I loved the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, and so I was eager to read another series by the same author; The Stormlight Archive of which The Way of Kings is the first of a series of 10 books.
One of our main character is Kaladin, a young man who gives up the opportunity to become a medical apprentice and instead follows his younger brother, who was conscripted into the army in order to protect him. But Kaladin fails in his efforts to protect his brother and soon he begins to lose his faith in the command structure as he realizes that it is every man for himself rather than commanders trying to train and protect their own men. Even though he achieves a great victory while protecting his commanding officer and even captures a Shardplate, a mystical armor that gives enormous power to the person who wears it, he becomes a liability and instead of being rewarded he is demoted and assigned to work on a lowly bridge crew. Kaladin struggles to find ways to protect himself and the others that he collects to be a part of his bridge team, but he begins to see that they are only fodder for the war that is being played out without honor.
Meanwhile another main character, Shallan is travels from far away to become an apprentice to Jasnah, a soulcaster and a woman of extraordinary knowledge and power. Shallan has come in order to save her family from financial ruin and her intent is to steal Jasnah’s fabiral with which she does her soulcasting. Soon, however, she is immersed in what she is learning and eagerly helps Jasnah with her research and slowly her intent to steal the fabrial seems oddly unimportant to what she is studying. Oddly, while Shallan is working with Jasnah she begins to notice that strange shadows and figures are appearing in her drawings she begins to feel like she is being watched and followed.
Dalinar our final character is a noble and an adviser to the King. He has begun to question whether there should not be a better way to conduct warfare and to rule people and has begun to read old manuscripts that teach “the way of kings. ” He begins to have spells where he dreams that the former king is showing him the places that are broken in their society and he keeps telling Dalinar that he must unify the country before it is too late.
Sanderson does a good job in creating this world. There is interesting weather, flora and fauna and the magic that exists in this world is structured and coherent. The characters were interesting and the the plot and settings and supporting characters were all engaging and in some cases like Yod, the unscrupulous sailor/protector of Shallan, quite memorable. But this is a long book. It plodded quite a bit and the action didn’t build on itself in a way that held your interest. I think most fantasy readers like me like long books where we can be immersed in this world, but I also think fantasy authors need to be careful not to abuse their readers with needlessly long books.
Brenda’s Rating: ** (Two Stars out of Five)
Brenda’s Recommendation: No one
Book Study Worthy: No
Read in e-book format.