. Well, looking at The Way of Kings and its glittering, 4.58 rating is bringing back some painful childhood memories that I’ve tried really hard to repress. Because like those stupid paintings, I just can’t see what all the fuss is about. To be clear, I didn’t hate this book: I thought it was sort of O.K. But this is so out of proportion with what everybody else seems to think that I can’t help but feel out of the loop. It’s Mrs. Betzler’s 4th grade class all over again, so thanks for that Brandon Sanderson. I had three big problems with this book:1. A lot of the action/fighting scenes were pretty tedious. Not once in the book did I feel that any of the main characters were in any serious risk, which sucked away a lot of the dramatic tension. Also, many of characters were so much better equipped/more skilled/blessed with more über magic than their hapless opponents that the battles were just page after page (after page) of the superman characters slaughtering hordes of luckless opponents. At times it felt like I was reading the transcript of somebody playing a video game. A 1,000 page transcript.2. While Sanderson lays some good bricks here in terms of world-building, I never really got hooked by the history of this universe he created, and I didn’t get a great feel for what the world at large was really like (with the exception of a few locations like the Shattered Plains, etc.). That would be one thing if the book was 300 pages, or if it threw us straight into the action, but a book this size where the action is limited had better be doing some grade-A world-building and I didn’t think Sanderson reached that level.3. Finally, your mileage may vary but the writing in this book drove me crazy. I haven’t read anything else by Sanderson, so I don’t know if this is just his style or if there was a failure in the editing process, but I found a lot of the dialogue in this book to be exhausting. For instance:”Brightness…I believe you stray into sarcasm.”“Funny. I thought I’d run straight into it, screaming at the top of my lungs.”Ugh. Or this gem when a young lady requests an unusual book from a merchant:”I can see you are a woman of discriminating taste.”“I am. I do like my meals prepared very carefully, as my palate is quite delicate.”“Pardon. I meant that you have discriminating taste in books.”No. Nonononononono. But I don’t know. If the zingers above made you laugh, or if you like randomly placed exclamation marks in your dialogue, you probably will be just fine. This may just be a matter of personal taste, but the dialogue in this book drove me crazy.Anyway, I don’t want to overstate my dislike for this book. I thought it was long, kind of sloppily written, and could be pretty boring at times. I very nearly quit at about the 450 page mark, which is a rarity for me. But there are some promising elements here: it’s not a Tolkien clone, at least, and some of the characters are pretty solid. Also, the plot got much more interesting as the book developed, and the second half was markedly better than the first (although that’s almost damning with faint praise), to the point that I’ll probably give the second book a chance whenever it comes out. But I sincerely hope it’s better than this one. 2 stars.
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  • Becky
    July 11, 2010
    This book. Wow. I kinda don't even know what to write about this book. The scope of it, the detail, everything is just so... epic. And then I think about the fact that there are a proposed nine more books, and I just... The EPICNESS. As I was reading this, I admit to being unable to see how this story, already ginormous all on its lonesome, could expand to a whopping 10 book series and do it well. Keep the pacing, the excitement, the world, the magic system, the awesomenes all consistent. Oh m This book. Wow. I kinda don't even know what to write about this book. The scope of it, the detail, everything is just so... epic. And then I think about the fact that there are a proposed nine more books, and I just... The EPICNESS. As I was reading this, I admit to being unable to see how this story, already ginormous all on its lonesome, could expand to a whopping 10 book series and do it well. Keep the pacing, the excitement, the world, the magic system, the awesomenes all consistent. Oh me of little faith. O_oThis is BRANDON SANDERSON. I should have known better. His leg hath been metaphorically humpeth'd by thy humble review writer thrice previously, and I anticipateth this trend to continueth. The last 150 pages or so of this book brought things together in such a way that... well, a whole world of possibility has opened up. It seems a bit silly to say that, because a book, any book, EVERY book opens up a universe of possibility just by virtue of what it is... but in regards to my not seeing how this story, which seemed as though it could be a standalone for so much of it, could spawn a potential 9 sequels... the last 150 pages clinched it. And then I went back to the beginning and read the prologue again (having to stop myself from just continuing...) and it becomes clearer just how vast this story could be. The world-building alone here is fantastic. This whole world, so many peoples and creatures and beliefs and societies, the weather patterns and landscapes and the history... all of it has the feeling of both being barely touched upon and described in depth. I can see it all so clearly in my head, it's almost as if I were there. I need my own Worldsinger to come tell me more. I am so curious and so excited about the scope and depth of this series, I can't even describe it. And that's just the "background" stuff. One thing about the beliefs in this book. Religion plays a big part in the daily lives of the characters here, as it did in his Mistborn series as well. If you aren't aware, Sanderson is a Mormon. I don't know anything about Mormonism, but I remember worrying as I was reading the Mistborn series how the religion in that story would be handled. I hate being preached to.I don't worry about that anymore with Sanderson. I think that the way he approaches religion in his books is intriguing and unique and thought-provoking, but never preachy. These are fantasy-world religion/belief systems that one can think about and take with them as they will, but Sanderson doesn't force or push his beliefs on anyone. And I very much respect that. The characters in this book... I just have no words. No, I lie. I have a word: Amazing. But before we get into that, let me tell you about this bad habit I have. I don't read chapter or section titles. There, I said it. It's true. I don't read chapter or section titles. Too often, they give something away, which I really don't like. So I skip them. Which means that, unfortunately, sometimes I miss key things and have to either pick them up elsewhere, or backtrack. I had to backtrack a couple times while reading this one. There are a lot of perspective shifts, and sometimes they threw me off. A switch to a known character is one thing, but there are these sort of 'intermission' sections with characters that come into the story only briefly to give us something and then leave again. So, getting back to my point about characters, I was a little thrown off when I realized that the Jezrien and Kalak I'd met in the very beginning (aka: the prologue I didn't realize was a prologue until much later) weren't the characters I'd be following and that the world was very different. One backtrack later, and it makes sense... 4,500 years separation between prologue and chapter 1. Got it. I have no regrets regarding the characters that I spent the last two weeks with, though. Like I said: amazing. I loved all of these characters. All of them. Even the horrible ones. And the weak ones. All of the characters have such a depth to them. Their lives seemed 100% real to me, as if they could step right off the page (or screen in my case, since I read this whopper on my nook) and into my life. I cared about these characters. A lot. They live in a world in chaos. They are in the midst of a lingering, brutal war. The seasons are in a constant state of flux. Highstorms are only semi-predictable, but seem to be getting stronger and stronger. There's betrayal everywhere and trust is a luxury that almost nobody can afford. Is it any surprise that I read in this sort of state of constant fear about What Might Happen? It was thrilling, but at the same time, I was a nervous wreck. I love that feeling... of actually caring what happens to characters. I like exciting books as much as the next person, but if I don't invest anything in the characters that the excitement is happening to, then it's just kind of hollow. Enjoyable? Sure. But forgettable. I want reading to affect me. I want to feel it. I want my hands to shake, my heart to race, or break, or ache, my eyes to be filled with tears and my stomach queasy with worry. And it was. This book gave me all of that, and more. The more I think about this book, the more I piece together. The more theories I form, the more excited I get for the next installment. I loved it. Loved it loved it loved it. In case you hadn't noticed. This feeling that I have right now, this awe and wonder and excitement... This is why I read.
