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The Way of Kings
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on May 24, 2017
Original, beautiful, and most excellent. I don't remember why I added this to my reading list, but I'm incredibly grateful that I did. I usually read a review or three before starting a new book, going all the way back to when only print books were available and reading the blurbs led me to all kinds of new and interesting stories. I'm pretty sure I've read some of Mr. Sanderson' work before, but without reviewing his body of work, I'm unable to tell you what or even how I felt about it. But this is one of the best, if not the best, books I've read in the last 30 years. I'm almost afraid to pick up the next one in the series as I have work to do and don't know if I'll be able to get it done knowing that more of this world is available to unfold before my eyes. I don't think I've rated more than four or five books at five stars, but I had no hesitation here .

I do not think you will be disappointed with this book or the time spent reading it. And I suspect many of you will feel just as I do as to its place as one of the great fantasy novels of our time.
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on January 30, 2018
Brandon Sanderson is quickly becoming my favorite author. I grew up with Tolkein, Asimov, Herbert, and other gifted writers. Though I was young and didn't understand everything on the page, the stories came alive for me. I was also a huge fan of Orson Scott Card in high school, and the past 15 years of George RR Martin.

In my opinion Brandon Sanderson might just beat them all. I know that will be taken as blasphemous and borderline heresy, because Tolkein and Asimov are considered two of the greatest writers of all time. Just hear me out as to why I think Sanderson has something special with this series.

The Way of Kings is the first in a planned 10 book series in the Stormlight Archive. These 10 books take place on a planet called Roshar, a planet with a unique and rich history. While humans are present, the world is very different than our own. The world is a very unforgiving place, with hurricane level storms traveling across the world every couple of weeks, giant crab like crustaceans roaming the world, and trees and other plant life have evolved a rock-like resilience to the elements.

Right away you can see that this differs from the more traditional fantasy worlds of other authors. As if this isn't interesting enough, Sanderson goes one step further and introduces a magic system that hasn't been seen before. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil it, but the discovery of this "magic" (if it can be called that) is both interesting and refreshing.

Though this book and presumably all books in the Stormlight Archive will take place on the planet Roshar, Brandon Sanderson has done something even more ambitious with his books than other authors have attempted in the past. He has other series, such as Elantris, Mistborn, Warbreaker, etc that take place IN THE SAME UNIVERSE. Though these books take place in the same universe they take place on different planets, with different magic systems on each. How are there different magic systems? Well there is an explanation, (a really good one I might add) but for it to make sense, you really need to read the books. Do you have to have read one series first to enjoy another series? Absolutely not! That said, if you HAVE read some of the other books, there are numerous "Easter Eggs" that you will discover in some of the books that will make you smile.

There is an over-arching plot between all of the books in each of Sanderson's series in the Cosmere Universe, but that plot is still in its infancy. Sanderson has said he knows his end game, and thankfully he is a very fast writer. It is amazing to me that Sanderson can write so quickly and yet so well at the same time. The character development each of the characters experiences is amazing. Each is well written, and even though I get annoyed at some of the decisions the characters make, I am not annoyed at the WRITING of those characters. The characters don't always make the best decisions, because Sanderson writes them as humans, and humans make mistakes. There are twists in the books that would rate very highly on the M. Night Shamalayan scale. There are very few books that have made me tear up as if someone cut an onion in the room, but for some reason this book (as well as Words of Radiance and Oathbringer) has made me do so.

