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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, book one of The Stormlight Archive begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.

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

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

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

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar's niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan's motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

1007 pages, Hardcover

First published August 31, 2010

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About the author

Brandon Sanderson

371 books197k followers
Brandon’s major books for the second half of 2016 are The Dark Talent, the final volume in Alcatraz Smedry’s autobiographical account of his battle against the Evil Librarians who secretly rule our world, and Arcanum Unbounded, the collection of short fiction in the Cosmere universe that includes the Mistborn series and the Stormlight
Archive, among others. This collection features The Emperor’s Soul, Mistborn: Secret History, and a brand-new Stormlight Archive novella, Edgedancer.

Earlier this year he released Calamity, the finale of the #1 New York Times bestselling Reckoners trilogy that began with Steelheart .

Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested to him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This changed when an eighth grade teacher gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.

Brandon was working on his thirteenth novel when Moshe Feder at Tor Books bought the sixth he had written. Tor has published Elantris, the Mistborn trilogy and its followup The Alloy of Law, Warbreaker, and The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance, the first two in the planned ten-volume series The Stormlight Archive. He was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; 2009’s The Gathering Storm and 2010’s Towers of Midnight were followed by the final book in the series, A Memory of Light, in January 2013. Four books in his middle-grade Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series have been released in new editions by Starscape, and his novella Infinity Blade Awakening was an ebook bestseller for Epic Games accompanying their acclaimed Infinity Blade iOS video game series. Two more novellas, Legion and The Emperor’s Soul, were released by Subterranean Press and Tachyon Publications in 2012, and 2013 brought two young adult novels, The Rithmatist from Tor and Steelheart from Delacorte.

The only author to make the short list for the David Gemmell Legend Award six times in four years, Brandon won that award in 2011 for The Way of Kings. The Emperor’s Soul won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novella. He has appeared on the New York Times Best-Seller List multiple times, with five novels hitting the #1 spot.

Currently living in Utah with his wife and children, Brandon teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University.

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,156 reviews97.7k followers
February 11, 2021










“In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.”

This was the best Brandon Sanderson book I’ve read. Since I’ve started reviewing books, everyone constantly talks about Mistborn, which don’t get me wrong, is an amazing series too, but this book blew the entire original trilogy out of the water. I truly believe in my whole heart that The Stormlight Archive series is the series that everyone should be pushing onto high fantasy readers, because it is one of the greatest things I’ve read in my entire life.

“Don't dream the small dreams of other men.”

The Way of Kings takes place on the world of Roshar, where war is constantly being waged on the Shattered Plains, and the Highprinces of Alethkar fight to avenge a king that died many moons ago. Alethkar is the largest kingdom on Roshar, and the people are called Alethi, and they are at war with the Parshendi, who are almost like bard warriors with their songs and chants. In war everyone pays a price, but some people pay the price way more dearly than others, and The Way of Kings very much showcases that.

On Roshar, Highstorms are magical like storms that have shaped this world into something unlike anything else. Highstorms provide Stormlight, which is an energy that the people keep in different gemstones, which has a super vast array of different abilities. And because this story surrounds wars on many different fronts, it makes sense that these Highstorms also helped make some pretty powerful and unique weapon, armor, and even some companions:

Shardblades - Magical weapons that are very rare and sought after. A person who owns one, a Shardbearer, is soul-bound to their blade. They can cut through pretty much anything, and it instantly kills whatever limb it cuts though, but without leaving a mark. The limb is just rendered useless until it can be reattached to the soul. And Shardblades can block other Shardblades. People constantly want to duel for them, because when a Shardbearer dies, the Blade rematerializes next to him/her, allowing anyone else to pick up the Blade and become its new owner. Yet, it is near impossible to beat anyone with a Shardblade without having one yourself.

Shardplate - Magical plate armor that protects the wearer, can heal magically on its own, and enhances the wearers physical abilities. And most importantly, it can block a Shardblade.

Soulcasting - Soulcasters have the magical ability through fabrials to do many things. Sometimes they use their power to create food, sometimes to heal, sometimes to protect sex workers from gross men at night. I mean, the abilities are actualy endless. But most the time they use their power to change one thing into another, like rocks into food. But the transformations are limited and range from Soulcaster to Soulcaster. Also, needless to say, these people are very sought after.

Spren - Also, in this world, they have Spren, which are magical little beings that come in a variety of different types. For example, Rotspren appear when something is beginning to rot, or something is dead, or something is being infected. There are tons of different Spren that take many different forms in this book.

But besides the wars and the all of the magic, there is a prejudice war that is constantly going on, too. In this world, having light eyes gives you all the advantages. Blue eyes, green eyes, grey eyes, amber eyes, any kind of light colored eye is superior to any form of dark brown. Some of the higherups in this world believe that the Heralds choose light eyes people at birth and mark them to rule. This is a really big parallel to the world we live in today, and I really liked this aspect of the story and the discussions that surround it.

Also, some females in this world are supposed to hide their left hands, and it is considered totally obscene for a woman to have that left hand uncovered. And “lower class” woman just wear a glove over their left hand, while working. I’m sure this will come into play in later books, so I thought I’d mention it, but it still made me giggle at some of the responses to seeing a woman’s bare left hand.

And the other unique concept/tradition in this world is that it is “beneath” men (other than ardents) to learn how to read and write. Like, men in this world marry a lot of the time just to be able to have their wives read to them and write down things for them. Yet, this value in society has not only put them at a disadvantage in life, but as also put them at a disadvantage in solving the mystery of the late king’s final act before death.

In The Way of Kings, we pretty much follow four main characters, even though three are at the forefront of this book:

Kaladin - Kaladin seems like the main protagonist of this novel, even though he shares POVs with other characters, but Kaladin makes up the bulk of this 1,000-page novel. Kaladin is branded a slave and is sold into a bridge crew. Yet, Kaladin is such a natural born leader, he ends up shaping Bridge Four into one of the best crews in the entire army. But this doesn’t go unnoticed. Kaladin’s character has a lot of representation. Kaladin is very susceptible to depression, and this book doesn’t skirt around the mental illness. Kaladin is also suffering from extreme PTSD from all the events that have lead him to where he is currently at the start of this novel. We slowly learn about his past; where he came from, who he was supposed to be, who he cared about, and what happened to make him the slave he is now. Trigger warnings for severe depression, suicide, war themes, violence, and gore.

“How easy it was to ignore a blackened heart if you dressed it in a pressed uniform and a reputation for honesty”

Dalinar - Dalinar is a Highprince of Alethkar. His brother was the king, but after his death (you learn this in the prologue) Dalinar has helped raise his nephew, Elhokar, into the king the world needs. Dalinar is also an amazing warrior, and wields the Shardblade Oathbringer (that name sounds familiar, true? *winky face*)! After the night of his brother’s death, Dalinar feels responsibility and is being haunted by it. Dalinar is also seeing visions, and people are questioning his mental stability. He is a widower, but something is blocking him from every remembering his wife’s face or name or any memory of her. And Dalinar has two sons, both in their twenties, that are very different, but he loves them so deeply and so unconditionally. Mostly importantly, Dalinar is a man of honor and he has a grand reputation of always keeping his word and sticking to the rules.

Shallan - Shallan had my least favorite chapters, but that was mostly because I wanted to slap her most of the time. She is daughter of the recently deceased Brightlord Lin Davar of Jah Keved. She has come to find Jasnah Kholin, claiming to want to study under her, but actually wanting to steal something from her for the kingdom she left behind. The thing I liked most about Shallan is that she is an artist and it plays a big role into who she is as a person. Plus, a lot of Shallan’s chapter were in libraries with tons of books and it was constantly a beautiful visual.

