- The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Book Review: 4 Treasure Boxes
Book One of The Stormlight Archive
Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (August 31, 2010), Hardcover: 1008 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 9780765326355, ISBN-13: 978-0765326355
What if you lived in a world where the direction or weight of gravity can be manipulated? If up can become down, or objects can become weightless by reducing the amount of gravity they require. What if magic could be pulled from energy stored within gemstones? In The Way of Kings we are introduced to a new world, very different from our own with an interesting new twist on magic where this is possible. We are introduced to numerous players who initially seem to be totally unrelated, but as the story unfolds we begin to see how they are connected. It is the story of a land that is in reaction to the assassination of their king and they are seeking revenge against the Parshedi. Hidden within the ongoing war there are underpinnings of something sinister that is coming on the horizon.
The Way of Kings is the first book in The Stormlight Archive series, an anticipated ten volume set. This is the only book released in the series to date. Brandon Sanderson has also written the Mistborn Series, the Alcatraz Series, several stand alone novels and he completed the last three books in the Wheel of Time series working with Robert Jordan’s notes. The Stormlight Archive is high fantasy, taking place on a world known as Roshar and it is a land of stone and storms. The magic on this land is pulled from jewels which are infused with Stormlight. This energy comes from the many high storms which plague the land. The story is told in a third person narrative from the major character’s viewpoint.
The world in The Way of Kings is unique with an inimitable use of magic. I have read many fantasy books and I found the concepts in this book to be fascinating. I liked the way the story was weaved together, although it did take me a while to really understand what was happening and where it was going. The characters were really well rounded and very likable. As the book unfolds the history of both of the land and the players is gradually revealed within a thrilling story. There are some interesting concepts in this novel, like the men are warriors and do not read or write, only women have this capability.
Some of the key players include Kaladin, a young man who has great integrity but he faces several horrific challenges. Shallan is a young women who is a great artist and goes out on her own for the first time in hopes of saving her family from ruin, Szeth-son-son-Vallano is an unwilling assassin, and Dalinar Kholin a high prince of Alethkar who feels strongly guided to do the right thing. As the plot unfolds we begin to see that these four all have a vital role to play in the forthcoming approaching cataclysm.
This is really a book about values. There is a strong sense of spiritually in this book. In almost everything created either through emotion or nature there are sentient beings known as Spren. They appear and influence the people around them. Here are just a few: windspren, honorspren, fearspren, deathspren, rotspren, etc. In the long ago past there were the Nights Radiants, people who were armed by the Almighty with magical swords and armour to fight against the evil Voidbringers but then they just deserted humankind for some unknown reason. The Nights Radiants are guided to follow these main spiritual premises: “life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination”.
This book is really good and once picked it up it is hard to put down. The story built really well and come to a semi-conclusion. Some issues were resolved, but most were not, so although it did not end off in a cliff hanger, it also does not qualify as a stand alone story. I would like to read the next installment to see where the story is going, but we will now need to wait an indefinite length of time for the next book. I highly recommend this book, if you enjoy reading a good entertaining story in the high fantasy genre then you should give pick up this book