Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Stormlight Archive, The (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 1280 pages
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (May 24, 2011)
Author's Website: http://brandonsanderson.com/
Notes: I own this one.
Once upon a time there existed a world that held magic until it was suddenly taken away. Now, hundreds of years later, the kingdom is in turmoil as a power struggle is about to ensue, and four individuals will hold key roles in how it will all play out.
Kaladin was studying to be a surgeon when fate sent him on a very different path.
Shallan seeks an apprentice with Jasnah Kholin, but is hiding her true agenda, and it is not an altogether honorable one.
Delinar is a high prince and honorable man who vows to protect the present king, his nephew.
Szeth is an assassin who hates what he is, but sees no way out.
They saw one person can make a difference, but four? Four can change the world. The question is for the better or worse?
The Way of Kings showcases Mr. Sanderson's wonderful imagination. The world building is phenomenal with Shardbearers (people who wield Shardblades and Shardplates--magical types of swords and armor which make the bearer practically indestructible and unstoppable), Spren ('spirits' that "are the heart of change, and therefore the heart of all things."), and the Lost Knights of Radiance (men who were trained by the heralds to protect the weak, but allegedly betrayed mankind after the heralds abandoned man. No one, however, knows exactly how). There is a lot to take in but it is well worth it.
The author at times seemed rather long winded, but don't be daunted by it. In this book he is setting the scene and building up to something epic. He is also introducing us to all the main characters and giving us insight into their personalities and character. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Brandon Sanderson puts his characters to the extreme, and while some are found lacking, the heroes of the novel begin to show their true colors and stand out in this one.
What I love about this book is that you see the characters grow and morph as they jump hurdles, work through difficult and sometimes unbearable situations, and occasionally defy the odds. Helen Keller once said, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved." and Abraham Lincoln once said, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." Kaladin is by far my favorite character, and I can't help but wonder if Mr. Sanderson kept these two quotes in mind when he created him.
Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. The book is packed with betrayal, deceit, greed, and hope for a better world. While I adore the book, the jumping around in time was a tad bit maddening. As I stated in the beginning of my review, don't get discouraged--just keep reading. If you are really having a hard time, I recommend getting the audio book version and listening to it during your morning commute, while exercising, cleaning the house, etc. If you are a fan of epic fantasy, then this is a must read. Trust me, you'll kick yourself later if you don't. *grin*