No really. There is a reason, that I don’t typically read a lot of high fantasy even though I often end up loving it.
- It takes me forever to get into the book. Every time there are new rules and words and beings that exist and you have to figure it out and it takes too long to orient yourself within the world. I started The Lord of the Rings FOUR times before I actually made it far enough in to know what was even happening. This is the same thing that happened with The Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson, Tor Fantasy, 2011).
- No Ending Syndrome. This is a real thing that affects all genres, but is most common within the realm of high fantasy. Everything starts to come together and then it just STOPS and you have to wait YEARS for the next book! If it is the second book, I understand it more, but the first book in a series? How do you think everyone would have felt if Star Wars ended right as the attack on the Death Star Started?!
Basically, books like this are the equivalent of experiencing a new lover who just leaves you hanging at the end. When things start out, you’re not always sure you’re on the same page or if you even speak the same language. After a bit of foreplay, you start to find a rhythm and you get excited and you’re into it and start to climax and then… he just stops… right before you orgasm. There. I said it. High fantasy is a failed orgasm.
I wish I were joking. That doesn’t mean that I can’t wait for the next book though. I need to know if the ending is as satisfying as I am imagining it. Clearly I am a glutton for punishment.
The Way of Kings really started out slow to me. It started with a battle and weird animals and someone being abandoned somewhere. Then, we flash forward to a crazy ninja with magic powers on a mission to assassinate a king with his sword (called a Shardblade) that doesn’t just kill you, it seems to kill your soul. Then we flash to a completely different character years later. Ok, so maybe it didn’t start out slow, but confusing. Nothing made any sense.
Somewhere along the lines I got sucked in though. I started to understand the world and how everyone fit into it. Each chapter is from a different characters point of view. Often A new chapter would start with a new character and I would be reluctant to move on to someone new, only to be enveloped all over again with a new character, loving it and then excited when I made it back to ones I loved.
The main character, Kaladin, has become a slave, but appears to have mysterious powers that even he doesn’t understand. Dalinar, is an aging prince trying to understand his brothers murder and how to reconcile his past with his future as he is plagued with visions. Last, we have Shallan, who is a scholar and artist who seems on the verge of uncovering a secret that could save (or destroy) those around her.
The world is filled with war and lust for power and soldiers give their lives in the hopes that they can win themselves glory, power, and their own Shardblade. The fighting is fast paced and realistic without being too over the top gruesome and Sanderson throws in lots of twists along with way. Combine that with well done character development and a compelling story and I am committed to all 1,000+ pages!
This is the first of a ten book series. I wish that I had known that from the beginning! Storm you Sanderson! I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!
Seriously. I don’t know if I can take it. I can’t even find a pub date for the next book. Someone else please read this with me so that I have someone to empathize with me and make guesses as to how Kaladin’s world is going to end.