07 October 2010

The Way of Kings

First I'd like to do a little dance to the tune "I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!"  Because The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is, after all, a 1,007 page book.  Fortunately, it didn't feel that long, maybe more like 700 pages.  Which is still long, but not as long... more like two regular novels rather than three.

The Way of Kings has three main characters: a general, a slave, and a scholar.  It has religions, magics, science, history, visions, thieves, aristocracy, soldiers, slaves, characters who know too much, characters who know too little, romance, treachery, battles, betrayal, and so many twists you'll see some and think you're safe (you're not).  I love the scholar, the heretic atheist Jasnah, and her apprentice, the questioning devout with an agenda Shallan.  They're a brilliantly written pair of women, particularly Jasnah, who strikes the perfect balance of surety and uncertainty that is present in scientific thinkers of all ages.

This is a book that's obviously going to appeal to fantasy fans, especially those with a history of enjoying the epic fantasy sub genre (think door-stopper books).  But I have a small plea, if I may: Try it.  Yes, it's 1,007 pages.  Yes, it's full-blown high, epic fantasy.  Yes, it's the first of a ten(?) book series.  Yes, there are some made up words and odd names.  Despite all that, or perhaps because of the author's skill with those traits, it's a wonderful Story.  No fiction or mystery or romance author world-builds like this and it reveals something subtle about the way you and I perceive life.  Besides, if you don't like it, think of all the hassle you'll save yourself by not being able to buy the rest of the as yet unwritten, unpublished series!

My more complete review can be found here on Goodreads (minor spoiler warning).


  1. And, you forgot to mention, should they not like it, it can still be used as a doorstop!!!

    ...kidding, kidding, only kidding. I would never condone such a misuse of a book.

    But in any case, I agree with your recommendation to pick it up. I'm trying to push it on friends of mine, starting with the ones who read fantasy & sci-fi, though possibly not monsters like Way of Kings.

    And fyi, Laney and I have come to a conclusion: you're totally Jasnah, and Laney's totally Shallan. ;)

  2. It's true! The ultimate investigative, hidden power duo! Now if only we could find an application for that in the real world...

    And I guess that means they need a 3rd partner who shows up a few years later, right? ;-)

    I loved Jasnah as a character (I know, you're shocked). I also felt like Shallan was the most identifiable character in the book. As my review states, I just couldn't identify with Dalinar and Kaladin at first.

  3. It's odd, as you'll find out once we discuss the book, but each of us had a different favorite of the three characters. You liked Shallan best, Laney liked Kaladin, and I preferred Dalinar's storyline. Odd.

    And yes, they absolutely do. Sanderson should get cracking on that. ;)