The Way of Kings | Book Review

Title: The Way of Kings
Series: The Stormlight Archive #1
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Publish Date: August 31, 2010
Genre: Epic, High Fantasy
Pages: 1007
Format: Audiobook (45 hours 37 minutes long)

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 10 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. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where 10 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 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.

Where do I even begin with this epic high fantasy? Well, I guess I start off by saying that I absolutely loved it, and that it’s now one of my favorites of all time.

This book was rich in setting. The world that Sanderson wrote was complex, immersive, and dimensional. The descriptions often transported me to the locations described as though I were watching a movie in my head. From the high storms to the chulls to the arrows, stormlight, and more, I felt that this world was highly immersive and well thought out.

As for the characters, there were so many to follow, but each had their own thread to add to this overarching story. From a soldier turned slave, a young woman who steals from a princess to help her family, to a war general with many mysteries in his past, as well as his present, to many more, these characters felt alive and human. The farther the story went on, the more I wanted to know about them.

I hope to see a lot more character growth in all of the characters because this world and the story surrounding them is so vast that it’s hard to imagine what they might end up going through at some point. There’s still so many questions to have answered, and I’m sure even more questions will come as the series continues on.

One thing I definitely loved was how Sanderson had many mini-arcs that each character was placed in, then a grander arc that they were all in, and then an even bigger arc that encompassed everything they were all going through, how the events that were taking place would affect them and the world, and how the possibly to stop it might come into play. It was so complex, but I found myself loving the threads to follow to see where they would lead.

As far as the audiobook itself goes, the narrators – Michael Kramer and Kate Reading – did an amazing job giving emotion to these characters and world, including doing different voices for each of the characters. The quality was really good, and I’m glad to see they’re continuing to be the narrators for the series.

As an epic high fantasy, I definitely recommend this book. It was long, yes, but there was just so much depth and many times where I laughed, cheered, yelled, gasped, and more that I would do it again to see if there was anything I might have missed. If you’re looking to get into a large fantasy series, this might be the one for you.

★★★★★

2020 Reading Goals & Challenges

We’re still quite early on in December, but I wanted to talk about some of my reading goals and challenges that I’m setting for myself in 2020 because, let’s be real, my reading the past few years has been a bit lackluster. So I really want to challenge myself to read novels again (and keep up with webcomics, of course, which has been 90% of what I’ve been reading the last few years).

Anyway, I’m also going to be talking about my year end goal for this year. It’s not much, but it’s something I’m going to hope to achieve before December is over.

So, let’s talk about them!

December 2019 Year End Goals

I have a couple of books I started reading this year, got about halfway through, and then put down and never picked up again, so I want to fix that lol (Not that I lost interest, per se, I’ve just had a very up and down mental and emotional year.)

So the books I want to complete by the end of December are:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I’m 55% of the way through as of this post, and I was loving it so much! I think I lost motivation because I ruined part of it on myself by looking ahead and just… I need to stop that lol

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’m 39.78% of the way through the book as of this post, and again, it’s not that I wasn’t enjoying it, it was that my reading mood shifted and I just couldn’t pick it up for a while.

Those are the two primary books I want to read by the end of this year. I know I can do it; I just have to set some time to do so.

Okay, so these are some books I know I’m going to finish this month:

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – I have been listening to this audiobook on and off for… too damn long lol I have about 7.5 hours left to go as of this post, so I’m FINISHING IT DAMMIT. (The audiobook is 45 hours in length, so… it’s been a journey lol but a good one!) I love this book and can’t wait to start the next audibook – which is even longer than the first! 😀 *cry* And the third is even longer than the second… *sob* (It’s really fine. The story is fantastic so far!)

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – I started this book on a whim a few days ago because I really just wanted to read something that wasn’t a webcomic (or anything else on my shelf, clearly), and started reading this on my kindle and haven’t stopped. I’m about half way through and really enjoying it because I didn’t realize it was faeries, and I love faerie stories, so it’s been a great read for me so far.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – A few customers at my seasonal job (a bookstore) were telling me about how they or a relative/friend read this, and after reading the synopsis, I had to pick it up. WELL, I started and didn’t want to put it down, so. Definitely going to finish this book this month. It’s already magical and I’m only 24 pages into it as of writing this post.

I doubt I’ll have time to finish anything else this month, so I’ll leave other things for next year.

Speaking of, let’s talk about my goals for next year!

Reading Goals & Challenges for 2020

As I said earlier, I miss reading novels- truly, I do. And though I’ve been reading some here and there, I miss the days where I was reading 50 books in a year (about a book a week), and though I’m not aiming to hit that number again, I do want to try to read maybe half of that?

That was actually my goal for 2019, and, well… yeah, even if I read the five books above, I’d still be five short of that 25 book goal. But that’s fine! I’ll be a little disappointed in myself, but I’m not going to let it hinder me. I still read a decent amount of books – more than last year, for sure – and I’m proud of that! So, I’m going to keep that goal:

2020 Reading Goal: 25 books for the year

Now, let’s talk challenges. I want to seriously challenge myself in 2020 for a multitude of reasons, and so now I’m going to talk about some of the challenges I’m setting for myself this upcoming year:

Challenge 1: Any book on my TBR for that month MUST already exist on my shelves. That’s right. I’m going to try my best to not buy more books than I read this year. I want to seriously cut down my TBR since I’ve had some books for five years or so and haven’t touched them. (This may also include donating more books to my local library.) Of course, there will be some exceptions. But 99% of what I pick I want to already come from my shelves.

Challenge 2: Read at least three classics throughout the year. And by that, I still mean classics that are on my shelves. I mainly want to focus on Jane Austen, but I’ve got a few others I’d like to read at some point. Even though I find classics very difficult to get through, this is listed as a challenge for a reason.

Challenge 3: Complete as many reading prompts from the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge as I can. I wanted to participate in it this year, but I quickly fell off of the wagon, so I’m aiming to do as much as I can (and want) in 2020! They have such a fun list, so why not?

There’s no real reward or punishment that comes from completing or not completing these challenges other than the satisfaction of doing so. Maybe I should reward myself with chocolate or something…

Anyway, I think that’s it for my reading goals for next year! I’m not trying to push myself too hard, but rather ease myself back into reading. It’s been a rough few years mentally and emotionally, and I’ve only been recently starting to feel a little more human and less robotic. So I hope that 2020 brings a lot more happiness in the reading department as a result.

Let’s chat!

Tell me what your reading goals are for the new year! Are you planning on participating in any challenges? What are you most looking forward to next year (non-book related, if you want)? Let me know in the comments!