Justyn Rampa's Reviews > The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
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Nov 21, 11

bookshelves: book-club, fantasy
Read from September 06 to November 21, 2011

I went back and forth about whether or not to give this book three stars or four stars. Ultimately, I decided on four stars because there was nothing I greatly disliked about the book, but for me it had potential to be better than it was.

I'm relatively new to high fantasy having just really started a year or so ago and I haven't really read that much beyond the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the first two books in Song of Ice and Fire. However, I am enough of a reader to know what I like and what I don't, so let's get into this review.

Brandon Sanderson writes lots of books and has accomplished the almost impossible task of taking over the writing of a beloved series (Wheel of Time) for an author who died before finishing the series. The man's organizational skills and ability to produce hundreds upon hundreds of pages of text are clearly off the charts. However, I take some issue with his editing skills or perhaps his editor is to blame. Regardless, just because one can right twelve thousand and fifty pages doesn't always mean one should and that is likely my biggest complaint against the book. A quarter of the book could be eliminated and I believe it would make for a much tighter, gripping narrative. As it stands, there are so many passages I read that feel redundant. Most of these passages revolved around the character of Dalinar who seemed to reflect on the injustice of war and whether or not he was going crazy nearly every other page.

I exaggerate, slightly, but I never felt we got anywhere very quickly with that character in particular. Shallah and Kaladin suffered from the same condition, but to lesser degrees and with a larger cast of characters to at least give the appearance of action in their chapters.

My favorite parts of the book aside from a handful of chapters were the Interludes. These sections contained short glimpses into tertiary characters connected to the events and other characters in the book. Brandon Sanderson didn't waste any time in these sections, which I greatly appreciated.

That isn't to say that the book wasn't well planned. It had a very sound construction in ways that you only realize once you finish the book, but I felt bogged down by retreading of themes throughout the book in ways that were repetitive rather than inventive.

Nearly all the reveals in the book were awesome and I did care about some of the characters but at the end, I believe I was suffering from BBF (Big Book Fatigue) and was more relieved at the thought of finishing the book rather than excited at the cliffhanger ending.

Perhaps the fans of high fantasy enjoy inhabiting a world so completely that they want a slowly constructed story built to last over twelve hundred pages because that is time they get to spend with the characters. As a fan of short fiction myself, I struggle with the length of high fantasy because in my mind Peter S. Beagle gets this done in less than twenty pages with the same amount of emotional punch and insight.

I believe if this book were roughly half the size and distilled, I would absolutely LOVE it. As it stands, I enjoyed it but it is hard for me to get too worked up about it.
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Reading Progress

09/06/2011 page 61
5.0%
09/08/2011 page 126
10.0% "Everytime I feel that work is getting me down, I just need to remember...well, at least I'm not carrying a bridge on my back while getting shot at with arrows listening to the men around me die. And repeat."
09/08/2011 page 171
14.0% "Tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of Shallah's life. She did it! She did it!"
09/08/2011 page 197
16.0% "Finished Book One: The Way Of Kings and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It's funny because the text itself was evocative of two of my favorite video games: Final Fantasy 6 and Lufia & The Fortress of Doom 2: Rise of the Sinistrals. After some digging I did discover that Brandon Sanderson thinks FF6 is the best story in the series. I think it part, it must have inspired some of this book."
09/11/2011 page 215
17.0% "Finished First Interlude: While it was nice to get to meet one of Shallah's brothers, and then some Purelaker, my heart belongs to Shadow. Poor, sad, Oathsworn Shadow."
09/14/2011 page 330
26.0% "Kaladin is growing on me. He demonstrates incredible strength and leadership. His flashback chapters make me sick with fear as I await Tien's death which I know will happen."
09/19/2011 page 450
36.0% "I'm starting to struggle a bit."
10/03/2011 page 506
40.0% "The Dalinar parts are starting to get a bit...what's the word...boring. Loving Kaladin though!"
10/09/2011 page 561
45.0% "Got through Part 2, thank Jeebus! Read the Interludes that were over far too quickly:-( The most exciting thing was Szeth's interlude. Things are about to get REAL, y'all."
10/16/2011 page 649
52.0% "In Part 3, spending time with Kaladin and Shallah and it is wonderful. Well, wonderful in a hung upside to die in a storm kind of way. But seriously folks, I have grown to LOVE Kaladin and to a lesser extent Shallah (except when she is with the flirty ardent) and to a much lesser extent Dalinar (except when he travels back in time). And then there is Szeth. I'd read a whole book about Szeth."
10/22/2011 page 767
61.0% "I am loving Part Three, as I expected I would. I also have several theories: 1. The excerpts that come at the start of each chapter in this section are Jasnah's notes. 2. Syl and Kaladin are somehow connected to the Knights Radiant. Also, the highstorms somehow rejuvenate Kaladin. 3. I suspect Syl and/or Kaladin to actually be a Radiant Knight. Loving part three!"
10/26/2011 page 853
68.0% "1. OH. MY. GOD. Who the hell poisoned Shallah! 2. If I never read another chapter of Dalinar, I would be fine with that:-)" 5 comments
11/03/2011 page 920
73.0% "Back to Dalinar:-( But before that we had some great interludes that were comical until they weren't. (i.e. Dum-de-dum, I like to cook, she studies Spren shifting suddenly to Shadow spraying an entire feast's worth of people with blood releasing carnage unknown). Still, that Shadow is a compelling character. The Dalinar chapter wasn't too bad mostly because we got to go into his visions...of the Day of Recreance!"
11/07/2011 page 1011
80.0% "Chapter 57 is entitled "Wandersail" and it may just be my favorite chapter ever!!!!"
11/14/2011 page 1102
88.0% "Things are falling into place."
11/20/2011 page 1129
90.0% "Oh no, he didn't!"
11/20/2011 page 1181
94.0% "Ha. After 1100 pages, things finally start happening at a break neck pace:-)"
11/20/2011 page 1207
96.0% "It only took 1200 pages, but I actually like Dalinar now:-)" 3 comments

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