The Way of Kings

Brandon Sanderson
The Way of Kings Cover

The Way of Kings


This is the first book of what is planned to be an epic 10 book series. At over 1000 pages it is very much about world building and introducing some major characters.It achieves this admirably well and at the end of the book the scene is set for what is to come. There are many interesting elements not fully explained to us yet which nevertheless make for an engaging and absorbing story.

The world building was excellent with the action based in several well descried exotic locations including the Shattered Plains, where the armies of ten high princes have been engaged in seeminly pointless battles with an enemy who they believe assassinated their king. High prince Dalinar, the King's uncle, wants the high princes to join the forces together so they can defeat the enemy and go home but no one will listen to him. Into this background we are introduced to Kaladin, a young man who has been through some tough times and is now reduced to the lowest of jobs in the army, running bridges into battle to allow the army to cross the many chasms on the plains. Being at the front of the army, such bridgemen don't live long but Kaladin has other ideas on survival. Kaladin's character is well developed with many flashbacks on his life and misfortunes to show how he has sunk so low but retained his ability to care for others.

Another character whose story the book follows, is that of Shallon. Daughter of a noble house that has fallen on hard times, she travels to the wealthy city of Kharbranth, a centre for books and learning, to become a ward of the King's sister, Jasnah, to help her with her studies and be further educated herself. However, she has an ulterior motive for getting close to Jasnah who is able to transmutate materials into other forms. It's clear that Jasnah and Shallan in particular are being set up to have an important role in this story.

There are many other intriguing features of this book. The role of religions in the societies, the conflict of nobility and honor with fighting ability and popularity. Each new chapter starts with the last words of a dying person, curious words indeed that don't at first make sense. There are also many unknowns - What are the Desolations that the historians talk of? What are the Voidbringers? What are the magical sharblades that can cut through anything and shardplate, the special armour that gives men extra strength? All these questions and more will no doubt be answered in the next nine sequels!