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The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson: Review

Roshar is a world torn by blasting tempests, a shrouded history, and a war with no end in sight. On one side of the world, a young ward hides a thief's motives beneath a scholar's mask; on another, a troubled prince fights both the war and grave visions heralding warnings of the future. Among the forgotten dregs of men, a young warrior-turned-slave claws at survival if only to save the men who call him captain. And all the while, an assassin in white moves silently and tearfully as the hand of doom encroaches in the dark.

The Way of Kings had me squealing, shrieking, gasping, moaning, bellowing, clutching my heart, forgetting to breathe, and reading past one o'clock a.m repeatedly. The scope of the worldbuilding is fathomless; the characters have utterly stolen my heart. Themes of faith vs. atheism surprised me with their thorough, contemplative placement, as well as the undercurrents of Truth just begging to be drawn into spiritual parallels, whether Sanderson intended it or not. Vast, addictive, largely clean, and unspeakably epic, this novel has blown my mind.

Content Notes: Roshar has its own exclamatory words, so there's very little profanity—a handful of "b*st*rd"s and perhaps one "p*ss." Prostitutes are mentioned but irrelevant. An unsavoury comment may be made here or there, but there is no sex in the story. The novel features assassins and warfare: the result is inevitable killing, but I never found it overly gruesome (with the exception of Kaladin's time as a surgeon apprentice—there were some yucky moments.) Also, most characters view violence as repulsive. Religion is prominent, and though there are "pagan" cultures, the primary faith is that of the "Almighty," remaining relatively steadfast in this first instalment.

Going forward, I hope this series fulfills its potential to align with the Word of the true Almighty; but until then, as a first instalment, The Way of Kings has absolutely floored me as a truly epic and awe-inspiring clean read.

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