Book Review: The Way of Kings

Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Genre: High Fantasy
  • Page Count: 1254
  • Date Started: January 2nd
  • Date Finished: February 9th
  • Spoilers? No

A Brief Description

I long for the days before the Last Desolation. Before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. When there was still magic in Roshar and honor in the hearts of men.

In the end, not war but victory proved the greater test. Did our foes see that the harder they fought, the fiercer our resistance? Fire and hammer forge a sword; time and neglect rust it away. So we won the world, yet lost it.

Now there are four whom we watch: the surgeon, forced to forsake healing and fight in the most brutal war of our time; the assassin, who weeps as he kills; the liar, who wears her scholar’s mantle over a thief’s heart; and the prince, whose eyes open to the ancient past as his thirst for battle wanes.

One of them may redeem us. One of them will destroy us.

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A story doesn’t live until it is imagined in someone’s mind.

Brandon Sanderson pg 1005

A Brief Review

Brandon Sanderson has woven a complex high fantasy tale set in a rich and detailed world with equally morally grey and complex characters.

This story follows a myriad of characters, at least 5 or 6 main characters throughout the course of this tome, this is an epic fantasy after all. The characters start off in very separate places and story lines, but they eventually collide into one final endgame. Some of the story lines are more interesting than others but in the end, I loved each and every character.

Kaladin Stormblessed, is probably my favorite character that Brandon Sanderson has written to date, if not ever. He’s a compassionate, compelling man who has been forced to join Bridge Four as a bridgeman. This means that he and the rest of his Bridge crew carry a bridge on their backs so that the army can cross the caverns and ravines that criss-cross the Shattered Plains. Kaladin aims to become an inspiration to those around him, to lift them from their despondant depression. To shake them into rising above themselves and to becoming more, and he succeeds. I loved the camaraderie that exists in Bridge Four and how close they all get. His development and the strength of his character arc made him one of my favorite characters to read about.

Shallan, a young girl who is visiting Kharbranth, a city of knowledge and learning, to seek an object that can save her family from destitution. She is an artist, with a photographic memory. There are parts of the story that offer some of her drawings and sketches and this only added to my enjoyment of the book, as it added so much world-building and information for the reader effortlessly. She will stop at nothing to get this. She gets herself into some pretty sticky intrigue and political plots. I liked this plot, but I know it’s not as popular as the others in this book. I really liked her character and how she would stop at nothing to get her family what they needed. I will say that this particular character arc felt distant from the character arcs of those at the Shattered Plains, but it certainly offered much-needed insight.

Dalinar, a respected highprince who is a legendary general and warrior is one of the other POVs. He has a very interesting story line. He feels guilty about an earlier failure that leaves him feeling burdened with guilt and doubt. Not to mention that he gets these strange and very real visions that befall him every highstorm (more on those later). He struggles with honor duty to his nation.

Adolin, son of Dalinar… (More on his story line later)

Roshar, the world that this story takes place in is unbelievably complex and detailed. There are highstorms that sweep the land. These are these very high powered storms that are infused with Stormlight, which is a magical element in this world. Humans need to hide everytime one of these storms sweeps the land. The plants and life in Roshar has adapted to these powerful storms, and the landscape changes as well.

The magic system was not explained as much, but I can imagine that more will come to light (ha, get it?) in the sequels. As far as I can tell, there are magical things called Shards that can be used to craft shardblades and shardplate, these are magically infused weapons and suits of armor that make the wearer and user incredibly powerful. There are not as many of these suits of armor and swords around, so the highprinces and nobles are fighting for these, as they will make their armies more powerful.

As far as the plot, there were moments where it dragged, but that seems to be the same for most high fantasy stories. The last 150 pages or so had me on the edge of my seat, and the conclusion of this left me needing more.

All of that being said, I can’t wait to read Words of Radiance and continue these characters stories.

Have you read this? What did you think?



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