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The Way Of Kings

by Brandon Sanderson

3.67 avg rating
Book 3 of 441 in the Best Fantasy Books
6892 votes 20 comments
Brandon Sanderson, widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga,  begins a grand cycle of his own, with The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive.

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 soilless 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.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths,

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

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20 comments
Jon Snow | 2012-10-08 03:21:44
This could be the best fantasy series if the other books are like this one.
Anonymous | 2012-11-29 06:34:15
Best opening book to a series I have read in a long time. Sanderson is the master at structuring fantasy.
Footch | 2013-03-22 05:52:21
An incredible story written with a great style. Very easy to visualize. I loved the foreshadowing and metaphors. It was a 1000 pages yet never boring
Anonymous | 2014-08-17 06:02:23
A massive book that seems overload but overload it was not...fantastic magic system, charcters , storyline, plot, settings, etc...definitely not a boring book...can't wait to read the 2nd one.
Infynis | 2015-03-10 05:10:34
I read the Way of Kings, and Words of Radiance in 1 week. I could not put them down. The magic system is fantastic, the world is extremely strange, but extremely interesting, and there was not a moment when I thought the books should be shorter.
Anonymous | 2015-05-23 08:54:03
why does this part talk more about Jordan's work than about the way of kings?
Anonymous | 2015-06-04 06:22:41
This review seems like it describes more the Wheel of Time than the Stormlight Archive. Should be rewritten.
Ryan | 2015-06-08 10:33:06
Echoing last two comments that this isn't review of series.
best fantasy writer in a generation | 2015-07-24 01:42:55
The first two books in this series are amazing, the magic system is inventive, the characters are easy to relate to, and the action and suspense is jaw dropping. Martin's books have nothing on these masterpieces'
Anonymous | 2015-07-30 03:40:43
So far, the first two books down and they're incredible. Very good job in character structure and getting you involved in liking them. I'd rank this series up there with Martin's work or Rothfuss - no kidding.
Rains | 2015-08-03 09:36:18
what is amazing about these books is that Sanderson creates a unique world with it's own flora, fauna and yes, amazing storm driven magic system. the scope of imagination is awe inspiring and it's amazing how fast you fall in love with the characters and their story (to the point you name video game heroes you play after them). my only complaint is the fact that I sometimes think the story goes too physically defying epic, but it's still awesome.
Anonymous | 2015-09-03 09:27:15
Can't believe this crap is even mentioned never mind above LOTR
Aaron | 2015-10-23 09:06:20
Everyone does realize that Brandon Sanderson only finished "The Wheel Of Time" right. I don't know why most of the description is about a completely different author and book series.
Anony | 2015-11-28 07:19:20
Content writing mistake? This ends as a review for WoT not WoK.
Anonymous | 2015-12-22 05:03:28
I find it hard to fathom that this book series is on anyone's list, let alone listed at #3 of "best series ever". The Prelude and Prologue to the first book are very promising, but once you get into the book proper, it quickly becomes quite boring. While the author isn't quite as tedious with his descriptions of flora and fauna as Stephen Donaldson was in his Thomas Covenant books, he nevertheless wastes too much prose on these topics. Normally I literally devour good fantasy books, and can read a book a day, or every two days. It's a bad sign when I find myself skipping paragraphs by the time I get to Chapter 4 of a book. My advice to anyone considering picking up this series is to get it for free from your local library, read the first few chapters, then decide if it's something you like or not. Don't expect to be captivated though.
Anonymous | 2016-04-27 09:38:49
this book is very amateurish - the pacing is horrendous in the first half and you can literally see the writing improve as the book continues from its lumbering and dull pacing to much more precise prose and better tension and release. I quite liked it by the end, but come on how can you not see the bad and the good? if you want to read his best work, when he really gets into his groove read his mistborn series, its brilliant
Anonymous | 2016-05-14 03:00:27
The top of the list of best epic fantasy contains really good series - Erikson, Martin, Tolkien, Abercrombie, Jordan, Abraham, Rothfuss (havent read Earthsea cycle and Lyonesse trilogy). The Way of Kings does NOT belong on 3rd place in my opinion, it should be FAR down the list. I am 2/3 through the second book, and i'm not sure I will even bother to finish. The character descriptions/development are below average, and the world itself is simply uninteresting and dull. Sanderson has tried to create a "fantastic" world different from our own, but it ends up feeling empty.
Anonymous | 2016-09-23 03:06:37
And it's been 7 years and we only have two books. I hope you will all enjoy reading this series , if and when he finishes it. By the way he is publishing now, it will be in 27 years. Sanderson is an okay author...but he is going to burn out long before he gets this finished. Best to skip it.
Anonymous | 2016-10-21 08:52:40
It is a great book. I cannot wait for the third book in the series. In the meantime I am trying to find something similar, without success yet.
Anonymous | 2018-01-06 07:51:10
I don't think that Skybreaker is the book that should be in here
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