Life before Death. Strength before Weakness. Journey before Destination.

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson

I'd been planning on leaving off on reading Way of Kings. I'm part way through so many unfinished fantasy series at the moment I was hesitant to take on another, especially on that's only two out of eight parts completed.


The reason for this is that I'm impatient. I simply NEED to know what happens next. It turns out that I was right to be hesitant, because book one of the Stormlight Archive, The Way of Kings, is fantastic; waiting for the rest of the series is going to be torturous.


I think Brandon Sanderson is arguably the finest world-builder in the genre at the moment. In many books I've read, one character acts as a reader-proxy who knows little about the world, giving the other characters an excuse to explain to that character what's going on. The Way of Kings eschews this and throws the reader into the deep end. 


Strange place names, magic concepts and unusual natural phenomenon are all thrown around early on without much explanation, but having read a fair bit of Sanderson in the past, I was able to trust that it would all pay off eventually.


We learn about the world of Roshar and it's people extremely artfully, with exposition and small revelations paced correctly and complimenting the narrative perfectly.


The plot follows an artistic young woman with a dangerous mission, a slave with a tortured past and the brother of an assassinated king. While the characters possibly aren't quite as well-realised and instantly engaging as those written by Joe Abercrombie or Patrick Rothfuss, the way they are all involved and connected to the narrative more than makes up for it. 


The plot of every character is interesting, the mysteries are intriguing, an the setting is unusual and exciting.


The Way of Kings is a perfect example of modern fantasy writing, and probably the finest first-entry into a fantasy series I've ever read. Once I got started I really couldn't put it down, and if you can handle what will probably be many years of waiting for the next Stormlight Archive novel, then I recommend this book without hesitation.