5.0 out of 5 stars
By Geraine - Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2018
This has quickly become my favorite fantasy series of all time.
Brandon Sanderson is quickly becoming my favorite author. I grew up with Tolkein, Asimov, Herbert, and other gifted writers. Though I was young and didn't understand everything on the page, the stories came alive for me. I was also a huge fan of Orson Scott Card in high school, and the past 15 years of George RR Martin. In my opinion Brandon Sanderson might just beat them all. I know that will be taken as blasphemous and borderline heresy, because Tolkein and Asimov are considered two of the greatest writers of all time. Just hear me out as to why I think Sanderson has something special with this series. The Way of Kings is the first in a planned 10 book series in the Stormlight Archive. These 10 books take place on a planet called Roshar, a planet with a unique and rich history. While humans are present, the world is very different than our own. The world is a very unforgiving place, with hurricane level storms traveling across the world every couple of weeks, giant crab like crustaceans roaming the world, and trees and other plant life have evolved a rock-like resilience to the elements. Right away you can see that this differs from the more traditional fantasy worlds of other authors. As if this isn't interesting enough, Sanderson goes one step further and introduces a magic system that hasn't been seen before. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil it, but the discovery of this "magic" (if it can be called that) is both interesting and refreshing. Though this book and presumably all books in the Stormlight Archive will take place on the planet Roshar, Brandon Sanderson has done something even more ambitious with his books than other authors have attempted in the past. He has other series, such as Elantris, Mistborn, Warbreaker, etc that take place IN THE SAME UNIVERSE. Though these books take place in the same universe they take place on different planets, with different magic systems on each. How are there different magic systems? Well there is an explanation, (a really good one I might add) but for it to make sense, you really need to read the books. Do you have to have read one series first to enjoy another series? Absolutely not! That said, if you HAVE read some of the other books, there are numerous "Easter Eggs" that you will discover in some of the books that will make you smile. There is an over-arching plot between all of the books in each of Sanderson's series in the Cosmere Universe, but that plot is still in its infancy. Sanderson has said he knows his end game, and thankfully he is a very fast writer. It is amazing to me that Sanderson can write so quickly and yet so well at the same time. The character development each of the characters experiences is amazing. Each is well written, and even though I get annoyed at some of the decisions the characters make, I am not annoyed at the WRITING of those characters. The characters don't always make the best decisions, because Sanderson writes them as humans, and humans make mistakes. There are twists in the books that would rate very highly on the M. Night Shamalayan scale. There are very few books that have made me tear up as if someone cut an onion in the room, but for some reason this book (as well as Words of Radiance and Oathbringer) has made me do so. Do yourself a favor and buy this book. There's humor, romance, comedy, drama, and best of all, GOOD WRITING.
3.0 out of 5 stars
By S. Egan - Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2018
200 great pages, and 800 more of something else.
I started this work because there are over 5000 five-star reviews; one of the top reviewers stated "It's the best book I've read in 30 years." That got me hitting the 'buy' button. By the end of this monstrously long book, I was seriously wondering if the problem was that I just don't know how to enjoy a book that clearly the rest of reading public adores. This story is full of characters that are one-dimensional. They deliver dialog that is utterly dull and factual, blandly informing the reader of specific information that is relevant to another character, place, or event in history. Much of it (and there is indeed very much) is about as interesting as the menu options you receive when calling your health insurance provider. Worse, when there is anything subtle or interesting developing, the author pauses to deliver italics that spells out exactly what just happened, in case you missed it. To illustrate one particularly painful example, a group of royalty gathers for a hunt, and the reader is treated to scores of pages of unfolding intrigue and machinations, and then at the end, in italics: "Why...this is probably why they invited him on the hunt...so they could maneuver him." I seriously wonder how some readers can enjoy being treated this way. So why 3 stars? Because there are parts of the book that are quite excellent. These sections really stand apart from the rest of the work, as if an excellent 200-page story, highly edited and polished, were written and then 800 extra pages of character and plot notes were added with a leaf blower. Perhaps the most confusing piece of all this is the Acknowledgements. Sanderson credits more than forty people who guided and assisted him with this novel. I just can't understand how none of them could have mentioned what a mess the final product is.
1.0 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer - Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2019
Like watching paint dry
When I buy anything online I usually read the negative reviews first. Especially when I buy books or video games because I am well aware of how and by whom most of the “great” reviews are generated. This time I failed to do so. Oh well. Frankly, I did not expect much to begin with but this book did not meet even my exceedingly low expectations. I kept reading in order to find out if there was really something in this book that merited all those glowing reviews. There was not. 1)Boring, pretentious, verbose writing. 2)Ridiculous world with unlikable, obnoxious, forgettable characters (cardboard cutouts, basically) spouting platitudes and facepalm-worthy witticisms. 3)Mundane slog described in excruciating detail. 4)Huge plot holes (not that there is any discernible plot) related to Soulcasting. 5)Oh, and don’t forget the so-called “feminine arts” — music/art/science/philosophy/technology. Let me repeat: these are feminine arts. I am not kidding. Men can’t read or write. Even the kings. The noblemen... oops, sorry, the lighteyes, can only murder each other (I guess the term is toxic masculinity in radical feminist parlance) and be generally unreasonable, socially awkward, brooding, paranoid brutes in desperate need of guidance or at least a good kick in the rear. The women, on the other hand (safehand?), are very intelligent. They design stuff, conduct all kinds of research, create masterpieces and scientific theories, write books and manage accounts. Now you can guess the target audience. 6)sprens. One word — insufferable. 7)bridges. Double insufferable. Epic fail.