Way of Kings Readalong, Pt. I

"Kaladin Meets Syl" by Dixon Leavitt

Welcome to Part 1 of the Way of Kings groupread!  I’ve decided to feature a different piece of Stormlight Archive fan art in each of my posts for the readalong, because it’s neat to see how different readers imagine the events.

This week’s questions were written by Deanna from Polishing Mud Balls.  My boyfriend will also be joining me in responding to the questions, as we have similar taste in books.  For more information about the readalong (and if you want to join!), you can visit Polishing Mud Balls Read Along Page.

Just as a disclaimer, spoilers start here.

1.  Before I started reading The Way of Kings, I did have some thoughts on how I would like this story; did you? If you did, how is The Way of  Kings actually comparing to those thoughts?

Mike:  I thought that Way of Kings would be a Wheel of Time-like book.  I spent the majority of the first part looking for similarities between the two series, granted I haven’t gotten to the Sanderson books in the Wheel of Time series yet.  It’s different, way different, and it deserves it’s own merit for being a very engaging story.

Me:  I was kind of scared at first, because I didn’t like Robert Jordan’s writing style at all.  However, Sanderson is a far better writer than I expected.  I think he did a good job of revealing details without repeating them over and over again a la Jordan.

2.  What do you think of the pace of this story? so far.  And what do you think of the prose? Do you think the prose is too descriptive? Not descriptive enough?  Give me your thoughts on the writing thus far.

Me:  I really like the writing.  Sanderson immerses you in his world from the start rather than beginning with an infodump of world building, but manages to do it in such a way as to not alienate the reader.  I get the impression that he focuses on the story first, and allows the world to reveal itself as the story progresses.

Mike:  Way of Kings builds the world it’s in pretty well, with some parts almost feeling entirely like they were put there just to give perspective on some other place (I refer of course to the interlude).  This already detailed world meshes well with the characters.  Characters are well-written with differing but believable desires and fears.

3.  What was your favorite part of this first section? 

Mike:  The scene where Kaladin rescues Cenn.  I have it pictured in my head.  Here’s Cenn thinking he’s gonna die as a spear comes at him, and out comes running Kaladin, spear in hand as fast as he possibly can run.  Just as the spear starts to come down Kaladin jumps into the air and deflects/parries the spear with his own IN MID-GODDAMN-AIR, then he lands and proceeds in a flurry dance to take out every soldier in front of him and Cenn, even using a knife to kill one.  Considering I’ve seen how spears are succesfully used in battle it was probably a mesmerising sight for Cenn.

Me:  This is a tough one, as there are so many parts to choose from.  I enjoyed reading from Kaladin’s perspective the most, but I thought that the scene where Shallan was drawing was extremely well-done.  I can just picture her intently working, surrounded by ever-multiplying creativity spren.

4.  Which character(s) do you find most interesting and why?

Me:  I find Syl to be very interesting.  I’m curious how she managed to become sentient.  Conceptually, the spren are pretty neat, and almost provide characters with an extra sense to gauge both their environment and others’ feelings.  I do get the feeling though that if I started seeing spren I’d probably wonder if I had been drugged.

Mike:  All of the major ones, although Sanderson did a really good job with the lesser ones too.   They all were given a pretty good level of detail and personality I almost thought they were main characters too, Cenn being my most obvious example.


5.  All right, what I really want to know is… what do you think of this book overall? so far.  Are you finding the story easy to follow? Are you fascinated, interested? Is the book holding your attention? Are you bored? Indifferent? Please share your overall thoughts.

Me:  I’m loving the book thus far.  Sanderson’s world is really cool, and he does things that stand out among fantasy authors.  Mike and I both thought it was cool that there is a character who is openly atheist; that’s something that isn’t expected in a fantasy novel.  I do get the impression that Sanderson enjoys torturing poor Kaladin.  In fact, as I was reading, I don’t think that 20 minutes went by without me randomly being all like “….but …..but ….POOR KALADIN!”

Mike:  The book is holding my interest, though the desire to see what happens to Kaladin is what is holding my attention more than everything else, because Kaladin is the star of this book.  We’re definitely getting the next book when it comes out.

Me:  I wonder what happens if some freak of genetics causes a dark-eyed kid to be born from a light-eyed family.

Mike:  He becomes a peasant.  Or the dark sheep of the family.  Or is locked in the basement.  Or whatever nobles do with disabled kids.  Also, poor Szeth.  He’s not as bad as Kaladin, but his life is rough.

_____________________________________________________

Be sure to join us for next week’s discussion of Part Two!

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Categories: Fantasy, Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “Way of Kings Readalong, Pt. I

  1. I love the idea of including fan art with each post! I’m looking forward to your selections for the next few sections.

    I think it’s awesome that you and your boyfriend are reading this together, too. It’s like you get your own personal read-along as well as the larger group read! I’m sure you’ll enjoy ELANTRIS, too, though WARBREAKER is my personal favourite. I reread it last week, as TWoK left me with hardcore Sanderson cravings, and it was just as good the second time through.

  2. I think it’s wonderful that you can read this along with your boyfriend. I would die of shock if my husband picked up this book to read!
    I liked the scenes with Kaladin and Cenn, but it was weird for me that it was told from Cenn’s perspective and then we find out later he died. After reading comments for the discussion, I’m thinking now that it does increase the shock in the next chapter that Kaladin is a slave.
    The spren do strike me as sort of hallucinogenic. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I mean, sometimes when you’re afraid, you want to hide it. But it doesn’t seem like it would be possible in this world, if the fearspren started popping up. Because everyone can seem them, right? I’m not entirely sure about that yet. Anyhow, I hope they don’t have any kind of lovespren. That could get a little tricky.

