Review: The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson
by MW Cook
Even after all these centuries, seeing a thunderclast up close made Kalak shiver. The beast’s hand was as long as a man was tall. He’d been killed by hands like those before, and it hadn’t been pleasant.
Of course, dying rarely was.
Even without his contribution to The Wheel of Time, Brandon Sanderson is a valuable voice in the realm of fantasy. The Way of Kings, the first book in The Stormlight Archive, is his first shot at something with a scope as large as The Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire. I was a little wary as I picked it up.
I shouldn’t have been.
Like all of his books, the magic system is delicately defined and clever. But unlike books like Mistborn, the world is huge. I was worried about that only because when you read something with so many PoV characters you tend to love some and hate others. That’s what we all found with the Wheel of Time, right? (Oh no, not another Elayne chapter!) But with The Way of Kings I was surprised to see that I wanted to know what was happening with every character.
I enjoy how Sanderson is never afraid of pitting philosophies against each other in his works. Just like in Mistborn he examines concepts of sin vs purity, atheism vs religion and mortality vs ascendancy. And he does it all in ways that do not seem trite or preachy.
The Way of Kings tells the tale of a world at war from the point of view of warring surgeons, thieving scholars and mournful killers. The plot is deep and intricate. The characters are living and lovable. The cultures are many and true. I’m excited to see where this series will go. Pick it up. You won’t regret it.
– “Well, I myself find that respect is like manure. Use it where needed, and growth will flourish. Spread it on too thick, and things just start to smell.”
– “This last year in particular, you’ve become to be the person the others all claim that they are. Can’t you see how intriguing that makes you?”
– “You wonder why I reject the devotaries.”
“Most of them seek to stop the questions.”
– “Just an idle comment, nothing more.” He reached over, laying a hand on Kaladin’s shoulder. “My comments are often idle. I never can get them to do any solid work.”