<em>The Way of Kings</em>: Prelude, Prologue, Chapters 1-3 (Excerpt)
Thu
Jun 10 2010 10:00am

The Way of Kings: Prelude, Prologue, Chapters 1-3 (Excerpt)

Prelude to
The Stormlight Archive

Kalak rounded a rocky stone ridge and stumbled to a stop before the body of a dying thunderclast. The enormous stone beast lay on its side, riblike protrusions from its chest broken and cracked. The monstrosity was vaguely skeletal in shape, with unnaturally long limbs that sprouted from granite shoulders. The eyes were deep red spots on the arrowhead face, as if created by a fire burning deep within the stone. They faded.

Even after all these centuries, seeing a thunderclast up close made Kalak shiver. The beast’s hand was as long as a man was tall. He’d been killed by hands like those before, and it hadn’t been pleasant.

Of course, dying rarely was.

He rounded the creature, picking his way more carefully across the battlefield. The plain was a place of misshapen rock and stone, natural pillars rising around him, bodies littering the ground. Few plants lived here. The stone ridges and mounds bore numerous scars. Some were shattered, blasted-out sections where Surgebinders had fought. Less frequently, he passed cracked, oddly shaped hollows where thunderclasts had ripped themselves free of the stone to join the fray.

Many of the bodies around him were human; many were not. Blood mixed. Red. Orange. Violet. Though none of the bodies around him stirred, an indistinct haze of sounds hung in the air. Moans of pain, cries of grief. They did not seem like the sounds of victory. Smoke curled from the occasional patches of growth or heaps of burning corpses. Even some sections of rock smoldered. The Dustbringers had done their work well.

But I survived, Kalak thought, hand to breast as he hastened to the meeting place. I actually survived this time.

That was dangerous. When he died, he was sent back, no choice. When he survived the Desolation, he was supposed to go back as well. Back to that place that he dreaded. Back to that place of pain and fire. What if he just decided . . . not to go?

Perilous thoughts, perhaps traitorous thoughts. He hastened on his way.

The place of meeting was in the shadow of a large rock formation, a spire rising into the sky. As always, the ten of them had decided upon it before the battle. The survivors would make their way here. Oddly, only one of the others was waiting for him. Jezrien. Had the other eight all died? It was possible. The battle had been so furious this time, one of the worst. The enemy was growing increasingly tenacious.

But no. Kalak frowned as he stepped up to the base of the spire. Seven magnificent swords stood proudly here, driven point-first into the stone ground. Each was a masterly work of art, flowing in design, inscribed with glyphs and patterns. He recognized each one. If their masters had died, the Blades would have vanished.

These Blades were weapons of power beyond even Shardblades. These were unique. Precious. Jezrien stood outside the ring of swords, looking eastward.

“Jezrien?”

The figure in white and blue glanced toward him. Even after all these centuries, Jezrien looked young, like a man barely into his thirtieth year. His short black beard was neatly trimmed, though his once-fine clothing was scorched and stained with blood. He folded his arms behind his back as he turned to Kalak.

“What is this, Jezrien?” Kalak asked. “Where are the others?”

“Departed.” Jezrien’s voice was calm, deep, regal. Though he hadn’t worn a crown in centuries, his royal manner lingered. He always seemed to know what to do. “You might call it a miracle. Only one of us died this time.”

“Talenel,” Kalak said. His was the only Blade unaccounted for.

“Yes. He died holding that passage by the northern waterway.”

Kalak nodded. Taln had a tendency to choose seemingly hopeless fights and win them. He also had a tendency to die in the process. He would be back now, in the place where they went between Desolations. The place of nightmares.

Kalak found himself shaking. When had he become so weak? “Jezrien, I can’t return this time.” Kalak whispered the words, stepping up and gripping the other man’s arm. “I can’t.”

Kalak felt something within him break at the admission. How long had it been? Centuries, perhaps millennia, of torture. It was so hard to keep track. Those fires, those hooks, digging into his flesh anew each day. Searing the skin off his arm, then burning the fat, then driving to the bone. He could smell it. Almighty, he could smell it!

“Leave your sword,” Jezrien said.

“What?”

Jezrien nodded to the ring of weapons. “I was chosen to wait for you. We weren’t certain if you had survived. A . . . a decision has been made. It is time for the Oathpact to end.”

Kalak felt a sharp stab of horror. “What will that do?”

“Ishar believes that so long as there is one of us still bound to the Oath-pact, it may be enough. There is a chance we might end the cycle of Desolations.”

Kalak looked into the immortal king’s eyes. Black smoke rose from a small patch to their left. Groans of the dying haunted them from behind. There, in Jezrien’s eyes, Kalak saw anguish and grief. Perhaps even cowardice. This was a man hanging from a cliff by a thread.

Almighty above, Kalak thought. You’re broken too, aren’t you? They all were.

Kalak turned and walked to the side, where a low ridge overlooked part of the battlefield.

There were so many corpses, and among them walked the living. Men in primitive wraps, carry ing spears topped by bronze heads. Juxtaposed between them were others in gleaming plate armor. One group walked past, four men in their ragged tanned skins or shoddy leather joining a powerful figure in beautiful silver plate, amazingly intricate. Such a contrast. Jezrien stepped up beside him.

“They see us as divinities,” Kalak whispered. “They rely upon us, Jezrien. We’re all that they have.”

“They have the Radiants. That will be enough.”

Kalak shook his head. “He will not remain bound by this. The enemy. He will find a way around it. You know he will.”

“Perhaps.” The king of Heralds offered no further explanation.

“And Taln?” Kalak asked. The flesh burning. The fires. The pain over and over and over . . .

“Better that one man should suffer than ten,” Jezrien whispered. He seemed so cold. Like a shadow caused by heat and light falling on someone honorable and true, casting this black imitation behind.

Jezrien walked back to the ring of swords. His own Blade formed in his hands, appearing from mist, wet with condensation. “It has been decided, Kalak. We will go our ways, and we will not seek out one another. Our Blades must be left. The Oathpact ends now.” He lifted his sword and rammed it into the stone with the other seven.

Jezrien hesitated, looking at the sword, then bowed his head and turned away. As if ashamed. “We chose this burden willingly. Well, we can choose to drop it if we wish.”

“What do we tell the people, Jezrien?” Kalak asked. “What will they say of this day?”

“It’s simple,” Jezrien said, walking away. “We tell them that they finally won. It’s an easy enough lie. Who knows? Maybe it will turn out to be true.”

Kalak watched Jezrien depart across the burned landscape. Finally, he summoned his own Blade and slammed it into the stone beside the other eight. He turned and walked in the direction opposite from Jezrien.

And yet, he could not help glancing back at the ring of swords and the single open spot. The place where the tenth sword should have gone.

The one of them who was lost. The one they had abandoned.

Forgive us, Kalak thought, then left.

 

 

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The Stormlight Archive: ‹ previous | index | next ›
144 comments
John Skotnik
1. ShooneSprings
Thank you very much for sharing this preview. I preordered the book a while back on Amazon, and am happy to see that I can now do the same for the Kindle edition. Woohoo!
Lisa Byers
2. lasantine
Page 2 paragraph 8 first sentence- shouldn't "off ended" be offended?

Page 6 paragraph 15 sentence 4, shouldn't round be wound?

I'm hooked already! Can't wait to read the whole thing!
Zeke Uribe
3. Zeke
Could this be offered in a few different formats, like many of the short stories/samples on this site? Oh well, I will just have to copy/paste all the text and convert it to a PRC to read on my Kindle manually. :D
Ashley
5. Platypus
I am now entirely convinced that Brandon Sanderson is a genius.
Aaron Meyers
6. leftquark
Zeke, I did the same thing. I copied the text to MS Word and printed it out. Trying to read it on this webpage is AWFUL!
Zach Portsmouth
8. brochill86
Nice.

