Review: The Way of Kings

This post will include my review of the book The Way of Kings Part One by Brandon Sanderson. It is the first in a The Stormlight Archive series, released in August 2010.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.


Speak again the ancient oaths: Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destinantion. And return to men the shards they once bore. The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Its terrifying and frequent tempests have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells and trees pull in branches. Cities are built only where the land 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 trde kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war is about to swallow up a soldier, a brightlord and a young woman scholar.

I’m not sure if this should really be called a review since I’m going to spend the next few paragraphs shamelessly gushing over this book. Put simply I loved it.

The world building was excellent. It was familiar enough to allow me to picture the flora and fauna yet different enough for me to know it was an alien world. The various spren were well used to convey the sense of oddness in places where it might otherwise have appeared mundane. Precisely because of the way they influenced evolution and society the massive storms, called High-storms, were more than just window dressing. They felt as though they played a part in the narrative and contributed to the decisions of the characters.

The characters themselves were incredible. I found myself geniunely invested in all of them – yes that’s right, ALL of them. At no stage was I just reading through a change in location and point of view that I just wanted to get through so I could return to my favourite. I enjoyed each and every one of the point of view characters even those that appeared for just a single chapter shuch as Ishikk, and Nan-Balat.

The action was well described and sprinkled throughout the book. The descriptions of the shardbearers in battle put me in mind of the Iron Man movie where Tony Stark would wade through his enemies in his powered armour, impervious to almost all. Somehow the fact that most non-shard wielding enemies stood little chance against a shardbearer didn’t diminish the threat against them and the scenes didn’t come off as self indulgent. In fact there is a scene where three shardbearers take on a chasm-fiend and that was so well realised that it is possibly the best scene I’ve read in a long time.

I think I’ll stop here. I’m sure you get the sense that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I can’t believe I waited so long to read it. The best part about the delay however is that the next book is already out so I can pick it up today and return to this amazing world.

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