A short overview of a long book.
Roshar is a world battered by powerful storms and constant war. Both plant and animal has evolved to survive the savage landscape.
On the Shattered Plains the ten armies of Alethkar are fighting against the mysterious Parshendi. The Alethi are a warrior race set on revenging the assassination of their king. Apart from fighting for revenge, the people of Roshar also battle over the coveted Shardplates and Shardblades. (Bad-ass armour and massive swords that makes the wearer incredibly powerful.)
- Kaladin is a former medical student forced, as a slave, to serve in the army of a cruel Brightlord.
- Brightlord Dalinar Kholin is the leader of one of the Alethi armies and uncle to the King. He still believes in honour, while his fellow commanders see the war as a game to be won.
- Shallan Davar is training as a scholar under a woman with great influence, while plotting a theft in order to save her family.
- Szeth-son-son-Vallano is forced to be a weapon against his will. He is ordered by an unknown master to assassinate Roshar’s most powerful leaders.
The Way of Kings is an epic fantasy for people tried of the tolkienesque orcs and elves.
There is an incredible amount of world building with deep histories and mythologies. At times it can become weighted down by it all. I’m more interested in what is happening with the characters in the present, than with what happened thousands of years ago. It is a story about a whole world, so all of the disjointed pieces will hopefully fit together at the end of series. At first it feels slow, but the story builds up until I was unable to put the book down.
It has interesting culture elements. There are definite gender roles without feeling sexist and a class system based on eye colour that sounds ridiculous at first. Different characters have very different opinions about the value of human life. Viewpoints are giving from both slave and slave owner and there were times in the book when I got horror chills. I especially had one of those chills when we are introduced to the bridgemen and their purpose.
Now if you have a problem with crustaceans, then I put up a little warning flag for you. I only do this because I have a few phobias and crustacean legs really creep me out. Most of the fauna of Roshar is arthropod based. It is a fresh take on fantasy worlds, but I would not want to life there.
This book is a marathon. Taking breathers are necessary, but don’t give up. It is well worth it in the end. This is the first book in the epic Stormlight Archive series and not everything is resolved at the end. It does feel strange making commitment to a ten book series that has yet to be written. But then again I did grow up, like many, waiting for the next Harry Potter. I like to think that I have more patience than my fourteen-year-old self. I will pick up the next book in the series with expectations of good things to come.