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  • Celeste
    December 4, 2016
    I’ve been struck speechless. I’ve loved Sanderson’s books in the past, but this one completely blew me away. I really wish I could give The Way of Kings a sixth star. It has supplanted The Name of the Wind as my favorite fantasy novel of all-time. Rothfuss is still high-prince of my heart, but Sanderson reigns as king. Kvothe is an amazing, beautifully written character, but he doesn’t hold a Stormlighted-sphere to Kaladin. (Also, how can I not esteem the sheer amount of writing we get from Sand I’ve been struck speechless. I’ve loved Sanderson’s books in the past, but this one completely blew me away. I really wish I could give The Way of Kings a sixth star. It has supplanted The Name of the Wind as my favorite fantasy novel of all-time. Rothfuss is still high-prince of my heart, but Sanderson reigns as king. Kvothe is an amazing, beautifully written character, but he doesn’t hold a Stormlighted-sphere to Kaladin. (Also, how can I not esteem the sheer amount of writing we get from Sanderson? Rothfuss is a craftsman, without a doubt. His writing is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. But Sanderson’s work ethic earns him my respect and my gratitude.)I tried to read this as slowly as possible, savoring every character’s perspective, every plot twist, every revelation. But alas, it was still over far too soon. I know that I have the second volume lying in wait on my shelf, but I think I’ll wait a month or two before I consume it, so as to give this delectable novel time to fully digest before diving back into the world of Roshar. I’ve read a plethora of fantasy novels, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across a world more unique or skillfully woven than Roshar. Sanderson should be applauded for that creation alone.But that’s not all he gave us in the first volume of what I truly believe will be the greatest epic fantasy series of our generation, if not of all time. Sanderson gave us a cast of incredibly varied characters with believable inner turmoil and motivations. He gave us (yet another) unique, multifaceted magic system, backed by a similarly unique and multifaceted religion. He gave us a new view on the roles of women in fantasy, making literacy and scholarship and invention feminine arts. He even gave us completely original flora and fauna. And included sketches from the hand of one of the central characters! Is there anything this man can’t do?I don’t want to get too into the character development present in this book, but I will say that, despite the strength of Sanderson’s world building, the characters are what made the story really come alive. He gave us Szeth, the tortured assassin; Shallan, the artist-turned-scholar with ulterior motives; Jasnah, Shallan's incredibly gifted but heretical sponsor; Dalinar, a lighteyed high-prince and follower of the Codes, which sets him at odds with his peers; Adolin, Dalinar’s eldest son who questions his father’s decisions but adheres reluctantly; Navani, the widow of the fallen king; Wit, whose shroud of mystery and intellect make him a misfit; and, finally, Kaladin, a soldier with the hands and demeanor of a surgeon, with shoulders bowed beneath the weight of the world.There were incredible battles in this book. Incredible plot twists. Incredible characters as mentioned above. Simply incredible storytelling. I know this review has pretty much been blathering praise and little else. But I don’t know how to say anything more about The Way of Kings without giving something special away, and I want anyone who chooses to read it to be able to mine all of those treasures for themselves. But I will say, if you’re a fan of the fantasy genre, don’t let the size of this tome intimidate you. Every page was a jewel well worth reading. You would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading this wonderful book. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. Thank you, Mr. Sanderson, for crafting such a beautiful addition to the genre.Another buddy-read with royalty: Brightlord Petrik and Brightness Aria.
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  • Sean Gibson
    February 11, 2015
    So, a buddy of mine has been trying to get me into Sanderson for some time (figuratively speaking, I should note...he has not, as of yet, physically tried to jam me inside the poor man, for which, I'm sure, Mr. Sanderson is quite grateful). At my friend's suggestion, I started with Mistborn, which--and don't freak out on me here, Sandersonites--I thought was solid, but didn't exactly salt my pickle (is that a thing?). So, he proceeded to give me The Way of Kings as a gift--his polite way of forc So, a buddy of mine has been trying to get me into Sanderson for some time (figuratively speaking, I should note...he has not, as of yet, physically tried to jam me inside the poor man, for which, I'm sure, Mr. Sanderson is quite grateful). At my friend's suggestion, I started with Mistborn, which--and don't freak out on me here, Sandersonites--I thought was solid, but didn't exactly salt my pickle (is that a thing?). So, he proceeded to give me The Way of Kings as a gift--his polite way of forcing me to read it. It's been some time since I've plunged into the first volume of a truly door-stopping fantasy series, so it felt a bit like a slog at first. I started to think to myself, "Self, maybe Sanderson just isn't for you...I mean, you don't have to like EVERY epic fantasy author, you know." But I kept reading. And then Kaladin started doing awesome things, and I was impatient to get back to his chapters. Only then Dalinar and Adolin started to get compelling. And then I started figuring out what he hell a spren was. And then I started to drool in slack-jawed wonder at the awe-inspiring skill and sheer brainpower involved in conceiving of a world this fully realized. And then there was a little too much focus on jam and bread, but that made sense later. And then, somewhat distractingly, I kept hearing a woad-faced, Scottish-accented Mel Gibson yelling, "Unite us! Unite the clans!" every time Dalinar had a flashback. But, I got over that, though I may have giggled on the Metro once or twice (hardly my first brush with inappropriate public giggling in the midst of judgmental commuters). And then crazy, massive, epic things happened, and Big Things were hinted at, and I was hooked.All told, one hell of a ride. I'll be back for more. I just might need a little breather before the second book (even on a Kindle, I almost got a hernia lugging this thing around). Well played, Sanderson--you've won this round.
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  • J.L. Sutton
    December 1, 2016
    Brandon Sanderson’s Roshar is a world with a rich history, mythologies, magic systems and an ecology which has been shaped by violent (high)storms; this is massive world-building at its best! When you’re reading Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1), you’re never sure which details will be relevant later on. Here’s a clue: even though it’s a monster of a book (1,007 pages) almost everything becomes relevant eventually. Am I anxious to read the second book? More like anxious for the third book. In Brandon Sanderson’s Roshar is a world with a rich history, mythologies, magic systems and an ecology which has been shaped by violent (high)storms; this is massive world-building at its best! When you’re reading Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1), you’re never sure which details will be relevant later on. Here’s a clue: even though it’s a monster of a book (1,007 pages) almost everything becomes relevant eventually. Am I anxious to read the second book? More like anxious for the third book. In the past few months I’ve read both Way of Kings and Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) twice (review for Words of Radiance to come soon). I’m ready for Oathbringer (Stormlight Archive #3)! Oathbringer is reportedly 90% complete with a release date of 2017. I’m ready!