But as others said... Reading it page by page on this site is no fun.

Thats why the internet gods invented the ability to download pdfs and doc files.

Good story. I will most certainly buy the book. However, this is a tor.com fail.
Zeke Uribe
9. Zeke
I have it as a doc now. 39 pages in Times New Roman size 12 font. Dang, how many books was this series supposed to be? I guess it will fill the hole that Wheel of Time will be leaving in a little over a year...
Peter Ahlstrom
10. PeterAhlstrom
lasantine, you're right about the typos. The first one isn't in the book (for the curious, when you copy text from a PDF, sometimes ligatures like "ff" come out with trailing spaces), but we'll get the second one fixed if we can.
spikyc spikyc
11. spikyc
I really enjoyed this, though like others I'd suggest offering a pdf. One typo I noticed: at the very beginning of page 8, right after the "EIGHT MONTHS LATER", "Kaladin" is called "Kladin".
Peter Ahlstrom
12. PeterAhlstrom
spikye, there's a drop cap there in the book, and it looks like the a got lost here while reconstituting the word.
Joe Kochmanski
13. jjkoch
Really enjoyed this. Can't wait for the book to release!
Gabriele Campbell
16. G-Campbell
I didn't have any problems reading it on my laptop, and that's coming from someone who's not going to buy any e-reading device - I want books, not pixels. :)

I didn't want to start another big series before it's finished, but dammit, I want that book.
Daniel Haynes
18. azith28
Just printed out the sheets so i can enjoy it as reading is suppose to be enjoyed.

I'm sure it will once again leave me amazed at Brandons skill. I still reread the Mistborn saga and am in awe how condensed and intreaging his writing is.
Federico Bianco
19. talen
@AMS09: it is not THE beginning, 'cause there are no beginn... wait, sorry, I was confused there for just a little while :)

Thumbs up for Brandon, and I am still at page 1 :)
Chris Greenland
20. greenland
Thanks for the heads-up on the typos, everyone. The ones pointed out should be fixed now.
Gary
21. MrVIBEMAN
I absolutely loved the Mistborn trilogy and turned a bunch of my friends onto it (who, in turn, loved it as well.)
We all were stunned at the awesomeness of The Gathering Storm.
I was captured by Elantris and wait with anticipation for the next book in that particular series.
So when I read Warbreaker, I was pretty disappointed. I was hoping for the next big saga I could immerse myself into, and that wasn't it.

However, it appears he makes up for Warbreaker with The Way of Kings.
Much like my journey through the world of Mistborn, I find myself once again being sucked into one of Brandon's worlds, and loving every minute of it.

Can't wait for the book. Guess I have to go reserve a copy this weekend.
johnweiss
22. johnweiss
Oathpact?---this is just silly.
Surgebinders? Dustbringers? Divinities? Radiants? Really---like someone else said, I just don't by that Sanderson is such a great writer.

These guys, whoever they are, with their magical swords, sound like Power Rangers.

Later, it just turns into a video game.
I mean, you get the name for moves your player can do---when he's fighting the King, all I could think of was: "Dude, did this guy play alot of D&D."

Sorry, not worth my time.
Bernhard Fries
23. Iwan_Emmetowitsch
stopped reading after chapter 2, cause I'm already drawn in deep and I don't want to spoil my book experience.
Definitely buying it, I can only bow my head to the excellence which seems to cling to every word Mr. Sanderson writes, be it Wheel of Time, Mistborn, Warbreaker or now The Way of Kings!
Henry Loose
24. schrodinger
hmmm... a talented young battle leader who is extremely lucky, hates to see people he leads die, and has a conscience that makes him do the right thing... sounds a lot like a certain Ashandarei wielding rogue from Wheel of Time. It seems like the first two parts were to establish plot, and the next ones to establish the main characters. Probably worth reading.
C Smith
25. C12VT
I've been eagerly awaiting this book for awhile... now I want it even more! I almost wish I hadn't read the sample chapters, seeing such a promising beginning just makes the wait harder.
j p
26. sps49
I wondered what a "sneak peak" was in the blurb, but the story does look interesting.
Drew Riley
27. drewoftherushes
There's something about BS' writing that is just so unappealing to me. I think a lot of it is the dialogue - it's so flat, especially compared to some of the great contemporaries in the genre like Steven Erikson. Every character just seems to speak the same, even when there's vernacular attached.

There's also so much exposition, and it's not well-hidden at all. I feel like I'm reading a rulebook or outline sometimes.

I thought Gathering Storm was awesome, and I thought it would help turn BS into a better prose stylist, but it just hasn't. Mistborn, Elantris, and Warbreaker all feel so similar because it just seems like the guy's got one mode. Great ideas, just not a mature writer, I think.
James Jones
29. jamesedjones
27 drewoftherushes
There's something about BS' writing that is just so unappealing to me. I think a lot of it is the dialogue - it's so flat, especially compared to some of the great contemporaries in the genre like Steven Erikson.
For me, it's the attempts at humor. Everyone is so polite. Some authors write brilliant humor; BwS isn't one of them. Every one of the girl's attempts at humor sounded like the time Mat Cauthon asked one of his commanders if he was an Aes Sedai. It could have come out of a 60's family movie. It didn't even warrant a smile.

His strength appears in the brilliant twists at the end of his books. Every one of them, though, sounds very similar. You're right about that. Some are better, some are worse. Unfortunately, this one is more like Warbreaker and Elantris, and less like Mistborn. The problem with a grand epic like this for BwS, is that we have a lot of time to wait before the brilliant twist at the end. On the bright side, maybe he'll pull more from Mistborn and add a surprise at the end of each book.
Holly Finnen-Stewart
30. Branwhin
Thank you Brandon, thank you Tor for posting this little tidbit!

I will decidedly be buying this book. *Very* interesting thus far; more questions show up with every page. Love it.
Drew Riley
31. drewoftherushes
You're right, the humor never works for BS. Maybe it's because he's mormon, grew up in a polite culture.

I think Mistborn was the most successful because of the protagonist, but even she wasn't as dark as she should have been. That's another element that's missing in the dialogue - darkness.

I still don't mind reading his stuff, and will continue.
Kim B
32. Amaranthine
Loved it, especially the chapter from Kaladin's viewpoint. I can't wait until the book comes out!
John Kusters
33. jkusters
I've reached page 4 (web site counting) by the end of my lunch break, and now can't read any more till I'm done with my work day. I can already tell this afternoon is going to drag by.

Well done, sir. I'm quite enjoying what I'm reading so far.
James Jones
34. jamesedjones
31 drewoftherushes

Nah. I've known some hilarious LDS individuals. It might be his humility.

But I do want to read it. While his books don't necessarily pull you in (Alcatraz did; maybe that says something about me), you do get used to the style after about 100 pages. It's like Shakespeare, where you get to that point, about 15 minutes in, where everything starts to sound ok. lol
Andrew Lovsness
35. drewlovs
I like it; and for the record, though I didn't laugh or even smile, I completely bought the fact that the CHARACTERS found the jokes funny. I look at these types of books as a window into a different world, and just as Rand Al'Thor cannot understand Aiel humor, I do not understand the humor of these new characters. That does not make it un-funny... just un-funny to me.

So far, this is good stuff.
Jacob Durrant
36. Arionhawk
It was awesome, I think Brandon Sanderson may be one of the greatest authors of all time. Brilliant story, realistic characters, and vibrant dialogue.
Bonnie Andrews
37. misfortuona
Excellent start, and wonderful glimpses of what makes Brandon's books most enjoyable to me, the Magic.

