Thu
Mar 14 2013 9:00am

Introducing The Way of Kings Reread

The Way of Kings reread Tor.com Stormlight Archive

Welcome to Tor.com’s reread for the ginormous The Way of Kings. This project is being led by yours truly, Michael Pye (aka The Mad Hatter), for those not in the know. I’m very excited by the opportunity to gab with all of you about the world of Roshar. It truly is like nothing else in modern fantasy.

It is quite fitting that we’ve arrived at the point of focusing on Brandon Sanderson’s grand fantasy now that the author has finished The Wheel of Time and is fully prepared to move forward with The Stormlight Archive, his own multi-volume epic fantasy. While The Way of Kings is very influenced by The Wheel of Time, it is markedly a world all its own, although fans of the latter will definitely enjoy the former.

Tor Books has also just announced that the second book in this New York Times best-selling series, Words of Radiance, is tentatively slated for late 2013. So it is a very good time to get into the series before it grows larger. Because let me tell you: these are going to be some wrist-snapping reads as The Way of Kings clocks in at more than 1,000 pages.

Please join us as we journey into The Stormlight Archive with The Way of Kings, the start to the most epic fantasy series of this decade. Placed on the rocky and storm-filled world of Roshar, we begin after war has broken out between two powerful groups over the assassination of a powerful king.

The cast is large, but focuses on 3 main viewpoints and a smattering of others. We follow Bridgeman Kaladin on his Ben-Hur-like journey in the thick of battle against the Parshendi. Then there is High Prince Dalinar Kholin who is trying to avenge his brother while attempting to puzzle out how the conflict began in the first place. Shallan, a woman of noble birth, certainly keeps things interesting in the city of Kharbranth, located in a different part of Roshar. Her journey begins as a quest to save her family from the brink of financial ruin, but she ends up discovering secrets about the nature of magic in the world.

Like the characters in The Wheel of Time these are not static people. They are formed by the events around them and the decisions they make. And the best decision isn’t the norm for many of them, which leads to the drama we all love in epics of this sort.

And I haven’t even mentioned the magic yet and let me tell you this is some wild stuff. The very world is alive with magic, which can be collected in gems during massive hurricane-like storms (“highstorms”) which occur with regularity. And if you thought Sanderson had fun with magical swords in Warbreaker you haven’t seen anything yet. Shardblades in the Stormlight Archive can cut through anything—even your soul!

This reread will largely follow the format laid down by The Wheel of Time and Malazan rereads, though with a few touches of my own. Each post will cover 1 or 2 chapters beginning with a rundown of what happened in said chapter(s) followed by my commentary. There will also be a section called “The Quote of the Chapter,” which will usually have big implications to the whole work. Or it could just be a finely written line. I’m excited to see how this works out in particular as Sanderson likes to lay down hints of what is to come.

My first Brandon Sanderson novel was Warbreaker and since then I’ve been impressed with how he has grown as a writer and been able to continually innovate with his worlds. With The Way of Kings he has outdone himself on the innovation side, but also set himself up on a very high cliff. Admitting that your series will be at least 10 books long before the first has been released is not something most authors could even fathom let alone revel in.

Now a bit about me: I have my BA in English, but unlike most English majors I focused on the technical aspects rather than the creative end. (This means I can BS a paper pretty well.) I’m a life-long fan of epic fantasy, having been hooked since finding King’s The Eyes of the Dragon. Before that moment I didn’t even realize what fantasy truly was and after that I couldn’t get enough. Some of my favorite authors from the last decade include Neil Gaiman (duh!), George R.R. Martin (all hail!), Kameron Hurley (badass!), Joe Hill (throw up the horns!), Martha Wells (Queen of the Imaginarium), and Joe Abercromie (Did I put that knife in your back?) to name just a few. I’m also a fan of Euro-style board games (Small World, Eminent Domain, and Yggdrasil) and am something of a hat collector. And I should just admit it; I’m a collector with around 1,000 books and counting. It is not a problem, but a solution to my bibliomania. I have been involved in book reviewing for going on 5 years now through my blog Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review, where I’ve had the opportunity to review more than 100 books and also interview dozens of authors including Brandon Sanderson.

