Monday, December 20, 2010

REVIEW: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I bought this book as soon as I saw it because the Mistborn trilogy by Sanderson is one of my favourite series and I had actually only recently just finished reading it. Plus, they have the most pretty covers! There is just something so appealing about crisp, white novels!

I usually carry around my novels in my backpack wrapped in a cotton bag from The Body Shop, but The Way of Kings is potentially the most hefty book I have read, or attempted to carry around. So that, in conjunction with its length made for a drawn out read (which, mind you, was still only around a month).

I really got into this book from the very beginning, although it didn't become a 'can't put this down' book until around the last fifth. I feel like here I should talk about the stories and characters like one would do in a review, but I don't want to do that because I already know what happens and I'm not expecting anyone to read this. But oh well.

The story takes place on a world that is very rich with history and culture, most of it lost. I really, really enjoyed how only fragments of history and explanations were given as the story unfolded. It kept me wanting more, but didn't get me frustrated. There are really intriguing elements such as several systems of magic, class and ruling hierarchies, money, religion etc. But most interesting for me was the history and legends, which are a mystery to both the characters and reader and are revealed through snippets of exposition and visions had by one of the characters. About three or four times in the book there are very short chapters from a new and unrelated character which are really interesting - only sometimes do they relate to or give hints to the main narrative - but interesting nonetheless.

I really got into the narrative following Dalinar and also enjoyed Kaladin's story a lot. Shallan's was a little touch and go, but definitely got better towards the end and now shows a lot of potential. I read that the next book is mostly about her which I know I will enjoy, but I'll miss Dalinar's narrative if it isn't very prominent. Szeth's story was really interesting but ended up a little frustrating because his origins were still not revealed by the end of the book.

SPOILER ALERT!!! I think Brandon Sanderson should actually be best friends. I am totally obsessed with things like the apocalypse, gods, the death of gods etc and have used these themes over and over again in my choreography and dance works. Its partly the reason why I LOVED the Mistborn trilogy because it was featured deaths of god like figures and supernatural powers and was about a world on the brink of death. Which is, apparently, also the case in Kings. The very last chapter features a vision in which Dalinar discovers that he has been speaking to visions left by the Almighty (God) who reveals he is now dead - he has been killed by Odium. I almost screamed - I thought 'YES BRANDON SANDERSON, YES!' This is why we would be best friends.

The bad news is that the next novel doesn't come out until 2013!!!!! because of him writing the end of the Wheel of Time series. C'mon, how can I wait that long, especially when Kings ends in a cliffhanger! I was not amused. It's like Obernewtyn all over again ... I have been waiting since I was TWELVE for the end of that series.

I finished Kings while at work yesterday and failing to bring another book to pass the time, I had to buy one. Which was incredibly inconvenient because I have about five at home I need to read, which are part of series that I am in the middle of. And I couldn't buy any books I really wanted because I had put them on a Christmas list for my family and I don't know which ones they're getting.

So I got The Host, by Stephanie Meyer because I really loved Twilight and I was going to read it eventually. And because I had a ten minute break in which to pick it. I've read a couple of chapters and it already seams really interesting, but is very romance focused like Twilight which I don't think I am in the mood for right now.

I should also mention here that I buy most of my books because of the pretty covers. I also need them all the match and look good. Therefore, I also bought Tyrant's Blood by Fiona McIntosh because I had bought the large sized Royal Exile in a sale, and Tyrant's Blood had already moved to a small book, while the third book was in a large. I simply couldn't have large, small, large so when I saw the large Tyrant's Blood I simply had to get it. Plus it was 40% off day. Who could say no?

First Post!

So, first thing! I'm not expecting anyone to actually read this.

I've been buying and reading an incredible amount of fantasy books lately and I would really like somewhere to write about them; what I thought about them. A blog seamed like the natural solution because heaven knows my boyfriend is sick of hearing about them. I thought it might also be useful for anyone who wanted me to recommend a fantasy book - I can just direct them here!

What this blog is not is a place for book reviews. I have not read enough (especially of the classics) or write well enough to do reviews justice.

To start with, here is a list of my favourite series in preferential order (although many are on the same standing, so it's only semi-preferential). I think many are influenced by how many books are in them/how far along in the series I am ... for instance The Stormlight Archive series has the potential to be the best series I've ever read, but it hasn't gotten to that place after just one book.

1. The Three Worlds series by Ian Irvine (including The View From The Mirror quartet, The Well of Echoes quartet and Song of the Tears trilogy).
2. Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.
3. Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks.
4. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. (it has to be in there!)
5. The Earthsea quartet by Ursula Le Guin.
5. Obernewtyn series by Isobelle Carmody. (Unfinished - this bitch needs to hurry up and finish!)
6. Wicked series by Gregory Maguire. (Unfinished)
7. The Demon War series by Peter V. Brett. (Unfinished)
8. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien.
9. Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini. (Unfinished)
10. The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson. (Unfinished)
11. The Adamantine Palace/The King of the Crags/The Order of the Scales trilogy by Stephen Deas (Unfinished)
12. Graceling and Fire by Kristen Cashore
13. Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix.
14. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.
15. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.
16. Twilight quartet by Stephanie Meyer. (I KNOW, OK!)
17. The Left Hand of God trilogy by Paul Hoffman. (Unfinished)
18. A Booke of Days by Stephen J. Rivele. (Not fantasy, but amazing!)
19. The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. (Unfinished)
20. The Broken Well trilogy by Sam Bowring.

I own all of these books and have read them all in the last three years. It actually makes up most of my collection except for a few others that I didn't particularly enjoy, so they didn't make the list. In fact so far the only fantasy novel I haven't been able to make it to the end with is Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott. Sorry Kate. There are a few others from my childhood which I will buy and reread someday, like the Redwall series!