Way of Kings

I was pleasantly surprised by [amazon_link id=”0765326353″ target=”_blank” ]Way of Kings[/amazon_link], a well-written (if lengthy) book from Brandon Sanderson. I admit I only picked it up because of Brandon’s work with Wheel of Time, and was hesitant due to the marketing for the book (the hardcover includes numerous full-color illustrations, objects, etc). This sort of gimmick struck me as something to compensate for the content, but after reading the book I think it is perhaps just a sign of the depth which this author would like his readers to submerge themselves into his world.

Everything feels fleshed out and detailed, even ancillary characteristics. Characters who only make an appearance for moments feel rich enough to have their own complete stories, and Brandon does an excellent job of intertwining all these rich characters into a very deep and slightly strange world.

My chief issue would actually be based on just that, everything is so rich and detailed that sometimes trying to keep track of it all distracts from the main plot line. Eventually I just gave up on a few things and enjoyed the read through, focusing on the salient points. This is the type of book which fans will read 5 times, to really compare notes and get the minute detail.

The main plot line is told through the perspective of a few characters, each with their own view of the world. I had a hard time with the scholar character, whose secrets seemed to take to long to reveal.

Overall, the book left me wanting to jump immediately into the second one to try and pick up on some of the questions still hanging. What are the Shardblades, and the Shardplate? Why do they seem tainted in some way, even though they were wielded by the Knights Radiant to protect people so long ago?

For anyone with the patience to wait, and an appreciation of epic storytelling combined with rich world-building, I would highly recommend this novel. Of course, I might recommend you wait until the third or fourth book is out before you start, if you are as impatient as I am.

High points:

  • Incredibly rich world
  • Kaladin is an excellent character
  • Brandon has a lot of detail behind it all, everything feels developed.

Low Points:

  • The first in a lengthy series, with an author committed to several series.  Might be some time before some of these plotlines are concluded.
  • Some points drag a bit, especially for the Scholar.

4.3/5

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