Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
1007 pgs  (The Stormlight Archive #1)

I don't normally read long fantasy series - The Lord of the Rings is probably the longest one I've read. Epic fantasy for me has always brought to mind a series of gigantic books written over multiple decades, consisting of a phone-book-size list of characters to keep track of. It also seems to be read by a certain type of reader that stereotypically doesn't get exposed to sunlight regularly, subsists on a diet of energy drinks and hostess snack cakes, for recreation, attends conventions dressed like their favorite Star Wars/Star Trek/comic book character, and engages in things like this.

That being said, I love Brandon Sanderson's books. So far he's written two stand-alone fantasy novels and a trilogy for adults. All of them have been fantastic. He's also completing the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, but I haven't read any of that (for reasons already mentioned.) So when I learned that he was going to undertake to write his own epic fantasy series, I thought I'd give one a try. I'm glad I did. The Way of Kings is an excellent book. It is gigantic at just over 1,000 pages long, and according to Sanderson, it'll be the first of ten books in the series. So I feel like I've made a significant commitment that will not end until I'm somewhere in my fifties. But having read this book, I'm okay with that and I look forward to what's to come.

The Way of Kings is definitely epic in scale. It consists of multiple systems of magic that are each original and extremely well thought out. It introduces several key characters, each with a captivating story line. Sometimes when I read books with multiple key characters, I get irritated when the story line shifts from one character and goes to another one because I find some characters more interesting than others. That wasn't the case with this book. Each one of the main characters and their individual story arc was so captivating that I didn't mind leaving one to go to another.

I guess I now need to come to terms with the fact that I'm a reader of epic fantasy. Apparently I'll need to stock up on Twinkies and learn how to LARP.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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