Aug 31 2010 12:07pm
In a Kingly Way: Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings

Brandon Sanderson has often said (and I have quoted ad nauseam) that any author who grew up on Robert Jordan has a great epic of their own to tell. Without a doubt, The Way of Kings is Brandon’s. We have grand battles, both arcane and new magics, compelling characters, and a strange new world called Roshar.

What really strikes me the most about The Way of Kings is how different it is from Brandon’s other work. I’ve read Elantris, the Mistborn Trilogy, and Warbreaker, and this is really nothing like any of those. Of course, on closer inspection, this is also the first novel Brandon has written cover to cover since he took on the Wheel of Time.

Which of course might make one think that I’m about to say this reads like a Robert Jordan novel. To the contrary, despite Brandon’s concept of scope being on par with Jordan’s, this is quite a bit different. We have no simple farmboy to follow out into the world, but instead three savvy (in their own rights) characters already dealing with a world wracked with war and intrigue.

And the world does indeed feel vast. Aside from the two major locations of action—which are spaced massively apart—we see numerous glimpses all over the world in the interludes, where several one-shot characters and one repeating (but only in the interludes) character take us around the world and give us worldbuilding we need for the story in an almost short story-like format.

Alas, this isn’t a completely glowing review. I would feel that I lacked due diligence if I did not warn of a simple thing: this book is nearly overwhelming. Clocking in at a hefty 1001 pages (in the advance reader’s copy version), there is a lot going on here: several styles of magic, more races than you can shake a Shardblade at, and a world with an ecosystem unlike any that I’ve read before. While all of these elements are wonderfully pulled off, altogether they start making you ask “who went where with the what?” The illustrations help a lot, but my advice: don’t start reading this without a lot of mental focus to devote to it. The book is a fun read, but hardly casual.

Also, the two main plots, while related and actually occasionally even interacting, have two very different climaxes and resolutions, and it is a good thing this book starts off clearly stating that it is a “Book One.” So yeah, if I have any gripe, it is that this book doesn’t even begin to say “yeah, I could stand on my own.” Conversely, the book does deliver and makes me want to read the next.

In short, bravo, Mr. Sanderson, and well played. You now have three books forthcoming that I am frothing at the mouth for (the other two being The Wheel of Time, of course).

TO MY COMMENTORS: Please be kind enough to say whether or not your comment has spoilers in it. That way, if someone wants to peruse the comments, they can know. Shame we don’t have a “hidden quote” feature. Ah well.


I am going to say one thing up front, though. This book has a lot going on in it. A LOT. I am typically a very meticulous reader (it took me about a week of hard reading to get through The Way of Kings), but I am sure there are things I have missed or was confused by. I welcome any and all to correct me, although I will go ahead and in advance say I’m not going to edit the post either. These are the thoughts I took away after reading the book.

Plot Thread: Kaladin

The marketing blurb on the back of my review copy unabashedly referenced Ben Hur when talking about Kaladin. Boy, was marketing right. Kaladin’s plot by itself is a book. In a disjointed order, we find out that Kaladin is a doctor’s son who enlists to protect his brother who is drafted, fails, kills a mega-magical-knight, refuses to become one himself, then becomes a slave. From there he works his way up while learning that he is a magician who can harness the magical Stormlight. His final climax, where he regains his self-confidence and honor by saving Dalinar, was made of as much awesome as such a scene should be and was honestly the most satisfying of the book’s climaxes. Of course, as Kaladin is the single character to get Points of View through every section, I would hope so. Sadly, the fact that his plot is tied to Dalinar’s kind of made his satisfying climax fall short.

Plot Thread: Dalinar

Dalinar is an interestingly written character, both strictly in plot and also in his circumstances. He is a politician and a general, but he is likely going insane. His plot mostly revolves around him trying to find a way to end the war with the people who killed his brother, but honestly, this plot never really gets off the ground. With how the story was paced, I was expecting a crushing victory for the Alethkar armies, but instead it ends with a betrayal by a person who had a third, even deeper layer that was the same as their first (like with pie). Granted, due to Kaladin saving Dalinar in the end, Dalinar now has the power to pursue and possibly end the war, but the whole thing almost reeked of a phantom menace. Yes, that Phantom Menace. Martial maneuvering for a person to gain political power. I don’t think anyone involved was a Sith Lord, per se, but Sadeas, the betrayer, comes pretty close. And he does sort of get a lightsaber out of it. All in all, Dalinar’s conclusion left me wanting more out of all the viewpoint characters, and not in a “when’s the next book coming out” sort of way.

