Series: The Stormlight Archive #1
Release Date: December 30, 2010
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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 soiless 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.
Whenever I talk about Brandon Sanderson’s books I have to resist the urge to simply keyboard smash until I get my point across. Must. Attempt. Coherency.
I don’t even know where to start with this review. Maybe the world building? Okay, so the world building. HOW IS SANDERSON SO GOOD AT IT?! I’ve read about three of his different worlds so far and they are so, so different and perfectly described and also a little bit similar because they’re in the same universe. It makes my chest ache because I love his worlds so much. They’re epic!
In this world there are spren, interesting quirks to do with gender and fashion, Shards, intriguing histories, societies, armies, conquerors… you name it and it’s probably there. This world feels a lot more complex than the one in the Mistborn trilogy, and if you have read the entire trilogy then you’ll know that it’s a tough one to beat. I’m looking forward to discovering more about this world, and I think I’m going to have to refresh my memory before I dive into the sequel this weekend because there is so much to remember.
The main characters in this book are Kaladin (*swoon*), Dalinar (my fave), and Shallan (meh). Can I just point out that Kaladin totally had a Spartacus thing going on here AND IT WAS EPIC AND HIS STORYLINE OH MY GOD I WAS FREAKING OUT OVER THE PARALLELS SAVE ME BARRY. I adore him and I think he’s fab, especially after a certain scene in which he’s left outside overnight. That’ll make sense if you’ve read the book. Ehem.
Anyway, I love Kaladin but I kind of worship Dalinar, who is a High Prince and is absolutely fabulous. And of course, I ship him with Kaladin. Because. BECAUSE. I like my ships, ok.
Shallan, on the other hand, was pretty difficult to read about because she was just so boring. If you know me at all then you’ll know that I prefer exciting action sequences to the quieter, and perhaps political, scenes. Shallan had the latter in droves and it didn’t make for a fun experience. Of course, I still enjoyed reading about her scenes because Sanderson had already captivated me, but nothing really happened until the end WHICH WAS AWESOME BY THE WAY. I hope she becomes more interesting in the future, especially since we need at least a few interesting females in this series which is in danger of being overrun by men, the same as the Mistborn series.
This book is hella long. It’s split into two parts in the UK, just like A Storm of Swords and A Dance With Dragons is over here. And you would normally expect it to be slow and have a gradual build up, but I was actually captivated from the beginning. Maybe because I’m used to Sanderson’s writing style now, which is easy to read and flows marvellously and grips you tight. I enjoyed every single one of the pages and I wouldn’t have shortened the book at all.
I’m SO. EXCITED. to read Words of Radiance this weekend because I adore this world and the build up that Sanderson has got going on. I love most of the characters, and I’m looking forward to reading more about them, especially Dalinar and Hoid, and hopefully connecting more with Shallan now that certain things have happened. I’m currently working on a recap for Recaptains because I want to go into Words of Radiance with this book fresh in my mind, because The Way of Kings is EPIC.