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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

People still categorize Brandon Sanderson as one of the new authors to watch, despite an impressive resume. He is finishing the epic work started by none other than Robert Jordan and has already done two-third of the job. The result was quite good- both the books he wrote exceeded expectations. Though the void left by the demise of Robert Jordan can never be filled, Brandon Sanderson presented us with immense hope with his two awesome efforts in finishing up The Wheel of Time Series.

After I was unexpectedly impressed by the twelfth book of the WOT, which was written by Sanderson, I decided to take a peek at his own novels. I read the Mistborn Trilogy and it left a mark so deep in me, that I decided to follow this author whenever and whatever he writes. So when I came to know, he is writing a new epic fantasy series by the name of THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE, I was thrilled. After the first book in the series THE WAY OF KINGS released, I regularly kept checking for an ebook edition or a less expensive paperback. The paperback is still to be released. But fortunately I got my hands over an ebook. Then it was just a small matter of two days and I had devoured whatever the book had to offer.

First the cover art- Its highly impressive as anyone can check, especially the richness of colours. Next the maps- I wish the maps would have been better, in the sense less colours, designs and more details. But I know better than to complain, because the fantastic story was enthralling. It sure is an auspicious beginning to what I think will be a grand epic.

The story is divided into several parts and each part is divided into chapters. Each chapter is written in the form of point of views of several characters- mostly the central heroes. Though some of the chapters have been written from the point of view of characters which seem unimportant, knowing Sanderson I think they will most likely have a deeper role to play in his coming novels of the series. Both the female and male characters developed by Sanderson are equally strong and I have a feeling they will still be found to grow in the upcoming books of the series. Though the world building isn't yet complete (Its just the first book), but the author has done a commendable job. THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE WORLD is very complex with its irregular but infrequent highstorms (similar to hurricanes), exotic and complex lifeforms (huge crustaceans), and the mysterious sprens and stormlight that can be captured by gemstones. There are multiple magic systems- I am still not sure if they originate from the same, because this is just the first book and a lot of mystery is yet to be solved. Even then, the magic systems are fairly complex and novel- though I fear Sanderson has derived a part of one of them from one of his own works-the Mistborn Trilogy. Even then, its awesome and fantastic. 

Through this work, the author has asked some deep philosophical questions. I hope he answers them in his later works for the same series. The pace of the story is wondrous, and by the time one finishes the book, he is left with wanting more. Therefore my recommendation for any book lover would be to read the book for the next best epic fantasy series has arrived, to challenge the realms of George R R Martin, Steven Erikson, Robert Jordan, J R R Tolkien, etc. And trust me on this, Sanderson is so prolific he won't disappoint you like Martin and Jordan did with multiple delays and postponement. 

I think I see a few anticipationspren around me as I post this...