Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review: The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1)
Author:  Brandon Sanderson
Publisher:  Tor Books, 1007 pages
Publication Date:  August 31, 2010

From Goodreads:
Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soiless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2)
Author:  Brandon Sanderson
Publisher:  Tor Books, 1087 pages
Publication Date:  March 4, 2014

From Goodreads:
Six years ago, the Assassin in White, a hireling of the inscrutable Parshendi, assassinated the Alethi king on the very night a treaty between men and Parshendi was being celebrated. So began the Vengeance Pact among the highprinces of Alethkar and the War of Reckoning against the Parshendi.

Now the Assassin is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin's master has much deeper motives.

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status "darkeyes." Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

Words cannot adequately express how much I loved these two books.  I'm just in awe.  Phenomenal world-building with creative and unique mythology.  Then on top of that, you have an AMAZING cast of characters.  I'm emotionally invested.

Kaladin…my absolute favorite.  Shallan…she's not in the first book that much, but in the second book, her role becomes clear and I now love her.  Dalinar, Jasnah, Adolin.  I could keep going on and on about them.  How real they are, how flawed they are, but how strong they are.  They make mistakes, but they learn and grow and they never stop trying to do what's right.  There's such a depth to all of the characters, even the villains.  

To be honest, it took me awhile to get into the first book.  About 400 pages.  But then I was hooked.  And even though each book is over 1000 pages, I didn't want them to end.  How did I fall in love with a 10 book series where only the first two books are out????

Posted by:  Pam


  1. I cannot wait to read this one - I know I am going to love it - but at the same time maybe I should wait because these half-finished series are killing me. It's one thing when you can bank on having to wait a year for YA sequels, but these adult fantasy series can be 3-5-7 years waiting. I'm hoping to start Mistborn next since I caught up on the Gentleman's bastard but this is on my list!

  2. I need to read Brandon Sanderson's stuff. Everybody raves about him and I know that I'll love him, but I just keep pushing it off. I have Mistborn and thought I would start with that series. This one sounds amazing, but ugh 10 books and only 2 are out??? That could take literally decades before it's finished. Seems like a huge commitment. Lol Glad you loved them!