Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings is the opening novel in his first main novel series The Stormlight Archives. It’s not a light read by any means, but every word of it is worth it. I think that even if you don’t normally like long books you should stop playing online blackjack and read this one.
The book was published all the way back in august of twenty-ten but that doesn’t make the book outdated in any way. I mean, do books really get outdated? Like how a good hand will never be old in online blackjack.
The book is the opening to the Stormlight Archives which is a ten book series he’s planned out. As of writing this only four of those books are finished and each one makes it onto the New York Times Bestseller when it releases.
The book itself takes place in the world of Roshar which is the unique fantasy world that actually quite a few of Brandon Sanderson’s books take place in other than the Way of Kings.
Brandon Sanderson has put amazing world-building into his novels and it shows. Everything in the book, from the bugs all the way to the currency, is directly related to magical or natural effects that are unique to his world. On top of that, the things added never feel irrelevant.
The interesting magical things and abilities never feel useless or flashy. They affect the world as much as you would expect something like them to affect the world. Whenever something is mentioned in the books it’s obvious that lots of thought have gone into how people would find practical uses for said things or abilities.
Never once could I think of a way of how someone should’ve used or could’ve used something that would’ve helped them that they then didn’t do. This doesn’t mean that people always figured out the best ways out of situations, not by a longshot.
Another one of Brandon Sanderson’s many talents is making his characters feel real. When a character acts a certain way, even if it’s detrimental to them in the long run, I can never say that I really wouldn’t have most likely done the same thing as them if I was in their position.
You have someone who is horrified by what another person might simply call an everyday occurrence. You have characters who are trying to always do the honorable thing yet still do bad things, but you understand why they were forced to or chose to make that decision and you don’t hate them for it.
In a lot of other books you have a character who gets into problems or makes bad choices and you just plain dislike them. Characters that you are supposed to root for yet you kinda just wish something bad would happen to them. It’s an easy trap to fall into when a writer tries to make flawed characters.
Brandon Sanderson though does this I’d say perfectly. There isn’t a single character in the entire book who I’m supposed to like and dislike. Even, albeit in the sequel and later books, with the supposed bad guys I understand why they made the choices they did. As the famous writing saying goes, no one thinks of themselves as the bad guy.
Almost no one thinks they are evil and does bad stuff just cause. Everyone always has a reason for it. All of the bad guys in Brandon Sanderson’s books are the same way. They might still be bad guys but you at least know why.
The characters and why they’re almost perfect
No other author has made such interestingly deep characters from any book I’ve read than Brandon Sanderson. The characters are far from perfect in the way of personality but I’d say they’re written almost perfectly.
The characters start out with troubles and flaws and so many problems to overcome. People are dealing with loss, shame, or duty, and when the book starts none of them know how to deal with it. They made bad decisions and formed bad plans. They make mistakes.
They’re held back by stuff in their past that they don’t even let themselves remember. But by the end of the book, every one of them has evolved in some way.
A theme throughout the book is Honor. It’s a very big part of quite a few of the characters’ stories. Some of them have to learn what honor is, while some of them have to figure out if it’s better to make the worse choice if it’s the honorable one or sacrifice their values for what might be the better choice.
The entire book is a complex weave of choices and consequences with intrigue and character growth that ends in easily the greatest finale of any book I’ve ever read.
All of this in only twelve hundred pages!
Okay, okay I know that seems like a lot, and it kind of is. But the book doesn’t feel like twelve hundred pages. When I read Way of Kings it was the longest book I’d read yet. But it didn’t feel that way.
The length and world-building
I’ve read long books before, although none of them this long, and all of them felt that way. Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings just felt different. With other books this long the book drags in places. There are lots of things you felt could’ve been cut from the book and it wouldn’t really have mattered at all.
The Way of Kings on the other hand feels like every chapter, down to every scene, moves the plot forward. There are a few interlude chapters thrown throughout the book that aren’t relevant to the story so much, but the world-building they add to the story never makes you regret reading them. There’s never really anything in the book that I could call just exposition.
All the explaining the book does for almost all of it is show don’t tell. It gives information from what people are seeing and experiencing and it’s done in such a good way that you realize what it means and you get how it fits into the world and what it is. There’s a part of one of the chapters where some people are just talking about the weather and yet you realize that they just explained some facts about how another thing in the book works.
People don’t feel the need to explain something that someone who actually lived in that world would easily already know. They simply use that thing or experience what it does and you know what it is and you can figure out why they have it or how it came about. It’s so much world-building but it never gets dumped on you so hard that your brain zones out and you have to re-read the page.
And if you’ve read a lot of large fantasy novels you know that that’s not an easy thing to pull off. So many books out there just explain their world in a big dump of info thrown in whenever the author feels it’s relevant. The way of Kings is subtle yet you never feel lost.