Desclian's Reviews > The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
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's review
Sep 28, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy-literature
Read in September, 2012

A really amazing book and perhaps one of the most perfect examples of the high fantasy genre. Unfortunately "The Way of Kings" excels not only in the great characteristics of the genre but also takes the bad ones to a new height.

My main problem with "The Way of Kings", and the only reason I didn't give it a 5-star rating, was the narrative style. I've never been a fan of free indirect discourse but Sanderson uses the style (in my opinion) so poorly that the story is marred. Often free indirect discourse is misused by ending every paragraph with "But wasn't it?" and the narrative fluctuates between description and reaction to that description. This mixture of description and reaction always make me feel like I'm being overtly manipulated, that the emotions that I'm intending to have are displayed openly and clumsily, and, in the end, that I'm just reading a bad commercial. Sanderson does this but he also mixes the style with the inner thoughts of characters and, sometimes, mixes up which character's thoughts are supposed to be represented by the narrative style. This makes reading "The Way of Kings" not difficult or confusing to read but sometimes just plain annoying, and I think the story would have been told much better with normal narrative style.

Saying this, the story is actually very, very, very well constructed and beautifully worked. Sanderson's world is thick and interesting, his languages realistic (although I didn't like the aesthetic), and his characters both believable and sympathetic. And, like all good high fantasy, Sanderson's world is his plot (and so don't expect much of one outside individual characters). I don't think the book needed to be 1,000 pages but I loved the very realistic conversations enough not to mind. His "surprises" were even good.

In the end I can't recommend this book enough. Even with the narrative style the book is a ton of fun and a real testament to the joys and art of the genre.

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