Plot Thread: Shallan

Shallan’s climax was much better, if completely unrelated to the rest of the book. (Wow, did I just write that?) Okay, she is with the king’s sister trying to steal her magical transmutation device, the Soulcaster. (Not helping!) She even succeeds, almost leaves, then is poisoned and nearly killed by her love interest and then saved by said sister. (I...oh nevermind.) The way it wraps up actually makes me happy, but the other questions left me annoyed. What is up with the “symbol-spren” who give people the power to soulcast without a Soulcaster? Why does Shallan have a Shardblade, and what exactly happened the night her father died? Unlike in Kaladin’s plot, where questions like this taunt us from the first pages and are finally answered, Shallan’s never are. (She’s a tease?) That is acceptable, I guess, but I would have liked just a little more meat from her past. Oh, and I am also totally calling red herring on the Parshman-Voidbringer theory. It fits too well, and Brandon did grow up reading Jordan.

Plot Threads Overall

Overall, I am actually pretty happy with the plot. It was a little, um, epic? Yeah, epic for a first novel. I remember in a writer’s track session with Brandon at JordanCon that he spoke on how it is important to ease a reader into the world, usually with a naïve person the reader can sympathize with. We didn’t get that, but really all it means is that we have to be a little more attentive while reading. The interludes give us important backstory or worldbuilding that would have been clumsy in the main plots, although I will admit they are sometimes a little blunt or quick in providing the information just in time for it to be useful for us in the main plot.

Worldbuilding: Magic

Okay, moving on. Let me list out the magics, just as I can count them off the top of my head:

Shardplate and Shardblades: Which may or may not be unique in their style.
Fabrials: Science-like devices that use Stormlight.
Soulcasters and soulcasting: The first being a special fabrial that allows anyone to do the second, which some people can do with just raw gems. Basically the ability to transmute things.
Surgebinding: the ability to take Stormlight into the body, strengthening it, and then being able to redirect it into the Lashings, which, um, make things stick together. Kinda.
Spren: Magical beings that associate to things, such as flamespren, windspren, honorspren, fearspren, deathspren, etc. They can bind to a human to make him a Surgebinder.
The Old Magic: Some strange magic system hidden in a valley somewhere that gives you a blessing and a curse. Dalinar can’t remember his wife because of this. (Oddly, that is the blessing.)

Now, yes, all of these are connected via the Stormlight, but at the same time, fabrials are basically science, but Soulcasters, Shardplate, and Shardblades are all ancient, irreplaceable, and oddly unique in what they do. Magical, even. Surgebinding is all but forgotten, except for Szeth, and seems to have nothing to really do with the others. The spren don’t even really seem to have anything to do with the magics, except that they can apparently make someone into a Surgebinder. And the Old Magic is just out of left field, really. As I said above, these are all well-created magics. But especially when we got to the Old Magic, I will admit I rolled my eyes and thought “Another magic system?”

Worldbuilding: Races

If it is one thing Roshar has, it is a lot of people. And not just “people.” I cannot even begin to remember all of the types of humans, but it was as many as there were countries. Apparently blood does know nationality, and at a glance you can tell where a person is from, be it a Horneater, a Thaylen, a Jah Kevedan, a Parshman, or any numerous others. We are talking some people have blue or red skin, some have dangling, droopy eyebrows, or sometimes they just have crazily colored hair. I found it interesting, but I can’t help but admit the hidden biologist in me wondered how well they could intermarry. It is implied that four nations have some shared blood, but the world has far more than that. I almost feel bad, though, because at the end of the day, it almost just feel like all of the races were becoming a “planet of hats.” Especially when it turns out that each nation has a “national job,” such as Parshmen being mindless servants, Thaylens being traders, Horneaters are cooks, and Athelkar is full of warriors.