Thank you for the teaser.
Though IMO it does as much to boost pre-orders for the book as to appease us fans, I'm okay with that.

Mis-looking for a Lashing
L L
38. mellara
Ugh, Sanderson's magic systems are not nearly as clever as he seems to think they are.

The man's writing reads like an especially terrible videogame novelization, never understood why people enjoy it.
roger cheney
39. thejedirick
I like his style but his books have a structure that he repeats. There is an intriguing magic system that he reveals through parts of throughout the book. Sometimes, like in Warbreaker and Mistborn, some of the magic system remains hidden. Creating new and interesting magic systems is really one of his strengths. His other strength and element in his books is the twist ending which he does very well. He follows that pattern in his writing pretty consistently.

As for him being LDS and having a 60s sense of humor...I'd say that is relative to the reader. Different strokes for different folks. I really think that Brandon Sanderson is one of the best writers to come into the Fantasy genre in the past decade. Some of the books that are popular just don't measure up to the high standard that Sanderson has set ( i.e. Jim Butcher, Brent Weeks and too many others to name). BS is a breath of fresh air.

I'm pumped for this book. Looks awesome.
Matt
40. LinkDead
Page 3, paragraph 24, last sentence it says "supernal" when I'm assuming it's supposed to say "supernatural"? Could be wrong, supernal is a word that could almost fit the sentence I guess...
johnweiss
41. johnweiss
ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh why do people like him so much?

I mean, the whole fight with the King, didn't anyone think of an old-school Nintendo Controler...ya know:

"OH, if I mash this button, I'll jump and then super slash!"

His is a mixture of the bad Star Wars prose meets Jon Woo---not sure if that's how you spell his name, but you know who I'm talking about.

Also, can anyone get me something so I can know how to say many of the races, places and characters, which have sofar been mentioned.
Tom Harker
42. tharker89
Thanks for the preview. I'm definitely hooked. Can't wait for the release.
Blake Williams
44. Andric
I am really psyched for this book, and will buy it on day one!
Daniel Goss
45. Beren
So I read this, and I liked it, and I thought 'Hey, it's a preview, that means it's coming soon, right? Let's check Amazon for the release date.'

August 31st.

Damn you.

Please, sir, may I have some more?
Invisible Cheese
46. MatOdin
Wow. I'm looking forward to this. I first found out about BS through the beloved Wheel of Time, and am looking forwards to reading his other books. I'm definitely going to get this when it comes out.
Håkan Eriksson
47. h_a_eriksson
This preview was a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, Kaladin's point of view caught my interest and I got a feeling for him already. I'd love to keep reading on his future and learn more about his past. On the other hand, I felt nothing at all for the witty but air-headed and oblivious upper-class girl brat in the end. I realize one is supposed to start to care about her house being in danger - but seriously, I'm already annoyed wishing she fails and her house gets run over. I'm more interested in the intriguing princess she is to meet than of her learning how to use money. In the end, the prologue and the Kaladin story will probably be enough for me to read the book though.
Tess Laird
48. thewindrose
Thanks for the preview Mr. Sanderson and Tor! Looking forward to reading the rest and then the next and the next....:)

Misfortuona - you are very naughty;)

tempest™
Alice Arneson
49. Wetlandernw
johnweiss @22 & 41 - Dude, if you don't like it, don't read it. Pretty simple, really. Unless you're really a glutton for punishment, and you like to spend your time reading books you don't like, why do you bother?

Don't get me wrong - you're entitled to your own opinion. I just don't understand getting involved in an online discussion of a book you dislike after only three chapters. If I felt the way you do, I'd have closed the browser after a page or two and walked away. JMO.
Ranjan Asrani
50. Allchaos
He spun between the last two, his spear a blur, wielding it like a quarterstaff.

Pg 7, paragraph 3

"Mat used his spear like a quarterstaff, a spinning blur, but bringing the sword blade into it as if he had always used the weapon."

The Shadow Rising, pg 440

Someone's writing a little too much Wheel of Time hahaha.
Kevin Smith
51. TimBurtonfan
I personally think that Brandon has a very unique writing prose and unparalleled ability to create something so completely…. Inimitable, in a world where stories about magic and swords have been so decisively beaten to shit.

I for one congratulate Brandon on a job well done, I was hooked from page one. In my book, you are right up there with all of my favorite authors: Jordan, Tolkien, Salvatore, Anne Rice, and Dan Brown. Every author has pieces of any given book that may not be appealing to everyone, including those listed above. I fervently hope to own a future collection of Mr. Sanderson’s work that is much larger than the one currently filling my bookshelf.

Bravo sir, bravo.
Dan Schwartz
52. Adrock25
I've read an ARC and it's great. You guys are in for a treat.
T C
53. Freelancer
If Brandon's writing shares any form with the Wheel of Time, well, if you've read anything Brandon has written about himself you know that his decision to become a fantasy author was based on the impact Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time had on him.

If I felt myself truly equipped to critigue his writing, I might consider saying that a sentence here or there is marginally fragmented, or that his prose is a bit closer related to contemporary forms of speech than I normally expect in a medieval-styled epic fantasy tome. However, neither of those rises to a level worthy of complaint when compared with the overall weight of brilliant story-telling he offers. What I know I could never think myself arrogant enough to say is that his characters are not "as dark as they should have been", or any similar blanket judgement based on my own wishful thinking. I read vast amounts of SF/F, and there are only a handful of authors I truly admire. Brandon very quickly joined them.

I love Elantris. I am enthralled by Mistborn. Warbreaker doesn't evoke as much emotion from me, but I suspect that is because I first read it in the online .doc version, and my proofreader's eyes were jarred by every typo, repeated word, and shifted sentence (all but a bare handful of which were corrected in the print version), reducing my enjoyment somewhat. I still recognize it as a truly unique type of fantasy story with a wonderful magic system, and an excellent variety of heroes, something that is exceptionally difficult to carry off in a single volume.

Brandon's books will be drawing my money for some time to come.
Tim Gough
54. Geckomayhem
I like it. His depiction of characters is great. Not spending too long on descriptions but really giving a feeling of who the characters are. If I read this series, I know that I will get to know the characters such that I will expect them to say things and do things in certain ways. Can't wait to find out how the story plays out; and the use of magic is unique and pretty awesome.

All in all, this has truly piqued my interest. It helps that Sanderson is the replacement WoT writer, hehe.
Hugh Arai
55. HArai
Wetlandernw@49: I think of it as the "The Duty Calls" syndrome: http://xkcd.com/386

I was planning to check out this first book already. This snippet just confirmed it. For what it's worth, unlike some of the other posters, I wish Warbreaker was the series and Mistborn was the single, but I liked both.
James
56. jweaver13
At one point in the prelude, Talan switches to Taln and stays that way...

Amazing...

Can't wait to read the whole thing.
Peter Ahlstrom
57. PeterAhlstrom
LinkDead: Supernal is the word that's intended there, but either would work.

jweaver13: I know it can be confusing, but Taln is Talenel's nickname.
creepyBob
58. creepyBob
@allchaos.

...you know there's nothing new under the sun right?

"Taking his sabre in both hands, he used it like a quarter-staff, a weapon he could use right well. The circling flashing of the blade, dazzled his antagonist. It was as a wheel of fire between the combatants, each point of which was a guard for the Norman, and a blow to the Parisian." Edinburgh literary Journal, March 1743. Page 154 (http://tinyurl.com/2wqns4h)


So who ripped off the Edinburgh Literary Journal? Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, or neither?
Bobby Stubbs
59. Valan
Awesome. Thanks for the preview, the there was no way in hell I wasn't going to buy the book anyway. For the record, Warbreaker was by far my favorite, though I loved Mistborn as well.

