Brandon Sanderson is an accomplished writer of epic fantasy, and the author of the Way of Kings, book one in a projected 10 book series called the stormlight archive. In this creative world, ravaged by deadly storms and littered with the remains of the god-like Knights Radiant, Brandon crafts nuanced and bold characters that race to unite their people’s before the impending apocalyptic Desolation. Published in 2011, it won the David Gemmell Legend Award for Best Novel. I recommend the series based on what I have read so far. Though it is a little on the long side, I think it is a strong foundation for plenty of epic fantasy action to come.
The Way of Kings- Character Snippets
Sanderson did well weaving multiple story lines together. I won’t ruin anything from the book here, but I wanted to speak to some of the characters in the novel. I liked his characters because they had a good amount of depth of personality, character, and ethical responsibility.
Szeth, Truthless of Shinovar, is a deadly assassin. Carrying a deadly shard blade and the ability to harness stormlight, he is essentially a death machine. As a Truthless, Szeth is not in control of his own life, but must follow the bidding of his current master, whomever happens to be in possession of his oathstone. Shrouded in mystery, Szeth’s past transgressions are not clear, but his moral anguish in being a tool used to bring death shows that we will likely hear more of his past and role in the series in future novels.
The honorable Dalinar, racked with guilt for not being able to save his brother, the murdered King of Alethkar, is haunted by visions that come every time the storms ravage the shattered plains. Where other lords squabble with petty revenge, Dalinar leads his house to make the hard choices of honor and leading by example, knowing that to make Alethkar strong, he must honor his brother’s life’s mission, and unite the princes of their warrior people.
Kaladin is a brilliant spearman, the protector of the weak, and the type of man that earns the trust of his fellow men. Throughout his life, despite his best efforts, however, he is not able to help those he loves. Finding every good deed punished, every selfless act rewarded with pain and death, Kaladin searches to find meaning in his worthless life. A hero if there ever was one, I can’t wait to see Kaladin blossom in future novels, rising like a phoenix into a protagonist to carry the series.
Shallan Davar lived a sheltered life, until her father’s untimely death and financial circumstances forced her to leave her home to seek the apprenticeship of the intimidating Jasnah Kohlin, brilliant scholar and heretic. Sanderson’s female protagonists are a bit weaker than his male protagonists, in my opinion, but there is plenty of opportunity to develop their stories in future novels. I will say that in both Shallan and Jasnah there is a strength of self empowerment that is refreshing.
It is not often that I begin a series before it is completed, because I HATE waiting for the books to be written. Only book one is completed right now, and book two is estimated to be published in March 2014.
Other Work By Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson has written other works that I have not read, but are now on my list. He is acclaimed for his work in completing the Wheel of Time series on behalf of the late Robert Jordan. He is also the author of Elantris the Mistborn series, and several short stories which can be found on his web site.