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The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson Review - The Stormlight Archive #1

Read Time: 8 minutes
Published On: November 28, 2022
The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings is a classic in the making. There is a long prologue and many readers may leave the book before giving it a fair chance. I pushed through it and was greatly rewarded with the most ambitious work of literature.

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: The Stormlight Archive #1

Publisher: Tor Books

Genre: Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Goodreads Rating: 4.64/5

My Rating: 5/5

Get The Book Here! Amazon | Barnes and Noble | GraphicAudio | Book Depository

Full Review of The Way of Kings


Set in the world of Roshar, the kingdom of Alethkar is fighting a six-year-long war in shattered plains with the Parshendi (Native intelligent species of Roshar) because they have assassinated King Gavilar Kholin. In this war-torn world, Kaladin, a slave; Dalinar Kholin, the commander of one of the armies and brother of the late King; Jasnah Kholin, daughter of the late king and her ward Shallan Davar are discovering the ancient history and their secrets that may usher in the era of the legendary Knights Radiant, an order that fought and abandoned the people of Roshar. And it all starts with the text called “The Way of Kings”.

Worldbuilding & Magic System

The world of Roshar is vibrant with diverse people, as the series progresses more and more kingdom and their details are given to the readers. The magic system of this world is the most unique thing about it. Despite being a complex magic system, it is explained clearly in the book without info-dumping. The magic system is consistent with the rules of the Cosmere. It's a science-based magic system with a sense of mystery and wonder, a unique combination.

wandersail way of kings stormlight archives by 8 bitpunch daxog51
Wandersail - Way of Kings Stormlight Archives


Kaladin, a slave in the Bridge carrying duty in the ongoing war on Shattered plain is the main character of The Way of Kings. He shines with his character depth. The hardship he goes through as a slave and his distrust of the upper-class society of Alethkar are the best part of the book.

Syl, Kaladin’s spren is the most fun character. All the scenes with her are my favourite in The Way of Kings. She is the best companion I have ever read about in a book or watched in media.

Shallan is a sweet girl who is battling her own moral code with her journey. She didn't have much to do in the story but seems like a major character in the later books. Some of her interactions with Jasnah are among my favourite scenes in The Way of Kings. Her character goes through some major revelations.

Dalinar Kholin is a man of discipline and a great leader. He is the commander of one of the armies in Shattered Plains. His character is a man who is changing with the knowledge he is gaining. He will be pivotal in the story. I can feel it.

Jasnah Kholin is my favourite character from the book. She is the sister of the late King and a heretic. She is an inspiring character to me. I wished to be more like her while reading The Way of Kings. Her grace and ethics are contentious and make you think of things in a lot of different ways. There is no doubt she is the most intellectual of all the characters in the book.

Final Thoughts

There is a long prologue and many readers may leave the book before giving it a fair chance. The prologue doesn’t become relevant until later in the book. I was getting very bored reading the prologue but I pushed through it and was greatly rewarded with the most ambitious work of literature.

This is a masterpiece. I loved every character. The Way of Kings is slow-paced for a beginner but just the right length for seasoned readers. The story achieved its goal. When a character is introduced, it seems unnecessary at first, but they become pivotal as the story progresses.

I am wasting no time and starting to Word of Radiance, the 2nd book in the series in the series immediately

kalladin stormblessed by axt234 da4crkq
Kaladin Stormblessed

Favourite Quotes from The Way of Kings

“To lack feeling is to be dead, but to act on every feeling is to be a child.”

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”

“Sometimes the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.”

“ah, the outdoors," Shallan said. "I visited that mythical place once. It was so very long ago, I've nearly forgotten it. Tell me, does the sun still shine, or is that just my dreamy recollection’

“Ignorance is hardly unusual, Miss Davar. The longer I live, the more I come to realize that it is the natural state of the human mind. There are many who will strive to defend its sanctity and then expect you to be impressed with their efforts.”

“When we are young,” Jasnah said, “we want simple answers. There is no greater indication of youth, perhaps, than the desire for everything to be as it should. As it has ever been.”

“All the world does as it is supposed to, except for humans. Maybe that's why you so often want to kill each other.”

“Money is behind every war,” Au-nak continued. “Religion is but an excuse. Or perhaps a justification.”

“Care, but not too much. Take responsibility, but don’t blame yourself.’ Protect, save, help—but know when to give up. They’re such precarious ledges to walk. How do I do it?”

Top Moments (Spoilers) from The Way of Kings

1. Kaladin returning a different man after contemplating suicide because of Syl 😭

Kaladin is at his utmost bottom and has no hope left for a better life in Bridge Four. He has failed to protect anyone he decided to protect. His brother, his men and now the men in Bridge Four. He is going to end his miserable life and jump off the ‘Honor Chasm’. He notices Syl dragging some leaves towards him. She brought it for him thinking it would make him feel happy. It was Blackbane leaves which are poisonous. The utter silliness of the situation is the most emotional scene in The Way of Kings for me. She convinces Kaladin to try once more. This scene made me so emotional and is seared into my brain.

2. Syl fighting deathspren for Kaladin 😢

Kaladin has been left in highstorm to be judged by the storm father. But he comes back alive but severely injured. He is close to dying and coming in and out of consciousness. He sees Syl fighting the deathspren and keeping Kaladin alive for just another moment. Syl is just awesome like that.

3. Dalinar trading his Shardblade with Sadeus for Bridge Four 😲

Bridge Four is awaiting a severe punishment from Sadeus after foiling his plan to kill Dalinar by trapping him. The cost of saving Dalinar will be huge. Dalinar offers to buy the bridge but Sadues wouldn’t budge. My heart sank for them just for a second. Even Kaladin accepted his fate and started to turn around. But Dalinar pulls an epic trick by offering up his Shardblade for their lives. Kaladin & I was shocked by this action. This is the most epic scene of Dalinar, He earns his respect in the eyes of everyone including me. This scene is just epic.

4. Taravangian revealing to be the new master of Szeth’s Oathstone 🤯

Taravangian seemed to be a dull character, nor much aware of the politics of the land. He was presented as the most unthreatening character early in The Way of Kings. Hence, the reveal of him being the mastermind behind the assassination of key political people was shocking to me.

5. Shallan revealing that she killed her father 🤯

Shallan was somewhat of a side character in the book. Her flashbacks were not significant until this reveal. Shallan seemed to be avoiding something in the flashbacks and her having a Shardblade was also becoming mysterious. But I didn’t expect her to be the killer of her own father with the Shardblade. She seemed just a sweet girl at first, but this revelation gives her character more depth and mystery.

6. Jasnah killing men for a lesson in philosophy 😎

This proved to be interesting homework for Shallan as Jasnah killed four men who were going to rob them. Jasnah gave Shallan a difficult conundrum to solve and puts victim blaming in its place which is the deepest level of hell.

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