Monday, September 12, 2011

Group Read - A Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson - The Final Post

The Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive - Book 1 by Brandon Sanderson

Completion Date: September 1, 2011
Reason for Reading: Group read hosted by Deanna at Polishing Mud Balls. (You can find the dedicated blog here.)
Brandon Sanderson, widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, begins a grand cycle of his own, with The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography 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 trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths,

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.
I wasn't entirely sure if I really wanted to do another post about this book, but I wanted something to sort of tie everything up. This is where I attempt to write a review! First up, if I can't manage it, you should know that this is one of my favourites read of 2011 and will more than likely make my Best of... List at the end of the year. I am very happy to have finished a book that is over 1000 pages long. I am terrible with chunksters. It could be the best book in the world and I put it aside for whatever reason... Never to pick it up again. Since this was for a read-along, another thing I typically am terrible at, I was determined to finish the book with everyone else. I knew I would regret it if I didn't!

How do you even tackle a review of a book of this magnitude? I think this is why some of my favourite books ever are not reviewed on this blog. I regret it later on, but it is just so hard to put my love into words. Plus, it is typically books that are so in-depth that it is virtually impossible to give a clear picture about them. I can safely say that this book grabbed me from the very start. All of the characters have interesting stories, so I was excited to see what was going to happen to them all. That being said, when all the introductions were done for the characters in the very beginning, I was worried there would be too many characters and I would never be able to keep track of what is going on. I didn't need to worry. I have a clear picture of all of the main characters, have a vested interested in all of their stories, and cannot wait until the next book to see what Sanderson thinks up for them next.

The book basically centres around the character of Kaladin. He is the son of surgeon who thinks his life is on-track until his young brother is assigned to the army. Kaladin is strong, but his brother doesn't have the personality to kill. Kaladin finds himself following his brother and attempting to protect him, but everything seems to fall apart for him. The book will show the path he took to become the main we see. It is a very compelling story of a man who comes into some amazing powers, but is basically the average person who has had a string of bad luck. Other characters that are show-cased are Shallan who has gone out to seek her fortune and attempt to become a ward for Jasnah. We know that her intentions are not pure, but she does manage to talk Jasnah into taking her on. Jasnah is a scribe and the sister of the present king. Her father has died under suspicious circumstances sending the kingdom into war, so she is attempting to research the reasoning for things to play out this way.

Then, there is Dalinar and his two sons. Dalinar is the brother of the deceased king and the uncle of the current one. He has always been a warrior, but has found that his mind-set is changing a great deal. His sons question whether or not he is going crazy. He questions whether or not he is going crazy. He finds his inspiration in The Old Ways and in a book called Way of Kings. He is also having visions. Through these main characters, many other characters are introduced. If I talked about all of them, though, we would be here for a while. I will just say that Sanderson manges to bring his characters to life without overwhelming the reader. I know just enough about each of them to appreciate them, but not enough to make my head spin.

That is just the characters... There is also the war, the kingdom, the magical elements, the fact that men can't read, the women's safehand, and so much more going on in this book. It is a ground-breaking achievement that gets even more exciting the more that I think about it. If you are at all a fan of the fantasy genre, than you really should read this book. I can't say enough good things about and I cannot wait to read more of the story!

To see my answers to each weeks questions, click the following links:


  1. Wow - this sounds completely out of my genre zone and yet I am still interested in it!

  2. I admire you for even trying, this is a hard book to "sum up" and is even harder because of the way we've dissected it over the last several weeks. I didn't have it in me. Although I also feel like the book deserves its own review.

    It is certainly on my Best of list for the year and probably for the decade too. Phenomenal read and a phenomenal reading experiences with you excellent bloggers.

  3. **Sheila: It was really really good!

    **Carl: I wanted to have something to link to, I guess. I know the questions cover a lot, but I like having previous books in a series to talk about when I want to reference back. Trying to write a review was the best idea.

  4. That is the reason I may still end up doing a review at some point. I would like to have a post to link to where I can also include all the discussion links.

  5. **Carl: It works well for that. It puts everything in the same place and I know I will want to reference back to it if I am still blogging when the next book comes out.


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