Book: “The Way of Kings”
Series: The Stormlight Archive Book #1
Author: Brandon Sanderson
1007 pages, hardcover
First published August 31, 2010
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, book one of The Stormlight Archive begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.
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.
Let me start by saying that The Way of Kings is the second encounter with Brandon Sanderson for me. I would say I was pretty biased, as I was not impressed with Mistborn. But unlike me, my friend Angelina got to know the author through this series and I think this is the better choice. It is not an exaggeration when I say that this is the masterpiece of his work. After all, that’s what he claims himself.
The world in “The Way of Kings”
I can say of Brandon Sanderson that he is an absolute master at describing worlds. I can’t find anything superfluous in the book. Every line of description transports you to Roshar. You can even imagine the grasses and flowers recoiling at the slightest touch. The strange animals that populate the world. The storm that blows in with its fierce winds and heavy rains. The places the characters visit are like a picture painted in our minds. The glowing orbs they use instead of money. Abe even I winced, it was like the claws of the abyssal monster scratching the walls at home. I also like the illustrations at the end of the chapters that help you complete the imagery. Absolute masterpiece.
Roshar is a world where mighty storms rage. No one survives if they stay outside during a storm. In this world, men are made to be strong and wield the sword, and for women, science and art remain. There are no men who can read except the Ardents, who are like monks. Even the king cannot read.
Alethkar is one of the kingdoms in the world of Roshar. Here, too, there is a division into classes. The highest in the hierarchy are the bright-eyed Radiant Knights. A sign of power are bright eyes and black hair. The rule over all spheres of life in Alethkar is entrusted to the light-eyed ones. The subordinates are the dark-eyed. They cannot hold high positions and are absolutely subservient to the bright-eyed lords. Typical of the author’s style are the many different peoples he describes with great effort. We have Parshmen who have gray and red spots, Parshmen who have armor growing out of their bodies, and many other interesting races.
Armor and swords
In this world, the great goal of all Radiant Knights is to have a full suit of armor. There are magical armors that protect the warrior’s body even from blows that would kill him. They fit so well and have absolutely no seams or slits. The armor not only protects, it also gives its wearer inhuman powers. All of his abilities are amplified many times over when he wears it. Light-eyed people who possess armor are called armadillo wearers. But a full armadillo must also possess a sword. This has nothing to do with their function. A warrior can own them separately, it’s more a matter of prestige.
The sword is much bigger than the standard sword. It has the power to cut through anything inanimate and sever the nerves of the living. A man struck down by such a sword burns from within, without a cut. But not everyone can wield such a sword. Both the armor and the sword can be acquired only by killing another armadillo. And if a dark-eyed man acquires armor and a sword, he becomes light-eyed, or so the legends say…
Characters and plot in “The Way of Kings”
The story begins with the murder of King Gavilar. The Parshmen take responsibility for the assassination and all the Shining Lords make a pact for revenge. The alliance between them is only apparent. Each of the lords plays his own game. Revenge for the king’s death leads them to a long and grueling war that lasts six years and takes place in a place called the Desolate Plains. An extremely inhospitable area that belongs to no one and is a collection of rocky plateaus crisscrossed by deep chasms. Movement is by permanent and temporary bridges, which limits the military power of the Alethi. But this does not bother the Shining Lords, because their goal is not revenge, but the accumulation of wealth.
And as the war continues and everyone’s attention is focused on the desolate plains, evil rises. “Desolation” comes and the people are not prepared for it. The legends of the Radiant Knights tell of an evil they fought to save humanity, but the truth is veiled.
- No one knows why the Radiant Knights committed their “treason.”
- No one knows what “wastelanders” are.
- No one knows what is in store for them.
First of all, I would like to introduce you to the picture of Kaladin. I personally like him very much
Kaladin’s story is shrouded in mystery. At the beginning of the book, Sanderson introduces us to the character. He is a talented spearman who enjoys the loyalty and respect of his subordinates. However, after an unsuccessful battle, all his soldiers are dead and he is sold as a slave. The reader learns the truth about this only gradually as the character develops. His life is accompanied by losses. Everyone he has ever tried to protect dies. He has been confronted with the deceptive promises of psychics and has paid a high price for naivety in believing them. He has gone through some pretty dark moments before becoming a hero who protects the weak and defenseless.
Kaladin gets caught up in the army of the Radiant Knights Sadeas. He is one of the Bridge Four, and their fate is to die. No one cares about them. They are expendable. This is the lowest possible position in the army. The bridges are not even allowed to wear shields and armor. They are defenseless against the arrows of the enemy. The fate of people trapped in the army as bridgemen is cruel. The task of the bridgemen is not to survive.
This is where Kaladin’s character comes out best. In a hopeless situation, he must decide whether to fight and protect the bridgemen or surrender and die.
Dalinar – “Way of Kings”
Favorite Image. I can’t even describe how much I like Dalinar. He is everything a king should be. Dalinar is a man of honor and principles. He is strong, courageous, just and brave. A fearsome warrior, an armadillo. His soldiers are the best trained and his camp is well maintained. He is guided by the code, as are his sons and his subordinates. But Dalinar is not a king. He is the brother of the slain king and the uncle of the current king.
Dalinar feels the loss of his brother as a personal failure and urges him to devote all his strength to protecting his nephew Elhokar. This takes him out of the general game for the wealth of the other Radiant Knights and shakes his position. Dalinar wants to complete his brother’s work. Gavilar has fought to make Alethkar a strong and united country. But Dalinar is a warrior. He does not know about palace intrigues and cutthroats. The reluctance of the bright-eyed to cooperate with him is also caused by the rumor that he is losing his mind.
Dalinar is captivated by a book that his brother Gavilar had read before his death. The book is called “The Way of Kings” and contains parables and wisdom about how a good king should be. Although he found it fascinating, it was not a read that the other lords would approve of. Dalinar’s downfall is compounded by the “episodes” he receives during a storm. The visions that plague him make even his sons doubt Dalinar’s sanity. The fate of the Collins family hangs in the balance. Should Dalinar trust the voice whispering to him to “unite them” and finish Gavilar’s work? What if it’s all a hoax and an evil force is playing with his mind?
Shallan and Jasnah
The third storyline follows the heroines Shalan and Jasnah. It’s important to mention them because many of the revelations important to the plot happen in their conversations. Shalane is not our favorite character. She is a confused girl who is trying to save her family from the begging stick. She is determined to become Jasna’s confidante and commit a theft that will ensure the survival of her brothers. Her character is somewhat mysterious, but there are few revelations and I think the heroine will develop in future books.
Princess Jasna, on the other hand, is a strong and independent woman. In a world where religion is paramount, she manages to stand her ground and not be pigeonholed into any sanctuary. She is labeled a heretic, but all the Ardents try to win her over to their faith. We like Jasnah as a character much more than the image of Shalane.
“The Way of Kings”
We can hardly find words to express how great this book is. A world, characters and battles that are masterfully described. The suspense of not knowing what will happen to the characters. Unexpected twists and shocking events. All of this is Brandon Sanderson’s strength. “The Way of Kings” is a must read for lovers of the fantasy genre.