@ Drewlovs

Totally agree that the girl wasn't funny, but personally I don't think she was supposed to be that funny. He's proven his humor through Lightsong IMO. This is a girl who is introduced to us thinking slavery is an alright thing - right after our hero gets thrown into slavery. She's got some growing to do.
Jacy Clark
60. Amalisa
Oh, no... Cenn dies? Poor kid! I was already invested in him!

Yes, I will be waiting for the book to be released!

Thanks, Brandon and Tor!
creepyBob
61. R1D1
Comparing Sanderson's work to others... there are only so many ways you can describe a quarterstaff fight scene or a magic whatever, etc. Some of us appreciate authors for their differences... not trash them for similarities...which is a tired, old, simplistic putdown.
Lizzy Hoggard
62. wish_i_was_tuon
Yay new fun magic system!! I loved Lashing. The whole reorientation of gravity thing reminded me a lot of the good old days when the Dragon Army kicked butt with Ender's "the gate is down" strategy. Ah, nostalgia.

Oh yeah, really excited for rest of the book too.
T C
63. Freelancer
And don't forget that a Lurcher can anchor himself to sources of metal regardless of gravity, so there's a mild similarity there as well, though normal gravity can still be sensed. That said, Lashing definitely shares more with the Ender's Game null-g reorientation.

As for the name shift, it seemed natural that people who have known each other for multiple ages would have nicknames for one another. I paused at "Taln" for a second, and decided that's what it was. Thanks Peter, for the confirmation.
Zamir
65. Stardrag
umm, I thought there was a bit of awkward wording when talking about the stonewalkers. It goes:

As far as he knew, Szeth had killed every stonewalker who had ever seen what he could do.

How would the guard know Szeth? It just felt a little awkward to me. I'm loving the chapter though
Douglas
66. Strae
Stardrag, he was referring to other stonewalkers he'd killed in the past. He's suggesting that any stonewalker who has seen him use stormlight is dead, so it's not surprising that the guard didn't know what was going on.

What I found odd was that the head of a guard who I assumed was lying on the floor slumped forward when he died. That doesn't seem physically possible. Unless I missed something in there and filled things in myself. I'm prone to that from time to time.
Walker White
67. Walker
Personally, I feel it would have been stronger if the book began at Chapter 2. I did not see anything in Chapter 1 that could not have been done adequately in flashback or retelling. Chapter 2 is the real emotional beginning.
creepyBob
68. RHallion
Seems to be a lot in common with what was used in Mistborn and Warbreaker. Actually, it seems like a combination of the two types of magics. Not sure how I feel about that since I'm such a huge fan of the Mistborn series.
JD N
69. orokusaki
Brandon's books get me every time! Good stuff.
James Jones
70. jamesedjones
59 Valan

Thank you for reminding me about Lightsong. He was great! On the other hand, Mat sounded a lot like Lightsong in tGS and it didn't work for him. But you're absolutely right about BwS ability to manage certain types of comedy.
Chad Haefele
71. hiddenpeanuts
Please provide this in some sort of downloadable format - I really don't want to read this much text on my monitor.
A Hood
72. Cyrrha
Finally joined the community but have been lurking & loving the content for a while now. Gonna be a long-winded first post- sorry! I think one of the most interesting things about Brandon Sanderson's books are his "voice". I like the fact that the writing has a modern feel in terms of character dialogue and exposition, and this is why his work stands out- it feels different and edgy. To me, he thrusts the reader immediately into action sequences that are not only entertaining to imagine, but they have a freshness b/c of the originality of his magic systems. Through them we learn about how it works, but it goes down like a nice cold beer and not like a boring technical manual. A new spin on high fantasy, if you will? Very cool IMHO.
T C
73. Freelancer
Walker@67

I understand what you mean. But since we've only seen these view chapters, I prefer to reserve judgement until I know more of the story. If I took a microscope to a tiny portion of a painting I might think that a certain small arrangement of colors seemed oddly grouped. I might, based on that miniature sample, judge that the artist had erred. What if I was then shown that the work in question was the Mona Lisa?
Dave
74. OHearn
I liked the Lashings. It's easier to visualize than the way Mistborn fling themselves around. I also find the writing style pleasant. It's something short of masterful, but it's still smooth and I was never tempted to skim "bad parts", something I can't say even of much more famous authors.

I hope this is a sign of good things for fantasy as a whole. The last 10 years have had some real garbage that succeeded solely due to lack of competition. We need more good authors.
Justin Epstein
75. RedFlag
After reading this, The Way of Kings has been moved to my "must buy" list. This is a great start, both in terms of characters and world-building.
Sandeep Yadav
76. SandeepYadav
I don't like the magical system, reeks too much of Allomancy, if you know what I mean. Rest is sufficient to elicit interest but enough to buy? I'm not very sure.
J R
77. jmricks
So far, after reading the prelude and a paragraph or two of the prologue, WoK is interesting. Brandon is a very promising writer. I think it best to remember that he is still new to the writing scene, and that he'll likely improve greatly over the years. He deserves a lot of the praise he is getting, though. The worlds he has created so far are very original and well-thought out. And he was able to take on the WoT and make it exciting and enjoyable to read. (Not many writers at his career point could do that.) I agree with some of the posts saying that his diologue is lacking. I would like his language to have a harder edge to it... or maybe more of an adult ring to it. Too often his characters sound like they are 16. I will continue to buy Brandon's books despite their weaknesses because I believe that one day he truly will be great. For now, I can deal with promising.
Ciel F.
78. Shadaras
The sheer depth of the world of this Stormlight Archive is incredible. I fall in love with books for many different reasons, usually because of characters or story or writing, but TWoK is a book that I'll adore for the world. This bit we've been given isn't much, but there's still such a richness to the world that makes me want to know more about it. Spren caught my attention at their first mention. Shardblades and shardplate and all that goes with them. Stormlight. Highstorms. The little detail about grass retreating from the wagons. Those crab-things I'm forgetting the name of.

All those things just fascinate me, and even if there are some characters I like more than others, some things that will go explained too long, this is a book - and a series - I know I'm going to love.

The number of characters helps, too; it's been a while since I found a story that I liked that had this much variety in characters. (Sorry to all of you WoT folk; I never could get through those books.)

I also liked the bit of artwork inserted into the story; that's a really nice touch.

I can't wait for August and TWoK's release. (Or for sooner and more pretty tidbits.)
Zach Portsmouth
79. brochill86
To all the lame brains who compare BS's work as a "rip off" or "heavily borrowing" from RJ's WOT... You should expand your reading scope.

As others said, there are only so many ways to describe a battle scene.

Do you think RJ was the first to ever describe a character like Mat? Do you think he'll be the last? Have you ever met someone in real life that reminded you of someone else? Of course you have.

Just enjoy the story. If you are constantly comparing it to WOT then you should try reading things other than just RJ's works. There are sooooo many great stories and authors out there. It takes years of reading to appreciate that.

Guess what? Saul Tigh isnt a rip of off Picard just because he's an old bald guy. Think about that before you post some stupid comment about comparing someone (after reading just 2 chapters about them) to Mat. ::rolls eyes::
Rikka Cordin
80. Rikka
I don't know about anyone else, but when I read a good book and then put it down to go partake in... well... life, I have a tendency to kind of think back on it in eager anticipation of all that life crap being done for the moment so I can go back to reading.

Problem is, I continuously have to remind myself that there are only 3 chapters of this available atm. Seriously, about 5 or 6 times I've had the vague anxiety of "I should be reading about those characters" only to remember, when I stop and think, that I don't get to do that for a while.

I think it's proof that Mr. Sanderson's already got me hooked.