I’ve had the pleasure of reading Mistborn, Warbreaker, Elantris, and most of Sanderson’s shorter works—though to date my favorite long work of his is definitely The Way of Kings. With this re-read I’ll be focusing solely on The Way of Kings, but I may mention some connections to Sanderson’s larger Cosmere. Some of my assumptions are sure to be wrong and others close to the truth. Either way, don’t feel shy about sharing your thoughts.

The first regular post will be up in two weeks on March 28 with one following each Thursday until we get to the end. (Well, the end of The Way of Kings as there will be plenty more from Roshar before it is truly over.) So sit back and join us on a journey that might take us the better part of a year to complete. Comment, speculate along, and above all else enjoy!

[P.S. - To help fans and other folks get started with the reread, Tor Books has discounted The Way of Kings ebook and Tor.com is giving away free copies!]


Michael Pye (aka The Mad Hatter) runs The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Book Review where he shares his views on genre books. He can also be found nattering on Twitter or in search of the perfect piece of bacon. He is currently working on two anthology projects and is hoping to find them good publishing homes soon.

64 comments
Jeremy Bruce
1. superjer
Nice... with Words of Radiance coming out I was hoping TOR would put out a re-read of The Way of Kings. Not a big fan of re-reading entire novels (working through those Malazan novels right now) but am a huge fan of TOR's re-reads!
Lalo
2. Lalo
CAN NOT WAIT FOR THIS. I was planning on doing my own re-read (for my own fun), but since I'll read the book over a long weekend, this will help keep me paced and enjoying reading with everyone else!
Lalo
3. skavoovee
Awesome! I was looking for a reason to reread this, and this format will allow me to read all the new books I have queued up!!
Lalo
4. ithilanor@gmail.com
Sounds fun! One question, because I haven't followed any rereads on here before - what's the policy on spoilers going to be?
Jamie Watkins
5. Treesinger
Wow! A reason to go to Tor on Thursdays. I think that this the best book that Sanderson has written, including the WOT books.
Margot Virzana
6. LuvURphleb
And a happy PI day to you all!
I loved Way of Kings when i got it (though i will admit i felt a little miffed at B.S. taking so long with WOT.)
But more importantly my husband loved the book. I got him a signed copy from when i served as sacramento memory keeper and the audio book which he listens to frequently. And now I'm about to get him started on Warbreaker.
So my excitement stems mostly to finally having a tor re read my husband and i can share!
Matt Stoumbaugh
7. LazerWulf
Sweet, a Way of Kings re-read would be the next best thing to annotations by Sanderson himself.

@4: Well, I would think that "no spoilers about book 2" should be obvious, (which are possible, considering that B-San is taping himself writing the book), but since this is a RE-read, I would assume that it would be best to have actually read it all the way through at least once, so we can point out connections to things later in the book, kind of like the Rothfuss re-read did.
T C
8. Freelancer
I recall a FB post by Peter Ahlstrom where he had a dream about asking someone to do this very thing. I wonder if yours was the name he dreamed...
Lalo
9. Tarcanus
Isn't this re-read a bit premature?

So, by the time we get through the Way of Kings re-read, Words of Radiance will then be on shelves, OK.

Then we immediately do the Words of Radiance re-read and after that, then what? I feel like this should be held off until there are least 5 of the books in the projected 10 book series, released. Otherwise we get a lot of down time and I really don't think there's enough material in the series, yet, to warrant the kind of picking apart of the story that goes on over at the Rothfuss re-reads.

