1000 pages of Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings, unfolds as a sprawling epic fantasy. We know we are in for it when we get a couple of, what might be called, false beginnings - in other words, characters and situations that preface the real action we'll be following. All of this sits for a while in the reader's mind like a jumbled mess, and we must tell ourselves, "Be patient - the next 800 pages will likely make it all clear." Even so, the nuances of race relations and different cultures of the book take some time to absorb. Sanderson is incredibly ambitious and imaginative in his world building, with interesting and amusing cultural characteristics. For example, you'll get a chance to meet a king who keeps a fool in attendance with a bit more bite to his humor than one traditionally expects (Think King Lear). I expect this is the first novel in what will wind up as a long series, and as such, there are a lot of disparate pieces to put together. Of course, "medicine" like this goes down much more easily with a really engaging story - does Sanderson provide that? For me, the answer was a moderate yes. I found the pace of the story quite slow at times, particularly in Kaladin's story. Sanderson was smart to insert a fairy creature known as a spren in order to lighten the dour Kaladin story line. I was more interested in Shallan and Dalinar, perhaps just because I found their characters and their overall challenges more intriguing. I've read some really long fantasy novels this year, and this one, though good, was not superior. Blood Song by Anthony Ryan, Hyperion by Dan Stevens, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and every one of the Song of Ice and Fire books 1-3 (especially 3) by George R.R. Martin - perhaps unfair to compare this book to those, but that's how it is. On a positive note, I can see Jim Henson getting really excited about a story like this one, buying the rights to it, and attempting to make a hugely budgeted, meticulous recreation of it with puppets. What that says is that this story has really wonderful and surprising avenues of imagination in it worthy of the great Jim Henson's attention. (I still think about him from time to time, and really enjoyed his biography released last year.) The battle parallels with the ventures America has made into the Middle East cannot help but be apparent. I do look forward to continuing the series with the next book. Sanderson could do with some tighter editing, though