Worldbuilding: Roshar’s Ecosystem

Brandon does everything he can to take us away from the familiar with this world. Only one small section of the world has topsoil and a “traditional” ecosystem. The rest of the world is made of stone as soil is unable to withstand the forever westward-blowing highstorms. Giant crab-like creatures are used like oxen, mud falls from the sky, and numerous strange beasts inhabit a world where the only familiar creature besides a human is a horse, and those are rare. I’m going to admit, all the talk of rockbuds and cremlings kind of bogged me down, but it was interesting. Sadly, much like the old joke about Robert Jordan spending two pages describing the bushes around the Winespring Inn, I fear that the sheer amount of time Brandon has to spend on realizing his world to us will be off-putting to all but the most entrenched of epic fantasy fans. In short, this is definitely not a book to suggest to a friend new to speculative fiction.

Worldbuilding: Illustrations

One thing I didn’t talk about much in the spoiler-free part was the illustrations. Part of the reason is that I haven’t seen half of them. Yeah, I’ve read the book, but the advanced copy I was given was fraught with blank pages and notes of what was supposed to be there. What I did get to see, though, thoroughly enhances the story and even made the last point easier to handle. Shallan is a naturalist, after all, and her sketches of animals and the like are part of the illustrations I did get to see, at least. Likewise, Navani’s notebooks were interesting not only in letting us see how fabrials were thought of by someone who made them, but they also let us see what the soundwave-like written language of the world was like too.

Layers (like an onion or a cake)

The illustrations naturally segue to my next thought: this is a book to be traversed, not just read. I was about three-quarters of the way through before I realized there was more to the chapter headings than just the changing icon. No, the faces in the framer were changing too. What do they mean? I don’t know. I tried to start coming up some ideas, but I was so busy with other things on my mind, it was a little numbing. Granted, this isn’t as bad a brain-mush-maker as House of Leaves, but between the layers of the illustrations, the plots, the worldbuilding hidden in the interludes with what will probably turn out to be important actions later, and very way the world is built, it is a lot to take in.

In Comparison to Brandon’s Other Books

Hold that idea for a moment. Now then, one thing I really want to talk about some more is how this book is different from anything else Brandon has written. Small story time: I read Elantris after The Way of Kings. This also means after Mistborn and Warbreaker, let alone The Gathering Storm. As I read Elantris, I was actually chuckling at how much of Warbreaker and Mistborn I saw in them. A small group of nobles trying to overthrow a tyrant king, a conspiracy out of left field that needs stopped, and this feeling of multiple god-like beings giving magic to a people. Of course, those gods are the Shards of Adonalsium, which are mentioned by name in The Way of Kings, and I won’t bore you with much on them except to point you to Brandon’s forums where they are discussed.

But, what I’m getting at here is that The Way of Kings is very unlike Brandon’s other writing. That this was written after he has grown as a writer in the writing of The Wheel of Time is obvious. The writing just has a more epic feeling to it without being over the top, and he has moved past his original comfort zones. The action takes place in more than just a single city, to the point that I do feel like this is going on in a world. Mistborn was starting towards that in the third book, but that still really felt like just a large city, not a world. Roshar is a world, no doubt. I am somewhat worried that Brandon might have gone too far, though.

Because it gets down to what I said in the spoiler-free free part. There is almost too much here. (Yes, you can stop holding the idea from above.) I am undoubtedly going to need to read the book again several times before I’m comfortable with what there is to know about Roshar, and even then, I feel somewhat daunted by the hint of what I don’t know. Perhaps if I had the actual world map (which was absent) or the other half of the illustrations, I wouldn’t be wondering as hard, but I don’t think so. I heard Brandon say this is supposed to be book one of ten, and he can hardly give it all up in the first. I just, oddly, wish there had been less forshadowing. Is that strange? Perhaps it is more that I wish there was less obvious foreshadowing.

Final Thought

This is a great book. It is just not an easy book. Give it time, don’t skim, and don’t be afraid to go read some threads over in the fan communities, such as Stormblessed. I think the Stormlight Archives are, all-in-all, off to a great start and I look forward to the next one, even if I know I need to read this one again before I can read that one. Fortunately, it will be a bit before we see said next one, so at least I have time.

Richard Fife is a writer, blogger, and working on a Stormlight-powered device to go into the future so he can read the books already. He may or may not also be a chull in disguise. You can read more of his ramblings and some of his short fiction at http://RichardFife.com.

