Now, though, with the help of a few other bloggers, I've joined in on a group read. Together, we'll explore Sanderson's seminal volume of The Stormlight Archive, and each week those of us participating will discuss what we've read, as well as any thoughts/theories we may have. If you want to get in on this group-read, it's not too late. Just head here and get yourself started.
Ibeeeg (of Polishing Mud Balls) has put together this weeks round of questions. The main group read-along blog, Polishing Mud Balls Read-Along Page, is here. Follow it for the rest of the bloggers taking part of this epic undertaking. Now, without further ado...
-----Before I started reading The Way of Kings, I did have some thoughts on how I would like this story; did you? If you did, how is The Way of Kings actually comparing to those thoughts?
I had no fears of Sanderson letting me down. Everything of his that I've read--the Mistborn trilogy, Warbreaker, and Elantris--has been highly enjoyable. I remember Sanderson saying that The Stormlight Archive is his baby, that it's the story he's worked on the longest and has planned out for years. I was also intrigued by the up-front clarification that this is a ten volume series. If it's ten books each a thousand pages, that's quite an adventure that I could not afford to pass up. Plus, with Sanderson's killer work ethic and expediency at book releases, the time expected to wait between novels isn't too long. There was no way I'd miss this journey.
The pacing has been quick. Very quick. The opening scene of the battle was breathtaking, and most of Kaladin's stuff has been so far, too. Shallan's scenes are more like a pot that's simmering, a bit slower, but definitely filled with enough to keep me curious.
The prose is lean, but not too much. Sanderson's descriptions are perfect for setting the tone that he's portraying. In battle, there's little description. In the lull times of traveling, there's more. For me, it's a perfect balance of a high, epic fantasy with the brisk pace of something lower.
My favorite part so far (I'm up to 14% complete on my Kindle, or around pg 150) is either Kaladin's labor of carrying the bridge or the curious breaking of the Oathpact at the "Prelude" of the book. I felt like the bridge carrying ordeal was a grueling and horrifying experience, and the fact that Kaladin couldn't even see as he ran most of the way was wonderful. And yet I keep thinking back to the Prelude, curious from the characters and the plethora of questions unanswered.
I'm really digging the spren. Fearspren. Windspren. Flamespren. Creationspren. Anticipationspren. Logicspren. So many different spren, and how they just appear at different events (whether seen or not) is just plain cool.
I'm also curious to see how Shallan will accomplish her goal of stealing the Soulcaster. Surely she and Kaladin are on a destination to meet. In all of Sanderson's works, his female protagonists are always characters I rally for. As of yet, I'm not necessarily pulling for Shallan, but I'm intrigued by her ambition (and her Memory magic(?)).
I also hope to see more of Szeth-son-son-Vallano. His assassination of the king in the prologue was awesome, and I don't think I fully understand the aftermath of the murder and the king's last words.
Kaladin, though, is definitely the most interesting person to read about right now. He seems like a genuine, stand-up kind of guy, and I'm assuming he'll be the series' hero. We'll see.
Overall, I'm very pleased so far with the read. The story is fascinating and complex, and I think it'll be a book that I can re-read as the series progresses through the years and take away completely different thoughts. The unique environments and creatures are interesting; the magic, while currently vague, is nonetheless exciting. I've stayed up late reading quite a few nights already. I suppose the easiest way for me to say this is that I've put off reading GRRM's Dance with Dragons until September just so I could read Sanderson's work (and blog with a few others, too). If I weren't enjoying the book, I'd pick up Dance without a second thought. As it is, I've not even touched it.