The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I almost went 5 stars with this one, thanks to that amazing ending! Here's the review, free of spoilers as I have goodreads friends who have just started reading this book.
So Way of Kinds is set in a fantasy world that's essentially a never ending high desert type of landscape. There's magical spren creatures, catastrophic storms are normal, and men fight in special armor with special blades that can cut anything and kill anyone. A unique take that's a far cry from the normal thick wooded areas of most high fantasy settings. So it's got that going for it, and Sanderson was very skilled in weaving many, many aspects seamlessly into one solid world. Even the currency is based around the storms! Well done!
There are essentially 3 main characters, with a good number of side and supporting characters that all work independently towards separate goals with their own ideals and attitudes. Great stuff again, and the plot REALLY came together in the end with so many "Ah-ha!" moments that just made me want to dive into the next immediately!
Between the world building, the characters, and the plot, this book had all the makings of a 5 star piece of art. So let me just tap on real quick why that last star got knocked off.
1) I got the feeling that Sanderson doesn't do villains very well. Not one single character felt "evil" per se. Minus one exception, all characters did the bad things they did without coming across as bad people. Even the assassin slaughtering thousands of people was just mired in guilt throughout the whole thing, which seemed annoying to me. In fact, most characters seemed far TOO honorable to me, especially Kaladin. I realize he's supposed to be mister-goody-two-shoes, but wow Sanderson. This guy's guilt over losing people was so severe I felt convinced he wasn't human! I'll just be honest. I don't like Kaladin as a hero. To me, he's a whiny little bitch who needs to grow up, who's only saving grace is that he isn't afraid to fight.
2) Between about 40% to 75% of this book, the writing dragged on way too much for me. Sanderson has this tendency to ask redundant questions and them answer them with a "no" over and over again. "Should I abandon my kingdom? Leave my friends? Forget everything I've ever learned? No." "Can it be me? Have I done this all before? Can I truly have seen this coming? No." Basically, several paragraphs of inconclusive inner dialogue that by 50% in, I just started skipping altogether. By the end of the book, whenever I saw a spree of question marks at the end of a paragraph, I'd skip that paragraph and the next one, and I never felt like I missed a thing.
But yeah, besides those two things, great book! Totally going to dive into the second one right now!
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