Gabriele Campbell
1. G-Campbell
One way to deal with spoilers is to chose a white font for the text so readers need to highlight it.
Gabriele Campbell
2. G-Campbell
Brandon and TOR are evil, I have to say. :) I didn't want to start another big, unfinished epic series, but the preview chapters on this site and the mostly positive reviews that keep coming up in the blogsphere make me want the get that goodie. Now.

Ah well, it can replace Malazan on the Ongoing Series and When Will the Next One Be Out-list. ;)
3. FiFo
I am waiting for this one to come here (in Iraq) any day now...for once i hope to choose a Book series & stick up with it from the first book to the last...& hopefully as well someday i finish my first novel as well (i hide the manuscript in my school bag)
Rikka Cordin
4. Rikka
I want to see the illustrations I missed! I think I might go page through a release day copy just so I can see 'em.

Also. SPOILER: Am I crazy or does Shallan has a Shardblade?
Richard Fife
5. R.Fife
Rikka-Spoiler @4
D'oh, I brainfarted and wrote soulcaster. Meant the other. You are not crazy, it just never explained.
Post now corrected as that is what I meant to write.
Dorothy Johnston
6. CloudMist
I'll hold off on reading this until I buy myself a Kindle for Christmas but, given that this is Book 1 of a 10 book series and after checking on Audible on how long the audio version is (45 Hours!), it occurs to me that Michael Kramer and Kate Reading won't have to worry about where their next paycheck is coming from for a long, long time. Also, who wants to volunteer to run the WOK FAQ?
Christine Evelyn Squires
7. ces
I just got my book. All 1,007 pages of small text with a small leading.

It's going to have to wait though - 4 books, averaging 800 pages, are in line ahead of it.
8. steve.godecke
I'm pretty sure the WOK FAQ will effectively be a wiki, on one site or another (17thShard?), and it will "run" off the combined efforts of many, many curious and dedicated fans.

Thanks for the link, Richard!
Bouke de Boer
9. Bouke
G-Campbell @2: That is exactly how I feel, but somehow I can't manage to be bothered by it...
Because of the sheer awesomeness of it, obviously!
Kalyani Poluri
10. pvslkalyani
" Horneaters are cooks " - Not all of them are.. If a family has 4 sons, then the first 2 produce food, the 3rd one cooks them and the 4th one will be the warrier..
**SPOILER STOP********
Your review is awesome though.. You have to get the hardcopy and see the remaining artworks.. Its just amazing.. I am totally digging that time traveling fabrial.. If you manage to build one, any chance of lending it to me ???? :)
11. Jon E F
Fife: I think you are wrong about the Voidbringer-Parsh red herring.

It makes total sense to me.
*spoiler text in white*

1. Parshendi assassinated Gavilar at the beginning of the book. In his dying bit he gave Szeth a "darkness sphere." I think that is what they wanted to get back (them getting such a crystal might allow them to kick off the next Desolation).

2. The Parshendi are gathering gems and gemhearts on the Shattered Plains. And before that when Dalinar first encountered the Parshendi, they were hunting gem producing Chasmfiends (or similar creatures) in some forest. Perhaps a rare Chasmfiend can produce a new "darkness sphere."

3. As the Voidbringers, they bring the void. One of Dalinar's flashbacks had the "Essences of Midnight" which might be created using light from a "darkness sphere." Perhaps the energy from the sphere would allow all Parshmen everywhere to become Parshendi.

4. The Parshendi recognized Kaladin's Surgebinding and had a name for it. It scared some off. Humans might've forgotten what the Knights Radiant really were, but the Parshendi remember.

5. Finally (not really spoilery), a major part of the story is first presenting the general (mis)conception society has, then presenting the truth. Why would Jasnah be needed to make the announcement if it were wrong? Jasnah reinforcing a commonly held conception does nothing to advance the plot.
For example: We are first told the Knights Radiant betrayed the humans. Then we see in a vision that their "betrayal" was quitting their duty. Jasnah's "revelation" gives a reason. The Knights Radiant stain themselves by killing Voidbringers (and their creations) and then the humans they tried to protect enslave the Voidbringers and allow them to infilitrate society? That totally wastes their effort (and the hardship killing includes). If I was a KR, I would quit too!

The eye-color society heirarchy seems to be intended to be an example of the wrong way, a way that leads people to behave in "dun" behavior instead of the "infused" way of the Knights Radiant (and Kaladin). I got the impression that no Knight Radiant would engage in a duel to win a Shardblade/plate (this assumes they couldn't manufacture them as needed).

