An unfortunate effect of learning more about the craft of writing is the growing critical eye I now have, even when I’m reading for pleasure. Recently though, I read a book I would have never sought out if it weren’t for a young girl’s recommendation. And this amazing story has lingered with me since.
When I picked the book up from the library, the cover alone made me groan. “Ugh, saga fantasy, I hate those.” And it’s not just because I’ve never tried reading them. My husband loves them, so I have plugged my way through many, never finding the same joy as him. I am a closet romantic—teenager at heart—want everything to end happy kind of person, and tend to gravitate to those kinds of stories.
That being said, The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson, is one of the most powerful and well-written stories I’ve read. This book goes beyond the typical plot heavy writing you find in most fantasy, (Example: Johnny has a magical power, but must do A,B, and C to save the world.), with thin clichéd characters. It’s why I couldn’t get through book nine of the Wheel of Timeseries. The Way of Kings, however, hinges itself on the emotional conflict of the characters and their interaction to the underling plot forced upon them. Brilliant! Brandon Sanderson’s understanding of human emotion, even love at all its levels is astounding—especially for a guy. Yeah, I know that sounds sexist, but most male writers, in my opinion, struggle with creating believable, satisfying relationships on paper.
From the romantic to the action enthusiast, this book has something for everyone. Once you see the size of this tome, a 400,000 word novel, you might be inclined to shy away from such a daunting reading task—especially if you don’t love fantasy like me. Trust me. This novel is worth your time. I can’t wait for book two. In fact, Brandon Sanderson did such a good job, I’m actually considering going back to the Wheel of Time books, since he is now the author commissioned to finish the series.