The Way of Kings
by Brandon Sanderson
Jakob’s Goodreads Rating: (5) of 5 Stars – “It was amazing”
Recommended for: Fantasy Readers of the epic variety
I have been waiting to review this book since before it’s official publication date. Then I forced myself to wait longer so I could order an autographed/personalized copy from The Signed Page. It was well worth the wait. Normally I gloss over or skip the book artwork of a book. The Way of Kings though has notable internal and external artwork. The cover art is by the renown artist Michael Whelan. Whelan covers have graced some of my favorite books of all times. Some of the Pern books to be of note.
Past the cover there are many interior maps and wonderful sketches inter-spaced in the 1007 page long books. They really do add to the story and the descriptions in the story. Once I finished the book, I went back through and enjoyed re-looking at the sketches.
The story inside of the book is massive. The Way of Kings is the first of a planned 10 book long epic called The Stormlight Archive. Now some prefer to wait till all or a few books are out in a series. They have to know that once they hit the end of a story any unanswered questions can be solved by immediately answered by picking up the next book. In this case I like the anticipation of having to wait, discussing with other fans as we wait, etc. I read an interesting post on that the other day which had some discussion.
The story itself hasn’t pleased everyone. It is massive in scope covering different time periods, a large cast, and Sanderson spends quite a lot of the time world building. If you were to consider it as a standalone book, perhaps too much time is spend on world building. However, with remembering that it is the first of ten books, the background is great.
He does do interludes during some sections. We jump back and learn about characters back histories. At first these kind of annoyed me. “Hey Brandon – lets get going on this story!” Yet as they progressed, everything started to fit together and I changed my opinion of them. Not only did they work, but they did indeed add to the story itself. It did help having heard Sanderson do a reading from this book and describe what he was trying to do during a signing for Warbreaker. He in part was trying to take the scope of say Martin and something like Jordan where we have a few key characters for a section.
I think what I liked the most about this book though were the questions asked of the characters and therefore the readers. The meaning of faith, duty, etc. As the story unfolds and the world is build these questions remain but grow in complexity and depth. The world building might be be a bit much for some people. Since this is the first book in a planned 10 book long epic, a lot of time is spent on the world and the descriptions of the lands, creatures, and people. Personally I loved it. It is once again (with Brandon) a different sort of magic system. It becomes well defined and logical.
If you are a fan of large scale, epic fantasy literature, you will have to pick this book up at some point. Myself, despite the 1000 page sheer size of the book, find myself eagerly waiting for the next book.