That's all. I love this book (I am about 40% through my second reading). I might just have to pull a "Misery" on Sanderson to get the rest of the series out faster (kidding... mostly). I haven't read any of Sanderson's other books (except The Gathering Storm).
Joshua Patterson
12. Greenpat23
Rikka @4
Shallan does a shardsblade she recieved it the night she murdered her father. Which she confesses to the symbolhead spren/ soulbinding spren to gain admittance to shadesmar. Which of course is a whole other story. She also makes reference earlier in the book that her sin was only 10 heartbeats away and again references the night her father died. Also after Jasneth kills the four criminals, Shallan thinks to herself that she had a weapon but never thought to draw it.
Jon E F @11 completely agree the parshendi as voidbringers and the dark spheregiven to Szeth. Also before galinar dies he tells szetht o tell his brother to find the most important worda a man can say, which Kaladin says when saving Dalinar. Which cause the Parshendi to become afraid of Kaladin.
Antoni Ivanov
13. tonka

The parshendi become afraid of not what he says but of what he does. I don't think that's the words Galivar meant.
Antoni Ivanov
14. tonka
Richard Fife:

There is almost too much here. (Yes, you can stop holding the idea fromabove.) I am undoubtedly going to need to read the book again several times before I’m comfortable with what there is to know about Roshar, and even then, I feel somewhat daunted by the hint of what I don’t know

I never wanted to know everything there is about the World the book describes (in epic fantasy). There are still many things I don't know about Wheel Of Time World, but if I need to know anything I will refer to the appendix (although WoK doesn't have one, I don't doubt that in month or so there will be comprehensive wiki about everything in Roshar).

After all it's a World (a new one). I don't know everything about Earth, I don't expect to know much about a imaginary one. I like that there are many details, because they make it all more realistic, feeling like it is something really big.

They help me to feel like I am in this world, I know I will forget most of them, that's not really important, because in the moment I read them there were there, helping me create a fantastic and beautiful picture in my mind.

15. ka243
The world map is included in the book. It was probably not in the ARC which Mr. Fife read.

I completely disagree with this statement: "
So yeah, if I have any gripe, it is that this book doesn’t even begin tosay “yeah, I could stand on my own.”

The author fulfills on the literary promises to the reader
and the most important plot threads are resolved. See below.


Kaladin has escaped slavery and the most downcast position in society to become a batallion lord after discovering his power as a future knight radiant and acting heroically and selflessly by saving Dalinar's company.

Shallan has realized that there are things more important than just her own family and has become friends with her mistress whom she distrusted at the beginning engaged in the battle to discover and bring down the voidbringers.

Dalinar discovers that he must be more active in his desire to save the kingdom by taking charge of things, that he's not going insane at all and that he has an even more important mission to accomplish, and that its OK for him to love his brother's widow without dishonoring his memory.

I'd say that was a LOT of resolution allowing the book to totally stand on its own bot leave us also anticipating the next book.
16. ka243
Highlight the section of white font text below my "SPOILERS" note to display the spoilers. I really liked this book. The only part that i found myself wanting to go fast to get by were the very early parts of the flashbacks of kaladin before he became a slave.
They were very well written and interesting, but I was so interested in how he would deal with the conflicts as a bridgeman that I wanted to get back to THAT part as soon as possible. By the way, I finished this book in like 4 days.

The more you read, the harder it is to put down.
17. wctracy
Hey R.Fife-- Great to talk to you yesterday in line at the Sanderson signing. Reading books like this are like eating an entire box of my favorite cookies, with no side effects!
This review (the first part anyway) really captures what he was talking about. Of course, I shall read the spoilers after I read the book...
- The guy in the Lego shirt
18. Freelancer
Heya Rich,

I finished last night. I'm still boiling over. I'm a fairly careful reader (as proof, and not bashing, I noticed at least 45 typos or grammar misses), I never skim, and I determined to take it nice and slow, no more than 150 pages a day.

All that to say this. I never once wished for the pace to pick up (or slow down); I never once considered skipping a single sentence; I never once set the book down after a session and thought it was a struggle to reach the day's quota. I wanted badly to keep reading, but I wanted even more to be sure I was assimilating the entire story as it unfolded. And for me, it flowed.

