"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Way of Kings

by Brandon Sanderson

I am really obsessed with this author right now, as you might notice from the many books I've read of his lately.  It has been so long since I've really found a good set of fantasy books, and Mistborn fulfilled that longing.  Then I voraciously read a few of his other single books like Elantris and Warbreaker and like them, though not on the epic scale of the others.  Then I discovered a 10 book series called the Stormlight Archive, the first book of which is The Way of Kings and I quickly ordered it from the library.  A large volume, in both a physical and a written way, but well worth the time.  Then I excitedly went to order the 2nd book, only to find it was not available.  Why?  Because it hasn't been published yet!  I didn't realize that this is a "projected" 10 book series, meaning that Sanderson has only finished and published the first one, and now I have to wait for 9 more books, which will probably mean the next 10 years of my life will be spent waiting to know what happens at the end!  But if the first book shows anything of that ending, it will be well worth the wait.

So, as I read The Way of Kings I felt like the book did two things.  It told a great story.  Actually it tells a number of great stories about great characters.  But it also felt like a huge introduction to the even larger series.  What I'm saying is, it covers a lot of territory, sets up a lot of stuff for future reference, and leaves a lot of parts hanging with no definite answers, because there are many more stories to come that will flesh it all out.  As long as I go into the book understanding this, I love it because it builds and builds the suspense.  And yet, it is amazing to me that an author can do all that, yet still work in some really amazing stories and characters as well.

And as you can imagine, its not easy to really sum up.  This first book tells the beginning stories of a few different characters.  First, a man who goes from healer, to soldier, to slave, to leader.  The details of his slavery on the "bridge crew" are fabulous and the setting and characters are well thought out and presented.  Another character is a mysterious assassin, one who loathes his job but is for some reason compelled into it.  There is also a female character who becomes the apprentice of a wise woman, only in hopes of stealing her most precious possession, but instead finds herself learning more than she thought.  And finally, another character is a chivalrous military leader who is turning away from way and trying to find the way of peace.  All these characters are set amid a world that is plagued by great storms, so much that the world has adapted, with descriptions of plants and animals and people that are suited for weathering great tempests. A truly epic landscape and story.

And just like another great series, The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, its killing me to have to wait for the next installment!  Its going to be a long 10+ years.

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