Of course, if this re-read limps along at 1 or .5 of a chapter at a time we may not run into any issues.
Lalo
10. Ren-Ren
Thanks to this sale I now have the Kindle version to add to my Hardcover and Audible versions, heh heh. Whispersync ON!
My first time through was via audiobook only, so my plan is to actually read it before WoR comes out. Perhaps I'll (re)read along with you.
Lalo
11. silver97rwa
I do so love these Tor re-reads...excited to go through Way of Kings!
And, I just had to chime in because of that comment about SK's Eyes of the Dragon getting you started on fantasy...exact same thing happened to me! When I was young I read mostly mystery/thriller type novels...and of course I loved SK. So when I finally read Eyes of the Dragon...well, lets just say it opened up a TON of new worlds for me! Haven't looked back!
Stephen Ogden
12. azrael
Will there be an RSS feed for this re-read? If so I'd love to subscribe!
Jordan Hibbits
13. rhandric
Well this will motivate me to do my own re-read, which I keep saying I'll do and keep putting off, despite having a hard deadline of...well, fall 2013 theoretically ;) I'm looking forward to it!
Alice Arneson
14. Wetlandernw
Tarcanus @9 - Yes, but have you seen the speed at which Brandon puts these things out? WoK has 1000 pages, including a Prelude to the series, a Prologue to the book, seventy-four chapters, and three sets of Interludes. If WoR really does come out in November, I wonder if we'll even be through WoK before then. Even if we are, and if we allow a month or two for everyone to read once before beginning the WoR reread, there may well be a third book out very shortly after we finish that... IIRC, he's more or less expecting to put out the next four Stormlight books about one per year, and then take a long-ish break after book 5 to put out the next Mistborn trilogy. Yeah, we might need a review before book 6, but I think we can keep busy enough between now and then.

Besides, a reread of WoK is definitely needed before reading WoR; I have a pretty good memory for detail, but I'm finding a lot in my second full read that I missed - or didn't understand, or didn't know would be important - the first time through.
Sudo Nym
15. Shakerag
Excellent timing! I just finished Elantris not more than a day or two ago and now have started on The Way of Kings.

Dark Tower re-read on Mondays, WoT on Tuesdays, this on Thursdays, ASoIaF on Fridays ... I just need a re-read for Wednesdays now!
Anastasia Burina
16. Radda
Yay! The Way of Kings is my favourite of Brandon Sanderson's (and that's including his work on WoT). I actually thought Tor would do a re-read after book five, since Brandon promised a big break before book six, or maybe somewhere around book 8. So this is like a very-very early birthday present. Come to think of it, the reread actually starts right after my birthday, so... YAY!
Charles Wolfe
17. Ragnarokwolf
Does anything have to be read by the 28th then?
Lalo
18. NOT A VORIN
when i saw the headline i was afraid that leigh was going to attempt these too as well as wot and asoif1
Dustin Freshly
19. Fresh0130
Ever since Words of Radiance's (possible) release date was announced I was wondering when someone would go ahead take on a Way of Kings Reread. Glad Tor and yourself took the challenge. I look forward to getting into this one, I'm actually near the end of the novel on a reread myself, so I should have the details pretty fresh in my mind as we go along.
Kimani Rogers
20. KiManiak
This is excellent news! I was looking forward to Tor.com coming out with this sometime in the next few years and am as grateful to them for this as I am for the Wheel of Time and Malazan rereads.

And thanks to Mr Pye for taking on this reread! It should be fun!

(And since Brandon is such a cool, kind person, I think he might (fingers crossed) be receptive to a post-book Q&A similar to what Steven Erikson and/or I. C. Esselmont do after each finished Malazan novel. Plus, it looks like Peter Ahlstrom also follows the Brandon-affiliated posts and provides clarification when warranted, which would be an added bonus).

Having said that…

I actually do have similar concerns to Tarcanus@9 about the timing of the reread. When first reading the OP (and not having the book with me at work, so not recalling the total chapter count), I was concerned that we would start and then finish while waiting for the next book (or possibly: finish the first book around the time that book 2 is released; reread book #2; and then be waiting for a while for book number 3). Or just do a reread for The Way of Kings.
(Even the title of this post is “The Way of Kings Reread,” not the “Stormlight Archive Reread.”)

After seeing Wetlander@14’s breakdown of number of chapters, prologues, interludes, etc, I feel a little better about the potential of this reread leading into Words of Radiance, and that reread potentially leading into Book#3, and so on...

So my questions to Mr. Pye: Do you anticipate going (relatively) straight through a reread of the planned first half of the series (with an approximately month or two break per book), from Book One to Book Five where Brandon has stated that he plans to take the aforementioned hiatus?