The actions and dialog were kept quite interesting throughout, with a variety of twists, achievements, setbacks, minor/major victories, and just good stuff. I picked up on one easter egg of tribute to Robert Jordan that made me grin like an idiot (at least I believe it was, and plan to ask Brandon when he's in town here).

As for the overall scope and magic systems, anyone who has kept up with Brandon's blog was warned that the Stormlight Archive will end up with more than a dozen magic systems. We've only just cracked this can, and I'm fine with that.

I loved it, and as the lolcats say, "Can I haz moar, nao?"
19. t_sedai
*** SPOILERS ***

Whew, just finished, and wow. Epic is right. I think I strained my hand holding that book all weekend. I have to say I agree that my initial feeling was that this had somewhat of a Phantom Menace feel, in that it very much felt like a beginning to an epic and while it is good on its own it isn't fully satisfying. A tasty appetizer, but leaving me wanting the main course. I felt the Kaladin story arc made this a finished book, but it is by no means a complete story.

Overall I have to agree with the "I liked it" sentiment. I will agree with earlier comments that the grammar/typo mistakes sort of threw me as there were a lot of them, but I suppose if the worst thing is picking on wild punctuation marks then it must have been really good. I definitly plan to read the entire series (even if it means buying a new bookshelf to house them all) because I feel that the best is yet to come. There were definitly moments of awesome but they were not packed as densly as I am used to from Brandon's other works. I have been spoiled previously in that this will be the first major Brandon Sanderson story that I will have to wait for the ending. I read Elantris, the Mistborn Triligy, and Warbreaker before WoK and the nice thing was I could read until it was done and I was satisfied with the ending. And one thing I gotta say is Brandon Sanderson knows how to write an ending (lucky for us Wheel of Time readers, hehe). So I really am looking forward for the rest of the books in the series because I fully expect them to get more awesome as the series progresses. (And, well, ok, technically I am waiting for more of the Alcatraz books, but they are different from his other fantasy so I am not going to count them).

There was a lot I liked in this book. Multiple magic systems did not bother me so terribly much, as I feel there must be more connecting them that we haven't learned about yet so I am not yet feeling overwhelmed. Indeed, the way Brandon uses science as a basis for his magic systems is always fun to play around with and try to figure out (spooky action at a distance communication writing devices, love it!). So although there is a lot already there I think there is a lot remaining to be explored and certain connections remaining to be made. We don't really know much about this Old Magic, or even spren (which are clearly important if we have at least 2 characters running around studying them. Also, alespren hehehe). Anyway, I think there is a lot more coming in the magic department and frankly, I can't wait.

In terms or world building, yes there is a lot; maybe almost too much. Or, well, maybe too much to grasp the first time around. It is dificult to keep track of what things were and what they are now and what still exists and what no longer exists. And with each realm seeming to have developed different names for the same god-like figures of the past it is even more difficult to put some things together (although I do appreciate the reality of this happening it does make it sort of hard to follow who is talking about whom a lot of the time). I expect that this will be easier to follow as the story goes on and as we get more perspectives and history.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned much is the awesome cast of secondary characters. Although there are important and interesting things afoot in the interludes, it really is the cast of awesome secondary characters that I can't wait to see again. I must say that I was excited at every Kaladin chapter not just because I liked him but because I really liked (or really hated) the people around him. The Dalinar plot just was not as fun to read (despite the fact that it really was advancing the overall story more than the other characters) because it lacked many of the awesome character interactions found in the Kaladin story line. Except for Wit, who is beyond awesome. Shallan... well, I was initially very excited because I picked up on the shardblade thing right away, and I was expecting some exciting stuff to go down. However, I found reading her to be somewhat annoying and the major revelation moments in her story were rather obvious. The best parts were at the end when she talked to Jasnah about the Pashendi/Voidbringers, and I am on the side of the fence that says this is not a red herring, although I do think there is more to it than just needing the black stone and ending the world. In any case, now that Shallan has had her "it's not all about me" moment I expect her to be more enjoyable to read as she should be less angsty and there will be more communication between her and Jasnah which could lead to interesting things and more magic stuff (yay!).