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  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    February 16, 2014
    Hey GR friends this is FREE to download for US and Canada March 23 and Mar 24 from Tor.com if you haven't already read it. There is a buddy read/reread planned starting Mid to Late September before Oathbringer comes out at... Let me know if you are interested in joining or participating.On Sale Today here 5/23/16BUDDY READ/REREAD!!! April 2015, BECAUSE WE CANSince a few new people have been infected with the Sandersonitis bug (we are not a cult oOSarahOo :P) and I can’t wait until 2016 for a re Hey GR friends this is FREE to download for US and Canada March 23 and Mar 24 from Tor.com if you haven't already read it. There is a buddy read/reread planned starting Mid to Late September before Oathbringer comes out at... Let me know if you are interested in joining or participating.On Sale Today here 5/23/16BUDDY READ/REREAD!!! April 2015, BECAUSE WE CANSince a few new people have been infected with the Sandersonitis bug (we are not a cult oOSarahOo :P) and I can’t wait until 2016 for a reread of the series it must be done and a buddy read is in order. There are about 30 of us reading this and I probably won't get all the names up (because that is just a lot) but the most important thing is that you can find the thread and join in the private group chat and fun at Fantasy Buddy Reads, The Way Of Kings Fair Warning: THIS IS MY FAVORITE HIGH/EPIC FANTASY SERIES TO DATE. There were a ridiculous amount of updates, gifs and general fangirling. Robin (Bridge Four) has come home at last. Thanks to all my friends who joined in this read I had so much fun rereading it with so many cool people and reliving it all over again. This is one of those books that on a second read the characters became more real, the layering of the world more detailed, the magic system more plausible and my feelings for everything more intense. That doesn't happen with many rereads.Sanderson does have a slower story pacing than some other authors out there but it is always building until those final moments when everything comes together and blows up spectacularly...totally worth it. Original Review March 2014:4.5 StarsI liked this book but I loved the last 20%. The world is immense and in the beginning I was wondering if there would be a character that I even liked enough to root for. They don’t start out perfect, strong and powerful. They begin as pieces and broken pieces at that.Seen mostly from the perspectives of Kaladin, Shallan and Dalinar, all in different positions in life and different realms of the world most of the time it was hard to initially see how they are all connected. But with each big reveal or huge betrayal more of the pieces line up and the intricacies of the plot, the characters, the magic system and the world come into focus. My mind was blown throughout the story. Things that didn’t seem extremely relevant at the time later became a huge revelation about motives and truths. Sanderson floored me again and again and each time I love it all the more.Each character grew through triumphs and failures, becoming more three dimensional with each and I witnessed it all, I didn’t have to be told why they are the way they are I saw the transformations with every deed.Downfalls – There are only a few and by no means are the dealbreakers for the series. This takes a long time to set up. There are hints of things along the way but all the major stuff happens toward the end until the last 10% you are at a flat out run the whole last stretch. IT IS WORTH IT. For the big payouts we needed the huge set up, just be patient it is still all very interesting and there are plenty of smaller payouts along the way. Some of the interludes don’t seem to make sense at the time and not all of the significance of them are revealed in this book, maybe in the next it will make more sense but there were a few that I still have no idea what the significance is unless it was just to show a different part of this world. The last downfall/benefit is the size, 1000pages, rarely do I jump in book by an author I haven’t read before and commit to something that size unless I know I like them. If that is the case for you as well I suggest you check out Warbreaker, Elantirs or Mistborn since they have a similiar magic/world building elements or try Steelheart and Legion by Brandon Sanderson first to see if you like his writing style. Steelheart and Legion are nothing like this book but highlight his imagination and ability to tell a great story.That said I enjoyed the time I spent in The Way of Kings and I look forward to continuing on with the series soon. Side Note: the narration of Kate Reading and Michael Kramer was great so I had a lot of fun alternating between the ebook and audio.
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  • Eon ♒Windrunner♒
    September 13, 2012
    Free 23 & 24 March only on Tor. Download hereTor says US & Canada only, but you can just choose US in the dropdown even if you are not from there. It works. ;)                                                                                    The best stories always stay with you After you have finished the last page and closed the book, the stories and their characters live on in the libraries of your mind. Sometimes you are able to shelve them and move on quickly - they are easily for Free 23 & 24 March only on Tor. Download hereTor says US & Canada only, but you can just choose US in the dropdown even if you are not from there. It works. ;)                                                                                    The best stories always stay with you After you have finished the last page and closed the book, the stories and their characters live on in the libraries of your mind. Sometimes you are able to shelve them and move on quickly - they are easily forgotten as you open another book and enter another world, another reality. But sometimes they linger. Sometimes they refuse to leave. Sometimes, they make it really, really hard to meet exciting new characters and explore strange new worlds.The Way of Kings is such a story. It transports you to another dimension, one so filled with the fantastical that to take leave of the place would be akin to parting with a piece of your bliss. I always struggle to read anything else after it, because the tale won’t leave me, the characters unwilling to be shelved. At 10 books of 1000 pages each, this series is truly an investment of your time, but judging by the opening salvo that Brandon has fired, absolutely worth every single minute. It is an epic in every sense of the word. It starts off with the tease of a very intriguing prologue, with a devastated landscape, strange beasts dying…                                                                             ...and a betrayal...                                                 And then the timeline shifts to 4500 years later.     Something is changing in the world, something is coming,     and it does not seem that anyone on Roshar is ready for it.                                                     Our story introduces us to a large cast of characters and is told from multiple POV’s (17), but the most important ones are Kaladin, Szeth, Shallan, Dalinar & Adolin, with Kaladin getting the lion’s share. Each storyline is unconnected at first, but slowly weaved together page by page with the promise of some very highly anticipated character meetings. Brandon has stated that each book in this ten book series will focus more on one of the characters than the rest, and The Way of Kings is Kaladin’s book with the sequel, Words of Radiance, being Shallan’s, and the next book to be written, Oathbreaker, being Dalinar's. After those are Eshonai's and Szeth's, followed by Taln, Renarin, Jasnah, Lift, and Shallan, but not necessarily in that particular order.To prevent this review from carrying on for pages and pages I will refrain from stating the plot outlines as there are heaps of great reviews that will give you a perfect picture. (There are almost 6800 to choose from at the time of this review!) I will also refrain from mentioning in detail the wonderful worldbuilding, the badass Blackthorn, the sassy & sweet Sylphrena, my love of knowledge that has been lost to the ravages of time and is aching to be rediscovered, the bromance of Bridge Four, kickass Kaladin and the wicked wit of …Wit among other things.The story while masterfully told, moves slowly at first. I believe this is due to the focus on character rather than plot development and of course the vast amount of worldbuilding and some explanation of the magic systems present. Don’t get me wrong – the plot is there and hints at what is to come, but it is focused on the setup of the rest of the series which is pretty much unavoidable with a project of this scope. Luckily the author knows what he is doing and the pace increases exponentially as the story progresses. If you did not already know it, Brandon is one of the best finishers in the business and the final 100 pages or so ...wow... Like a coming storm, it gathers momentum and builds steadily with the promise of imminent awesomeness until you are treated to a crescendo of EPIC MAGNIFICENCE that will have you turning the pages in a frantic race towards the ending, followed by the perfect little epilogue that hints at disaster...                                                                                                              PS: The second book blows this one out of the water.                      - Way of Kings font is called Ravenwood Two by Stephen          Miggas and is used under a CC 3.0 licence.      - Images of eyes by Botanicaxu on Deviantart      - Image of Chasm Duty by Lyraina on Deviantart
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  • Jorge Desormeaux
    February 4, 2012
