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Archive for the ‘Stormlight Archive’ Category

The Way of Kings

Posted by spragujs on September 20, 2010

The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, is the first book in the planned 10-book Stormlight Archive.  This book is massive (1001 pages!), pretty (the end pages are fantastically colored maps, and there are other maps and drawings peppered throughout), and exceptionally interesting.  For an epic fantasy, Sanderson only included about 5 main characters with a couple of others that were fairly important to the story, but did not receive POV sections.  And yet, the few interludes and the main text of the story included quite a lot of history and culture of the world, if by no means all of it.  Roshar is indeed a large, fully realized, and fascinatingly inhabited place with history, religions, magic, and lots and lots of war.

I have read somewhere how people consider Sanderson’s characters to lean toward the trope of having strictly good vs. strictly evil characters.  At least for The Way of Kings (and probably with most of his other characters), I have to strongly disagree with this sentiment.  With the exception of 1 or 2 characters in this book, I’d say the characters are most definitely gray in nature.  (I may have a different idea of what “good” and “evil” are though too.  I take them as very black and white, not slightly off-white and dark gray.  Which would make any character hard to fit into a good or evil category by my definition.)

Also, I find it interesting how all of Sanderson’s non-YA novels have (at least to me) a post-apocalyptic feel.  I’d argue from what we’ve learned in the The Way of Kings that each Desolation more than qualifies as an apocalyptic event.  In the Mistborn series, they’ve been trying to rebuild ever since the Lord Ruler took over, and what they rebuilt wasn’t very shiny for most people.  Elantris experienced a natural apocalypse that changed a good portion of their society (though this event could be argued to be much smaller in scope than either of those above).  I can’t think of anything in Warbreaker that would officially count, but the feel for me nonetheless is post-apocalyptic.  (I have to admit though that I’m having trouble remembering that one very well, even though it was the most recent straight Sanderson novel I read before The Way of Kings.  I feel I could at least explain my impression if I could remember more detail…)

In any case, go read this book.  It’s so very worth it.  My one disappointment is that it’ll be at least 2 years before the next one is released (though I strongly agree that Sanderson more than deserves a break at this point)!  Enjoy!

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