The Ninjabot

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Posted on April 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm by Amanda Andonian

I’ve been a casual fan of Brandon Sanderson for a while, and I’ve enjoyed all of his books for the most part. None of them made it to my top ten books, but they’re still fun reads that I recommend to people who want a light fantasy novel to pass the time.

But then he wrote The Way of Kings. This novel is on a completely different level from anything else he’s ever written. Here’s a few plot specifics from Amazon:

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soiless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

The story follows several characters and plot lines, with Kaladin being only one of them, and they’re all living, breathing characters who Sanderson successfully made me care deeply about. Some are saying that this is a slow read, and that certainly might be true for people who prefer battles and action to the quiet introspection of characters, but I think that the characters and the setting are well worth the time you invest in this book. Sanderson has said himself that this is larger in scope than anything else he’s written, and that’s readily apparent in the story itself; so something as big as this world takes time to get rolling. However, I never felt like the story was lagging, or that things were moving too slowly. I enjoy reading about a new world and the people who inhabit it as much as I enjoy the action and mystery, so I drank in every detail that Sanderson put into this book.

I cannot overstate how much I love this start to his new series, and I’m giddy with anticipation for the next. The way that Sanderson builds this alien yet amazing world is mind-blowing to me, and a huge inspiration in my own attempts at writing. One thing I’ve always liked about his work is Sanderson’s ability to create a completely new world from book to book, series to series, but still make it seem fresh and unknown.

On the one hand, I wish I hadn’t read this book because now I have to wait years for the next installment. On the other hand, I’m so glad I’ve read this because it opened up my mind creatively in a way that I’ve only experienced from a few novels, and I have read a TON of novels. If you like epic fantasy, then The Way of Kings is definitely up your alley.

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