Treading the Paths of Power: Facing Storms and Shattered Plains in “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson
Master storyteller Brandon Sanderson takes readers on an exhilarating journey through a stunning world of broken empires, arcane mysteries, and hidden destinies in his high-fantasy novel, The Way of Kings, the inaugural volume of The Stormlight Archive series.
In the storm-battered world of Roshar, where formidable tempests reshape lands and civilizations, lives intertwine and destinies unfold. Kaladin, a former soldier turned slave, strives to protect those deemed expendable. Brilliant scholar and reluctant playgirl Shallan strives to save her impoverished noble house. And fractured warlord Dalinar, haunted by ancient visions, believes himself the harbinger of change. As wars are waged across the Shattered Plains, the dire prophecy of a new Desolation looms.
“Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination.”
- “Sometimes the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.”
- “The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
- “To lack feeling is to be dead, but to act on every feeling is to be a child.”
- “A journey will have pain and failure. It is not only the steps forward that we must accept. It is the stumbles. The trials. The knowledge that we will fail. That we will hurt those around us… The journey is not to ignore the pain, but to endure it. To overcome it.”
- “The most important words a man can say are, “I will do better.”
- “Sometimes our best action results in things that are most regrettable. And yet, you wake up in the morning and you try again.”
- “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.”
- “Just because I do not accept the teachings of the devotaries does not mean I’ve discarded a belief in right and wrong.”
Each of these quotes showcases the depth of Brandon Sanderson’s prose and the philosophical undertones that pervade throughout his work.
Series Titles in Order
The Way of Kings is part of the larger epic fantasy series titled “The Stormlight Archive” by Brandon Sanderson. Here is the series order, along with a short summary of each book:
- “The Way of Kings” (2010): Highprince Dalinar Kholin, assassin Kaladin, and scholar Shallan Davar inhabit Roshar, a world frequently ravaged by highstorms, during a civil war. Each character holds a secret that can shift the balance of power in the whole world.
- “Words of Radiance” (2014): While the war rages, Shallan formulates a plan to reveal the truth behind the war, hoping to prevent its escalation. Dalinar leads the human armies, but his nephews’ assassination puts him in a potent and dangerous balancing act.
- “Oathbringer” (2017): Dalinar Kholin’s Shattered Plains victory makes him the focus of the entire war. A dark plot is revealed, as Dalinar realises a new, possibly unbeatable, threat. Meanwhile, he grapples with a significant inner turmoil: he must confront the mistakes of his past and seize the power that comes from acknowledging them.
- “Rhythm of War” (2020): The forces of humanity are united, having discovered the secrets of their adversary. Navani Kholin discovers the workings of the ancient technology, fabrial science, however she soon realizes its potential for devastation. Kaladin and his team fight to save their city, while Dalinar attempts to unite the entire world against the formidable odium. Amidst struggles and warfare, the heroes must find out what true victory means.
- “Dawnshard” (2020): Taking place between “Oathbringer” and “Rhythm of War,” this book is a novella. It follows the characters Rysn and Lopen as they journey to the island of Akinah to investigate the mysterious powers and creatures residing there.
Additionally, interspersed are several novellas and short stories in various anthologies, including “Edgedancer” between books 2 and 3, which provides additional context and backstory but are not necessary for the main plotline.
Please note that this series is not yet complete, and more books are expected to be released in the upcoming years.
In The Way of Kings, Sanderson crafts a world both fantastic and intricately detailed. His immense skill for world-building shines through every page, creating a vivid canvas of beauty and brutality. The core strength of this novel lies in its well-developed characters, each shoulder their respective burdens and yearn for justice, creating stirring emotional landscapes.
Moreover, Sanderson’s unique approach to magic, where it is closely linked to the very economies, ecologies, geographies, and cultures of Roshar, provides a refreshing depth to a much-touched genre trope. The captivating and complex plot, with its frequent and poignant surprises, keeps the readers riveted.
The Way of Kings is a grandiose epic of sweeping conflicts, intricate political games, and profound character studies. A testament to Sanderson’s storytelling prowess, it blazes a brilliant trail of intrigue that promises an unforgettable journey.
The Way of Kings is an engrossing tapestry of power and pride, destitution, and valor. Sanderson constructs a breathtaking world devastated by storms yet flourishing with resilience and fraught with underlying mysteries, which readers will eagerly unravel. Brace yourself, for this is not just a read, but a storm of a ride that will sweep you off your feet and into the heart of the tempest.
Brandon Sanderson is an award-winning and bestselling author known for his expansive world-building and intricate magic systems. His intricate plotting and character development make him a master of the fantasy genre.
FAQs or Book Club Questions
- How does Sanderson’s unique magic system enhance the narrative?
- Discuss the themes of honor, duty, and redemption throughout the book.
- How do the main characters’ personal struggles reflect the broader conflicts in Roshar?
Where to Buy
Venture into the storm-ravaged world of Roshar with The Way of Kings here on Amazon.