*********** SUPER DUPER SPOILER ***********
Also, the very ending surprised me. I mean, I knew Taln had to come back, but I totally thought Kaladin was going to be Taln reincarnated for this epic showdown (I mean, "He had a tendancy to choose totally hopeless fights and win them." Come on! Big red herring there and I totally ate it for dinner.

Anyway, overall very enjoyable and I cannot wait for more, although I suppose I have been saying that about certain other series for over ten years, so, yeah, I guess the waiting will happen, and at least we have some other things to look forward to in the mean time. (-:
Richard Fife
20. R.Fife
Good comments all. A few things that are SPOILERY!
(also, tried the white text thing, but the WYSIWYG editor was not being nice to me.)

1) I had somehow missed the black stone, probably as it is never mentioned again whereas the scrawled note was mentioned a lot. Also, why was Galvinar confused by it being the Parshendi that killed him. He seemed to be rather more wise in his last days than he is otherwise credited for, by how the story is making him out.

2) My call of "Red Herring" is more of a conspiracy theory than anything else, and I blame reading Wheel of Time for that. Yeah, Jasnah (which is pronounced with a "Y" at the front, FYI, found that out recently, same with Jah Keved) is probably right. For some reason, that kind of ticks me off, but I might just be irratible in general right now. Post-Con-Depression and all that.

3) Yes, this is a full story, I never meant to claim it wasn't. I continue to assert though that the "epicness" of Dalinar sucked Kaladin and his plot in. That Kaladin survived and learned to Surgebind, at least a little bit, seemed like finding Anakin in the larger scheme of the Galactic Empire starting to unravel. Not key to it yet, but he will be there at the right time for further shenanigans.
***************END SPOILERS******************
I'll reserve further comment for posts I'll be making about Dragon*Con, and I'll keep them unspoilery, so keep an eye out.
21. ka243
If you want to get a nice map of The Way of Kings, the artist for the book did an Epic Bookmark with a big detailed map on it. Costs 2 bucks with free shipping:


That is curious why he was confused as to why the parshendi would try to kill him. "The Parshendi? That makes no sense". I didn't think about that but its very interesting.
Either Gavilar thinks the parshendi are much better people than they really are (he does not know that they are the voidbringers) or he knows something we don't at this point and Jasnah is wrong and the Parshmen/Parshendi are not the voidbringers.
We know brandon is very good at foreshadowing and has liberty to do so since he has a lot of the series plotted out, so this could be foreshadowing something or it could be a red herring.
Kalyani Poluri
22. pvslkalyani
Hi All,

Spoiler *********************

In Prelude, when Kalak is walking through the battle field, he spots many kinds of blood and one of them is Orange.. So, the Parshendi are there in the battle.. That sort of cofirms the Parsh- Voidbringer theory.. Dont you think ???

Let me know what do you think ??????
23. Tracey C.
This has been a very helpful review, as you've explicitly described a good half-dozen things that make me realize that I would hate this book. So, thanks for saving me the time of reading it :)
Bernhard Fries
24. Iwan_Emmetowitsch
Just finished with the book yesterday, after 4 days of reading... Which is really huge, as I finished TGS in under 2 days.
Epic is truly the name of the game, from start to finish the book never stops at expanding/revealing the world with a pace which I found very good and easy to read and with an unbelievable amount of (really good!) action scenes.

I don't know if I am the only one, but rather than comparing tWoK with The Wheel of Time, I found it much more like The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Especially the scope of the Book, but also because of the similarities between tWoK and GotM. They both show us a vast and living world, with constant hints at what there is which we haven't even got a sniff off, but also with a self-contained plot.

That's also the, as I see it, reason why I don't compare it with WoT and The Eye of the World. For me there wasn't nearly as much foreschadowing or Worldbuilding in tEotW as in tWoK.

What I try to say, I guess, is that after reading tEotW my feelings toward the following books was more like: I want to know more about these characters, not so much plotinterested as I am now after tWoK! (In retrospect, with my knowledge of 12 WoT Books of course it's an entirely different matter, but it would be unfair to the author and the book to judge it against a whole series or against the first book of any series WITH the knowledge of the follow-ups!)

Hope anyone can get something from my rambling, thanks for the great review Mr. Fife,

25. Dr Pickle whip
I am reading this on my iPad and love it. The Illustrations are great on the iPad screen, nothing lost from the actual book, which I will still buy to put on my shelf... Whats wrong with me.

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