During the past month, I participated in a readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s “The Way of Kings.” It has been an incredible experience, and I’d like to thank everyone who made it possible. To conclude the readalong, I’m going to share a spoiler-free review of the novel for anyone who hasn’t been following along.
“The Way of Kings” is a masterpiece of epic fantasy, and is the first volume in the Stormlight Archive series. It is set in a war-torn world where the Radiants, formerly the defenders of the world, have been reduced to mere memory. It is there that we find our characters. Kaladin is a doctor-turned-soldier-turned-slave who has an uncanny knack for staying alive against all odds, and is one of my favorite characters that I’ve encountered in fantasy thus far. Dalinar is a proud and honorable soldier who doubts his sanity as he begins to experience visions of the distant past. Shallan is a young woman who enters academia in order to steal an item of great power from her mentor. As the novel progresses, the characters’ storylines converge as evils from the distant past threaten to return.
Sanderson’s world is unique and yet convincing. Violent storms require vegetation to resemble oceanic life and be able to retreat protectively. Battles are fought over the gemhearts of giant crab-like Chasmfiends. In Alethi society, the women are the scholars while the men become warriors. The Parshendi, the little-understood “enemies” in the novel, are people who are able to grow their own armor from their skin.
Overall, I was impressed with Sanderson’s writing, as well as his ability to continually surprise me with unforeseeable plot twists. This book far surpasses most epic fantasy that I’ve read thus far. I would highly recommend it, and I plan on reading the second book in the series the moment that it becomes available.