Szeth - Okay, call my weird, but Szeth’s chapters, as few as there were, were my absolute favorite. Szeth is still a very mysterious man, but he wields a Shardblade and knows how to use it to its full abilities. He is known to the world as the Assassin in White and is one of the most feared assassins in the world. From his perspective we get to see the guilt and pain from what he is being forced to do, but who and why he is being forced to repent for his past sins, is a constant mystery. Also, the epilogue chapter of this book, which is in Szeth’s perspective, actually blew my mind.

“Fighting is not the only thing of value a man can do.”

Yet, this book also has some amazing side characters:

Syl - Be still, my heart. Syl is honestly everything I look for in a character to love with my whole being. She is such a little cinnamon roll, and I keep picturing her tripping military dudes in her little invisible form and it just makes me smile for days. Syl is a spren that has bonded with Kaladin. She found him on a night that he needed her most, and has rarely left his side since. And she constantly reminds him that his life is worth living, and what an honorable man he is, and how he isn’t cursed and doomed to lose everyone he loves. Syl is honestly probably my favorite character in The Way of Kings.

Jasnah - Jasnah is the daughter of the late King Gavilar and she is the sister of the new king, Elhokar! She is also a very High Scholar and also happens to be a Soulcaster. The Almighty is a deity that is devotedly and widely worshiped on the world of Roshar, yet Jasnah doesn’t. She considers herself a Veristitalian and chooses to put her beliefs in science and the things she can see with her own eyes. The discussion and talk of religion in this book is super well done, and I would have never guessed that Brandon Sanderson, a man that is very open with how much religion means to him, wrote the character of Jasnah. Seriously, it was expertly done. Jasnah is powerful, and smart, and witty, and I think I totally developed a major crush on her.

Adolin - But speaking of crushes, apparently, I just love the entire Kholin family! Adolin is Dalinar’s oldest son, cousin to Jasnah and Elhokar, Brightlord of Alethkar, has a very short temper, and is a bit of a flirt. His mother, the one that is passed away and that Dalinar cannot remember, passed down to him full Shardplate, and he won his own Shardblade in a duel. Oh, he loves to duel, too! Adolin is an amazing fighter, who wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he is your typical young twenty-year-old that is trying to figure life out, while being constantly reminded that he doesn’t know it all, even though he thinks he does. Adolin loves his family deeply, wants to do what is right, and he just completely won me over. I truly love his character.

Renarin - Dalinar’s youngest son, Brightlord of Alethkar, Prince of House Kholin. Renarin is very shy and very quiet, and is not a solider like his father and brother, because he freezes in battle and sometimes has seizures. Brandon Sanderson has also stated that Renarin is on the autism spectrum, which is awesome representation we rarely see in high fantasy.

Sadeas - He is also Highprince of Alethkar, along with Dalinar. Dalinar, Sadeas, and the late King Gavilar all grew together and were best friends, yet this book constantly makes you question his loyalty. He is known to be very cruel, and is on the forefront of the war against the Parshendi.

Hoid - Okay, I don’t want to talk too much about Hoid, because not everyone is up to date with Brandon Sanderson’s works and the Cosmere Universe. But, this reveal made my year. How Brandon Sanderson continually tricks me, I have no idea. Maybe I’m just a huge sucker. But, like, that flute though. Also, first an interest in Kelsier and now Kaladin? Ahhh, I love Brandon Sanderson so much!

I gushed a lot in all the paragraphs above this, so you guys can probably tell I really loved this book. I truly think it is a masterpiece in every sense of the word, and I think this is Brandon Sanderson’s strongest series yet. The discussions in this are important and super eye opening if you look at the parallels to our world today. The characters in this are amazing and a few have really nested themselves inside of my heart. All the magic is so unique and so captivating. The story and plotlines were so addicting.

And, on a very personal note, after the Vegas shooting happened I was in a pretty bad headspace. To see my community be impacted by an act of terrorism and pure hatred was something that I don’t wish on anyone. I couldn’t stop thinking and feeling so much sadness, so I binge read the last two hundred pages of this book. Escapism truly is a beautiful thing, and I believe with my whole heart that books are magical entities that have their own healing powers. And I will never forget that The Way of Kings helped me deal with some pretty sad and heavy things going on in my real world.

“And men didn't become heroes by walking away.”



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Buddy Read with Robin and the rest of BB&B! ❤
Profile Image for Petrik.
655 reviews39.9k followers
January 31, 2023
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

Incredible, impressive or fantastic, all these words are an understatement to the quality this book holds. The Way of Kings is the beginning of a masterpiece series in epic fantasy. It is now my life goal and a new addition to my bucket list to obtain and read the entire series of The Stormlight Archive, which will probably take at least another 20 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 The Way of Kings is a hidden message by Sanderson for his reader, telling us that this is his first step in his way of becoming one of the kings in the genre.

Obviously, I can’t tell you anything about the story but I’ll tell you this, The 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.

Picture: The Way of Kings Characters by 77chen



Even though there’s multiple marvelous POV to be found here, each book in the series will focus more specifically on one main character's past; in The Way of Kings, we get to see Kaladin's.

Picture: Kaladin by botanicaxu



We get to see all his thoughts, life from the past to present, feelings and motivation behind his actions from this book. I’m not saying this lightly but Kaladin has become one of the most well-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.

The Way of Kings can be considered a book porn for a lover of world building. Sanderson proved himself once again to be the master of creating worlds out of words.The world, Roshar, are written with intricate description of every single thing in the world; ranging from weather, creatures, history, mythology, magic system, races, culture and even the fucking grass; making 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, while in total there’s only a total of around 150 pages of actions, the impact of the 60 pages climax sequence of this book was very rewarding. Intense battle sequences, gigantic swords, magic armors & wonderful magic system revival occurred in the climax. It was deeply satisfying as everything in the book built up towards that moment. I’ll admit, I legit almost cried during this section, even though it was predictable, it was done exceptionally.

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 found that it’s still wasn't 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 lived 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 the epic fantasy genre, you really can’t go wrong with starting this series. This is the beginning of epic fantasy at its best. Sanderson has 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


You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
Profile Image for carol..
1,504 reviews7,571 followers
September 8, 2016
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...
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 28 books128k followers
October 9, 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 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.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews150k followers
Want to read
March 3, 2021
The very concept of reading this book genuinely terrifies and haunts me. I am scared of anyone who read it. Who are you and how do you have so much power? I read one chapter, realize how many are left and black out for the next week.
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 59 books230k followers
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....
Profile Image for Sean Gibson.
Author 6 books5,654 followers
January 26, 2018
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 the 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.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,372 reviews9,449 followers
September 19, 2020
Reread 2020 Bridge 4 is everything! I even own a shirt that says Bridge 4!

****************

Re-read on Audible. It was even better the second time around. Shallan's story wasn't as boring this time around. I'm not sure if it was the audio or what, but I'm glad.



I'm still in love with Kaladin and I still love Dalinar! Their parts are my favorites even though the whole book is awesome.


**First Read Review**

I loved how everything in the book came together. Everyone's stories eventually collided into one end game and I loved it! OMG, that ending! I can't believe some of the things that were revealed!

I loved Dalinar and his story. I wasn't much into Shallan's story until it got closer to the end. But... Bridge Four... Kaladin... love, love, love.

All of the characters were great, but Kaladin is my favorite. He is a great man to do all of the things he did for others and he's bad to the bone on top of that. I fell in love with Rock because he immediately reminded me of Andre the Giant! If they made a movie out of this book and he was still around, perfect fit, perfect!!

The majority of the crew on Bridge Four were all awesome and I love how Kaladin brought them all together, the camaraderie was great.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,255 reviews8,650 followers
October 21, 2020
4/29/18: even better the second time.

