One of the greatest modern fantasy writers we have, Brandon Sanderson’s arguably greatest piece of work is his Stormlight Archive series currently comprising of four books. The first in the series is The Way of Kings and it. is. Epic.
Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge fantasy book nerd. I love to get invested in hundreds of pages of new worlds, magic, creatures and more. With this comes some stigma. Some argue that reading fantasy isn’t the same as reading the latest contemporary thriller. Well if you were to read The Way of Kings (over a few weeks as it’s over 1,000 pages long) and weren’t absolutely enthralled with the storyline, the characters and the phenomenal world-building then I would be shocked.
Plot – 5/5
Due to its vast length, it’s difficult to simplify the plot of The Way of Kings. Mankind (and others) live in a place called Roshar that is battered by extreme storms regularly. The help them cope, the Almighty have given men thee suits of armour and mystical weapons that give them god-like strength and speed.
We follow a few different characters and their battles and journeys as more and more comes out about the history of this incredible world. The story contains twists, turns, deaths, revelations and a lot of just really “cool” moments.
Now, this may all sound way too geeky for you if you’re not a fantasy reader but Sanderson has written it in such a compelling way that it almost just seems matter-of-fact. His descriptions, his casual way of noting important details as he writes makes this world feel like it is a real place and all of these things are just the way things are – essentially taking away the element that any of this is unbelievable.
Characters – 4.5/5
Brandon Sanderson has a bit of a sense of humour – therefore his characters know how to crack a joke or two when necessary. Don’t get me wrong, this book isn’t a comedy and you shouldn’t go into it thinking it’s going to be lighthearted. But the way that Sanderson has his characters engage in conversations that do more than just move the plot along allows them to build characters and reveal more about themselves.
You follow four main characters – Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar and Szeth. Kaladin is whose main viewpoint we follow in this book. He’s the underdog hero. Shallan is a lost girl who finds herself under the tutelage of one of the region’s most respected women. Dalinar is a royal whose incredible war history helps carry his legend even his actions begin to bring questions from people. And Szeth is a very mysterious character who seems to be the thread tying all of the characters together. Loved them all. Loved Shallan the most. But still have huge respect for all of them.
The Way of Kings summary – 5/5
This is without a doubt one of my favourite fantasy books/series of all time. I am more than happy to spend a couple of weeks reading these phenomenal books by Brandon Sanderson. You’ll find yourself invested in the characters. You’ll find that just as you’re maybe starting to think things are going too slow, Sanderson will throw in a plot twist or a curveball to grab you right back in. And also, Sanderson has a real talent for writing incredible endings to books that not only make you feel satisfied by the current book but make you desperately want to spend the next few weeks reading the sequels. I’ll have reviews of the sequels up soon. Fancy more fantasy? Read some more of my fantasy book reviews.