“There are two kinds of people in this world, son. Those who save lives, and those who take lives.”
“And what of those who protect and defend? Those who save lives by taking lives?”
“That’s like trying to stop a storm by blowing harder. Ridiculous. You can’t protect by killing.”
By Brandon Sanderson
Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of Knights fell, their Shardblade swords and Shardplate armor still transform men into near-invincible warriors. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.
This book, this book, this book. How does one summarize their feelings on 1000 pages of text that took nearly 3 months to read?
That’s why it only gets three feathers, by the way.
Books that draw me in instantly are like to receive higher ratings than those I slog through over ages. Yet… I didn’t dislike this book, not at all! I will absolutely be reading the second iteration in the series, Words of Radiance, as soon as I finish up with a few other things on the good old TBR.
Way of Kings falls prey to the infliction that curses many a high-fantasy series: it has to build.
Raise your hands if you’ve actually read The Fellowship of the Ring, or A Game of Thrones… and now how many of you have seen the movies or television shows based off of them? I’m going to use my fake powers of internet scrying and safely predict that far more were in that latter camp than the former, and for very similar reasons. “Too long,” and “too boring.”
First novels in a series, especially ones in worlds made entirely within the author’s mind, are often the slowest of the bunch. They are a plod through new settings, terminology, and cultures, characters you know nothing about and concepts that are completely foreign. It has to be done, I get it. But that’s why, despite being eager to move on to Stormlight #2, I couldn’t rate this title any higher than I did. It got better though as I went on, reading forward and gaining comfort with things like shardplate, spren, and soulcasters. I read more in the last 2 weeks than I had in the previous 8 before that no question, and the ending blew my mind.
If you enjoy high-fantasy, check this out, and stick with it. Sanderson has created a bizarre and unique world with an exhaustive history and religion all its own. It has a complicated caste-like society with traditions that permeate race, appearance, and gender, forms of magic just dripping with mystery, and concept of nature spirits that are seemingly omnipresent. It is a lot to digest, so the slow and often confusing start is understandable.
…but now that that’s out of the way sign me up for round two.
Have you read The Way of Kings? Are you still a little confused on how the heck spren just show up everywhere? Is the world seriously covered my weird colored blobs? Let me know. But not with Book 2 spoilers. Please and thank you.