Also, re: allomancy/lashings... I think there's a lot of potential for a lot of different play with lashings since they work with materials that aren't metal. Also, what happens when you use a lashing outside? Do people fall into the sky? There's potential for a lot more fun than I can think of, which I'm sure Mr. Sanderson's going to explore.
Ammon Barney
81. WerewolfAlthor
Ah, Brandon. . . you had me at Lashing. So what if it is a little reminiscent of Allomancy, I love the magic system, and can you imagine how Stormlight would look on the big screen!? Much easier to conceptualize than Allomancy or Channeling. Haven't even read the book yet and I'm voting this story to get picked up by New Line for an option. Excellent work again. Pre Order coming up!
Tess Laird
83. thewindrose
Rikka - I am doing the same thing! I keep thinking about what little we did get a peek at, and I really want to sit down and read the rest!
Oh well, I have a couple books I am waiting for in the latter part of this year:)

tempest™
Victoria Gooderson
84. t0kengirl
Looks great!

Really want to read it. UK release anyone? Amazon uk's not letting me preorder.
Wesley Parish
85. Aladdin_Sane
(Best Arthur Dent voice) I actually quite liked it!

(Dropping back to normal) I'm always intrigued by different cosmologies, and he started out with a whopper of a difference. Shardblades? Surgebringers? Dustbringers? I was intrigued mostly by the thunderclasts, and the way that Kalak, Jezrien, Talanel, and company were intending to break free from their hell, where they would be freed only to die again, in defense against the incursions of Kaos.

Well, you've kept me from my flute practise, Mr Sanderson, and I enjoyed reading it. I'll probably buy the book when it comes out, in hopes of finding out more of this cosmology - the Magic doesn't faze me, and too much of it bores me to death - but in a genre Fantasy novel, its cosmology can make reading it worth buying it.
Antoni Ivanov
86. tonka
Yeah I like it as well. I am curious what happened with these 10 people from the Prelude. And Talanel was left behind. I hope he is not going to seek revenge against the other 9 for leaving him. I mean it's kinda banal, isn't it? We'll see, I guess.
Dave
87. OHearn
I'm not sure how well I'm going to appreciate 10 huge books of characters who never lose their tempers, think about sex, are cruel or petty, or give into despair. They just think, and think, and think.

I really like the world building though.
JD N
88. orokusaki
If the magic system sounds a lot like Allomancy, though it's probably closer to BioChroma, Brandon has said that his books share a common cosmology. Each book or series told from different perspectives. So, I wouldn't be suprised.

Though, I'm a little wary that the first two pages of this preview contain way too many two-word combinations: Stormlight, Shardblade, Voidbringer, dustbringer, stonewalker, shardbearer. Kind of cliched for fantasy. I'm curious if that was addressed in the editing process, or will be. Peter?
Antoni Ivanov
89. tonka
@88.orokusaki
There is no more editing, the book is coming out. It might be a cliche but cliche doesn't mean necessarily bad. And things are cliche for a reason.

@87.OHearn
After 3 chapters, you already know how all ten books will map out ? That's very impressive!
T C
90. Freelancer
OHearn@87

In a work presented through the POVs of the characters themselves, you can't begin a story which will properly immerse the reader without building that cosmology, and you can't do that without employing the thoughts of the characters. In a single-volume story, even in a trilogy, you can introduce one character, and begin action, while adding things along the way. I think that a great deal of this first volume of the Stormlight Archives will be used to present a massive, remarkablly different world than the usual. That will require a great deal of information transfer, which will mean lots of POV thoughts.

If you've not read Elantris, or any of Brandon's short stories which have been presented through this website or his own, then you have no idea how adept he is at crafting the scenery of his worlds. If you have, and you still think he doesn't know what he's doing, I've got nothing for you. Tonka@89 does, though.
Aaron Esperanza
91. Aaron54
I have a couple of points to make, first of all, Brandon Sanderson is not here to amaze you with his sense of humor (although I thought Shallan was vaguely reminiscent of Hamlet humor wise), BS is good at giving you intricate plot lines. Previously his plots seemed "too easy" because he had relatively few characters, with an epic fantasy you are bound to get more view points with which to reveal the plot. In every book everything just fell into place at the right time because he had time constraints! Everything had to work or it wouldn't be a book! if he had more time he would be able to bring the plot on more slowly. There is nothing to say that earlier plots were bad, just condensed, more in the style of a mystery.

Second, as far as the action sequences go BS is more oriented towards the individual, for all of you who have read his books this should already be clear. So rather than getting a overall feel of a battle, you get exactly how one person was feeling at that time. He may not understand exactly what it feels like to be in battle, not many of us do, but he does a pretty good job of sucking you in.
His characters are three dimensional, they do the things that they do for reasons that are explained throughout the book. You cannot say they don't seem human, they have all the internal conflict that is integral to what makes us people. Take Kaladin, as a slave he feels despair, even gives in to it; yes he will probably find his way out, but he still felt it.

Thirdly, if you don't like his writing style don't read it, absolutely no one is forcing you. There is no need for you to vent all over the page, we have professional reviewers for that.
Antoni Ivanov
92. tonka
There is no need for you to vent all over the page, we have professional reviewers for that.


While I agree with everything else, this thing I don't agree with. It's public forum (well you have to register here specifically, but HEY who pays attention to the details). And everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has the right to share it with us (as long as they are not trolling which I don't think anyone's doing now) even if you or I don't agree with it. If it's ridiculous people have right to ridicule it (in polite and non-aggressive way), if it is impressive, to congratulate it and so on and on.
Aaron Esperanza
93. Aaron54
@92.tonka

I was talking about the people that I have seen trolling; admittedly that may have been too aggressive, but people who troll annoy me.
You do make a good point, but I think there have been some people who have crossed the line between constructive criticism and trolling:

"Oathpact?---this is just silly.
Surgebinders? Dustbringers? Divinities? Radiants? Really---like someone else said, I just don't by that Sanderson is such a great writer."
Ian
94. Kusu
Except Oathpact *is* a bit silly. Why not just Oath, or Pact? Combining them in a chapter that already features a dime-a-dozen such combinations comes off as a bit contrived, the sort of thing... wait... an author in their early twenties might do, to exaggerate the importance of such a plot-device.

Some of these criticisms are quite legitimate. The writing is fairly pedestrian, particularly for a novel hyped to enter the pantheon aside Dune and LotR. (I know that is marketing and not Sanderson, but still, for the beginning of a ten book series, I'd expect prose and plot to sparkle rather than just sort of dully shine). The action resembles a video game. etc. Of course, for some, not declaring Sanderson a creative genius right away constitutes "trolling." Uh-hunh.
Ian
95. Kusu
Now, with that said, I can see why Tor optioned this series. I haven't read any of Sanderson's books, but common consensus is that he did a pretty good job getting WoT back on track and he obviously has a large following, if this thread is any indication. WoT alone is going to hugely augment interest in his other books. Moreover, the very simplicity of his prose and ideas makes this book ideal for a young fantasy audience.
Ruth
96. rosegamgee
Well I for one really enjoyed this sneak peak at WotK. I can't wait to read the rest of the book and watch the plot unfold and the characters reveal themselves. But that's the point of a novel isn't it? You need to read the whole book before you can make a judgement on it? After reading some of the posts above I feel like screaming IT"S JUST THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS!!

Well done Brandon!!
Maiane Bakroeva
97. Isilel
Well, that's certainly interesting. Pretty clever how BWS said in the introduction that "a boy who made a mistake" was the main character and I thought that it was Cenn, but it looks like he meant Kaladin ;).
I like the magic so far. Don't get the video game criticism - after all, Vancian magic was the base for D@D spell-casting and WoT channeling is also reminiscent of it.
The writing is still a little rough, I am afraid, but it didn't stop me from enjoying Mistborn and Warbreaker (Elantris left me indifferent), so color me intrigued.

