Brandon Sanderson

Book 1, The Stormlight Archive

Gollancz (2010)

ISBN: 978-575-09735-3

Reviewed by Mitenae

When I first received this book for review I groaned because of the sheer size of this novel. To call it a doorstopper would be to understate the size and scope of this work. But once getting past the cover this book is a delight to read.

Kaladin was once a leader of a squad but now is a slave. A slave who’s escaped and been recaptured ten times and is once again travelling on his way to being sold. Then he makes it to the Shattered Plains where the King’s army is gathered fighting the Parshini, once for vengeance over the death of their late king, now over the highly prized gemhearts. Kaladin must overcome his sense of defeat if he is to survive being a bridgeman.

Shallan has travelled from city to city trailing after Jasnah Kholin to save the fortunes of her family, in the hope of becoming her ward. But Shallan discovers Jasnah’s invitation was only an offer to meet and she must earn her wardship if she wants to save her family.

Adolin Kholin, the son of Dalinar Kholin, a highprince is unsure of his father. Dalinar has been having visions each highstorm, has been reading The Way of Kings, and has made his army follow the Codes, which grate on everyone. Adolin wants to court women and fight for gemhearts. He doesn’t want to have to deal with the rumours surrounding his father’s apparently increasing instability. But Dalinar knows something larger is looming.

The Evenstorm is coming.

The Way of Kings is a book many years in the making. The sheer depth of worldbuilding, the complexity, gives this book a vibrancy that few others come close to. It’s a world you want to spend time exploring.

And the size of this volume doesn’t matter one bit. It’s a story that could be cut back, told more tightly, but the story would lose a lot of the depth and scope that brings this novel and the world within its pages to life. You would also lose the ability to explore this world slowly in a way many other novels lack in their rush to get to the end. By the time I reached the end I immediately wanted to know what happens next and for me that’s a sure sign of a brilliantly crafted and told story.

But, I can’t stand the UK/Australian cover. The artwork on its own is stunning but the style bears no reflection of the world Brandon Sanderson has created. Instead, the cover reeks as an attempt to brand the author by continuing the style begun with The Mistborn Trilogy.

This book is one of my standout reads of the year. It’s a book I will come back to and one I would highly recommend. Brandon Sanderson has, in time if he keeps producing books like this, the potential to not just be one of the great names of fantasy but one of the few legends, standing alongside the people who have shaped the genre as it we know it today.