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The Way of Kings Mass Market Paperback – May 24, 2011
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.
Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.
It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.
One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.
Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar's niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan's motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.
The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.
Speak again the ancient oaths:
Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.
and return to men the Shards they once bore.
The Knights Radiant must stand again.
Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson
The Stormlight Archive
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
The Mistborn trilogy
Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series
Alloy of Law
Shadows of Self
Bands of Mourning
Other Cosmere novels
The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
The Scrivener's Bones
The Knights of Crystallia
The Shattered Lens
The Dark Talent
The Rithmatist series
Other books by Brandon Sanderson
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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
- Publisher : Tor Fantasy; First edition (May 24, 2011)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 1280 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765365278
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765365279
- Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
- Dimensions : 4.31 x 2.04 x 6.72 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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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
I'm always looking for fantasy books and I knew this was very popular so, after a few years I've decided to try it.
I can stomach the childish depiction of characters but I cannot bring myself to accept the utter idiocy of the setting. The opening is painfully bad: an all powerful assassin kills a king and his guard by having superpowers taken straight out of videogames. Then we are introduced with the hero, who, of course, rejects the greatest conceivable honour in the world out of pure spite.
He is then spared his life out of sheer plot armour, and the reader is left wondering why he hasn't been killed for constant rebellion. His mates are all killed, but he survives because, oh, he's sooo special.
Slaves are paid a living wage so that there is a way for the hero to earn money because it's needed by the story.
When the hero screws up, his senior officers are killed immediately but he's instead given a chance to survive, and, not very surprisingly, he does.
Then there is a war in the Shattered Plains: for six years the warriors, instead of fighting, go looking for overgrown shrimps to steal the enormous emeralds that grow inside of them. I kid you not, this is the primary purpose of the war: not beating the enemy but killing the shrimps while they're pupating (to turn into what, an enormous blowfly?) before the enemy slays it.
The entire strategy works like this: the entire army is sitting idly, wearing fashionable scarves and drinking wine. A horn sounds in the distance announcing that a shrimp has been found. The warriors scramble to arrive first, before the enemy but, more importantly, before the other commanders. The moronicity of the portable bridges defies belief.
The idiocy never seem to finish: soldiers with organic armour, illiterate kings with learned wives, even the regular storms that make magic. The hero, of course, discover magic that has been hidden in plain sight for countless years. In a specific kingdom, people live with feet constantly in two inches of water. In another, people eat horns and shells. For some reason, on a different planet, people know of Japanese katas. I could go on for hours: avoid this book.
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.