    I began reading this book with a frown. The Prelude lasts barely more than 3 pages, and it assaulted me with 'Desolations', 'Dustbringers', 'Shardblades', 'Oathpact' and 'Radiants', all of them thrown about without care or explanation. The first chapter is no better: more meaningless words strewn carelessly. Worse, the opening sccene is a first-person narrative of a white-clad assassin who engages in a dizzying (confusing) set of gravity-manipulating acrobatics (which involve more arbitrary name I began reading this book with a frown. The Prelude lasts barely more than 3 pages, and it assaulted me with 'Desolations', 'Dustbringers', 'Shardblades', 'Oathpact' and 'Radiants', all of them thrown about without care or explanation. The first chapter is no better: more meaningless words strewn carelessly. Worse, the opening sccene is a first-person narrative of a white-clad assassin who engages in a dizzying (confusing) set of gravity-manipulating acrobatics (which involve more arbitrary names of little use to the reader) to kill anything and everything in his way. Listening to his internal monologue was annoying, and I could find myself wishing for him to fail.Obscure terms thrown around to impress and confuse the reader, check. Lots of adjective-noun words, some of which are redundant ('Oathpact'), check. Grotesquely overpowered character that polarised me within 4 pages, check. If the author makes this many mistakes in such a short number of pages, I thought, there is no chance this is going to be good.I decided to stick with it anyway because both the author and the novel have an excellent reputation. And I am glad I did, because this novel is amazingly rich. Sanderson has a knack for weaving together worlds which are different from our own, and different from "standard" Tolkien-inspired fantasy, and part of that knack has to do with minting new names and visual ideas. Rather than offering the reader easy analogues with earth animals or fantastic creatures that everyone is familiar with, Sanderson makes his own. Also his own rules for what magic is and how it works, and a rich background that informs how the world came to be the way it is. It takes him a lot of time to set that up—and it takes the reader time, too, to become comfortable with it—but it pays off well.In addition to having a great (fresh) setting that you have not seen before, The Way of Kings does an excellent job in studying the character and growth of the main characters it presents. It touches on subjects which are not usually examined in much depth in fantasy literature: Kaladin's story speaks about honour and loyalty in a way that is deeply personal and deeply touching, while Shallan’s story gives a personal account of betrayal. The novel is long and its pace is often slow, but that volume and time allow you, the reader, to get familiar with each of the main characters and it allows the author to let them grow organically, over long stretches, making them feel flawed, human, and very much alive.I have trouble discussing what makes The Way of Kings so good because the novel is so long and deals with so many things. It is among the best accounts of leadership that I've seen in fiction, and the best study of what loyalty and honour are about that I have ever read. It is refreshing to see a consistent framework for magic that even the main characters follow, rather than getting a pass because they're "the chosen ones".But above all that—above the cleverness and effectiveness of the ideas that it deals with—the reader in me wants to recommend this book because it is such a good read. I read 1,007 pages of it in the space of 2-3 days; I was so engrossed in the narrative and what was going on with the characters that I was thinking, breathing consuming nothing else. I thought about technique and themes and author intent here and there, but it was only after I was finished that I had much time for it.Neil Gaiman once remarked on how sad it is that "fantasy", the genre which deals with imagining new worlds and societies which aren't chained by the dictates of ours, has become so formulaic and samey. I often feel that way, and for that reason the amount of fantasy I consume has been declining steadily in recent years. To my fellow sceptics I would say: forget all the mediocre, half-baked, clumsy, unimaginative fantasy you've read that has made you cynical and knowledgeable about the vices of bad writing. This is the real thing.May you enjoy the journey as much as I did.
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  • Markus
    April 19, 2014
    ”Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before Destination. Speak again the ancient oaths and return to men the Shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again.”It has been ages since the legendary Knights Radiant stood against the Voidbringers. Now all that remains of them are the Shardplates and Shardblades they once wore. The world of Roshar has descended into a place of murder and intrigue, and while assassins kill kings in the shadows of the night, war rages on the ”Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before Destination. Speak again the ancient oaths and return to men the Shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again.”It has been ages since the legendary Knights Radiant stood against the Voidbringers. Now all that remains of them are the Shardplates and Shardblades they once wore. The world of Roshar has descended into a place of murder and intrigue, and while assassins kill kings in the shadows of the night, war rages on the Shattered Plains, where the Highprinces of Alethkar fight to avenge their fallen leader.The Stormlight Archive is one of the most ambitious projects in fantasy today. A 10-book series consisting of 1000-page long books is not something to scuffle at. And it also provides the explanation for the weaknesses of this book.All right. I'll save the praise for later, and go straight to the negative things first. I’m going to have to completely and utterly agree with what I have been reading in a tremendous amount of reviews for The Way of Kings: this is a 1000-page prologue. And there is no plot development. That sentence is of course mostly me shamelessly exaggerating, but it doesn’t hide the fact that this is one of the slowest books I have read in a long, long time. It could have been cut to the half without losing anything of importance. After finishing the book, you realise that the characters are more or less at the exact same point as where they started. Except that they’ve grown as characters. And that’s this book in a nutshell. Plot development is virtually non-existent, while character development is the main focus of the book.I should also mention my feelings about Kaladin. Several of my friends have told me that he would probably end up being my favourite character. And I couldn’t disagree more. Kaladin is a complex character all right. He has his ghosts of the past, he has his problems to overcome, and he’s very emotional. But as a young, male human protagonist, he’s not exactly special. On the contrary, I considered Kaladin a boring character. I did not hate him, and I did not think he was a bad character, but he was boring me. His chapters were in my eyes the most boring ones, his characters was in my eyes the most boring among the protagonists. And the fact the he is supposed to be the main protagonist of this first book didn’t exactly help. I know that many of you really enjoy reading about Kaladin, and I have no problem with that, but his character and storyline just didn’t appeal to me at all. So far.So why do I give this such a high rating? Because I’m afraid of Sanderson cultists with ropes and torches coming for me? No, actually not. Well, perhaps, but… I really liked this book. The worldbuilding is interesting, the characterisation and character development is amazing, and so is mostly everything else. There is absolutely nothing that is outright bad in this book. It’s just a mix of awesome things and… not so awesome things.A few specific strengths: firstly, female characters. From what I’ve read so far, female characters make up one of Brandon Sanderson’s great weaknesses. Well, he kind of fixes that impression in this book. Shallan is in my eyes a much better protagonist than Vin and Siri, and she doesn’t even come close to the two fascinating princesses of House Kholin: Jasnah and Navani.“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”Secondly, morality and ambiguity. Sanderson is good at creating religions and faiths, and he’s good at making the reader think. The book addresses several important philosophical and ethical issues, and comes up with arguments for all viewpoints.Thirdly, the Knights Radiant. When reading fantasy, I have a fascination for nostalgia and legends from the forgotten past. Finding out more about them was part of my motivation for going on reading even in the most boring of Kaladin’s chapters."It was as if, for Dalinar Kholin, wearing his Plate was his natural state—it was the times without that were abnormal. Perhaps that was one reason he’d earned the reputation of being one of the greatest warriors and generals who ever lived.”Fourthly, Dalinar Kholin. I did not like Kaladin (didn’t dislike him either, mind you), I was mostly indifferent to Szeth, and while Shallan was a cool enough girl, she’s not the type who becomes my favourite. Dalinar the Blackthorn, however, is probably the greatest character Sanderson has created so far. He’s an aging general advising his royal nephew in the ways of war, and struggles to unite young Alethkar and forge it into a unified kingdom.Everything else I liked mostly has to do with Dalinar. His relationship with Navani, his sister-in-law and former love, is fantastic. His relationship with Highprince Sadeas, the old friend who became a rival, even more so. I have a fascination for reading about enemies or rivals cooperating, and Dalinar and Sadeas was a perfect example of just that. And so Dalinar, his honour and his interactions make this book into a way more enjoyable experience than it could ever hope to be without him.Last, but not least, I should say that the last ten chapters (approximately) were fully worthy of five solid stars. The actions of Dalinar and Kaladin in the heat of battle, several brilliant plot twists and a nice, little epilogue that was probably the best single chapter in the whole book. And there, at the very end, the prologue with the ridiculous length is turned into the beginning of what has the potential to become a legend of the fantasy genre. This was a great fantasy novel. Just not among the very best. The series as a whole, however, has the potential to rise up there.*phew* That was a lot of thoughts, and the longest review I've written in a while. Actually, there may be more to come, but for now, this is it.I'll finish off with a little quote I really enjoyed from an amazing character I haven't even mentioned in the review:”This world, it is a tempest sometimes. But remember, the sun always rises again.”
