BOOK RECS ASK GAME
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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
My Overall Thoughts - 5/5
This is the introduction to a massive world. A 1200 page introduction. A compelling, intricate, deep introduction to what I can only assume is going to be an utterly ginormous book series. Brandon Sanderson can pull it off. I have no doubt.
I picked up The Way of Kings several times before. I never made it past the Prelude. Now, I’m not incredibly anti-prologue or whatever…but I just never got hooked enough to move past the “okay” prelude into the honking novel that was The Way of Kings. Finally, my husband read it and he said, “Just keep reading. I promise.” And those kinds of promises always irritate me. Like, why can’t it just hook me from the get go? Why does it have to wait to get good?
My ONLY complaint is that the prelude, when the reader is otherwise uninformed about the world of the story, isn’t that engaging. Going back, of course, after I read the book, the prelude makes perfect sense as the opening. What other opening could there be? But it did take me a while to muster up the will to move past it into the meat of the book. And I am so glad I did—as I knew I would be.
The entire book might be an introduction to the Stormlight Archives as a series, but it doesn’t feel that way. Not in the moment. I was so involved with the characters, getting to know them and their stories and their place in this huge world…I loved it. And I came to love every narrating character for their own reasons. Kaladin and Shallan, from the start, I adored. And while it took me a little longer to love Dalinar, I came to look forward to his narration as well.
Characters are what pull me into a story, and The Way of Kings does not want for character. More on that below. The worldbuilding is great, of course, and the magic system—what Sanderson is kind of known for—is complex and interesting and I still don’t feel like I’ve done more than scratch the surface when it comes to understanding it. I can’t wait to start Words of Radiance. And by that, I mean I’ve already started it. Started it moments after finishing this one.
I read this on Kindle and also listened to the audiobook while running and biking and driving. Michael Kramer and Kate Reading (who you might know as the narrators for the entire Wheel of Time series…) did a great job. They are pleasant to listen to.
Very mild spoilers below cut.
Character Development - 5/5
The character growth from opening of book to closing of book was spectacular. This book does not stand alone, so character arcs are not complete and they are not meant to be. We get the building of several character arcs and each one is compelling and complex. Each one is unique, but feels authentic.
We get much more of Kaladin’s backstory than anyone else’s. In fact, we get basically all of Kaladin’s backstory and basically zero of anyone else’s. I like that, honestly. Sanderson doesn’t slow down the book by trying to cram a handful of backstories into everything. For the other characters, the here-and-now matters far more than the “then.” We see Shallan grow and struggle and chance and she is interesting without knowing more than a scattering of details of where she came from. It works and it aids in making each character feel more unique because they are all presented to the reader through different methods.
Story Structure - 5/5
Some people don’t like multiple POV books. I can understand why. It can be done very poorly. But Sanderson’s structure is basically flawless, especially for the scope of this series. With only three primary narrators, and a few others sprinkled in among the interludes (the short chapters between parts), it never felt like more than was needed. The stories, at first, seem unrelated, the only similarity between the characters being that they live in the same basic part of this world. However, as their stories go on and events unfold, we begin to see how they are tied together. We see how they will continue to weave closer together into the next book. The end of the book, when two of the “unrelated” narrators finally meet, I was just filled with joy at seeing them interact because I was finally able to see these two characters—whom I’d grown to love separately—thrust together and working together and doing everything just exactly how they should. It’s like when two of your good friends finally meet and they hit it off and you just can’t contain your happiness.
Tone/Style - 5/5
Classic fantasy; timeless and elegant without being stuffy or outdated.
World Building - 5/5
I can’t imagine having anything negative to say about Sanderson’s worldbuilding, like, ever. And this is especially true here. You get a feeling of the scope of this world without being overwhelmed or drowned in useless exposition. In fact, I never once—not in 1200 pages—ever thought, “Okay, let’s move past this exposition and back into the story…” That’s not to say he never broke off into exposition for a bit. But it does speak well of the writing when I didn’t notice it.
Representation/Diversity - 4.5/5
Set in a fantasy world, so races and species are utterly different, though the Alethi are specified as “human.” Various skin tones are mentioned for many, if not all, the characters. Sexuality is not a topic of discussion in general, but all mentioned couples were heterosexual.
Sanderson writes clean stuff (he’s a devout Mormon). No content issues.
My Final Thoughts
I WILL GO READ WORDS OF RADIANCE NOW. BYE.
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SJM Book Event @ Schuler Books
It was my first time to one and I was a little late so I had to rush to get my signed copy of Tower of Dawn and stamp my EOS and ACOMAF,
But it was really cool. Sarah was funny, making lewd jokes and cursing. She highly recommended the movie IT "if you have a phobia of clowns or are not a fan of traumatic things happening to children, then don't watch it. But I loved it." It was grand!
She told us her grandmother's touching story and that Yrene was sorta based off of her, just a little.
A power she would love to have was shape shifting so she could "turn in a velociraptor and scare little children"
She didn't know she wanted Lysandra to be a shape shifter until she heard the song "Smack My Bitch Up" by The Prodigy. There was a part in the middle of it where she pictured Lysandra running at a man, shifting and tackling him to the ground and ripping out his throat in slo-mo!
She said maybe "never say never" to having a coloring book made of just the smutty scenes, an xxx adult coloring book. She said she wasn't sure Charlie Bowater would draw them for her this time if that was the case. And two older ladies were whopping and hollering beside me. I hope to be them one day. Lmfao!
She told us that she wrote the first 20,000 words of TOD while on healing steroids. Novellas are usually 30,000 words long. And she was only on chapter three and that she was just getting started!
She does not have something against wedding scenes. Jane Austen never write a wedding scene and she said "okay, I will too." She did write a wedding scene between Rhys and Feyre [insert awwww] but it was just to sweet and cheesy that she decided against. She might however put it in an extra in one of the upcoming novels "we'll see how nice I'm feeling."
THE WALL SCENE WILL BE IN THE ACOTAR SPINOFF NOVELLA. CONFIRMED. SJM CONFIRMED THAT THE WALL SCENE WILL HAPPEN. EVERYONE SCREAMED AND SJM SAID, "To everyone who screamed and is excited by that, I love you pervs!"
I loved it all and will definitely go to more events like this in the future!!
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