December 18, 2010

The Way of Kings Final Reaction [review time]

The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.

The Way of Kings is a very promising beginning to a hopefully long and enduring fantasy adventure. It's exactly what I've been looking for. It's lengthy, and much of this first book is introducing the characters and the world, but those characters are interesting. Fascinating. Remarkable. And I can't really do them any justice without spoilers because its all about their secrets. Just trust me on this.

I've read some complaints that there isn't enough action, not enough going on. I completely disagree with this, but then my experience of reading this novel was three months of picking it up and putting it down for a while to keep up with my studies. Every time I picked it up Kaladin was overcoming some new and terrifying obstacle, Dalinar was admittedly grappling with the same issues (but grappling with, not whining about), and Shallan was up to something mysterious. The progression of each of these characters' struggles was beautifully paralleled by the revealing of their depth.

Most intriguing to me is the way in which, while Shallan is a well-flushed out and complex character, I still just can't believe her actions and her motives. Not to say that they are unrealistic, but to say that she is driven to do terrible things that are difficult to understand, and we're left with a bit of a cliff-hanger in terms of her character that Sanderson is sure to resolve in future novels. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Kaladin, Dalinar and the minor characters of the interludes, I constantly found myself counting the pages to get back to Shallan.

As I stated before, the world is creative and immersive, the magic and the plot are original and enticing. I hope this is the way fantasy goes in the future.

If you're looking for a hard-cover edition of The Way of Kings, get it here through my Amazon associate's link.


  1. HOW! KALADIN IS THE BEST CHARACTER!!! AHHH The last part when he finds out about his power, GOD DAMN! I was talking to myself saying "Ahh, shit this is great" How can you put the parts with Shallan infront of kaladin ahhh god damnit! That book was great. I even felt a tingle of fear when Shallan draw those robed dudes with the wierd heads that she couldn't see. DAMNIT! BEST BOOK EVER!

  2. Haha, I see where you're coming from and Kaladin's story certainly has more of the cool factor and got into the brilliantly imaginative. Perhaps I didn't articulate well enough what drew my to Shallan's story. How often do we have characters that we want to see as protagonists commit actions that are incredibly morally ambiguous to the point of making us wonder whether they really are the good guy after all? and furthermore, how often are we presented with characters like Shallan where we don't understand their motives but we're willing to wait 'til the next book for you to tell them to us? I've rarely seen an author pull off such a character so flawlessly. It's tricky, because if your reader can't follow the characters' motives, it becomes hard to relate to them, which is never a good thing. But Sanderson gave us just enough to balance the relatability and the hidden motive.