Do yourself a favor and buy this book. There's humor, romance, comedy, drama, and best of all, GOOD WRITING.
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on June 27, 2016
I absolutely LOVED this book. It was my first time reading a book by Sanderson and I was really blown away. It was surely the best Sci-Fi / Fantasy I have read in a VERY long time, perhaps ever. I'm a Terry Brooks fan from back when "The Sword of Shanara" came out, to give you an idea of the genre of Fantasy I go for. The first bit of this book was a bit confusing, not badly so, but you were thrust into this world with no context and slowly the characters and story are revealed in some incredibly clever ways. After a short while into the book, it is quite addictive. The way he developed the primary character plots through time movement was stunningly brilliant. As I said, it starts off a bit confusing as he paints out the character development paths, but as it reveals both character and story/plot through the book, you get a huge appreciation for how well he thought through all the various plot interactions to weave some truly grand, sweeping themes. Where I thought this book set itself apart is it was first (and refreshingly) an appropriately "mature" story without resorting to all the detailed carnality of a George R.R. Martin book (for which I stopped reading his stuff), while it also developed very complex characters that portrayed the internal human conflict that is both the tragic darkness of the human condition and yet also imposed against a backdrop of the deeply noble ideals we all strive for, and it did this without the existential pessimism of a recent Terry Brooks novel (sorry Terry, I love your stuff though!). Hope and pain painted against this beautiful backdrop of very REAL characters. I was so impressed with his ability to provide so much character detail without the book having a feeling of tedium or "too much" introspection. A brilliant balance, I thought. I really can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. Even given how long the book is, I would have been fine with it being longer yet. If all of his books are this good, I'm a huge fan now for sure. :)
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on September 15, 2016
I am a fan of most fantasy books. I've read G.R.R.M, Rothfuss, Goodkind, etc., but this is by far my favorite book. Sanderson does an excellent job telling the story from multiple points of view and this large book became a very quick read. I'm not a fan of all the characters, but I'm also not a fan of everyone I meet in real life, so I guess he does a good job portraying different types of people. There's plenty of character development and the story never seems forced or clunky. If you are a fan of fantasy, magic, or just well-written stories, then I highly recommend this book.
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on August 25, 2017
The title says it all. I. Became. Obsessed. Oh, you think I'm kidding? Let me explain. I bought the physical copy of this book due to a suggestion from a friend after finishing all of the Song of Ice and Fire novels (that are currently out). I started to read the first part of the book with the Heralds and then the second first part of the book with Szeth..and I couldn't get into it. The magic didn't make sense, the fighting was weird, I just couldn't get into it...but I pushed on.
I started to read about Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar, Syl, and Jasnah. I started to learn more about them, more about what was driving them, who they were, what they were about, what was going on with them, and it's like I've said before, I became obsessed. I HAD to know more. I took the book with me, everywhere that I went, picking it up and reading a few pages during small bits of spare time. I would think about it driving to work, the magic system, what was happening with the characters, what was happening with the world all popped into my head at weird times. I started to miss the book while driving so I bought the audible version of the book, even though I hated Michael Kramer at first (he gets better the more you listen). I bought the Kindle version so I wouldn't have to lug around my physical copy anymore...and so I could read on my web browser in between patients at work. When the physical copy got destroyed by my 2 year old daughter, I went and bought the book for the 4th time!
What I'm trying to point out is that the book is THAT good. Good enough to purchase it 4 times on 3 different mediums. The world is incredibly well built, the characters are well thought out and they truly become your friends, you root for the invite everything that they do, other characters you will hate, love, and hate again. Sanderson is that good. The magic system is so convoluted and hard to grasp, there is so much to it, it truly is a wonder and really amazes me.that somebody could think this all up and keep it all straight while writing it.
Please, if you haven't given this book a chance, do. I promise it is worth every single penny.
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on March 3, 2016
I wish I could provide a detailed review of the books in this series, however it has been my first fantasy series as well as my first pleasure reading since college. Due to not being able to compare it to much else, I will simply give a general impression.

I was unable to put this book down, especially mid way through The Way of Kings. I then read the second book of the series, Words of Radiance, in less than a week.

Brandon's story telling is wonderful. The world he has created is very unique and vibrant, just like the characters. The interactions between the characters themselves and the world are well done and entertaining. Dialogue and interaction is intense and captivating, while asides or thoughts of the characters are insightful and intriguing. The harmony of world story and the characters' stories forming into one is very well written and flows wonderfully.

In these books you will find action, mystery, and the right amount of comedy for this type of story. You will also find an array of characters who you will enjoy loving or hating, but who are all very human and relatable.

I will have more to comment on after reading more books for a comparison, but for now, I would list this as a must read for any who enjoy high fantasy, or are looking for an entertaining story.
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on September 4, 2017
I'm going to try to keep this short, or I'll end up writing 3 pages.

Great story, interesting characters, complex world, and magic that I'm interested in but is undeveloped as of yet. I was warned the story dragged a bit since this book was setting up the world, I never ended feeling that way but it's a long book so I can see some feeling that way.

The author was able to describe scenes in ways that drew you in but didn't drown you in details. AKA "Ready Player One" levels of detail that some people love but I find tedious after the fiftieth room description. I actually recieved a comment after who knows how many exasperated sighs followed by chuckles when a scene ended right after something important happened before you got to read the follow up a few chapters later.