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

4.5 stars

I have a new favorite author. His name is Brandon Sanderson.

description

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 ). 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.

Jessica Signature

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)
Profile Image for Evan Leach.
460 reviews129 followers
February 16, 2016
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.

description

  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.


Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
204 reviews2,115 followers
July 22, 2022
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

Hands down, the best first book of a series I have ever read.

This book starts a little slow, but the worldbuilding is so wonderful that it never gets dull. Towards the end of the book I literally couldn't put it down, and I had multiple times of getting goosebumps and being teary eyed at how wonderful everything came together.

The story feels fresh and imaginative. The settings are vivid and unique. And the world feels like a mix of familiar and alien, in a good way. The story itself is absolutely magnificent, and while somewhat predictable it is written in such an entertaining way that it doesn't matter.

If you are a fan of reading fantasy, and you haven't read this book...you need to drop everything and go read it immediately.
Profile Image for Althea ☾.
623 reviews1,909 followers
May 20, 2022
If you’re intimidated by this book/series, don’t be. Seriously, don’t be. It’s a vast world but I assure you that Brando Sando has got your back and will hold your hand as he leads the way to a world that’s just brimming with imagination. You won't feel the 1000 pages (lol) as it passes you by.

"Authority does not come from a rank"
"Where does it come from?"
"From the men who give it to you. That's the only way to get it."


I knew 3 different people who started this book after I did, but still finished before I did. It's okay though... it's okay.

[my three liner pitch: ↣ dark and thought provoking but wholesome epic high fantasy that centers around themes of power, ruling, leadership, and nuanced conversations on the disparities between men and women in a society. Filled to the brim with characters that hook you from the beginning and you constantly want to cheer for. A plot that runs forward without looking back but holds your hand when it comes to world-building so that you don't get lost in the vastness of it. ↢]

i am sore from that 100-day journey i feel like i just went through

...in conclusion: i loved it

"Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service."


I LOVE KALADIN AND BRIDGE FOUR SO MUCH. That also goes for all the other characters. I don't how Brandon Sanderson manages to weave characterizations that pulls you in while preparing all the foundations for the plot in the background. I didn't expect this book to have a found family aspect to it either but I welcome it. It explores anxiety and PTSD very openly and forces you to face the result of war on individuals.

The character relationships there and the development from what happened with Kaladin in the past was so heart warming and satisfying to read. Especially given the fact that they are in the middle of war… it felt like they had this own little family in the midst of all the death… *sobs and screams incoherently*

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”


It's difficult to condense my feelings into a short review but I just love the way Brandon Sanderson builds his worlds as he makes you care for each character first before fully explaining the world that he has plopped you in the middle of.

It's multi-POV, action-packed, heartfelt, exciting, thrilling, and I am running out of adjectives. It had it's slow moments in the middle but I think thats just how it is with Sanderson before he pulls an ending that sweeps you off your feet. I'm sure someone has already said it but the ending is surely explosive. Each plot point truly makes you appreciate every detail that Sanderson worked into it to get you so invested in the first place.

I really fell in head first.


“Ah, the outdoors,' Shallan said. 'I visited that mythical place once.”


As a person currently in the pandemic, this was the most relatable quote ever xD

— 4.75 —
content warnings// Depression, Gore, Suicide ideation, Violence, War

✧ you can find this review and more on my blog


pre-read review

You know when you read the first 5 lines of a book and tell yourself “I’m gonna love this”.

Yeah... that was me with this book <3

I’m no longer intimated, I just want to get myself physical copies of this series already so that I can start it 😭😭

—————————
I previously said that The Secret History intimidates me with its 25 hour audiobook, but you know what I found out today: the audiobook for this one is a whopping 45 hours...

which I’ll still read of course because I trust Brandson Sanderson to feed my fantasy soul the best course possible.
Profile Image for oyshik.
182 reviews645 followers
February 3, 2021
The Way Of Kings (The Stormlight Archive,#1)
description
Honour, love, and survival. The story is mind-blowing, the ideas and thoughts create a world that is believable and intriguing. A strong tale with a well fleshed out world and multidimensional characters that are easy to care about.
Life before Death.
Strength before Weakness.
Journey before Destination.

Epic!!!!!!
Profile Image for TS Chan.
692 reviews850 followers
August 30, 2019
Fourth time and it is still as awesome!

The Stormlight Archive is Brandon Sanderson's "love letter to the epic fantasy genre". His magnum opus. From my perspective, he had lovingly and painstakingly crafted a masterpiece that was not just his greatest but one of the greatest of all time. And thus, this is my love letter to The Stormlight Archive and I hope it can do some justice to this favourite series of mine.

There are many great fantasy books out there; some have a compelling story to tell supplemented with great characters; some have awesome magic and epic battle scenes, and some come with an interesting world that was richly imagined and detailed. The Way of Kings is a huge opening act to The Stormlight Archive which took every single one of these elements of a good fantasy story and elevated the art of storytelling to a different league. You might think that “Yeah, you say that because you're a Sanderson addict”. Then let me say that I've read The Way of Kings before I became addicted to his books. Or to phrase it the other way, I became an addict because of it.

I was daunted, to say the least when approaching this massive tome. After completing Mistborn and loving it, I wanted to read more of Sanderson's books and my own research led me to this book. I leapt into it unaware that my reading life was going to be changed irrevocably.

Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination.

The change happened gradually and slowly; in the same manner that the story of Kaladin Stormblessed and Bridge Four unravelled before my eyes and completely stole my heart. This is a story of the indefatigable human spirit. It is an empathetic tale of courage, compassion, loyalty and honour, and one which thoroughly epitomises the First Ideal.

In The Stormlight Archive, each book contains flashback chapters for a particular key character and The Way of Kings could be said to be Kaladin’s. I've never used to appreciate slow character-driven books before and would get impatient for things to happen. As such, I was surprised at how much I was captivated by this almost plodding and deeply introspective tale, both past and present, of a promising young soldier with depression who was brought down to the lowest point of his life and made a slave. Instead of completely giving in to despondency, Kaladin aimed to become an inspiration to those around him, these dregs of society and of the army, to rise above themselves. His POV was not the most pleasant to read sometimes given his state of mind but also it also contains some of the most memorable scenes in the book. Coupled with the strength of development of his arc, this made him one of my favourite characters of all time.

“It might give them hope. They might see it as a miracle.”
“Do you want to be a miracle?"
“No,” Kaladin whispered. “But for them, I will be”

I swear that I get goosebumps every single time I read that.

“Authority doesn't come from a rank.," Kaladin said, fingering the spheres in his pocket.
"Where does it come from?"
"From the men who give it to you. That's the only way to get it.”

In stark contrast, we also have the story of a highprince with an established legendary repute. One who was, however, now ridden with guilt from an earlier perceived failure and beleaguered with doubt that he might be going mad from strange visions that beset him at every highstorm. Both which fuelled his desire to understand the in-world book named The Way of Kings. The story of Dalinar Kholin is one of duty and unity and, once more, of honour.

“We follow the codes not because they bring gain, but because we loathe the people we would otherwise become.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Death is the end of all men! What is the measure of him once he is gone? The wealth he accumulated and left for his heirs to squabble over? The glory he obtained, only to be passed on to those who slew him? The lofty positions he held through happenstance? No. We fight here because we understand. The end is the same. It is the path that separates men. When we taste that end, we will do so with our heads held high, eyes to the sun.” 



It is not by coincidence that both Kaladin’s and Dalinar’s trials and tribulations, as seemingly different as it were, shared a common theme of honour. This, in essence, forms the larger story in the background which has much to do with the history and mythos of Roshar and what might have happened thousands of years ago; knowledge which is now lost or obscured. The hallmark of Sanderson’s brilliance truly lies in his ability to craft great stories that are invariably and thematically appropriate to the world/solar system in which it takes place within the Cosmere.

