From Publishers Weekly
This massive tome is the first of a 10-part epic fantasy series from relative newcomer Sanderson (Mistborn), best known for his efforts to complete the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. In a storm-swept world where history has dwindled into myth, self-serving aristocrats squabble over mystical weapons that render their bearers immune to mundane attacks. The ambitious scholar Shallan learns unexpected truths about the present, the virtuous aristocrat Dalinar reclaims the lost past, and the bitter and broken slave Kaladin gains unwanted power. Race-related plot themes may raise some eyebrows, and there's no hope for anything resembling a conclusion in this introductory volume, but Sanderson's fondness for misleading the reader and his talent for feeding out revelations and action scenes at just the right pace will keep epic fantasy fans intrigued and hoping for redemptive future installments.
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This colossal volume opens a fantasy saga clearly influenced by the Wheel of Time, which the author is in fact finishing. It’s a classic story of intrigue, magic, and war, with a large cast of characters and multiple settings lovingly detailed in a way only possible in volumes of this size. Two characters stand out. One is Shallin, a young woman seeking to enter the household of a royal princess so that she can steal a magical talisman and restore the tattered fortunes of her family. The other is Kaladin, a gifted young soldier enslaved for desertion, who fights his way back to freedom in battles on the Shattered Plain. There’s wit (Shallin’s amiably unscrupulous sailor protect Yod is a gem), magic (the weather is almost a character in its own right), and erudition (if the fighting on the Shattered Plain doesn’t owe something to WWI, this reviewer would be surprised). Readers will plunge into it, even as they send up cries for a glossary and cast of characters. --Roland Green