Fantasy has a new face with this novel. This is a hugely epic series that’s casting an eye on the Malazan throne for “epicness”. With an opening 1000+ page novel in a purported 10 book series, The Stormlight Archive is about as epic as they come. Not only epic, but also good. This is one of the best fantasy books of 2010, hands down.
The Way of Kings does everything right as an epic fantasy. There’s a world-ending plot in the backdrop, a cast of interesting characters that are starkly realized, a unique magic system, different races with a lot of tension between them, huge and epic battles, and some of the best action in the fantasy genre.
Characterization is also fantastic. Sanderson has done a particularly well job at building up the character of Kaladin, who spend the majority of the novel enduring the fantasy genre’s worst “Dirty Job” ever. Through the nightmare that is Kaladin’s life (and various flashbacks to his childhood), Sanderson does a great job explaining the character’s motivations and present actions. These flashbacks are also used to great effect as a way to throttle up the dramatic tension as the story progresses. The action, when it happens, explodes – and what a ride it is!
So if you are a fan of Sanderson’s work, you love epic fantasy, or you just want to read one of the best damn fantasy books out there, The Way of Kings will blow the competition out of the water. All in all, a fantastic start to what’s looking to be a great epic series (a series that’s looking to be far superior to The Wheel of Time). The Way of Kings is Sanderson's best work so far, which is why I've replaced Mistborn with it.
If you have not yet read The Way of Kings, this should be the next book you read.