The 2 things I found jarring so far were the mention of allergy (really? allergy? IIRC it was unknown even in 19th - early 20th century iRL and this world doesn't seem to have comparable scientific foundation) and the abuse of the word "juxtapose" in all it's permutations. Such an awkward word...
Rob Munnelly
98. RobMRobM
Harai@55 - Warbreaker is teed up as a potential series, given the way it ends with two main characters ready and able to move on and other challenges hinted at in other lands in the Warbreaker-verse. And I seem to recall Brandon saying somewhere he even has sketched out how a series would proceed but won't be getting to it for some time. Rob
Elicius Rowlands
99. Elicius
Loving it so far, I really just want to turn to the next page and read more. Can't wait! My pre-order of the Orion Paperback on TheBookDepository is sitting there happily and August can't come soon enough.
Vince
100. Vincemakesitbetter
I like it.

I really got sucked into it, so I'm definitely buying it when it comes out.

Part 1 reminded me of the prologue of the first part of A song of ice and fire: bring in a young character, let him see what the world is about, make him as scared as you yourself would be in that position and then kill him off.

I like it.
Tricia Irish
101. Tektonica
I became intrigued by the characters pretty quickly. I like his complex characters and his world building. I felt immersed. I trust Brandon and feel relaxed in his worlds. (Unlike GRRM and a few others.) His style is OK by me.

It's certainly hard to get a read on the "whole" in just the first three chapters. By necessity there's going to be a big info dump to set the stage, create the world, give some backstory, and introduce the protagonists. I found Kaladin and Shallon both very intriguing. I like more right now, please.

As for his dualwords....I simply assumed that was how things were referenced in this world. It seems very practical, almost Native American in it's literal description of objects and their functions.

I'll buy, and probably be ticked I have to wait for the next volume, as I know it won't be coming anytime soon, since he has WOT to finish up. He needs a clone.
Hugh Arai
102. HArai
Kusu@94: You're right, you know: I was driving my pickup down the parkway this afternoon, stopping to obey the policeman who wanted to let people waiting on the sidewalk go by at the crosswalk, and I thought to myself, "People never use composite words."

Ok, sarcasm aside, you really think using composite words indicates an inexperienced author? Because using "those guys that can bind surges" instead of Surgebinders would indicate the same thing to me.
He could call them some arbitrary name like "Szbim" or something, but then you get either a conversation like "What's a Szbim?" "Well in your language it would be 'Surge binder'", or a glossary in the back that says "Szbim - people that can bind Surges."

RobMRobM@98: It's nice to hear Brandon might planning to continue the series at some date. That's really how I felt after finishing Warbreaker: "Ok, those two have really come into their own, now what happens?".
Thomas Koch
103. tkochil
Interesting read. I love all the people who offer their constructive criticism and professional editing advice.
Luke dailey
104. blaydcor
I really enjoy Sanderson's work, and I really liked this.

But.

Did it REALLY feel like a ''intro mission videogame tutorial" to anybody else? "Try this power. Now this one. And, whoa, look at that one. Okay, now here's your first boss kinda guy--strong knight with a big sword".
J R
105. jmricks
I really like how the chapters are significant in length in TWOK. I got really tired of the short chapters in the Mistborn series and Warbreaker. (Never ready Elantris). And for the record, (not that anyone cares) I really enjoyed the first two Mistborn books. I thought Hero of Ages was a horrible ending to an otherwise good series. And Warbreaker was great once I made it past the first hundred pages. I had to put Elantris down after a hundred pages or so, it just didn't do it for me. All of the books of Brandon's that I've read have been difficult to get through. I spent an average of six months on each of them, when I could blow through a book the same length in a week. However, it was worth reading the ones I mentioned liking once all was said and done. I've noticed that Brandon does openings (prologue or first chapter) really well, and then everything slows way down until the ending. I hope that he has good pacing in TWOK, or else it will be hard to get through like the rest of his books. The only one of his books that I did read in a week was The Gathering Storm. It wasn't his world though, so I can't really count it as his book. He wrote it, and wrote it well, but the characters were already established and he just had to have them do what they always do and it was great. Again, as I said in an earlier post, I think Brandon will be great one day. Maybe TWOK is the beginning of his greatness? I hope so.
Jim Black
106. winzzy
I enjoyed it quite a bit and will be buying it on the Kindle if it goes down to 9.99 otherwise I will check it out at the library.
Scott Kelson
107. scott-swampy
Edit: Removed. See below.
James Jones
108. jamesedjones
101 Tektonica
He needs a clone.
Now, don't say that. We all like Peter, even if we disagree with him a lot. What would he do if we could have a half-dozen BwS's? We're talking serious psychosis, here. Poor guy's busy enough.
Peter Ahlstrom
109. PeterAhlstrom
I'd probably be out of a job. But I'd also get to read more Brandon books.
Aaron Esperanza
110. Aaron54
I would like to say that this is a setting. It only makes sense that it is lacking in dialog, BS has to give you some idea of what's going to happen. So if it seems like it is thoughtless, or is lacking in any substantial character building, remember that this is a SETTING to an epic fantasy. And in all the epic fantasies I've ever read there is plenty of talking, sometimes ad nauseam.
The part that I think most people are calling "video game like" is the part with the assassin, Szeth, and his purpose as far as we know is to explain how the war with the Parshendi started, so BS doesn't need to give him much personality (at least for now); or put much description in that part. It's more like history than a real part of the book.
T C
111. Freelancer
Since we're now all commenting on the commenting...

If you couldn't get through Elantris, you probably won't want to set out on a journey of ten exceptionally large volumes. As for Mistborn, it didn't end at all as I'd thought likely, but that doesn't cause me to judge the ending to be bad. Upon reflection after completing the story, it fit perfectly with the little epigrams attached to each chapter.


HArai@102

Well played. Or should I say wellplayed?


jej@108

Why have you relegated the author's middle initial to lowercase status? ;-{)>
James Jones
112. jamesedjones
111 Freelancer
Why have you relegated the author's middle initial to lowercase status?
Because I usually forget it the first time around. lol

109 PeterAhlstrom

You are impressively optimistic. I'm pretty sure any free time from writing that the Brandons would find through cloning would easily be filled with Magic: The Gathering.
Alice Arneson
113. Wetlandernw
So now that I finally found time and access to read the whole thing, I enjoyed it a lot. Sanderson definitely has his own writing style, and it's not what I'm used to. He writes the way we talk - at least out west - and I'm used to reading a more formal prose. That said, while it takes a little getting used to, there's nothing wrong with it at all.

For me, the quality of a fantasy book is based on a combination of wordcrafting, worldbuilding, characterization and plot. (Probably a few other things, too, but those are the major ones.) It's too early to tell much about this one, but in Mistborn I found all four to be quite enjoyable. As noted, the contemporary writing style threw me for a bit, but it wasn't a problem for more than a few minutes. The fact that I didn't know what was going to happen beforehand was very much a positive in my book, particularly since I liked the things that happened much more than the "expected" version.

As for these few chapters, I liked it all. The prelude, with all its compound words (very German, BTW), had a very "alien" and ancient feel, enhanced by the way the 10 of the Oathpact show up in the prologue as the Ten Heralds with names slightly changed by time. I look forward to seeing if this comes into play again as the series develops. (I hope so.) Chapters 1 and 2 certainly didn't follow as I had expected, so that made a good start to the story. BTW, I totally disagree with whoever thought Chapter 1 would have been as well told in flashbacks. Not at all! The impact of Kaladin as slave was much more powerful after having seen him from Cenn's POV as the incredibly brave, lucky, heroic battle leader. And then it went sideways. In Chapter 3, I do like the girl, and didn't see her as "spoiled society brat" at all. JMO.