Or was your initial plan to (according to the title of your post) just get through The Way of Kings and then... play it by ear, maybe?

Just curious...
William Carter
21. wcarter
At first glance starting a reread for the first book in a series that is planned to be 10 books looks a bit premature.

But let's face it, The Way of Kings is heavy (both literally and in concepts).

This is not a book I would recommend as an entry level fantasy novels for newbies. It's the fantasy reader's fantasy.

A world full of flora and fauna completely alien to our own. Heck, even the people groups and cultures are vastly different (and not in the tired old elves, dwarves, orcs, ect. varieties). And then there's the resident evil god Odium and the various references to Sanderson's larger cosmiere...

So yes, I absolutely want a refresher before trying to wade into the Words of Radience.
Thanks for taking up the project Mr. Pye
Morgan Anderson
22. white_walker_01
I'm looking forward to this reread now I just need the book I got it from the library the first time and I think it's going to take awhile so much to think and debate about
Morgan Anderson
23. white_walker_01
I'm looking forward to this reread now I just need the book I got it from the library the first time and I think it's going to take awhile so much to think and debate about
Dylan Sprague
24. Ithilanor
@7 I'm also assuming that anything from this book is fair game, but I'd like to check. One other thing I'd like to check is the policy on spoilers from book signings/q&a's that relate to the series as a whole.
Lalo
25. tigeraid
Dammit! I was anticipating my own re-read to get ready for Book II, but recently started Joe Ambercrombie's work instead! I may have to set it aside to follow along with my first tor re-read!
Lalo
26. arzvi
Would there be spoilers in the re-read posts? I haven't read the book but am planning to read 1-2 chapters a week to coincide with this. I cannot read a huge book as this so reading other fantasy books as well.
Peter Ahlstrom
27. PeterAhlstrom
Freelancer@8, if you're going to JordanCon, ask me again there. :)
Lalo
28. Achariyth
Will this expand into the rest of the Cosmere, or just be a Stormlight Archive reread?
T C
29. Freelancer
Peter,

Thank you for the response, but I'm afraid that RL issues make it impossible. I would greatly enjoy the chance to meet you, and all the WoT loonies I've come to "know" over the last four years on Leigh's re-read. I'm sure that Team Jordan will be divulging many previously RAFO'd (and MAFO'd) tidbits in Atlanta, and I'll have to wait for the recap posts.

As for my curiosity @8, it isn't a burning need for me to know.
Lalo
30. Helanna
This is fantastic! I love tor.com re-reads.

I've been following Leigh Butler's WoT and aSoIaF reads, and I've read the Kingkiller chronicles one, but I started pretty late with those, so I'm looking forward to getting in on the ground floor with this one.

Starting now is a bit early, but honestly there's so much material to get through and there are so many hints and bits of foreshadowing that I think sorting through it all is going to take a while. So I think we'll be fine.
T C
31. Freelancer
Ok, I waited long enough. How weird is it, for a re-read being led by a gent named Pye, to be introduced today?
Lalo
32. Aerron
I was hesistant to start this. I didn't think I was up for learning a new world/magic system. I am so glad I gave it a chance. This is my new favorite series. I can't wait for book 2!
Todd Willis
33. tsdub66
Perfect timing ...can't wait to get started :)
James Reid
35. JamesReid
Awesome. Loved Way of Kings. Was thinking about doing another read of it so this is perfect.
Lalo
36. ShaneH
This was the first book I ever reread immediately after finishing it the first time. Absolutely loved it. I'm excited for the sequel and have been planning another reread of this one in anticipation, so I'll be joining you!
Houston Armstrong
37. Kalak
It will be great to read this with other people and become more immersed in the story. Since it was so long I feel like I glossed over a large portion of it the first time I read it and now if you were to ask me I don't think I could tell you many of the plot points besides the main story arcs so this re-read will be a lot of fun and a great prep for Words of Radiance.
Lalo
38. AndrewB
Looking forward to this re-read. It should be a fun ride.