Before I touch upon the third arc told from the perspective of a female character, I’d like to draw some attention to the worldbuilding. Roshar is one of the most unique fantasy worlds I've come across. Alien but not in a bizarre fashion, Sanderson literally built the world from the ground up, right down to its flora and fauna which evolved to adapt to the highstorms that regularly sweep its destructive forces through this vast continent. There is also this unorthodox societal and cultural structure that demarcated status by eye colour, and occupation (and food!) by gender. In this respect, Sanderson was highlighting how discrimination or norms can manifest in a particular culture, which may come across as ridiculous or unacceptable by others. 

We have huge magical swords, which as far as I am concerned, have dethroned all others in the fantasy and sci-fi genre. These Shardblades, together with its defensive magical counterpart, the Shardplate, constitute the most desirable objects of power among all the kingdoms in this world. There are gemstones infused by Stormlight from the highstorms, which are used as currency, as lighting and to power fabrials and the Shards. With all these and more, Sanderson has created a world that is at once enthralling and remarkable.

The third main POV character is Shallan Davar, a female lighteyes who possesses a photographic memory and the gift of rendering that memory into resplendently close-to-life drawings. With her scholarly disposition towards natural history, Shallan collected sketches complete with annotations of her observations and some of these were beautifully illustrated in the book.  These illustrations made the book possibly one of the most beautiful fantasy volumes I've ever laid my hands on and effectively bringing this strange world to life to the reader. This is worldbuilding elevated to an art form.

A young lady in pursuit of gaining a position of the ward to the most renowned scholar in Roshar, Shallan had a hidden agenda, and her arc seemed disconnected from the one taking place on the Shattered Plains where the other two main characters were. Nonetheless, it was still a compelling one and provided the much-needed exposition on the bigger underlying story of an impending world-at-large peril without info-dumping.

The magic system was not as thoroughly explained nor described in the same way as Allomancy and Feruchemy in Mistborn. The reason is that as much as the Knights Radiant now represented a mystery, the knowledge of Surgebinding was equally unknown or lost through the ages. An initial glimpse of the magic system at work was shown in the Prologue, courtesy of a fascinating yet tormented assassin, and we only get to progressively learn about it through the experiences of the main characters.

For a book this size, The Way of Kings was quite a breeze to read and finish. The narrative flowed well with uncomplicated prose that does not distract the reader from being fully immersed into the story and worldbuilding. While the pacing was slow with such substantive character development, the switching between POVs was so deftly handled that the pages just kept turning - right until you reach the end of over a thousand pages and desperately wish for another thousand more. Speaking of the ending, the last ten percent of this book will leave you breathless; from the sheer heroism and valour on display, the cinematic visuals painted in your mind's eye of the battle sequence, and the emotional impact and revelations that you just did not see coming.

If you have not read this book either because of its intimidating size or that it is part of an unfinished ten-book long series, allow me to attempt appeasing your doubts by saying that each published book has so far wrapped up its story well enough that readers are not left hanging. With this, one can treat each volume as a trilogy in itself and savour it like as such. Another point to note is that Sanderson intended the ten books to be written over two different arcs of five books each, with each set being separated by a significant time period. If you are still not convinced to start reading this series, I can only say that you will be missing out on one of the very best the genre has to offer.

As of the date of this review, I have read this book three times. Till now I have yet to exhaust the discovery or appreciation of all the details, hints and foreshadowing that Sanderson had masterfully woven into this impressive accomplishment of modern epic fantasy.

The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.

Questions that I and all fans of this series definitely have aplenty. The Stormlight Archive has raised the bar to stratospheric levels and I feel extremely privileged to be part of this journey.

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
651 reviews827 followers
July 4, 2020
“Life before Death.
Strength before Weakness.
Journey before Destination.”


Way of Kings Kickstarter: Bridge Four Poster Reveal | Brandon ...

Fantastic reread of Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings! Such a rich history and so much I'd forgotten from my first reading. Planning on continuing the series with a rereading of The Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2).

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)!
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,464 followers
February 27, 2022
Sale Alert 27Feb22: Kindle Daily Deal for Rhythm of War is coming soon.

I'm amazed every time I read this how great it is. This is my favorite fantasy series and each time I read it I find new things that are just fantastic. One of the greatest series of all time.



Buddy read/reread and 3rd read of this monster done. The thing I love the most about Way of Kings is that even though it is my 3rd read of the book I catch so many new things, remember things I've forgotten and still get just as caught up in the story. Still a 5 star read all the way.

Be prepared for many many updates.

BUDDY READ/REREAD!!! April 2015, BECAUSE WE CAN

Since 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

description
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.

description

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 Stars

I 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.
Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
396 reviews2,064 followers
December 23, 2021
Sanderson is a monster.

How does one write a masterpiece such as this?? How does one create such complex and beautiful characters, worldbuilding, and plot??? How does one write a 1000 page novel and make it feel like a short book?? How does one continue to destroy my heart but also fill it with love???


10 years in the making and I can no doubt see how much of his sweat, blood, and tears were poured into this book. I'm in awe. And if this was published in 2010 , I can only imagine how epic the next 3 books already out will be??

────── {⋆❉⋆} ──────

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”

Thousands of years ago, the Knights Radiant, an order of magic users meant to protect the people of Roshar from dark forces, betrayed mankind by abandoning them, nobody knowing where they've disappeared. However, they also left powerful weapons behind called Shardblades with its companion, Shardplates, a suit of armor to complete the set. Kingdoms go to war over these magical items and to own this is to be a Shardbearer, warriors having the strength of several men.

Ever since the assassination of the King Gavilar Kholin six years ago, the kingdom of Alethkar has been at war with the Parshendi who are said to have murdered the king. Dalinar and Adolin Kholin fight in this war of vengeance, while across the land, Shallan fights her way to become the ward of a well known heretic and scholar who has what she needs. And then there's a man who's lost all hope, a man who fights for survival even during times of despair...Kaladin Stormblessed.

“Somebody has to start. Somebody has to step forward and do what is right, because it is right.”

Kaladin is such a tortured character in the beginning, I just wanted to go and hug him. Protect him from the world. Kaladin doesn't deserve all that's happened to him *sobs* Branded as a slave and sent off to be a bridgeman -- the most dangerous role in war, having to carry (along with other men) large, mobile bridges to set across the chasms in the Shattered Plains for soldiers to cross. Meanwhile, you don't have any protection from the enemy who lie across the chasms with their arrows💀 It's basically a death sentence for any man.

The mental health rep is done so, so well. I love it so much, like the way I was about to cry at so many scenes?? it might just be me being emotional Kaladin struggled so much with all that he's lost and all who he's failed, that it just felt easier to give up rather than deal with the pain of losing any more people he loved/cared for. Syl is literally perfect. She was there for Kaladin during his darkest moments and the bond between them was so beautiful.🥺 Kaladin fighting against depression and being the light for the other bridgemen... never in a million years did I think I was going to fall in love with the men in Bridge Four. Kaladin was their hope. Their hope for survival. Their hope for a future.

I'm just going to say this right now—IF SANDERSON DECIDES TO PULL SOMETHING LIKE KILLING THE WHOLE CREW EXCEPT FOR KALADIN, MY HEART WILL DIE AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU, SANDERSON.

I really don't think I'll be able to take that pain, but I know that Sanderson is the king of destroying his readers' poor souls, so I'm just going to be prepared and still die

I made a mistake growing attached to these lovable idiots, more specifically Teft, Rock, Lopen, Skar, and Moash (especially this guy, i didnt think it was possible). I love these guys so much and now I live in constant fear that they'll be killed-


Also just the bantering between them all ohmygod they were too good. So many favourite scenes bahaha
“I don’t know,” Teft grumbled. “But I’ve never liked them. They seem to be able to talk to each other, without making any sounds. I don’t like the way they look.”