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  • Elisabeth
    May 17, 2014
    Omg! I just -- AHHhH!! Favorite book of the year! So so good!! Video Review:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JKaK...
  • Athena Shardbearer
    March 10, 2014
    Buddy Read April 2015 The Way of the Kings Group Thread Buddy Read with Armina, Robin, Gavin, DesinkaApril 2014STORMFATHER! This book was amazing. This review may be spoilerish?!It has been a few years since I have read a high fantasy/epic fantasy such as this one. I just recently finished The Name of the Wind and that one is high fantasy, but it does not compare to The Way of Kings.I love books that are about war, swords and fighting just do something for me. I love books that go into detail o Buddy Read April 2015 The Way of the Kings Group Thread Buddy Read with Armina, Robin, Gavin, DesinkaApril 2014STORMFATHER! This book was amazing. This review may be spoilerish?!It has been a few years since I have read a high fantasy/epic fantasy such as this one. I just recently finished The Name of the Wind and that one is high fantasy, but it does not compare to The Way of Kings.I love books that are about war, swords and fighting just do something for me. I love books that go into detail of war, and strategy and the ins and out of how a war is fought. I sometimes even like the politics, in some books it's over done and some it's done just right. For me, it was done just right in this one. When I felt like it might be too much, the scene changed. The world building was amazing, the descriptions and the fashions of the different lands was awesome. I like to falling into a book that can take me away from every day life. I need a book to do that for me. I mean I even need a book to change my damn vocabulary. Now when I'm mad, I say "Storm it", or surprised "Stormfather!", or mad "Damnation!" Yeah, I think my family and co-workers think I am psycho. I need to want more, to fall in love with strong characters and want to give up my life so I can train in the art of sword fighting. I want two horses, one white and one black, just so I can name them Gallant & Sureblood. I want a ginourmous sword that I can name Oathbringer. If you haven't guessed yet, I love this book. I love it so much, I devoted a whole month to it and only was able to squeeze in three other books. THREE!! I normally read 15-20 books a month! And guess what, I am starting book two in three days! So I need to catch up on other reads before that starts. 119 Status Updates! 119! I think that's the most I have ever left for a book. My kindle app has already crashed from trying to upload all the highlights, notes, and marks I left. I think I might have highlighted half of the book...or more.."The love of men is a frigid thing, a mountain stream only three steps from the ice. We are his. Oh Stormfather...we are his. It is but a thousand days, and the Everstorm comes."Dalinar Kholin, oh Dalinar you sexy man you. Of all the characters he is my favorite. Dalinar Kholin is an Alethi Highprince, he is fighting a war to avenge the death of his brother, the King, Gavilar. He is called the Blackthorn, and is a Shardbearer. To become a Shardbearer one has to win it in battle. You have to kill another Shardbearer and take their Shardplate and Shardblade. His only downfall, he has visions, hallucinations that can bring down him and his house. Dalinar believe in a united Alethkar and fights to bring it together and impose the code on his soldiers. Alethi Codes of WarReadiness-The Officer will be prepared at all times for battle. Never drunken on wine never without his weapon.Inspiration-The Officer will wear his uniform when in public to look ready for war and to give strength to his troops.Restraint-The Officer will refrain from needless duels, arguments, or squabbles with other officers in camp, to prevent injury to men who may be needed to command.Leadership-The Officer will require no action of his soldiers that he would not be willing to perform himself.Honor-The Officer will not abandon allies on the field, nor will he seek to profit from the loss of his allies. Before Gavilar dies, he leaves a message for Dalinar.You must find the most important words a man can sayTHE THRILL!Dalinar took a deep breath, feeling the Thrill build for the approaching battle. He strode from the war room, footfalls firm and solid. Attendants and servants scattered before him, making way. Wearing Shardplate again after a long period without was like waking up after a night of feeling groggy or disoriented. The spring of the step, the impetus the armor seemed to lend him, made him want to race down the hallway.He broke into a sprint. Teleb and the others cried out in surprise, rushing to keep up. Dalinar outpaced them easily, reaching the front gates of the complex and leaping through, throwing himself off the long steps leading down from his enclave. He exulted, grinning as he hung in the air, then slammed to the ground. The force cracked the stone beneath him, and he crouched into the impact.^^Favorite scene.Kaladin is the most honorable of heroes I have read. I thought Kvothe was amazing, but Kaladin takes the cake. He is a surgeons son, and now a slave. He fought in Amarams army and was eventually betrayed. He's lost his brother, his family and many many people along the way. He's an accomplished spearman, and a natural leader. He is sold to Sadeas as a bridgeman and is now apart of bridge four. From the beginning he is determined to keep his team alive, and he does everything he can to win his team over. Gadol spit up blood, coughing. "They break the land itself!" he hissed, eyes wild. "They want it, but in their rage they will destroy it. Like jealous man burns his rich things rather than let them be taken by his enemies! They come!"He gasped. And then he fell still, his dead eyes staring upward, bloody spittle running in a trail down his cheek. His final, haunting words hung over them. Also I can not mention Syl, she's so funny and cute. I hope for a love match or something between her and Kaladin. "Soon you'll hardly be a spren at all. You'll be a little translucent philosopher. We'll have to send you off to a monastery to spend your time in deep, important thoughts.""Yes," she said, "like how to best get the ardents there to accidentally drink a mixture that will turn his mouth blue."She smiled mischievously. Then there is Shallan. She is from Jah Keved and she is in Kharbranth seeking out the heretic Jasnah Kholin. She wishes to be become her ward and steal her precious soulcaster. I don't want to go into anymore without giving away what happens, but there are a lot of things we learn about Shallan and still a lot of things we do not know. "Father," Adolin said, feeling pained, "if there's something wrong here, it's that we're not trying hard enough. You think the highprinces are playing games? Well, show them the way it should be done! Instead of talking of retreat, we should be talking of advancing, striking at the Parshendi instead of besieging them."Adolin Kholin, I was expecting to dislike him through out the entire book, but that changed the more I got to know him. Adolin loves to court women, loves to duel and has fierce loyalty to his father and family. He's very much Dalinar's son but unsure of things and unsure of himself. I guess any 23 year old would be. But he does worry about his father and his visions and if his father is really loosing his mind. I think the redeeming part for me is when he is actually fighting by his fathers side and confesses to believe all that his father has told him. The last 20% just threw me all over the place. I was sad, happy, angry, in shock, dumbfounded. I wanted to throw the phone/kindle/book across the room. I screamed! I yelled! And then I was determined to read the next damn book to find out what the hell is going on! There are no words to describe the last 20% and I see this review is probably the longest I have written. But know this, I will probably have 200 update statuses for the next book and have an even bigger book hangover having to wait MONTHS for the next. I can say that I am a new Brandon Sanderson addict. I need more..I want more...I will die if I don't get more!So if you love high fantasy, want to loose a month out of your life...please read this. Better yet, get the audio. So you can loose time while you washing clothes, walking to the car, driving to work, cleaning your house, working out at the gym, and while waiting for the doctor. Do it!P.S. There are way to many quotes and descriptions to put here but I will leave you with some of my favorites.MEN RIDE THE STORMS NO LONGER. The voice thunder, crashing in the air.THE OATHPACT IS BROKEN, CHILD OF HONOR."I don't understand!" Kaladin screamed into the tempest.A face formed before him, its eyes full of stars.ODIUM COMES. MOST DANGEROUS OF ALL THE SIXTEEN. YOU WILL NOW GO.ODIUM REIGNSHe roared, striking down four Parshendi as two more hit him from behind, making his armor vibrate. He spun and killed one, the other barely dancing out of range. Dalinar began to pant, and when he moved quickly, he left trails of blue Stormlight in the air. He felt like a bloodied prey beast trying to fend off a thousand different snapping predators at once.Never fight other men except when forced to in war.Bang!Let your actions defend you, not your words.Bang!Expect honor from those you meet, and give them the chance to live up to it.Bang!Rule as you would be ruled.Bang!