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then" - Bob Seger, Against the Wind
Lalo
40. Tagjunkie
Cant wait for the next one!!
Lalo
41. Alex Richardson
I'm very interested in reading this series. Of course, now I have the big question; do I read WOK now, or wait until the second is out and read them both?
Michael Pye
42. Michael_Pye
I'm glad everyone is so excited! Now on to some of your questions.

@ithilanor You can safely assume there will be spoilers of some kind, but not beyond what happens in the first book. I may throw out a theory here and there though, but I'll assume that I have equal parts of being right and being totally off base.

@Freelancer I'm not sure if I'm the one Peter had in mind. I've actually been meaning to ask him.

@Tarcanus The plan as it stands at the moment is 2 chapters per post except for the first two which will be solo. If that plan holds we should be done with this reread near the release of WoR. No official word on when a reread would start for WoR.

@azrael I'll ask about the RSS.

@Ragnarokwolf If haven't read the book at least once all the way through and you're worried about spoilers at all I'd steer clear of these posts. I probably will talk about some things that come up later in the story that connect with something mentioned earlier. For instance something might be mentioned in chapter 2, but not given its true name until a later chapter so I may use that name if it bears some importance instead of just saying "that thing."

@KiManiak Totally playing it by ear. Also, keep in mind that Brandon is still writing WoR so its release could easily move to a later month. He has all the best intentions of sticking to the existing schedule, but knowing his work he isn't one for pushing work out there that isn't ready. If I had my druthers I'd probably start the next reread no earlier than a month or 2 after the release of WoR. I mean, this is a reread and people need time to read it for the first time. And I'd need time to read and then begin rereading it myself. But again there are no firm plans as of yet. I'll also note there is a The Stormlight Archive section on Tor.com now that I'm sure will be getting larger.

@wcarter Thanks!

@ Ithilanor I'm going to try not to bring anything up from interviews and other things Sanderson has revealed outside the book. I actually have heard quite a number of theories some of which he has confirmed and others denied. I'm going to try to stick to what is in the book and what thoughts occur because of the reread.

@arzvi Just by the nature of a reread they'll be things people would certainly consider spoilers, but just for this book.

@Achariyth I won't be focusing on the Cosmere, but might make mention of a connection here or there. There is one pretty big connection right in the first book that I'll definitely be addressing.

@Freelancer That's an awesome connection I hadn't even thought of. The date was planned a few weeks ago. And I do celebrate Pi day with a slice of pie.
Lalo
43. Fenric25
Glad to see a re-read, just finished my own fourth re-read of The Way of Kings so this will help keep it fresh in my mind until Words of Radiance is out (yes, I've had the time to read this massive book four times while attending college, working, and raising a seven-year old boy with autism and underdeveloped communication skills, I just find the time). The Way of Kings is tied with the Mistborn series for my favorite story of Sanderson's, though Way of Kings is the best written book of all of them, IMO (though that's not saying much. Aside from the little tendency of characters to nod too much, I don't fault much of anything with his writing, definitely one of my favorite authors). As for the timing of such a re-read-I have no real problem with it, I'd constantly check to see if there were updates in-between books as I enjoy a good re-read (and will need something that will fill the inevitable void when Leigh Butler finishes WOT, though she's got ASoIaF to get through, at a much faster pace than GRRM will finish, I imagine) Anyways, again, glad to see this here!
James Starke
44. jamestarke
This is a fabulous idea, and I'm super-excited to follow along! Probably won't comment much, but know that I'm definitely reading along with you! :D
Halvor Hanssen
45. Halhan
Glad to see a re-read of this book. It will be helpfull to refresh my memory of it, before WoR comes out.
Gary Singer
46. AhoyMatey
This is awesome!

@29 Free, I'll ask Peter for you! If he doesn't mind answering...

Pi, Pye and Pie indeed!
Kimani Rogers
47. KiManiak
Michael_Pye@42 - Thanks for the responses. I'm looking forward to March 28th; I'm sure we'll all have fun!
Michael Ramm
48. michaelramm
This is my first Tor.com re-read (and actually my first read through WotK). Do we read ahead of the post (read first two chapters prior to March 28) or after the post?

I am a big Sanderson fan and have been waiting for a guided read of WotK to finally start reading it!