The only part I didn't like enough to stand out were the flashbacks. Every time I saw "7 years ago" I winced. It's a common tool in literature and cinema but I would have preferred if the author had done it all at once. That said I always hate broken up flashbacks so it's a personal preference thing.

All that said this is an easy 5/5 that I definitely recommend and I'm so excited to read book 2.
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on June 25, 2017
Brandon Sanderson's "The Way of Kings" is truly a masterpiece in the world of epic fantasy novels.

The book inhabits a strange, almost alien, world that feels fully justified. Plant life and fauna reflect the nature of the world's weather patterns and geography. The history, culture, architecture, and mannerisms portrayed throughout the book's societies are believable and fascinating. Sanderson's 20+ years of imagining and re-imagining the story and world of the Stormlight series produced one of our generation's greatest and most realized worlds.

The characters themselves pop out the pages to confront you with their blatant realism and extremely interesting interactions with the world around them. Their toils with those around them and with themselves create an ever-progressing story that leaves you satisfied for the book in a holistic sense. What's important here is that the world seems to "move on" in its own pace. The main characters aren't the only ones participating in the current events of the story, creating a twisting story which seems to have a life of its own.

Ultimately words can do this book no justice, as it faces each and every problem that modern epic-fantasy novels face (especially when dealing with realism in spite of its fantastical qualities) and checks it off with resounding satisfaction.

If you're a fan of fantasy and wish to be placed into an immense world which you do not wish to leave, look no further!
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on April 3, 2017
Prior to reading the Way of Kings, I've never heard of Brandon Sanderson or any of his epic fantasy novels. Little did I know that I was in deperate need of his writing in my life without even realizing it!

I stumbled on The Way of Kings in a vigorous effort to read a fantasy novel that wasn't following the similar repetition of story-telling that I've come to find in a number of books. I downloaded the sample first, then quickly realized that I HAD to buy the entire book IMMEDIATELY. It was like falling down a rabbit hole with vibrant characters, a complex-yet-easy-to-follow story line and a world that I could almost reach out and touch if I stretched my imagination just a *little* more. I was captivated from the beginning chapters! There isn't a sappy romance but there is a building of palpable trust (as well as mistrust) both with and in the characters. There is some dark moments that are gruesome enough to make you cringe but not to the point of being completely turned off from the book. There are characters that will make you laugh out loud despite you're reading in a public space, feel the deepest sorrow and sympathy for as your heart hurts with them through their struggles and want to throw the book in frustration from the arrogance and self-righteousness they exude. You will be thoroughly engaged in this world, its characters and their obstacles. I highly HIGHLY recommend this story - which I recently found out is in the process of script writing for a possible movie AHHH!!! - and you will NOT be disappointed.
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on August 30, 2016
I picked up The Way of Kings at a huge discount from Amazon in preparation for a transatlantic flight. I usually try to avoid buying the first book of a series, especially an unfinished one, because of poor experiences, but Brandon Sanderson's established a little bit of credibility with me and it seemed like at least the first book would be a worthy standalone novel.

What's cool about Sanderson is that he thinks through his magic systems, and isn't afraid to drive them to their logical conclusion, D&D style. If a human figures out a system that's equivalent to magic, then he's going to keep using the same tricks over and over again. That's human nature, and it's good for magic systems in the series to reflect that.

His Mistborn series, however, focused so much on the magic system that the characters were barely sketched out. With 1000 pages, however, The Way of Kings does a much better job of character building. One of the protagonists, Kaladin, has a hugely long backstory that's largely told in flash-backs. It's well done and the character somewhat complex. Even though you know where he ends up, each plot twist is still a surprise: a sign of good plotting.

Most first novels are simply setups, but The Way of Kings does a good job of being more than that, doing world building (though fairly simplistic world-building --- don't expect Tolkein here!), conflict setup, back-story exposition, and world exposition all at once. None of the tropes of traditional fantasy are here --- nearly everything's fairly original, so don't worry that you're getting into yet another Western European Tolkein rip-offs with the serial numbers filed off: there's not a hint of elves, dwarves, orcs, or incantations here.

It took me weeks to get through this book, and the length of the book is such that I'm contemplating paying full price for the Kindle version of the sequel rather than repeated renewals of a dead tree book. If you know me that's about as high a compliment as I can pay any book.
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