“Teft,” Kaladin said flatly, “if we rejected bridgemen based on their looks, we’d have kicked you out weeks ago for that face of yours.”

Teft just got destroyed.

────── {⋆❉⋆} ──────

“Sometimes the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.”

Dalinar Kholin aka the Blackthorn, brother of the previous King Gavilar and now uncle of the current King Elhokar, is long past his glorious days, at least in the eyes of others. Visions have begun to consume his mind during highstorms and now Dalinar has beun questioning his own sanity. Are these visions real? Who is sending these visions to him? Are they to be trusted? Or has Dalinar just lost his mind?

Dalinar's bluntness and genuineness makes him one of the only honourable lighteyes. In this land, power is divided by lighteyes and darkeyes—the people with light eye colours are the ruling class with the most power, while the people with dark eye colours are beneath them. So of course, majority of the lighteyes are going to be jerks, but Dalinar is an exception.🥺 To him, honor is everything. And his love for his family is just so heartwarming.

────── {⋆❉⋆} ──────

"At times, it seems to me that to be human is to want that which we cannot have. For some, this is power. For me, it is peace."

Adolin Kholin, son of Dalinar, is a cinnamon roll. He's just as amazing as his father and he's so sweet ohmygod I love his loyalty to his family. Adolin will literally challenge anyone who even I>thinks about insulting his father or brother and is very hot-headed warrior. I love that even being one of those who believes that his father may be going insane, Adolin still stands by his side🥺 There wasn't enough Adolin in this book, so I'm ready to see more of him in WoR <3

“I believe that my own morality—which answers only to my heart—is more sure and true than the morality of those who do right only because they fear retribution.”

Shallan Davar, daughter of her late father, has travelled to another land in order to become the ward of the famous Jasnah Kholin. However, Shallan's true objective is to steal something and bring it back to her homeland in order to save her family from their enemies around them.

I'm so in love with Shallan's stubbornness and wit. The way she'd just speak her mind and give off so many sarcastic comments was hilarious. And then afterwards she would be feeling embarrassed and it was just so adorable. Shallan's an artist and I loved how there were pieces of her drawings throughout the book??? It was gorgeous omg. Also, after that ending, I'm so excited to see Shallan and her interactions with ~certain people~

"Better to exist in agony than to vanquish entirely."

Szeth barely had any chapters, yet I found his povs amazing and heartbreaking. Imagine not having control of your own body and being forced to kill so many people??? The things he's had to do... stormfather, it's horrifying. AND THAT LAST CHAPTER OF HIS??? Oh god, I so wasn't expecting that. *extremely concerned*

────── {⋆❉⋆} ──────

Just going to add this in because I must, but one of the best (& funniest) aspects of this world was that tradition said that women were required to cover their left hands. If a woman were to expose their left hand, it'd be considered ✨scandalous✨ and honestly every time that was mentioned I was wheezing. It's hilarious seeing men blush if they saw that hand exposed omg I couldn't stop laughing. Szeth himself even commented on how odd it is. LOL I LOVE THAT.

────── {⋆❉���} ──────

So as you can see, I came into this expecting to love this but little did I know how much this would capture my heart and soul. This is the type of book that you know you'll love, but even then it still sneaks up on you and makes you fall hard. My only regret is that I started this series now and I know for a fact I won't be able to stop myself from reading the next 3 books before the 5th comes out and then I'll be having to wait until 2023 for it *sobs* but at the same time I don't regret reading this right now?? I don't know how that works smh.

For anyone who's scared of how long this book is, believe me, I was terrified too BUT IT GOES BY SO FAST. The characters, plot, and world is just that good. This masterpiece must be read by more🥺

“None of it mattered. He would just keep living. They'd taken his freedom, his family, his friends, and— most dear of all— his dreams.

They could do nothing more to him.”


────── {⋆❉⋆} ──────

Honorable mention: Thank you Mash and El for being there for my fangirling and rambling!! AND FOR CONVINCING ME TO FINALLY READ THIS.

────── {⋆❉⋆} ──────

Reviews:
Way of Kings: ★★★★★
Words of Radiance: ★★★★★
Oathbringer: ★★★★★
Profile Image for Katerina.
420 reviews16.7k followers
December 31, 2018
This book.
This storming book.


[Insert a picture of a trembling, screaming human being overcome with reverence]

There should be a different kind of spren (Sandersonspren? Cosmerespren? I am open to suggestions), spren depicting the tempest of emotions that threaten to smother you when you read The Way of Kings, or books written by Brandon Sanderson in general. Anger, panic, frustration, sorrow, wonder, awe, humility before his brilliant mind, his limitless imagination, his Words that twirl, spin and dance until they ensnare you in their web, until they are ingrained in your molecules and flow in your blood.
There is fantasy, and then there is Fantasy; Brandon Sanderson is a byword for the latter.
❝ Speak again the hallowed oaths:
Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before destination.

The Knights Radiant must stand again. ❞

In a land ruled by violent storms, a land blighted by conflict, abandonded by its protectors, ignorant of her past and the enemy that awaits for a signal to devour her, lived a surgeon apprentice that was forced to follow the path of the warrior, and later was branded as a slave.


[Source]

A young scholar who, in a desperate attempt to save her family, devised a dangerous theft.


[Source]

A prince who was haunted by terrible visions, and started to realize that only peace would save his kingdom and the world in the upcoming storm.
And an assassin in white, a puppet who wielded his sword at his master's commands, unable to resist to the massacres he was forced to commit.
When strong gasps of wind rattle Roshar, when prophecies keep coming up and stone slowly awakens, humanity faces extinction. Now is the time for the Knights Radiant to stand again.
❝ Somebody has to start. Somebody has to step forward and do what is right, because it is right. ❞

I'm shaking as I write this review. Even though my expectations were already high when I started The Way of Kings, since The Stormlight Archive is considered Brandon Sanderson 's magnum opus, I was not ready for its blinding grandeur. Brandon Sanderson did not simply craft a continent of various cultures; he dived into every single culture, cultivating physical descriptions, religious, goverment and justice systems, traditions, superstitions, clothing, alimentation and so on; he created muptiple works on philosophy and ethics, debates regarding divinity and morality, and in doing so, he managed to establish the most detailed, thorough and complete world-building I have ever encountered. While at first I thought all those descriptions were not necessary, every single one was well placed, and the result was a dumbfounded Katerina begging the Almighty for absolution, because not reading it sooner was a mortal sin. The turning point, though, that made me realize that The Way of Kings is one of the best books I have ever read, was the Battle of the Tower.
❝ I will protect those who cannot protect themselves. ❞

There was splendour in this battle. There was nobility, honor, and courage mixed with gut-wrenching fear, indignation and an overwhelming need for justice. It was then that I realized how much I cared about the characters.
❝ In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished. ❞

It happened in a quiet, low-key way. I spent so much time witnessing Kaladin's descent onto despair and indifference and his consequent, slow ascension towards light, cheering and aching for him, frantic to see him succeed and save his comrades, Bridge Four, from their terrible fate, that Bridge Four and its bridgeleader became family; I sat with them around the fire, eating Rock's stew, I held the spear and marched to certain death, in a shattered battlefield. Even though his prejudice towards lighteyes rendered him blind, even though he thought himself responsible for every single bad thing that happened to those he cared and that burden occasionally crashed him, he was strong, unyielding, and destined for greatness. So was Dalinar. His integrity and honor was a beacon amongst frivolity, backstabbings and petty personal agendas, he was a warrior through and through, and I deeply admired him for that. And then there was Shallan. Quick-witted, sharp-tongued Shallan who was torn between her promise to her family and the allure and satisfaction of her studies next to the most renowned scholar of her time, Jasnah Kholin. Shallan and Jasnah had a rocky relationship, but my gut tells me that their research holds the key to survival in the looming war.
❝ The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon. ❞

Brandon Sanderson is probably the most gifted storyteller of his generation. He's a silent force that strikes you when you least expect it, and with The Way of Kings he introduces a series that will change the history of Fantasy.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
418 reviews455 followers
June 4, 2020
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                   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…



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                                ...and a betrayal...