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  • BlueLilyxLilyBlue
    November 17, 2016
    What else can I say??? Holy shit this is amazing!!! It took me forever but all of it was worth it!! Sooo fucking worth it Buddy reading with Petrik and Celeste.
  • ☽Luna☾
    April 8, 2016
    Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. Speak again the ancient oaths and return to men the Shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again. Best.book.everWowowowowowow Kaladin, Syl, Shallan & Sveth <333
  • Tal
    March 11, 2017
    The Way of Kings. How could I, write a review of it?I can't.That storming book.It got everything we like about Sanderson, and also things we don't like.This is 5* for certain. It got quality, good narrative, excellent worldbuilding, awesome characters, even finer magic system.I had tears in my eyes sometime.The problem is with me. After finishing with The Wise Man's Fear, my patience died. This book have a Sanderson pace to it. That means that things are happening, they are not slow. And yet, th The Way of Kings. How could I, write a review of it?I can't.That storming book.It got everything we like about Sanderson, and also things we don't like.This is 5* for certain. It got quality, good narrative, excellent worldbuilding, awesome characters, even finer magic system.I had tears in my eyes sometime.The problem is with me. After finishing with The Wise Man's Fear, my patience died. This book have a Sanderson pace to it. That means that things are happening, they are not slow. And yet, the whole plot moves slow. But expect that, which doesn't make it 4* for me, this book is bloody awesome, and it the end, I've fallen in love again with Sanderson(How could I ever doubted him?).So here is it, thoughts about the book. Not really a review.
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  • David Sven
    May 24, 2012
    I loved this book. I loved the world building, the magic system that imitates science with its rules and limitations and internal logic, and the various creatures and cultures and religions. Everything I loved about the Mistborn trilogy and more are in this book.Map of Roshar - I like to call it SandersonlandAfter listening to and loving the Mistborn Trilogy I thought I would try a couple of Sanderson’s stand-alone novels ie Elantris and Warbreaker before getting stuck into a ten book series wit I loved this book. I loved the world building, the magic system that imitates science with its rules and limitations and internal logic, and the various creatures and cultures and religions. Everything I loved about the Mistborn trilogy and more are in this book.Map of Roshar - I like to call it SandersonlandAfter listening to and loving the Mistborn Trilogy I thought I would try a couple of Sanderson’s stand-alone novels ie Elantris and Warbreaker before getting stuck into a ten book series with only one book finished (at the time). What a disappointment they were. They were ok, but nothing like Mistborn. Actually, in a lot of ways they were exactly like Mistborn. The characters felt the same, spoke in the same over simplistic dialogue, and the worlds were described with the same level of hand holding. So what had gone wrong? Why did I excuse these obvious weaknesses in Mistborn but not in these stand-alones? Was it because my tastes had changed since? If I reread the Mistborn trilogy would I be as enamoured as I was originally? It was primarily these thoughts that convinced me that maybe I should give Sanderson a rest - and so I delayed starting The Way of Kings fearing I was going to waste some 45+ hours listening to something I would not ultimately enjoy. How wrong I was.Kaladin and Syl - a fascinating pairWith the second book of The Stormlight Archive coming out everybody was talking Sanderson, and were following the pied piper down Sanderson Way to Sandersonland - and seeing that I had already bought the first book on Audible over a year ago I thought maybe it was time to give it a shot. And I loved it. What was different to the two stand-alones? In some ways - not a lot. There is still the same over-simplistic style of dialogue and hand holding going on. But somewhere around half way through the book I realised that it just didn’t bother me anymore. I was too engrossed in the story and the structured magic system of the world. I think the increased scope of this book and the Mistborn Trilogy allows for a structured complexity to develop that just appeals to the left side of my brain – and then I’m transported to Sandersonland! The smaller books just didn’t have the page count for that to happen.The Magic System - Magic imitating ScienceAnd how was the Audible version? The narration here is split between Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. Neither are favourites of mine. I really liked Kramer in Mistborn but I think I have new favourite narrators now. It doesn’t help that Kramer’s normal narration voice reminds me of a school teacher giving lessons which just serves to highlight the hand holding in the prose – until about halfway when I realised I was in Sandersonland - and in Sandersonland that’s just how everybody talks.The religions of Roshar add colour to the world buildingKramer does do an excellent job when doing accents though. I especially liked his voice for Numuhukumakiaki’aialunamor. You can just call him “Rock.” In fact everybody just calls him “Rock” for some reason – but if you can pronounce “Numuhukumakiaki’aialunamor” then Rock will make you his kaluk’i’iki - even if you aren’t a woman. Anyway, I vote for Kramer only narrating in an accent. Either way, now that I’ve entered Sandersonland I’ll be sticking with the audio version for the next book at least.One disadvantage with the audio is you don’t get the cool illustrations that are in the print version – maps and depictions of creatures and spren etc - some of them scratchings from Shallan’s sketchbook. Something to consider if trying to decide between print and audio. The ebook version includes the illustrations but unless you are planning on reading on a large screen like Ipad I’d go the hardcover over ebook. Fortunately for audiobook listeners, all the illustrations are available online here http://brandonsanderson.com/the-way-o....An example of an illustration from Shallan's sketchbookTo cut a long story longer, I loved this book. It makes my favourites list - and I will be continuing with Words of Radiance on Audible, even though it ups the listening time to a whopping 48 hours. But I figure, if the next book is at least as good as this one then 48 hours in Sandersonland can only be a good thing.5 Starspren.
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  • Mangrii
    December 4, 2016
    Épico. Titánico. Colosal. Grandioso.Así puede resumir la lectura de El camino de los reyes, el primer volumen de la descomunal decalogía El archivo de las tormentas que nos propone el llamado a coronar el trono de la fantasía actual Brandon Sanderson. Un primer volumen que no supone más que un mero prologo de todo lo que nos va a contar, de todo lo que nos queda por desvelar y vivir. Pero amigo, vaya prologo.Con su particular estilo directo y sencillo, el autor de Nebraska nos va llevando por la Épico. Titánico. Colosal. Grandioso.Así puede resumir la lectura de El camino de los reyes, el primer volumen de la descomunal decalogía El archivo de las tormentas que nos propone el llamado a coronar el trono de la fantasía actual Brandon Sanderson. Un primer volumen que no supone más que un mero prologo de todo lo que nos va a contar, de todo lo que nos queda por desvelar y vivir. Pero amigo, vaya prologo.Con su particular estilo directo y sencillo, el autor de Nebraska nos va llevando por la senda de una calma tensa en el que se van cociendo todos los elementos para un final en el que nos explote la cabeza y solo queramos coger el siguiente volumen. Un trabajo de construcción de mundos abrumador, un sistema de magia que le queda mucho por descubrirnos aún y unos personajes intensamente trabajados con los que es imposible no conectar.Y además, deja espacio para unas escenas de acción que se graban en la retina, varias conspiraciones y misterios que se van formando hacia nuestros protagonistas, y otros tantos misterios que se van formando entre lineas de lo que vamos leyendo. Por que aquí Sanderson nos da material del bueno para los que vamos un paso mas allá dentro de su propio Cosmos (el famoso Cosmere) con muchas pistas o elementos para elucubrar, descubrir, conectar e indagar.En resumen, si sois fan del autor en sus otras obras o simplemente os gusta la fantasía épica en todo su esplendor, no dejéis pasar la oportunidad de asombraros una vez más.Enlace a la reseña completa: http://boywithletters.blogspot.com.es...
