A good friend recommended The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I promptly purchased the Kindle version, then later splurged with some Audible credits. (This combination is particularly nice because the Kindle app and the Audible book synchronize, allowing me to progress much faster through this massive book.) I figured that anyone who was selected to complete the Wheel of Time series must be a prodigy of the fantasy genre. I also love watching “Write About Dragons” a lecture series by Brandon Sanderson.
At the end of the book, I wanted to rate it as a five star experience, because the world building really comes together and I am finally vested in most, if not all, of the characters. In short, I want to know what happens in this story world. So my primary criticism is that the WOK is a 1007 page “hook”. Now I’m hooked, but it really took a while.
That is not to say the story lacked surprise and suspense earlier on, but it seemed to take forever to get where I cared about the characters at all. This was a book I wanted to like, so I kept reading (as I am prone to do; I tend to finish books that I don’t like, it just takes me longer). Having rather ungallantly leveled all of this criticism, I must admit that some of the things I was turned off by in the beginning became my favorite parts later.
For example, I experienced almost zero connection with Szeth-son-son-Vallano, the Assassin in White. But as the story moved on, he became very interesting to me—far more so than Kaladin, the primary protagonist. My first impression of Shallan Davar was to yawn and squirm in my chair, but she really turned it around and now her interaction with Jasnah Kohlin is what might make me read the next book. I like long books, but am I ready for a thousand pages to set me up for book three? (Help me, I am so torn! I think I love this series, but I spent about thirty hours listening to the audio book and wishing it would be over!)
Of technical note is Sandersons heavy use of adverbs and unnecessary explanations: ...Kal said softly...Kal said hesitantly...Kal yelped...Kal said, panicked...
I also grew tired of information dump disguised as dialogue. These are technical deficiencies I wouldn’t expect from a big name author like Brandon Sanderson.
And yet I read and listened to the entire, rather long novel. I plan to purchase Words of Radiance (book 2), because I just need to know what happens to Shallan, Kaladin, and the Knights Radiant. Perhaps I should try Sanderson’s Mistborn series as well?