So, yeah, I'm looking forward to the book and the series. Bring it on! And tordotcom - thanks for the preview!
Wesley Parish
114. Aladdin_Sane
The only problem I found with Szeth's Lashings was the Enid Blyton Factor. Other may not have had this experience.
Scott Kelson
115. scott-swampy
Upon further reflection I realize the comment I posted earlier (now removed) was unnecessary. I am just so used to the WOT re-read style debate, I think I lost touch with the whole point of THIS page witch is to give feed back on the release. Sorry.

And now, on with my thought’s. (I don't have many so I have to write them down) I really enjoyed it, I can see what people mean about it being video game-esk (not sure that’s a word) but as has already been pointed out, the chapter was to set up the war and the mystery of why it was started so the character, Szeth, really didn’t need much depth for that purpose. And, as I very bluntly pointed out in the aforementioned comment, I don’t think you can dismiss this as more of the same. Some of the comments people have made related to how BWS other book’s played out. Not to say they are not correct or entitled to their opinions, but how about a fair go for this as a new work, Lets get a good look at the story ark before passing judgment on it is all I’m saying.

And besides, i quite like video games:)
Jennifer Fiddes
116. junefaramore
First, the video game thing. Who here hasn't read the Prologue for The Eye of the World? Short, sweet, and to the point, that's how it has to be in the first book of a fantasy series. And EPIC, can't forget that.

Just like the opening cut scene to any Final Fantasy game.

As to the rest of the picking little posts, you guys have fun with that. I'll keep being psyched for my favorite author's next series. I finally read Warbreaker, wanted it in paper first. The formatting on this wasn't bad at all, but I'm on a netbook, so the screen isn't as glaring. I don't feel Kaladin is Mat-like, you are reaching a bit on that. I get the similar weapon thing, but he's not trying to be all that funny and Mat would've been lucky enough to escape already. Mat didn't handpick his soldiers either, they picked him.

I agree with those that compliment the humor of Lightsong, and kindly submit that Breeze, Kelsier, and Sazed should not be forgotten. Sazed was a great straight man. I didn't get Lightsong from Mat in TGS, but I'll be rereading it soon enough, so guess we'll see. I thought all four of the characters I mentioned had a different sort of funny to them, however.

Can't wait for TWoKs to come out, right at my birthday weekend too :). Also glad to hear there will be more Warbreaker eventually, though I hope one of our final two has a bit less whine to her. Shallan is so much better.
Shane
117. madworld87
I'm impressed. Sanderson creates vivid and unique worlds that just leave me breathless.
Samantha Garcia
118. dancingsam
Of course not everyone will like every author but some of the comments above are just plain rubbish.

Sanderson is also definitely in my top bunch of fantasy authors, his ability to create new magic systems is unparalelled and his books keep you hooked 'til the end with amazing twists. His magic systems are definitely as clever as he thinks they are mellara (which he probably doesn't he's just trying to be original - no harm in that!).

It's refreshing to see a fantasy writer deviate from the usual formulae - why criticise someone so harshly for being innovative and doing it so well?
Everyone will have their weaknesses and their trademarks - Brandon defintely has his, you can't expect him to change his writing style for every book surely!

The quarterstaff thing... lol... how many times have I seen almost identical paragraphs / phrases / descriptions relating to dragons, assassins, apprentices, theives, etc from one author to another, it happens all the time, at least with Brandon Sanderson you get some unique stuff too.

Absolutely loved Warbreaker, it's rare to find a single volume that's so complete, robust, fullfilling and well finished. Amazing! Elantris was ok, again enjoyed it's unique-ness but it didn't have me as hooked.

Mistborn was just remarkable... v much looking forward to this next epic :)
John De Stefano
119. johnnydeftonesa
Please don't let me be the only one who is unable to push himself to the end of this chapter. I hoped Brandon Sanderson's writing had matured and gotten better, because I want to enjoy his books, but I'm not impressed at all with this small taste of his new series. Like in Mistborn, he is too focused on TELLING us the way things are instead of SHOWING us, through imagery and metaphor etc. And his attempts at these are extremely poor, making the text awkward and painful. Fearspren are like purple globs of goo??? Are you serious? This is just the most glaring example of laughable immature writing I found. He tries to introduce us to too much jargon and lingo, too soon, in a very unsubtle manner, like a person who doesn't understand personal space. I'm now officially adding "Authors Named Brandon" to "Authors Named Terry" on my list of writers to avoid.
Christopher Klink
120. jedimasterdaddio
Loved it. Thanks to Tor for posting (and maybe we'll get a bit extra before August 31)!
Jo Schmo
121. TallisUmbras
Like many other readers, I became of Mr. Sanderson's writing because of his involvement with the Wheel of Time series. Unfortunately, the excerpt here compared to The Gathering Storm seems like a step backward. If this is what he has been working on, while simultaneously writing the last books for the WoT, I very much fear for the quality of the final two books.

What bothers me the most about Mr. Sanderson's writing is that he feels the need, almost like he is checking boxes, to tell you how a scene is unfolding step by step. His writing is mechanical.

Exaggerated example: John walked into the room. He set his book down. John was tired. He wanted to sleep. His wife walked in. John was not too happy to see her.

Why not: John walked into the room and set his book down. He was more zombie than man as his labored footsteps screamed for a good nights rest. Of course, that is when she chose to walk in. Eyeing her angrily from across the room, his gaze was enough to make her fidget with the ring on her finger....

I won't belabor the point. The excerpt we have here has interesting ideas but is very rough.
Jo Schmo
122. TallisUmbras
Also, a quick note in defense of constructive criticism. I read this excerpt because I was genuinely interested in reading something of Mr. Sanderson's own creation. Indeed, while reading The Gathering Storm, I felt like I was unfairly comparing Mr. Sanderson to Mr. Jordan. I'm sorry to say that what I read today does not make me want to purchase TWOK.

"If you don't like it, don't read it." How am I supposed to know if I won't like it if I don't read it? The excerpt here is more than enough for me to realize that, while slightly intrigued, I find the writing style in this particular excerpt to be almost unbearable. Will it get better as the book progresses? Should I pay hard-earned money to find out?

"His magic system is unique. That makes me want to read his books." Good for you. For me, that is simply one element of a good fantasy book. That said, the magic system in this excerpt was a bit interesting. I found it hard to follow, at times, however.

"Compound words exist in English and are cliche in fantasy books for a reason." I walk on a sidewalk and drive on a highway but am I signalling something of vital importance to the reader in this sentence? That kind of writing strikes me as lazy.

Nothing I just said above means that I am not open to purchasing a book written by Brandon. I'll wait until I read a preview that makes me want to buy that book.
T C
123. Freelancer
I found it hard to follow, at times, however.
Are you kidding me? After your complaints about what you perceive as weaknesses in sentence structure you write that? Here, let me help you, and with the same exact words:
At times, however, I found it hard to follow.

