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The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, The) Mass Market Paperback – May 24, 2011

4,049 customer reviews
Book 1 of 10 in the Stormlight Archive Series

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Stormlight Archive, The (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765365278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765365279
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4,049 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm Brandon Sanderson, and I write stories of the fantastic: fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers.

January 2015 marks the release of Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart. When only evil people gain super powers and become tyrants, it's up to normal people to hunt them down. There is a free 5-chapter preview ebook of Steelheart here on Amazon that you should check out, with a corresponding sampler audiobook on Audible. My Firefight book tour in the US lasts throughout January.

Recent short releases are Legion: Skin Deep (sequel to Legion), the further investigations of an average man whose many hallucinations are all experts in their own fields, and also my novella Sixth of the Dusk, set in the same universe as Mistborn and Stormlight, revolving around an attack on an island trapper's way of life.

My biggest recent epic fantasy is Words of Radiance, written as a love letter of sorts to the epic fantasy genre. It continues the story of the Stormlight Archive that began in The Way of Kings, and it's the type of book I always dreamed epic fantasy could be. October 2015 and January 2016 will also see the release of two new Mistborn books, Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning.

Mistborn and the Stormlight Archive are among my most popular works, as are my concluding volumes to Robert Jordan's epic series The Wheel of Time. My novella The Emperor's Soul won a Hugo Award in 2013. That year also marked the release of my first young adult fantasy, The Rithmatist.

Sample chapters from all of my books are available at -- and check out the rest of my site for chapter-by-chapter annotations, deleted scenes, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

805 of 856 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on August 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Here we go, folks: The Way of Kings, at over 1000 pages, is the first volume of Brandon Sanderson's projected ten-book series, THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE. At one book per year, we probably won't see the end of this series before 2020, especially given that Sanderson is first planning to finish up Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME. So, if you're looking for a new series to read, this one has some advantages and disadvantages: on the plus side, there will be a lot of reading material coming your way; on the other hand, it'll take quite some time for all of it to get here. Luckily, The Way of Kings is a very promising start to the series. Unlike what seems to be most of the fantasy audience, I haven't been a huge fan of all of Brandon Sanderson's work so far, but The Way of Kings is easily his best work to date.

The book has three main characters (Kaladin, Shallan and Dalinar) and a host of side characters, who occasionally also have chapters or "interludes" written from their point of view. The main story focuses on Kaladin, a surgeon's son forced to become a bridgeman -- a form of military slavery that involves carrying siege bridges in Alethkar's ongoing war with the Parshendi, who at the very start of the novel assassinate Alethkar's king. Dalinar is the late king's brother (and uncle of the current monarch), who along with nine other High Princes is running the war effort against the mysterious Parshendi. And finally, on the other end of the continent, there's Shallan, a young noble girl who wants to become the apprentice of Jasnah, a princess and famed scholar -- although Shallan's motives for seeking this position are not what they initially seem...

Of these characters, Kaladin is the most fascinating and well-rounded one.
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418 of 452 people found the following review helpful By Ries Murphy on July 10, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I felt when putting a title on this review that the final words of "The Lord of the Rings" would be somewhat appropriate. I, like Samwise the Brave, have returned from a great journey.

That journey lies within the pages of Brandon Sanderson's novel, "The Way of Kings".

There are a couple bottom lines I'd like to make clear before I discuss this book in more depth, and I'll go ahead and set them up here to prevent anyone from unnecessarily spending their valuable time.

1. "The Way of Kings" is the best book I've read in a while. 9.5/10 on my scale.
2. I've noticed a lot of reviews draw comparisons between "Kings" and Robert Jordan's "The Eye of the World" / "The Wheel of Time" series. This got me thinking - it's probably good that I make clear what I think of the three prevalent fantasy-series touchstones before I discuss this book so whoever reads this knows how my mind works. This reader loved "A Game of Thrones" as well as the subsequent series, but found books 4 and 5 quite tedious. My reactions to Robert Jordan's WoT series are lukewarm at best - I found "The Eye of the World" to be derivative, predictable, and a lot of the time very poorly written. This being said, yes, I enjoyed it for what it was. I loved "The Lord of the Rings," but have clearer and fonder memories of "The Hobbit".
3. Books like "Dune" tax my patience. Heavily.
4. I hate reviews with spoilers. Be at peace, wary reader. Here, there be no dragons.
5. This book is over 1200 pages long. I've spent about three weeks reading it. This review is going to be long as well, and arguably nowhere near as well written.
6. Did I mention that I didn't like "Dune"?

Now that we've gotten the introductions out of the way, on to "The Way of Kings" itself.
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345 of 380 people found the following review helpful By Bryce Cundick on September 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had the opportunity to read an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of a book a lot of people out there probably want to get their hands on, and I thought, "Hey! Here's a chance to review something in a timely fashion." So I read through all 1000 pages of said book, and I'm here today to review it for you. Aren't you lucky?

What is it?

It's the first book in a planned ten (count 'em, ten) book epic fantasy by Brandon Sanderson, fantasy author extraordinaire. He's well known for his Mistborn series, and much better known for being that guy who's finishing Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. (The next book's out in November, folks! Excited much?) This isn't just any ol' epic fantasy series, either. The back of the ARC says "What Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time has been to the fantasy genre for the last two decades, The Stormlight Archives (the name of the series) will be to the next." And while Sanderson persuaded Tor to keep that wording off the final, published book, any which way you look at it, the gauntlet was thrown. Sure, some of it could be an attempt at hype, but the thing about hype is that sooner or later, you can evaluate for yourself whether it's earned or not.

I'm here to tell you that in this case, the hype is earned.

I still vividly remember seeing Jordan's Eye of the World on the shelf at the library for the first time. I was at an age where I was choosing what to read based on book thickness alone. If it was really long and heavy, and it had something remotely related to fantasy on the cover, I checked it out and read it, usually three of those a week. Jordan's book stood head and shoulders above the other stuff I was reading. It was long, but fast paced.
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