Thanks
Michael
Lalo
49. CathyG
This will be my first reading of the book. I'll try to get a good jump on it before the 28th. Thanks, Tor, for offering it as an ebook.
Karen Fox
50. thepupxpert
Ooh I just found this while I was browsing around (work is slow today). This will be great! Now to go read the reread.
Lalo
51. Confutus
I've been wondering if there was going to be a reread of this. It deserves one.
Karen Fox
52. thepupxpert
@36 I'm with you on that one, I reread it 3 times back to back over and over, then I went back and read just the chapters of each main character. It took a couple of months to finally put it down. But that was quite a while ago so I'm really glad we're starting up now. Currently rereading WOT, I haven't done that in at least a year.
Lalo
53. Teressa
Super excited! I've been putting off re-reading WoK because B. S. wasn't finished with WoT and this is perfect timing.
yo sil
54. catperson
Yay! This is one of my all-time favorite books, from one of my favorite authors! Very excited...
quazi44 K
55. quazi44
Really looking forward to this, I've only dipped my toes in the water of the Cosmere so I'm glad that will be a tangential part of the review. I'm excited about digging into the details that fill this book (and taking wild guesses at what they portend for the future). Thanks!
Chris Chaplain
56. chaplainchris1
NOOOO!!! I HAVEN'T READ IT YET!!!

Fine. Guess I better get started. You people are cruel, forcing me to read good books that I will love.
T C
57. Freelancer
For those who are reading The Way of Kings for the first time, I suggest caution regarding the reread. I personally hate having a story spoiled in the least, and would avoid this space like the plague until having completed the entire volume. In discussing the book, there is almost no way to avoid bringing in information from later in the story than the "current" reread chapter(s). Supposing that keeping a few chapters ahead of the reread would prevent being spoiled is not likely to be true.

This is not said to prevent your involvement, simply pointing out how things are likely to work, and that you should be fully informed before getting unhappily surprised.
Lalo
58. Kendaren
Hi Michael,

Firstly, I am excited to see that you're doing the WoK re-read!

I have been waiting to read it myself because I don't want the suspense for WoR to kill me! When I saw this re-read, I was thinking maybe I could read along, but it looks like that's not the case due to spoilers. Is it in the realm of possibility to do the re-read like Amanda and Bill do for Malazan Empre? A spoiler free post from a first time reader (like Amanda), then your post to discuss the book in it's entirety (like Bill). I understand it's short notice and a PR nightmare to add someone into the project so soon to the projects kickoff, but it would add to my already infinitite love for TOR and their re-read series.

Thanks! :)
tatiana deCarillion
59. decarillion
I'm on my first read, but I'm gonna follow along, anyway. Just got the ebook, since I'll be traveling.
Sirius Seyven
60. sirius7
This is going to be my first proper reread. I usually skim through contents in my rereads, lingering only on my favorite moments. But this reread+discussion is reason enough to reread fully and slowly.

Glad to see folks from WOT reread here. Been only a mute spectator there. Hopefully I will get involved in discussions here.
Radda@16 - Realized the same. This is starting right after my birthday as well.


Thanks TOR for all these rereads and Pye for this one in particular. At last I can take part in discussions on my favorite things (fantasy) without looking out-of-place.
B. E.
61. ekcell
I am a little late in seeing this but thankfully I still got here before the fireworks started. I was brought here from Brandon Sanderson's website. I was so excited to learn what will be happening here that I signed up for a new account on this website.

I am really interested in a re-read and in hearing everyone's comments and theories. I have a few of my own thoughts as well so I look forward to the discussions that will follow.

I have already re-read the prelude with more scrutinizing eyes and I can already tell that this is going to be great.

Again, this is my first time, so be gentle!
Lalo
63. Stormblessed
Eww George RR Martin love.

still awesome gonna catch up on this.
Chris Chaplain
64. chaplainchris1
Well, I said on March 19 2013 that I'd better get started. After several false starts, I finally read WoK over Christmas.

And loved it. Certainly my favorite non-WoT book from Brandon; maybe in my top five of books overall. I'll be working to catch up with the reread now....

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