THE WAY OF KINGS

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Book Reviews

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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Book 1 of the Stormlight Archive

http://brandonsanderson.com/

The way of kings starts an epic fantasy series with planned 10 volumes. The story takes place in a world called Roshar. It is a harsh world frequently battered by high-storms that make a category 5 hurricane look like a spring rain. These high storms wreak havoc where ever they go. In this world of barren desert wastelands even the plant life has hardened into shells to protect themselves from the harsh and powerful storms. Grasses pull themselves back into the ground when a storm happens and other plants mimic rocks and scales all in an effort to survive. While not everywhere on Roshar is a barren wasteland the kingdom of Alethkar and others are often frequented by these hailstorms. Cities are built into the rocks of mountains and hills as the only form of protection. Soul casters, employed by a select few that can use them to change elements into other elements, use them to feed army’s as food is scarce and hard to come by.

Within these storms is powerful storm-light which is the source of power behind the soul casters. Storm light is used to infuse different gems with light as a form of currency. Spheres which are their money must be infused with storm light to keep their value. A dun or light less sphere is more often that not useless till infused again with storm light.

Long ago the last battle had taken place between the heralds and the void-bringers. The Heralds are cursed to ultimately perish in battle driving back the monsters. After dying, they are sent to a place of fire and brimstone where they suffer greatly, only to eventually be reborn and start the cycle of war and death again. After countless rebirths, and weary of the tortuous cycle, the Heralds abandon and condemn one of their own to remain eternally in that place of fire, cast down their Honor-blades (swords similar to but more powerful than Shard-blades), and abandon their calling, disappearing into history. Leaderless, the Knights Radiant gradually die off or are consumed by corruption until the order ceases to exist. The only remnants of their order are their shard-blades and shard plate.

Ones rank and Status in society is determined the color of your eyes. The brighter the eyes, the higher the rank and privileged in society.

Vorinism the the religion of this world; The 10 heralds are worshiped as God’s and it is believe that the light-eyes are chosen of the Gods to be rulers over all.

Shard-plates and blades are weapons and armor that through the storm light which they are infused with give added strength, skill, awareness and enhances all aspects of ones ability on the field of battle. Anyone can win a shard-plate or blade and instantly become a light-eyes.

King Gavilar of the Alethi is assassinated by the Parshendi who sent an assassin after him named Szeth, he calls him self truthless and is controlled and bound to obey all those who hold his truth-stone. The kings sudden and public assassination at the signing of a new treaty between the Parshendi and Alethi caused panic and mayhem in the Kingdom.

The 10 high princes join together in a vengeance pact and have spent the last 6 years waging war in the shattered plains against the Parshendi. The 10 high princes each with their own army and camp, spend their time fighting the Parshendi to get to the chasm-fiends, large shell covered creatures that live on the shattered plains. They harvest them for their gem hearts and wage constant war with the Parshendi over these gem hearts of great value, all the while claiming to be fighting for the vengeance pack. The high princes work more as 10 separate nations at war with the Parshendi, in competition with each other.

Dalanar, the late kings brother, and current kings uncle begins to question if this war is really worth the cost of the countless deaths in the thousands it has caused. He begins to have these strange visions of the lost knights Radiants and begins to study the book his brother had been studying called The Way of Kings. In his visions he is told that he must unite them, the high princes. He is told this over and over again. He fears he is on the verge of insanity and does not know whether he should trust the the visions or not.

Kaladan, A young spear-man in the army quickly rises to fame and command on the battlefield. Kills a Shard bearer in battle but refused to take the armor and shard-blade for his own as was his right. He felt he was only protecting his Bright-lord on the field of battle. To protect his own hide bright-lord Amaran, whom Kaladan fought for kills all the witnesses of Kaladan’s kill and brands him a slave.

Eventually Kalandan finds himself on the shattered plains running bridges in Bright-lord Sadeas army. The shattered plains are like a barren rocky wasteland covered in large crevices that can only be crossed by portable bridges .

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To be a bridge-man means certain death. The Parshendi will fire there arrows and kill you off as you run ahead with your bridge for the army to cross. kaladan has reached rock bottom. He struggles with whether he should just through himself into the chasm and die or live as a slave and bridge-men which all but guaranteed his death. He is at the point of death when he get the inspiration he needs. He has nothing to loose, he puts his military training to use and takes command of his bridge crew. Slowly at first but the other bridge men soon start to admire him and respect him. He is accepted as there leader.

On the other side of the world Shallan, whose family is trying to avert a financial disaster, petitions brightness Jashna Kohlin, heretic and noted scholar, to become her ward and apprentice. Her true motives are not learning but to steal from Jasnah in an effort to save her family from complete destruction. Things do not turn out how she had planned.

In Kharbranth the king runs a hospital for the sick and those on the cusps of death, however he is not all that he seems to be but is using the hospital to cover up a sinister secret.

Brandon Sanderson’s skill at world building shines through this book and makes it clear he is one of the best writers of modern fantasy alive today. The world he creates is spectacular and leaves me in complete awe and wonder. The details he infused into this story bring out a picture so vivid and real you forget that it is not reality. Breathtaking and Spectacular and very original in its creation.

The story pulls you in and keeps your attention in a way very, very few writers have ever been able to do for me. Everyday I found my self anxious to read this book. I did not want to ever put it down. The characters in this book are so believable you will feel like you know them personally. I feel like they have been my friends for years. They are real and heartwarming. The heroes in this book have weakness that strengthen them rather than weaken them.

Throughout the book we go back to the history of kaladan which only helps us to understand him better. His desperation and why he made the choices he did. His character is one that I have come to love and admire more than almost any other Character that I have ever had the please of becoming acquainted with.

This book is by far one of the best book I have ever read. Yes I will say it, Better than Lord of The Rings. Better than any other Fantasy that I have ever read, Ever!!

I give this book 10/10, lets hope the next volume lives up the the standard this one set.

 

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  1. […] THE WAY OF KINGS April 2, 2014 […]

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