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The Way of Kings Mass Market Paperback – Illustrated, May 24, 2011
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“I loved this book. What else is there to say?” ―Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind, on The Way of Kings
“Sanderson is a master of hooking the reader in the first few pages, and once again he doesn't disappoint. Fans and lovers of epic fantasy will find the ending satisfying, yet will eagerly await the next volume.” ―Library Journal, on The Way of Kings
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
- Mass Market Paperback : 1280 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765365278
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765365279
- Product Dimensions : 4.26 x 2.03 x 6.97 inches
- Publisher : Tor Fantasy; First Edition (May 24, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
This story is full of characters that are one-dimensional. They deliver dialog that is utterly dull and factual, blandly informing the reader of specific information that is relevant to another character, place, or event in history. Much of it (and there is indeed very much) is about as interesting as the menu options you receive when calling your health insurance provider. Worse, when there is anything subtle or interesting developing, the author pauses to deliver italics that spells out exactly what just happened, in case you missed it. To illustrate one particularly painful example, a group of royalty gathers for a hunt, and the reader is treated to scores of pages of unfolding intrigue and machinations, and then at the end, in italics: "Why...this is probably why they invited him on the hunt...so they could maneuver him." I seriously wonder how some readers can enjoy being treated this way.
So why 3 stars? Because there are parts of the book that are quite excellent. These sections really stand apart from the rest of the work, as if an excellent 200-page story, highly edited and polished, were written and then 800 extra pages of character and plot notes were added with a leaf blower.
Perhaps the most confusing piece of all this is the Acknowledgements. Sanderson credits more than forty people who guided and assisted him with this novel. I just can't understand how none of them could have mentioned what a mess the final product is.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
Then I started reading Steelheart and I was hooked. Often noted as a YA novel, that was still quite a great read (the whole trilogy about the Epics is). The moral of the story is not to judge an author entirely based on their, quite possibly involuntary, approach to completing another's work. If they can write even a short novel like that, I've misjudged them.
The Stormlight series is so much better, that I can barely imagine this was the person who so dreadfully completed WOT. It is downright fascinating, raises more questions than answers, and creates such a complex world with memorable characters, locations and a "lost in the mists of times" historical background, that you cannot put it down. I was reading the final chapter at 3am! It's well written and you will end this book needing a second, a third, just...more. I've avoided Brandon's other works, but The Way of Kings has converted me - it's an excellent epic read that looks set to be a voyage of discovery into what exactly is Roshan, what are sprens, does anyone know what this world's "magic" really is? Who or what is Odium? The mind boggles, my brain sparks with possible theories, and I press the Purchase button for Book 2...
My paperback copies of The Way of Kings are split into two volumes, and as with previous novels where this has been the case, I’ve chosen only to read the first half, then take a break and read some other things before returning to part two.
I found the story a little harder than expected to get into - it feels a little more formal and grandiose than some of Sanderson’s other work, and I’m not sure if this is a deliberate style choice (likely, as he does like to plan these things) or a side effect of this being his masterpiece and him subconsciously changing the style). The reader is dropped in quite quickly to several different characters and understanding and becoming used to them takes a while.
Once in though, this is another great book. The characters are rich, deep and rewarding. Their backgrounds and personalities varied and fascinating, with hints of more to be revealed, and it doesn’t take long to fall in love with them and want to follow their stories forever.
I've never read a book where I've felt so involved with the characters! You root for them and consistently want to get back to their story (referring to the book's chapter method of switching randomly between character stories).
On top of this, Brandon Sanderson has created a world like no other with creatures, religions, cultures and even the physical lands themselves all being unique and fantastical. I love fantasy but have never read a book where I've felt as truly.immersed in a world where I can physically picture it as a movie or TV show!
I would highly recommend this book if you're a fantasy lover and love to delve into other worlds!