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          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.
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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...


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        PS: The second book blows this one out of the water.

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     - 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
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
347 reviews913 followers
January 10, 2018
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

So finishing this novel was incredibly bittersweet.

The Stormlight Archive is the last of Brandon Sanderson's High Fantasy works I have left to read before I am forced to confront The Great Waiting.

However, I am glad I waited to read this series, as it seems like it's going to be one of Sanderson's largest & most clarifying contributions to the Cosmere universe.

I had such a wonderful time reading this. I've seen a couple reviewers saying the book could've been shorter (1,007 pages in physical copy, 45.5 hours in audio) but it's not a sentiment I agree with.

I believe The Way of Kings would sacrifice vital framework, world building, & characterization were it much shorter.

Perhaps the level of immersion present here is not for everyone, but for me, that's part of what makes Sanderson's work stand out in the genre. You can always count on him to transport you directly into his worlds.

And what a fantastic setting Roshar is! Literally every aspect of the world, from the unique wildlife to the power of soulcasting & the magical of properties of stormlight, held my rapt attention.

I was particularly fascinated by the Alethi dispersion of class & power being based on eye color. This is a concept I've discussed before in my circles of friends, how it is incredibly odd that humans tend to choose arbitrary characteristics to create & define social groupings.

Sanderson highlights how foolish it is when we allow our perception of others to be guided by these meaningless lines of division.

Race, religion, sexuality, gender. Eye color, skin color, height, weight. We are all people. Individuals with an exponential range of capabilities, and no contrived societal category has the power to determine what we can or cannot achieve.

In many ways this book is about having the courage to break free from your prescribed role in life.

Once again, we're gonna have to talk about the religious aspects of Sanderson's work. I just appreciate the shit out of what this man does, ok?

Throughout the related Cosmere works, characters spanning all across the spectrum of faith appear. The Way of Kings is no exception.

What I love so much is that all of these characters are written skillfully with a realistic degree of complexity. They struggle with their choices, they seek validation without always finding it, they are intelligent with the ability to defend their beliefs in the face of opposition.

It is so lovely & refreshing to see an author write about a wide variety of belief systems without sacrificing the integrity of any of them.

The Way of Kings is full of the concisely descriptive writing & excellent imagination we have come to expect from Sanderson. Specifically I adore the battle scenes/fighting imagery.

"The lad was a genius with the blade, an artist with paint of only one shade."

I only had two distinct issues with this novel:

1. The novel is split into a couple different perspectives, but readers spend a disproportionate amount of time with one, a young man named Kaladin. Now, I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I didn't care for how unbalanced the perspectives were.

Kaladin's character is fleshed out beautifully, but I wish I could've experienced the same in-depth connection to the other handful of POVs, especially Dalinar & Shallan. There were a couple times I even found myself thinking "Aw man, another Kaladin chapter." *waits to get hit by tomatoes*

2. This next issue is a bit spoilery! View at your own risk.

Otherwise, this is a gorgeously written first novel in what I expect will be a truly epic series.

Buddy read with the amazing Kainat!

This review and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest!
Profile Image for Hamad.
974 reviews1,284 followers
October 15, 2021
⬆️ Book #100 for 2021! ⬆️

“Life before Death.
Strength before Weakness.
Journey before Destination.”


My story with this book goes back to 5 years ago when I started reading and I had no clue how successful Sanderson was. I kept seeing The Way of Kings in lists of the best books of all time and top rated books on GR. In 2021 and as if I am writing this review, the book has 350K ratings with an average of 4.61 stars which is insane!! I was very intrigued and so my brother bought me the book for my birthday then and it stayed on my shelf since that time. Fast forward to this day, where I have read most of Sanderson’s stories and I understand how successful he is. When I got my book only the first two books were released and through my research I understood that it is a very long series with 10 books so I left it for later but when the forth book came, I felt it may become very intimidating to read the series so I decided to start it this year. As expected and as it always happens with books we keep putting off reading, I loved it and I am giving it 5 stars (4.5 stars rounded up).

As to what is the story about, I don’t think I can really summarize everything in one paragraph without giving spoilers and there are far better reviewer than me who already did that so check out their reviews in the top page of GR. I am not gonna lie, a 1200+ pages book is really intimidating and even though I am familiar with adult fantasy and chonky books those days, it still took a bit of psyching up before jumping into this one (and finishing it in under one week).

Sanderson is sometimes criticized for his simplistic writing but I disagree, I think the simple prose works perfectly for this one because simple does not equate bad and because there were a ton of amazing quotes that I lived throughout the book. Also, I feel that it would take forever to write the books with a more purple prose and it would be a heavier burden among readers to go through the books. The writing is great and I specially felt that when I picked up a book after this one and felt that it paled in comparison to this one.

“Somebody has to start. Somebody has to step forward and do what is right, because it is right.”


The characters are a work of art. The book is divided into parts with each part following a few POVs, Kaladin is featured in all of them so we can think of him as the main protagonist but other characters are not less important and they are all connected toward the end of the book.

I have heard a ton of things about Kaladin and have seen him featured in all kind of fanarts. I finally got to meet him and I also can say that I ended up really loving him. I was trying to think of my favorite character when it comes to this book but I can not answer this question yet, I think the answer will become easier the more I advance in the series but for now, I almost loved all of the main characters. Sanderson is also sneaky because he would end the parts with a major event and then leave us waiting for that character to appear again after 300 pages or so. I did not care about Shallan for example at first, but the more I read her chapters, the more intriguing she became and I ended up invested in her story.

I am also super interested in Szeth and I want to have more and more of his own chapters and I do believe he will end up with bigger roles in the future books.

“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”


I did have crazy high expectations for the book specially for the magic system. The magic system in Mistborn is probably my most favorite system in the books I have read and I expected this one to top it but unfortunately it didn’t (At least not yet?) The magic system in this book was still amazing but I think the system here was more cinematic and I could see everything vividly in my mind with colors. The Spren and the armor and blades were all very cool and I think they would be amazing on screen but I thought that we will have a more complicated magic system and we kind of didn’t.

The pacing is slow, specially at the first. Sanderson starts the book with action and a very cool fight which is enough to grip the readers attention but it gets slower after that until we are oriented to the world. Think of the first 10-30% of any fantasy novel we read and how they’re slower and confusing. This was the same here but keep in mind that this percentage translates into almost 400 pages. What I am trying to say is that this book needs patience and I am glad I procrastinated reading it because I don’t think I had the patience I have now 5 years ago for slower books.

That being said, I was not bored at all and I think that is a good enough reason by itself to give the book a 5 stars rating. I mean imagine writing a 1200+ pages book without losing the reader’s attention. Also the last part was excellent and it gives the reader euphoria and a feeling of achievement after finishing the book!

“In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.”