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  • TS Chan
    April 4, 2014
    Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. Speak again the ancient oaths and return to men the Shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again. **Update (11 April 2015): 3rd read, 1st re-read after Words of Radiance** Wow, just wow! It's still amazing the 3rd time, if not more. While the first was filled with wonder and amazement that such a book can exist, the 2nd a quick prep for WoR, this reread post-WoR was filled with the joy of discovering all the Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. Speak again the ancient oaths and return to men the Shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again. **Update (11 April 2015): 3rd read, 1st re-read after Words of Radiance** Wow, just wow! It's still amazing the 3rd time, if not more. While the first was filled with wonder and amazement that such a book can exist, the 2nd a quick prep for WoR, this reread post-WoR was filled with the joy of discovering all the hints and clues that finally made more sense (or as much as Sanderson allowed it, as there's still so much more we do not know). I also got to really savour it without the rush to know what will happen. The Way of Kings is a very character-driven book. The character development in this book was frankly, quite astounding. While it is also true that some readers might find it draggy, the reward lies in persevering to the end, because suddenly you realized that without the in-depth build-up, the ending would have had much less of an impact. Broadly, there were 2 categories of main characters; those who have achieved some form of greatness and built a reputation for such, and those who demonstrated real potential to be great. The former are awesome, badass, and renowned for their prowess; yet they display a certain vulnerability that makes them human. The latter, on the other hand, are both fascinating and frustrating at the same time. As the path to greatness is never straightforward and necessarily riddled with obstacles and complications, you traverse along with these characters who constantly fight their own demons, who are realistically fallible but also capable of displaying true heroism. Given the limited number of POVs in this book, one gets really intimate with the characters and for someone who used to enjoy more action/fast moving plots, I've never initially thought I will love this as much as I do. In short, this book changed my reading experience completely, such that I cherish character development a whole lot more than I used to. The other amazing aspect of this book which I only fully appreciated upon reread was how Sanderson wove the spirit of the Ideals/oaths into the very heart of the story itself. The storyline that epitomises these Ideals the most was that of Bridge Four. It was a long, and often bleak journey, but so wholeheartedly inspiring, that I can read it again and again. IMO, best fantasy series I've read to date (even unfinished as it is). ***********************************************This review had been a long time coming. I find it very hard to fully express myself when it comes to the Stormlight Archive books. They are so good that I don't know where and how to start. I have been a long time fan of the fantasy genre, albeit I took a really long hiatus (as in years) before I got back my voracity for books. The Way of Kings was simply one of the most amazing books I've ever read. It was daunting picking up this huge book but having finished Mistborn and really enjoying Sanderson's style of story-telling, I wasn't doubtful that I will like it. But man, I had never expected to be completely swept off my feet. Fans of Sanderson's regularly expound on his remarkable worldbuilding and immaculately thought-out magic systems. I'm in awe with his mind and how he created interconnected magic systems via the concept of Shards and Investiture throughout the Cosmere. More than that, I think he creates very intriguing characters. The length of the book to me is justified because there is so much depth and scope, both in the mythos, history and ecology of the world, as well as the development of the characters. All written in a compelling manner such that I was never bored. The way the book ended was breathtaking, I had to put it down for a while to digest what I've read and then immediately re-read the last few chapters again, mainly from The Tower. While not entirely unpredictable, the closing arc of the main plot was simply magnificent.Kaladin is now my favourite book character of all time. The Stormlight Archive has raised the bar of epic fantasy and I feel privileged to be a part of this journey.
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  • Laz
    January 19, 2015
    “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” Finally, I see what all the fuss is about. Brandon Sanderson is a masterful author, capable of bringing into being every emotion, scene or type of character, in the best possible and realistic way, with the most difficult of genres, that of high-epic fantasy. Excellent prose, amazing quotes, and memorable characters that keep humanity and its values intact. I would refer to Mr. Sanderson as “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” Finally, I see what all the fuss is about. Brandon Sanderson is a masterful author, capable of bringing into being every emotion, scene or type of character, in the best possible and realistic way, with the most difficult of genres, that of high-epic fantasy. Excellent prose, amazing quotes, and memorable characters that keep humanity and its values intact. I would refer to Mr. Sanderson as the contemporary J. R. R. Tolkien, because he has all the realism Tolkien had but at the same time, he built a world, so original and so magical, with fantasy overflowing from every single sentence, just like Tolkien. First and foremost, I'd like to point out that despite the length of the book, it's not at all tiring, and no matter when you decide to pick it up, you'll read it pleasantly. Even when you put it down and decide to pick it up again after a full week or two, every word said by Mr. Sanderson will be as fresh in your mind as it was two weeks ago, and that takes talent to achieve.This book is mainly about history being repeated. Events that happened long ago are now brewing anew again. There are so many characters in this book, and they're all connected somehow, through history, old and new. Some come together, some not but they all have one thing in common. Their lives have changed dramatically over the past few years, either because of choices they made, or because someone decided on their behalf.We have Roshar. A kingdom, I'll call it, because there are many people living there, of different nationality. Some are unknown to many and some are famous for their prowess to rule. In this case, it's the Alethi, the people who rule, Dalinar and his sons, Adolin and Renarin, are Highprinces, Dalinar is the uncle of the Alethi king, Elhokar, and brother of the former, assassinated king, Gavilar. Alethkar is at war with the people who allegedly killed Gavilar, the Pashendi. Meanwhile, the sister of Elhokar, Jasnah, is far away from the war, doing a research that is later revealed to us, and I was certainly surprised by the discovery she's made. She takes in a young ward, Shallan, but what Jasnah doesn't know is that Shallan has plans of her own.Actively a bridgeman, practically a slave, Kaladin risks his life every day to assist in a war he's not interested in dying for. Far away from his home, devastated by recent events and a future brighter than he expects, he discovers he's not at all what he thought he was. Through slavery and darkness, a leader is born. I'm so overwhelmed by this book, I didn't expect to like it half as much as I did. Five stars are not enough to give this book to. What I described, poorly to you above, is nothing compared to what this book is truly about. There's a lot of magic, through shards, magic, that I, personally, had never heard or read about before reading this book. It perplexed me at first, and I'm most certain it will baffle you too, but it'll whet your appetite and leave you wanting more and more of this. The twists are many, the battles plenty, and the character delepment is in abundance. If you attempt to read this and end up hating it then I personally vow to let you stab me in the eye. xD
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  • JAIME
    March 5, 2015
