Paperback, 1260 Pages
Adult/ Epic Fantasy
By: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2
“Life before Death.
Strength before Weakness.
Journey before Destination.”
My story with this book goes back to 5 years ago when I started reading and I had no clue how successful Sanderson was. I kept seeing The Way of Kings in lists of the best books of all time and top rated books on GR. In 2021 and as if I am writing this review, the book has 350K ratings with an average of 4.61 stars which is insane!! I was very intrigued and so my brother bought me the book for my birthday then and it stayed on my shelf since that time. Fast forward to this day, where I have read most of Sanderson’s stories and I understand how successful he is. When I got my book only the first two books were released and through my research I understood that it is a very long series with 10 books so I left it for later but when the forth book came, I felt it may become very intimidating to read the series so I decided to start it this year. As expected and as it always happens with books we keep putting off reading, I loved it and I am giving it 5 stars (4.5 stars rounded up).
As to what is the story about, I don’t think I can really summarize everything in one paragraph without giving spoilers and there are far better reviewer than me who already did that so check out their reviews in the top page of GR. I am not gonna lie, a 1200+ pages book is really intimidating and even though I am familiar with adult fantasy and chonky books those days, it still took a bit of psyching up before jumping into this one (and finishing it in under one week).
Sanderson is sometimes criticized for his simplistic writing but I disagree, I think the simple prose works perfectly for this one because simple does not equate bad and because there were a ton of amazing quotes that I lived throughout the book. Also, I feel that it would take forever to write the books with a more purple prose and it would be a heavier burden among readers to go through the books. The writing is great and I specially felt that when I picked up a book after this one and felt that it paled in comparison to this one.
“Somebody has to start. Somebody has to step forward and do what is right, because it is right.”
The characters are a work of art. The book is divided into parts with each part following a few POVs, Kaladin is featured in all of them so we can think of him as the main protagonist but other characters are not less important and they are all connected toward the end of the book.
I have heard a ton of things about Kaladin and have seen him featured in all kind of fanarts. I finally got to meet him and I also can say that I ended up really loving him. I was trying to think of my favorite character when it comes to this book but I can not answer this question yet, I think the answer will become easier the more I advance in the series but for now, I almost loved all of the main characters. Sanderson is also sneaky because he would end the parts with a major event and then leave us waiting for that character to appear again after 300 pages or so. I did not care about Shallan for example at first, but the more I read her chapters, the more intriguing she became and I ended up invested in her story.
I am also super interested in Szeth and I want to have more and more of his own chapters and I do believe he will end up with bigger roles in the future books.
“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”
I did have crazy high expectations for the book specially for the magic system. The magic system in Mistborn is probably my most favorite system in the books I have read and I expected this one to top it but unfortunately it didn’t (At least not yet?) The magic system in this book was still amazing but I think the system here was more cinematic and I could see everything vividly in my mind with colors. The Spren and the armor and blades were all very cool and I think they would be amazing on screen but I thought that we will have a more complicated magic system and we kind of didn’t.
The pacing is slow, specially at the first. Sanderson starts the book with action and a very cool fight which is enough to grip the readers attention but it gets slower after that until we are oriented to the world. Think of the first 10-30% of any fantasy novel we read and how they’re slower and confusing. This was the same here but keep in mind that this percentage translates into almost 400 pages. What I am trying to say is that this book needs patience and I am glad I procrastinated reading it because I don’t think I had the patience I have now 5 years ago for slower books.
That being said, I was not bored at all and I think that is a good enough reason by itself to give the book a 5 stars rating. I mean imagine writing a 1200+ pages book without losing the reader’s attention. Also the last part was excellent and it gives the reader euphoria and a feeling of achievement after finishing the book!
“In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.”
Summary: I finally read the book and I finally understand what the hype is about. I loved the writing, the characters and the world-building. I would have preferred a faster pacing and a bit more complicated magic system but for an author to achieve what Sanderson did, it takes a huge effort and talent to do that and for that reason, I am pumping the rating to 5 stars!