Summary: I finally read the book and I finally understand what the hype is about. I loved the writing, the characters and the world-building. I would have preferred a faster pacing and a bit more complicated magic system but for an author to achieve what Sanderson did, it takes a huge effort and talent to do that and for that reason, I am pumping the rating to 5 stars!
Profile Image for Samantha.
401 reviews16.6k followers
February 18, 2020
Solid start to the series but not an instant favorite the way the Mistborn trilogy was. I’m very intrigued by the complexity of this series, this world, and how it interacts with the rest of the cosmere, so I will obviously be continuing with the series. I’ll be doing a full review and discussion on my channel.
Profile Image for Stefan Bah.
158 reviews224 followers
September 10, 2018
We have the freedom to express our opinions in beauty of subjectivity, and we should always fight and bite to keep that.

But that's not the case I'm trying to make here with this review.

I’m not trying to challenge anyone’s opinion or common sense when I say that by all measures of literature in history of mankind – and what paved the way for books, movies, songs we today call classics to be considered as such because of their unique quality – The Way of Kings (as well as its far worse sequel: Words of Radiance) is one of the worst books ever written.

I tried as much as I could to share my thoughts in a thoughtful and respectful manner for all of you who love this book.
And I believe that I do have an actual position (as an admirer of fantasy genre) that I feel obliged to argue.
Especially when I see a problem.
OK?
OK.
Onto the actual review, then.

The only book I’ve read more times than this one was Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
And the reason why I read War and Peace so many times was because upon each read I discovered something new that would grip me in Leo’s story; a new character and their perspectives I overlooked or experienced in a different way every other time I took the book in my hands.
A true masterpiece and a classic that rightfully stands against the time, in spite being written well over a century ago.

Am I actually trying to draw a comparison between War and Peace and The Way of Kings?
God, no!
The only similarity these two books have, luckily, is that both are just that – books.
In everything else they fail in comparison.

But, I have seen many people calling The Way of Kings both a masterpiece and an instant classic of the genre.
I admit, on my first two reads, I was inclined to agree. I understand all of you who think and say that.
Because I was one of you. I was enamored and infatuated by scope and magnitude of what I was reading.

I never thought that someone could make a story where people are fighting over a heart of a giant crab and make it sound serious.
I never thought that you could read about bunch of knights, dressed as medieval Power Rangers, wielding giant swords that were made out of pure essence, which would appear in their hands out of thin air (or morning mist) when they would call them with their minds – and not come out as a dork high on sugar.

It was important to me because I was one of those dorks high on sugar.

I thought – what most of you are right now quite unimaginatively repeating in unison – that this book was exclusively nothing but: amazing.

Now?

I’m deeply ashamed of myself for having such a high opinion of this book.

So, what happened in-between my first two reads in 2011 and 2012 and this one at the end of 2017?

Well, the answer is quite simple: I read better books than this one.

Better books with richer worlds, more beautiful prose and far more developed characters.
Better series with less inconsistencies in it, less plotholes and less… well, problems overall.
Better authors that were more focused on quality of what they were writing about - where you can actually recognize their effort to make a book better;
than quantity - when after first two reads and beginners infatuation by the scope and magnitude of what you were dealing with, few years later when you try to reread what you, in your ignorance, were believing was an ‘instant classic’, is nothing more than a shallow, 800 pages far too long, rambling.

So, the actual rating for this book is 2.25/5.
How come exactly 2.25?
Well, because of the chart. This one:

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And the long list of problems that prevented numbers on that chart from going higher.
What problems?
Let’s start with the biggest one for me.

Characterization.

The fun starts, with - what I will repeat is - probably one of the best described confusion of battle I have ever read. Anywhere.
And whoever experienced a battle in real life, or at least played CoD online, or really, really carefully was trying to figure out what baseball is about, probably knows of confusion I’m talking about. (And if you’re wondering, yes, I experienced all three above – baseball is the worst. By far.)

It’s a really great scene where you are put in this situation where you don’t have any knowledge of terrain, where you are depraved of ‘bird’s perspective’ in which you can 'see' battle on the east flank, or what happens on the west side, so that you can act accordingly.
No, here, all you can see are sweating bodies; hear yelling and cursing; and smell gore and piss.
You’re a puppet, you know you’re a puppet, and like one, they move you all around.

And in this chapter we are introduced to our main protagonist. Our Jesus, our Superman of the story.
With his almost omnipotent power he’s expressing, he tries to take care of those who can’t do that for themselves, and you can see in his saddened gaze – which is due to undoubtedly his equally sad and tragic past – weight of the entire world, threatening to crash him underneath.
Yet he stands.
Resolute.

Until the next chapter where we see him in shackles, with broken spirit, strolling away as a slave to Shattered Plains, where he will carry bridges into war across the chasms, towards revolution and freedom for all!

(Now insert a petty sarcasm "over 6000" here):

Nooo, I have never seen a character such as this!
It never, ever, crossed my mind that Kaladin (our main protagonist) is a Jesus and Superman in one, with Peter Pan’s Tinkerbelle (Syl) on his shoulders as, not just as a moral compass, but a source of his powers to, let’s say, I don’t know, maybe even fly…
And yes, I’m ashamed of this as well, because it took me two reads to realize similarities between Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle and Kaladin and Syl.

So, now that we are on Shattered Plains… wow, wow, wow, wow… where are you going?
You thought we were moving forward?
No, no, no, no, this book doesn’t work like that. No…
In order for us to move forward with characterization of our main protagonist, we have to go: back.
Into the 800 pages long info-dumps.
Oh yes.

Oh no!
Ramifications of this atrocity called: ‘characterization through characters past’ will be significant in future.
First two books of The Stormlight Archive series are the most dangerous thing that happened to this genre.
In 50 years, when historians will bang their heads in an effort to find roots of a downfall of epic fantasy as a genre, they’ll find its roots here. In this very book.
It started already. Just this year alone I have read two books by an author who said he was inspired by Brandon Sanderson.
And he did this exact same thing. He build a character by telling his past.

And… do you know what some of you who read those books said about that approach of building a character?
You called it an info-dump.

It’s really interesting how you failed to recognize and you actually praised that same approach here, where that kind of fallacy practically came from. Oh well…
Who knows how many of new, aspiring authors will be inspired by this kind of approach.
All because none of us told Sanderson that THIS - DOESN'T - WORK.

‘So what’, you’ll say. ‘Surely there’s no a definitive answer what characterization is or isn’t.’

Except, there is. There are books actually written about it. With carefully dissected examples of what throughout the history of literature and media all around us today, worked as a story, plot or characterization and, more importantly, what didn’t worked.

And when I compared those examples of undoubted quality in long history with what Brandon tried here with, not just his characters but overall, in this book, it’s really not that much of a surprise that The Way of Kings doesn’t stand to a test of time.
Not even three years passed when I noticed first problems, when I read more than 100 books of this genre and realized: ‘Oh my God, there are far better books than this one.’.

In essence, my problem with Kaladin’s characterization is this.

You can show a character going through many changes in a story, but not all of them represent character change.
True character change involves a challenging and changing of basic beliefs, leading to new moral action by the hero.

What happens when we exclude stories about his past (those infamous info-dumps), stories that tells us how Kaladin’s character was shaped and came to be to the point where we meet him in his first chapter?
Let's ask ourselves a question:

Who exactly is Kaladin when we meet him for the first time?

A capable young man who cares deeply about people in his unit, people he feels responsible for due to his tragic past. And he is willing to negotiate and work with people with whom he fundamentally disagrees. Lighteyes.

Who is Kaladin at the end of the book?

A capable young man who cares deeply about people in his unit, people he feels responsible for due to his tragic past. And he is willing to negotiate and work with people with whom he fundamentally disagrees. Lighteyes.

Spot the differences there?
No?
Didn't think so.

Let’s say I’m a potter. And I have a vase I want to reshape into something else. I start turning the wheel, reshaping and reshaping it – only to end up with a same vase again.
Question is: why? Why spending my time, my efforts and my resources reshaping something into exactly the same thing it was in the first place?

