Facebook Tweet Google+

RSS

The Way of Kings (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson

Audio Edition.    Dead Tree Edition.

Finished Aug 2018. Final score: 3 / 5.

The Way of Kings (Book 1)

Reason for reading:

I'm a fan of Brandon Sanderson.

Knowledge before reading:

None, other than I heard it has a non-ending.

TLDR:

If you want 3 good intro fantasy novels combined and stretched to 1000 pages, then here you go.

Dan's Full Review:

This is an epic book, both in fantasy mechanics and size. On one hand, it is hard to get too upset. We are given a diverse set of characters thrown in to interesting situations. On the other hand, after 1000 pages, nothing particularly remarkable happened. Everything was just a lead up to book 2.

It reminded me of watching a popular sci-fi series going in to extended seasons. The main goal is... "Don't want to upset the balance too much with anything groundbreaking. We want to milk this show as much as possible"

At the end of the book, it does throw us a bone. A couple of important revelations in each story arc is made. Those tidbits sure required a lot of reading to get there.

The book consists of 3 main characters:

  • Kaladin is a dark-eyed slave. Why is he skilled in such noble arts like fighting, surgery, and leadership? These are explained through endless flashbacks.

  • Dalinar is a high prince, second only to the king. Above all things, he values honor. He is an exceptionally skilled warrior and abhors needless killing. Despite being a fairly predictable caricature, his stories were enjoyable.

  • Shallan is a noble woman of minor stature. She heads off to a far away city to become the ward for a renowned scholar who happens to also be the king's sister. Shallan's goal is studying plus a bit of subterfuge. During her time with Her Majesty, she starts to respect the princess's odd beliefs. What ultimately happens is very predictable, though the book does manage to drop a few curve balls along the way.

There were various interludes throughout the book involving Szeth, an incredibly dangerous assassin with odd loyalties.

Some side notes: The whole "safe hand" / "free hand" for women was never explained. It seems to be just a quirk in their culture: A women's left hand should not be exposed. Also, the reason light-eyed people are higher rank than dark-eyed people is not explained either. An interesting character named Wit remarked (paraphrasing), "Is this method of selecting leaders any nonsensical than others out there?"

This book is needlessly long. If this book was given to me, I'd completely drop the Shallan story -she did not seem to serve much purpose- and reduce the Szeth interludes. That'd save a few hundred pages and give the overall book more focus. I'd also cut a few backstory chapters from Kaladin. Yes, his failure to protect his brother is an important part of his development. However, do we need additional backstories showing that he cares for his brother? Can we just assume he loved his brother since he is upset about the loss? Also, is the tension between Kaladin's father and the minor town aristocracy worth the chapters given to it? Cut all those.

Anyway, there is a truly excellent, focused, fantasy story buried somewhere in this 1000 page tome. The content that was present is good. The editor in charge just needed to trade his rubber stamp for a scalpel. For that, I deducted 1 point. The other lost point is the total lack of an ending. It ended with Book 2 feeling like required reading instead of an invitation to continue the story. I do plan to resume the story.

If you are willing to commit to the whole very long series, this was a great fantasy story. Consider yourself warned that book 2 is not optional.





About

Dan Nagle is a SW Developer and the founder of NagleCode. His apps have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and have been featured all over the internet. He resides in Huntsville, AL.

More Book Reviews

Score Title Date
3 Gone For Good by Harlan Coben Jun 2019
3 Throne of Glass (Book 1) by Sarah J. Maas May 2019
4 The Stranger by Harlan Coben Apr 2019
3 We Are Legion (Book 1) by Dennis E. Taylor Apr 2019
4 Archenemies (Book 2) by Marissa Meyer Apr 2019
4 Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Apr 2019
4 Renegades (Book 1) by Marissa Meyer Mar 2019
3 Darth Plagueis: Star Wars by James Luceno Mar 2019
4 The Consuming Fire (Book 2) by John Scalzi Feb 2019
3 Ask an Astronaut by Tim Peake Feb 2019
4 The Night Bird by Brian Freeman Jan 2019
1 Throne of Jade (Book 2) by Naomi Novik Jan 2019
4 His Majesty's Dragon (Book 1) by Naomi Novik Jan 2019
4 Skyward by Brandon Sanderson Jan 2019
4 The Coilhunter Chronicles by Dean F. Wilson Dec 2018
5 The Client by John Grishman Dec 2018
5 The Martian by Andy Weir Dec 2018
4 One Giant Leap (Book 2) by Heather Kaczynski Nov 2018
5 The Firm by John Grisham Nov 2018
3 The Verdict by Nick Stone Oct 2018
4 Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss Oct 2018
3 Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson Oct 2018
3 Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery Sep 2018
3 Royal Flush (Book 3) by Rhys Bowen Sep 2018
3 Words of Radiance (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson Sep 2018
3 The Way of Kings (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson Aug 2018
4 Alien: The Cold Forge by Alex White Jul 2018
5 NOS4A2 by Joe Hill Jul 2018
5 Elantris by Brandon Sanderson Jun 2018
4 Dare Mighty Things (Book 1) by Heather Kaczynski Jun 2018
4 14 by Peter Clines Jun 2018
3 The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven May 2018
3 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides May 2018
4 A Royal Pain (Book 2) by Rhys Bowen Apr 2018
5 Space Team (Book 1) by Barry J Hutchison Apr 2018
3 Silent Child by Sarah A Denzil Apr 2018
4 Mean Streak by Sandra Brown Mar 2018
3 A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons Mar 2018
4 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Mar 2018
5 The Grid by Gretchen Bakke Mar 2018
2 Dracula by Bram Stoker Mar 2018
3 Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle Mar 2018
2 A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow Feb 2018
5 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Feb 2018
3 The Collapsing Empire (Book 1) by John Scalzi Feb 2018
1 Infinity Blade: Redemption (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson Feb 2018
2 Infinity Blade: Awakening (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson Feb 2018
4 Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen Jan 2018
2 The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Jan 2018
3 Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff Jan 2018
2 The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson Jan 2018
3 Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford Jan 2018
1 The X-Files : Cold Cases by Audible Dec 2017
3 Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (Book 3) by Brandon Sanderson Nov 2017
3 Mistborn: The Well of Ascension (Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson Nov 2017
5 Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson Nov 2017
4 Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi Oct 2017
5 Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson Oct 2017
2 Where the Hell is Tesla by Rob Dirks Sep 2017
5 Heartless by Marissa Meyer Sep 2017
4 11-22-63: A Novel by Stephen King Sep 2017
5 The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson Aug 2017
4 Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future by John Scalzi Aug 2017
5 Replay by Ken Grimwood Aug 2017
5 A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle Aug 2017
3 Treason by Orson Scott Card Jul 2017
1 Stars Above (Book 6) by Marissa Meyer Jul 2017
5 Winter (Book 5) by Marissa Meyer Jul 2017
2 Fairest (Book 4) by Marissa Meyer Jul 2017
3 Cress (Book 3) by Marissa Meyer Jun 2017
4 Scarlet (Book 2) by Marissa Meyer Jun 2017
4 Cinder (Book 1) by Marissa Meyer Jun 2017
2 Red Seas Under Red Skies (Book 2) by Scott Lynch May 2017
3 The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book 1) by Scott Lynch May 2017
3 Crossing the Asymptote by Lysle Shields May 2017
3 It by Stephen King Mar 2017

Copyright © NagleCode 2007 - 2019.