I won't even speculate on what it says, that this straightfoward magic system eluded your understanding.
Alice Arneson
124. Wetlandernw
Freelancer - such restraint! :>

And, yeah. Sometimes a convoluted sentence is just a convoluted sentence.
Brian Fair
125. Matrim Cauthon
This is the very first of Brandon Sanderson's work I have read besides his work in fifnishing the Wheel of Time series. I was very impressed with his work on that series. Likewise, I am impressed by his writing here. I will have to start reading more of your work Brandon. Many thanks.
Josh
126. eidolon81
Having read all of Brandon's adult-oriented published work, it has been a delight to see him grow--tangibly so and with large, breath-taking leaps in skill--as an author. His creation of lifelike worlds has always been among his strongest literary attributes, but the brief glimpse presented here was... quite simply masterful. I had the sensation of listening to a master compose his magnum opus. If what has been presented here is any indication, The Stormlight Archive series will rightfully cement Sanderson's place among the true greats of Fantasy.
eoin
127. growdfro
This looks like a really interesting book.while not as good as grrm or rj his language use is passable,but his worldbuilding and magic systems are what really attracts me to his work.I only hope that the charachter flaws become evident.The emotional attatchment that comes with vibrant flawed charachters is what makes any novel amazing rather then the style of prose present.For example a Jaime Lannister or a Tuon is a far better charachter then an Arya or an Elayne!I hope Sanderson comes in to his own in this series-if so he could eventually be up there with tolkein,grrm or rj.Untill he earns that place i will approach with guarded enthusiasm...
Jo Schmo
128. TallisUmbras
Freelancer: two can play at that game.

"I won't even speculate on what it says, that this straightfoward magic system eluded your understanding."

I believe you meant "straightforward", not "straightfoward." Also, are you that you don't want to rework your own sentence? I hope your clients get more attention to their work than you paid to your last post. Tsk tsk.
Mia Darshewitz
129. mammamia
Dang, I really enjoyed this preview. Now I want more and don't want to have to wait til August. Thanks, Brandon, for another engaging read!
John Hatteberg
130. Jrh1524
One Question: Is Michael Kramer going to do the audio version of the book?
Peter Ahlstrom
131. PeterAhlstrom
Michael Kramer appears in the Amazon listing for the audiobook. Expect more official word within a few weeks.
Sean Atwood
133. Soladir
I wish I wanted to sound important. If I did I would definitely drone on about prose in an online forum.

To each their own. I enjoyed the preview and have enjoyed Brandon's other works so I don't see any reason not to be excited for TWOK.

Once someone gains success it is inevitable that a portion of their potential fan base will dislike their work simply to differentiate themselves from what they perceive to be the "Stupid Loving Masses" who will adore anything Brandon touches. It happens in every medium.
Cindy Barringer
134. Cindyb22002
Was introduced to Brandon through Jordan's WOT. Was pleased with his touch to the Nearmaster's work (Master Tolkien; Nextmaster GRRM- who nears a slippery slope if he doesn't FINISH THE TALE, and Nearmaster Jordan). Am assuming this is a peek at the development of, and introduction to, an epic in progress. Wishing you only the best muses. Carry on Sir!
Anthony Pero
135. anthonypero
Wow, this thread is awesome. *That was sarcasm in case it wasn't apparent*

BWS has room to grow as a writer. Wow, big shock. He's 34ish. Actual writing can and will improve over time. I remember reading Robert Jordan's Conan book, and his series set in Revolutionary War times. His prose most definitely took a step up in the WoT. WAY up. Terry Brooks' latest series is crafted significantly better than 20 years ago.

What I love about Brandon's books is that they are fresh an innovative, but well within the confines of his genre. Do you have any idea how rare that is? Terry Brooks is one of the top selling fantasy authors of all time, and EVERY SINGLE BOOK IS EXACTLY THE SAME. Same characters, same plot, etc. David Eddings? Please.

JRR Tolkien managed to complete two real novels. GRRM's fantastic fantasy series is completely stalled. The reason I'm gonna read this series is that I'm 100% positive that BWS will be innovative and original, he'll work his butt off to get his manuscripts in on time, and the writing itself will only get better. I have confidence in this because Brandon is so accessible through his blog, twitter and his podcast. He uses his fans to hold himself accountable because he recognizes the reality that he is a "commercial writer," not an "artist". He approaches writing as any other business owner would. It's work. This isn't a slam, this is a compliment. I'm buying an entertainment product when I purchase a book. It's nice to know that it was created by a true craftsman with skill and creativity, rather than some "artist" who might decide to take the next 5 years off after his first big check.
Sean Salmi
136. genjokoan
Really good. I like the world building Sanderson is so adept at. I'm also now totally convinced that Brandon Sanderson is a genius. Thanks.
Chas Warren
138. chasuk
It's odd, reading the comments here, how vast the range of opinion is... especially odd considering that it was Brandon Sanderson (and Patrick Rothfuss) who revived my interest in fantasy as a genre.

I hated Jordan's wooden prose, but I loved his stories. With Sanderson, I love both.

I'm not saying that Sanderson is the complete prose stylist; for that, read Gene Wolfe. But he is accessible, and never verbose or turgid like many of his peers.
Steve Godecke
139. Steve.Godecke
If you've liked the chapters Tor has posted so far, the rest will not disappoint you!

And if you want to talk more about the preview content, and discuss as you read more, check out Stormblessed.com - you may even win an advance copy (we will be giving some away to people who post on our forum this month)!
Terry Simpson
141. TerryS
I guess I'm late to this party. I enjoyed reading this. I also started paying attention to Sanderson when I found out he was doing the Gathering Storm.

What I have found comical on these forums is the need for all the negative criticisms. You know what they say about opinions.

For me the thing is this. I compare novels to another form of art. Music. If you don't like classical you won't got out and buy a classical overture and if you don't like rap you wont listen to a hip hop album.

Each has their own merits and accolades for the work put in and are respected in one form or another by those who enjoy either genre or style.

By the same token if you know of whatever shortcomings you feel an author has then simply ignore his work. Why beat yourself up or attempt to belittle that person's contribution to the wonderful world of literature.

Better yet for those droning on about how to better said writing. Grab your typewriter, your PCs, your notebooks, craft your story in your form of prose, get an agent, shop it, get published and then allow us to dissect it.

I know I'm looking forward to reading more of TWoK.
Diana Whiley
142. Rhenon
All Hail Terry S !!
Yes I agree. Love the reference to music.

What I've read of this excerpt is inventive, inspiring, fascinating and I definitely want to read more.
creepyBob
143. argwaith
Brandon is amazingly unique in his world-building. He is also mind-blowing with the sheer amount of great material he can put out quickly while multi-tasking on other projects, especially when compared to other rarely producing authors we've all known. He does all these creative projects while still helping raise his own family with small children. No small feat there.
Michael Tiner
144. Tiner
This was very dissapointing to me. He is jumping around too quickly without adequate character development. It is not pulling me in. It is boring. That being said, it could possibly eventually get much better, but it has a very weak introduction. I think he is spreading himself too thin, too many irons in the fire.
Christopher Sweat
146. csweatrun
I'm in medical school, and have almost no time to myself- but I used what little I had reading this book. No regrets. Mr. Sanderson- you are one of the most brilliant writers I've ever had the pleasure to read. I absolutely love your work, and The Way of Kings has brought you to a whole new level. Even more impressively, you managed to write it at the same time as you worked to finish The Wheel of Time. That, sir, is incredible. Thank you for a wonderful new world to explore- I look forward to following your work for the rest of my life.
Sean Landry
147. srlchamp@hotmail.com
Wow, there seems to be lots of people who enjoy complaining about BS. You really need to find some other authors, those of us who enjoy reading something that is NoT the same old blah will be just fine without you. I'm just curious to know if anybody can match BS's creativity with regard to new magic systems, obviously the immortal Robert Jordan saw something and I dare anybody to knock that man's taste! Yeah...though not!
Olli Casey
148. Lohikaarme
Thanks for the preview. I'll buy it after my exams are over.
Larry Armstrong
149. Laridarsarm
Very creative, enjoyable and I can see great characters being developed. I love Kalak already! Thanks for the preview Tor and Sanderson. I have heard many great things about this book and I am definitely going to read it!
creepyBob
156. deedee
i have read and reread this book when is the next one coming out? i can't wait!

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