And one can maybe argue: ‘Well, it’s the journey, not the destination.’
If the entirety of a journey is simply running in circles, then I’ll accept that. Because that’s exactly what happened here.
Kaladin started from point 'A', went into journey of self-doubt and self-preservation, only to end up back at the same point 'A' he begin with.
And that’s absolutely fine. Those are all changes.
But that’s not characterization.
Brandon keeps repeating this same mistake throughout this entire series.

And do you know why I gave characterization of this book 2 and not 1?
Apply all of which I've said about building Kalladin's character to a character of Adolin Kholin.
Who he is at the beginning and the end, moral conflicts that shaped his character inside of one cohesive story etc...
Vast improvement.
And do you know whose character is one constantly good thing throughout these five reads?
Adolin Kholin, yes.
Wonder why is that...

About female characters I'll say only this: When you insist on copying female characters you created in Elantris and Warbreaker, and simply paste them from next series to next - I will call you on it. Sarene, Siri, Vivenna, Shallan and Jasnah are all one and the same character.
You make me miss that Mistborn's very own Mary Sue: Vin.

And just to be clear, female characters are not the only ones that get this unimaginative treatment.

We have this reminiscent sidekicks:
Teft. A blindly devoted, desperate in need of worshiping someone Galladon from Elantris knock-off.
Yes, Teft from The Way of Kings serves exactly the same purpose for main character in this book as did Galladon for main character of Elantris.

Now, we only need someone who'll, like Galladon in Elantris, constantly repeat nonsense in a local dialect... something like sule or kolo...
Ah, Lopen, there you are! Yes, gancho, you, get over here, gon!

I swear I see a pattern here...

Worbuilding.

I want to express gratitude for immense amount of effort Brandon’s team put up into creating artwork for this book. It’s really amazing, from cover itself, through maps to interior art.
Just look at this map:

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Just look at it. Such beauty to look upon.
Only to look upon, because, sadly, out of all of that, for almost two entire books we’ll spend time only on eastern barren cliffs.
So, this glorious, beautiful map? You don’t need it. For two books you’ll experience three percent of it.

(Red X marks the spot)

Cliffs. Chasms and giant crabs.

1100 pages long behemoth of a book and we’re left wondering not just how 97% of the world looks like, but also how society works on some basic levels.
But I guess it was far more important to tell us that alcohol comes in variety of colors.
And tease some cameo appearances in interludes that, as of yet, don’t serves to the main story.

Prose.

I passionately disagree with this logic how “If you’re not a writer and if you’re not eloquent enough in writing your own reviews” you shouldn’t criticize author’s prose.

Do I need to be a mechanic to say that my wheel has fallen off?
Do I need to be a firefighter to say that my house is burning?
No?

So why do I need to be a writer myself to recognize and say that author of this book is preposterously bad at writing.
It’s either that, or he considers me an idiot. I do have self-respect, so I’ll go with the first one.
Brandon Sanderson is lightyears behind those authors I consider decent ones.
And mind you, English is not my first, nor second language, but still I’m able to recognize vastness in differences between authors prose. It’s not really science.

And if we combine his fetish of constant repeating and reminding us that Jasnah (written with a J but spoken with a Y – as I said, illiteracy cuts deep in this one) is a heretic and that Sadeas lacks Shardblade, at least three times per chapter with boring, witless and cringeworthily dialogues - novel is unbearably bleak and blatantly ridiculous.

Just a few examples:

Sadeas and his far too many times now mentioned Shardblade:

"Sadeas's hand had gone to his sword. Not a Shardblade, for Sadeas didn't have one."

"The highprince hated that Adolin had a blade while Sadeas had none"

"Sadeas was calling for his grandbow."


Remember, this is all within a single 15 pages long chapter.

Second - dialogues. Those awful, awful dialogues:

“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.”
“I’ve never eaten one, actually.”


As well as pitiful attempts at witty banters and humor:

"Each man has his place. Mine is to make insults. Yours is to be: in-sluts."

Barum tssss....
And my favourite, Sanderson's signature over-the-top bullshit:

"Today I went fishing and I caught one. Very lucky fish other fisherman said.
Cures aching joints for a good month after you eat it, and sometimes let you see when friends were going to visit by letting you read the shapes of the sound."


I mean, at this point, why the hell not?

Allegory.

Nonexistent.
OK, Sanderson fans, what is this book about? What is the meaning, what is he trying to say, what’s the message?
Is this book about racism? Criticizing it? I hope so. Because in this book, everyone is racist. Including Kaladin, our main protagonist.
What?
And how would you call a person who because of actions of two people with distinctive physical characteristics now hates everyone with those same physical characteristic?
That's a definition of racist. And that's also Kaladin's POV.

But, he's not the only one, no.

Lighteyes people are basically Nazis. They hate anyone non-lighteye.
Darkeyes people, or a common folk, of course, hate lighteyes and, because society thought them that way, they hate these slaves, these Parsh people.
Parshendi, which are equivalent to Native American people... well, they hate everyone. Including themselves.
And since everyone, Lighteyes, Darkeyes and Parshendi hate Parsh people, people who did no harm to anyone else, and who literally serve as slaves in this book - it only fits to make them as main villains, right?

I told you this book is filled with Sanderson's over the top bullshit, didn't I?

It’s a paradox how the only compliant and peaceful in collective discrimination of their race are mute, black Parsh slaves which aren’t even consider as humans. But like that wasn’t enough in this, ocean of ridiculousness, by the end of this book they are proclaimed as story’s main antagonists.
Empty vessels that could be filled with nothing but evil spirits.

And on top of that, you'll add Shallan, our female lead, who'll say something along these lines:
"Oh, but maybe they don't actually want to be free."

Thank you and goodnight.

All in all, I understand everyone who likes this book and this series. It's just that I have read better books in my life, since my first read of this one. And the way I'm looking at reading books and what I seek in them - The Way of Kings simply doesn't provide anymore.
It's a shame he got lazy in creating these worlds. But given how his readers will glorify everything he does, he would be crazy not to exploit that.
Oh well...
Profile Image for Kim.
677 reviews1,678 followers
March 11, 2019
It's official, I'm not a Sanderson virgin anymore!

It's been years since I read a really big book. I think It by Stephen King was by far the biggest one I ever read when I was in my early 20's and that was also probably the last one. I don't often pick them up because they intimidate the hell out of me. Another thing: I like fantasy, but sometimes I feel like I am too dumb to always understand what's going on (and English is not my first language) so I'm always itching to read fantasy but often I choose something light and easy instead. So I decided I should change that and I chose the biggest fantasy labeled book in my collection. Seriously, you could kill somebody with it, that's how heavy it is.

I can't believe it took me 5 months to read this. I have the attention span of a kitten, so I am a bit surprised I kept picking this up again and again at first. But the story is just that good and because of the slow pace I could remember what was going on, even if they mentioned something I read weeks ago.

When I'm reading a book I usually like it when things are fast paced and stuff is happening all the time. This book is nothing like that. This book takes it's time. You feel like you are travelling the same long road certain characters are on and nothing about their journey is easy. They all struggle, they all have an interesting story and they all feel genuine and real. I ran through a lot of emotions with this one (especially with the major revelations) and it was glorious.

Some of the charachters were less interesting than others (but probably an important piece of the huge puzzle so fingers crossed I'll start care for them more as they evolve), but Kaladin and Szeth (who I hope to see more of in the next book) were by far my favorites.

I love-love-love this book and I hope you do too if you decide to read it. Seriously, read it. Be like me, face your fears!

——————

YES BITCHES, I'M FINALLY DOING THIS!

(fingers crossed though)
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