    This book is a fucking monster. I spent entire days wandering bonny Scotland - earbuds jammed into freezing ears, The Way of Kings playing seemingly endlessly - only to come home and still have 20 odd ours of narration remaining. It was nuts. Bit of backstory: I actually read the first half of this book last year. i don't know what its like everywhere else, but here the mass market paperback is split into 2 books - volume 1 and 2. So, on completion of Volume 1, I decided I needed a break and, as This book is a fucking monster. I spent entire days wandering bonny Scotland - earbuds jammed into freezing ears, The Way of Kings playing seemingly endlessly - only to come home and still have 20 odd ours of narration remaining. It was nuts. Bit of backstory: I actually read the first half of this book last year. i don't know what its like everywhere else, but here the mass market paperback is split into 2 books - volume 1 and 2. So, on completion of Volume 1, I decided I needed a break and, as these things go, never continued.So, briefly, The Way of Kings introduces us to several seemingly independent characters - a soldier, a brightlord and a scholar (that was totally plagiarised from the back of the book). Anyone who has been Sandersoned will tell you that no-one writes a prologue like Brandon Sanderson. We are even luckier in this as it had a prelude AND a prologue. And, the prelude may be some of Sanderson's most profound writing ever. Its short - four pages. But those four pages introduce us to a desolate place of rock and stone (pretty sure that's the same thing) where enormous stone creatures are held at bay by the Ten Heralds of the almighty who are on the verge of disbanding, bringing about the end of the Oathpact, and sacrificing one of their own in the process. It's a lot, and I still barely understand it. Just four pages. Skip forward to a prologue that sees the assassination of a king goes on to shows us signs of a long ago war which still holds sway over the lives of all - a long ago enemy that threatens return, and the loss of The Knights Radiant - the heroes who had protected them before. Shit. I'm confused. High fantasy confuses me and I'll tell you why. MULTIPLE POV, MULTIPLE PLOT LINES. 45 HOURS. Add to that, high fantasy is always extremely detailed with entire countries, races, religions and magic systems explained in minute detail (which I've obviously forgotten). Sanderson also puts those little WTF mini stories at the beginning of all his chapters that don't click or make any fucking sense until 7/8 of the way through this huge ass book. But fantasy is fantasy and if there is one thing you can nearly always rely in with Epic Fantasy it is this: an evil that was thought banished is returning and needs a hero - likely or unlikely, normally both - to stop it. I once had a twitter war with a journalist who indicated that the final Hobbit movie sucked because there was no obvious hero. I offered him several options which he said was contradictory since there could only be one protagonist. I therefore deduced that he knew naught of fantasy and chose not to continue wasting my breath with an uncultured swine such as he. He also thinks that 'hero' has the same definition as 'protagonist'. Worst journalist ever. Anyways, that leads to my point that fantasy very often has several 'hero' type characters all working to achieve the same goal. In The Way of Kings, we have Kaladin, Dalinar - noble, both - and maybe Shellan, I'm not sure about that gal.There is also a fringe cast that is unexpectedly memorable (I almost always forget characters in high fantasy by about the half way point), some good some bad, some fucking infuriating.I understand why people don't love this book and read halfway but don't continue. Given it's size, and that it is very much a set up book I don't blame them. Hell, I almost didn't go back to it. And my life would have been infinitely poorer for it. I've spent way too much time obsessing over Dalinar, googling fan art, wondering if it would be presumptuous of me to add 'shardbearer' to the end of my display name on GR - I mean, what is the criteria? do want - and I am already several hours into the audio of Words of Radiance thanks to the birth of my new niece 6 hours of drive time. Seriously, I'm worried about what is going to happen to my life when it is finished. When is the next book out? WHEN??? So, despite the glacial slow moving plot and my constant 'bloody hell get on with it Kaladin', I AM OBSESSED. My Sandersonitis is at an all time high, and I would never have guessed I would suffer any more than I had after finishing the Mistborn Trilogy. Fortunately, it is a sickness I am more than willing to suffer from. Goodness, I feel sorry for people that don't read. ALL THE STARS!!My favourite book of the year so far, maybe of my life.
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  • Mike (the Paladin)
    November 2, 2010
    This is a thousand page tome that is supposedly the first in a ten book series...which presupposes that I'm looking forward to at least 10,000 pages of the story. I'm sorry the story just isn't that good.I note that most of the ratings on this book are 4s and 5s...and 1s. There seems to be little middle ground. So, I'll go to the middle a bit. I neither hate nor love this book and I'll say now I have no intention of following the series...Of course it could be that I'll be hard pressed to live t This is a thousand page tome that is supposedly the first in a ten book series...which presupposes that I'm looking forward to at least 10,000 pages of the story. I'm sorry the story just isn't that good.I note that most of the ratings on this book are 4s and 5s...and 1s. There seems to be little middle ground. So, I'll go to the middle a bit. I neither hate nor love this book and I'll say now I have no intention of following the series...Of course it could be that I'll be hard pressed to live to see it's end, though being human I hope that isn't the case (LOL). The story failed to draw me in opening with historical hints and cryptic facts hidden in the accounts. From there it skips from point of view to point of view. A prisoner learning to put up with a "spirit" fairy like "companion" or a young woman wishing to become what amounts to a royal ward...so on and so on, and off we go. With nine more vast tomes to go in what is apparently to be Mr. Sanderson's magnum opus (depending I suppose on how long it takes to finish) I just don't find this story that enthralling.I am putting the series away. While it has some good writing (I'm always conscious of the fact that I'm unpublished and anyone could justly say..."and where's your best seller?") the writing isn't consistent and the story strikes me as (so far) a bit patchy. So, while this is a somewhat enjoyable book, and I congratulate Mr. Sanderson on it, I have a limited amount of both money and TIME, and a LOT of books I'm truly anxious to read. So, I step away from this series, I simply don't find it that enthralling.
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  • Jon
    March 3, 2010
    5 stars
  • Faye, la Patata
    May 3, 2014
    Dear mother of all things holy...I THINK I JUST FOUND MY FAVORITEST FAVORITEST FAVORITEST BOOK OF ALL TIMEThis... was a sight to behold, to read, and to consume. The last few weeks reading this are easily the best weeks of my reading life. I... I can't deal. The world is grand, the characters are so flawed and yet so relatable and so different from one another it's amazing how Sanderson can truly write such phenomenal individuals, the history is so well thought-out, and the plot is just sublime. Dear mother of all things holy...I THINK I JUST FOUND MY FAVORITEST FAVORITEST FAVORITEST BOOK OF ALL TIMEThis... was a sight to behold, to read, and to consume. The last few weeks reading this are easily the best weeks of my reading life. I... I can't deal. The world is grand, the characters are so flawed and yet so relatable and so different from one another it's amazing how Sanderson can truly write such phenomenal individuals, the history is so well thought-out, and the plot is just sublime. Everyone needs to read this. EVERYONE. Those 1000 pages aren't enough. This can have a million pages and it would never be enough. I AM WILLING TO WORSHIP THIS BOOK FOR IT IS JUST THAT BRILLIANT.Whispers: I'm so sorry I read ahead... it was just too epic to stop!
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  • David
    February 3, 2013
    I'll write a full review once I've composed myself...right now, just thinking about this book leaves me stammering in awe! For now, I'll just say that this book is over 1,200 pages long, and not a single one of them was wasted! This was one of the most wonderful books I've ever read! I'm so glad I got to buddy-read this one with Branwen, who is one of the most wonderful friends I've ever had!
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 2014
    If there is one thing I have come to appreciate from Brandon Sanderson, it is his ability to give up little bits of info as you go. He continuously keeps you guessing. My sweet Jesus this book is awesome. He has built such an expansive world and the character development is amazing. I mean really did I expect otherwise? This guy is a genius plain and simple.
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