    • My wife and I rarely read the same book at the same time unless of course I am reading it to her, something I do every few months. I would never tackle a book this big to read to her though. LOL. We do many times read the same book the other has read later on, more often than not it is me telling her “you have to read this”.

      I’m not sure if everyone can see the spren or not. We are slowly but surely learning more about them but I suspect we have a lot of learning yet to do.

      • I’m really happy that Mike and I enjoy the same books. We picked up a copy Sanderson’s stand-alone novel “Elantris” yesterday, and are hoping we like it as much as “The Way of Kings.”

        I get the feeling that most people can see spren, but most try to ignore them. It would make it very hard to hide any sort of strong emotion. I think that the stronger the emotion, the more spren that will show up, judging by the scene where Shallan is drawing and the creativity spren start as a small number, but then multiply as she gets deeper into her creative mood.

        At the same time, I kind of want to say that the spren react to specific people and are more apparent to them, because other people don’t seem to interact with Syl or even notice her presence. I don’t know if it’s because she’s staying small/unobtrusive, or because others lack the ability to see her. I’m really curious to see how it all plays out.

    • The spren are interesting. I don’t think all spren are seen by anyone else but the person that present to. There are spren, I think, that are seen by all like maybe the gloryspren. lovespren…ha…that one would be tricky especially if you did not want the other person you loved them or others to know that.

  3. That is a cool graphic that you used at the opening of your post! I really love it!!!

    I too am appreciating the fact that I am not feeling any infodump.
    Very cool thought… ” I get the impression that he focuses on the story first, and allows the world to reveal itself as the story progresses.” I agree.

    I like both of the scenes you each chose. But, I like Cenn’s best. I thought that whole scene with Kaladin coming to the rescue was very engaging.

    I agree, I thought Cenn would be a main character too. Actually, I am still waiting for him to re-appear. Do we know for sure that he died? Maybe we do and I read so fast at that point that I missed it.

    Oh my gosh… you crack me up… “I do get the feeling though that if I started seeing spren I’d probably wonder if I had been drugged.” Very funny and I would be right there with you…am i drugged???

  4. That is a cool graphic that you used at the opening of your post! I really love it!!!

    I too am appreciating that I am not feeling any infodump. Very cool thought… ” I get the impression that he focuses on the story first, and allows the world to reveal itself as the story progresses.” I agree.

    I like both of the scenes you each chose. But, I like Cenn’s best. I thought that whole scene with Kaladin coming to the rescue was very cool.

    I agree, I thought Cenn would be a main character too. Actually, I am still waiting for him to re-appear. Do we know for sure that he died? Maybe we do and I read so fast at that point that I missed it.

    Oh my gosh… you crack me up… “I do get the feeling though that if I started seeing spren I’d probably wonder if I had been drugged.” Very funny and I would be right there with you…am i drugged???

    • I had thought Cenn would play a more important role, but fantasy authors seem to like introducing characters just to kill them off. I think that using Cenn to reveal Kaladin’s character is a great way to develop him as a character.

      • I agree, having our first glimpses of a main character revealed through the eyes of a minor character is an interesting way to do it and I think it worked out very well.

        • I think it also helped to build up the way that Kaladin tries to protect people, but then feels tremendous guild when he is unable to singlehandedly prevent their demise. He tries very hard to be responsible for the whole world…

        • It worked very well for me. It gave me a huge insight as to Kaladin’s character. A good way to SHOW it rather then TELL it and love when that happens in a story…the showing instead of telling.

  5. Good idea with the art thing, I especially like this first image. Can’t imagine I would have found this art otherwise and I always enjoy learning about artists whose work can be found online.

    Very fun that you both answered these questions together. Shallan’s drawing and the whole interaction with her and Yalb were two of my favorite parts of this first section. I think Kaladin is great and his sections are always ones I enjoy getting to, but this whole part about drawing and reading touched on passions of my own so it really held my interest.

    Syl is great. I think I would be initially annoyed at various kinds of spren popping up every time something happened, although I assume you just get used to it happening. The fact that she is becoming something different actually makes me more sympathetic to their presence and more interested in them as a whole. I am looking forward to seeing how Sanderson develops her character.

    • It did take some searching to find fanart, because the series is still new enough that not as many people have read it.

      I’m curious as to what’s going on with Syl, and if the same thing can happen to other spren. If so, that’s a whole new direction that Sanderson’s world could go in. I don’t think it will go that way, but it’s something to think about.

  6. Hi Grace and Mike! I really liked how both of you answered the questions.

    Mike: I loved that scene with Cenn. Talk about tense. I like his writing because he is giving a lot of detail but it doesn’t feel like a lot of detail.

    Grace: I loved the scene when Shallan was drawing. I think that was Carl’s favorite part as well. It would be awesome to be able to create images like hers. Even though I couldn’t “see” them, he described the whole process and her drawings so well I felt like I was watching her do it. That takes some skill.

    • It does. That scene was extremely well done. I’m a fan of books that portray artists/musicians/creative people.

  7. P.S. I forgot to say… what an awesome picture you found! LOVE it!

  8. I look forward to learning more about the spren things… especially Syl of course. And I’m still trying to figure out the whole darkeyes/lighteyes thing. Sometimes (a lot) I miss stuff.. is this like a caste system of sorts?

    Yes, poor Kaladin!

    • Eye color seems to be an indicator of nobility. The lighteyes are have a high social status, and dark eyes are the lower castes.

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