The Way of Kings: The Stormlight Archive, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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From number one New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, book one of the Stormlight Archive, begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.
Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.
It has been centuries since the fall of the 10 consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them and won by them.
One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where 10 armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.
Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar's niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan's motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.
The result of more than 10 years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.
Speak again the ancient oaths:
Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before destination.
And return to men the Shards they once bore.
The Knights Radiant must stand again.
Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson:
The Stormlight Archive:
- The Way of Kings
- Words of Radiance
- Edgedancer (Novella)
The Mistborn trilogy:
- Mistborn: The Final Empire
- The Well of Ascension
- The Hero of Ages
Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series:
- Alloy of Law
- Shadows of Self
- Bands of Mourning
- Arcanum Unbounded
Other Cosmere novels:
The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series:
- Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
- The Scrivener's Bones
- The Knights of Crystallia
- The Shattered Lens
- The Dark Talent
The Rithmatist series:
- The Rithmatist
Other books by Brandon Sanderson:
- The Reckoners
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|Listening Length||45 hours and 30 minutes|
|Narrator||Kate Reading, Michael Kramer|
|Audible.ca Release Date||August 31 2010|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #150 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#3 in Military Fantasy
#7 in Action & Adventure Fantasy
#12 in Epic Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in Canada on July 18, 2022
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This is an epic and classic fantasy tale by Brandon Sanderson. This is not Game of Thrones. Outside of the violence in the book this would be rated PG as there is no swearing and no sex. I call it a classic fantasy as it has mystical elements, strange creatures, magic, gods, religion and the characters are largely black and white. The good guy IS a good guy, much like The Lord of the Rings. I don’t have a problem with this. While it’s not a gritty tale it’s a very interesting one. There are two things I desire when reading a fantasy book – interesting characters and mystery. This book has both while maintaining a good and believable story (within its context). While many characters seem unconnected initially you start to see the web as the book rolls on and the mysterious events start to make sense.
This book is long at just over 1000 pages but I wouldn’t have cut any of it. I don’t like it when a book feels rushed. There are plenty of action scenes and while there are large stretches without battles the interactions, characters and story were more than enough to intrigue me. I finished this book in two weeks and really enjoyed it. While there are plenty of characters I never felt confused like some large ensemble books can be.
So what is this book actually about? One set of characters (Dholin family) focuses on the assassination of their King, the vengeance with regards to his death and finding out why. One main character (Kaladin) details his life and how he is betrayed by a superior and forced to live out a miserable life while trying to realize his potential which is great. One girl (Shallan) is trying to save her family and stumbles into something she doesn’t expect – mystery, magic and scholarship with an interesting tutor (more interesting than Shallan actually). One man (Szeth) is an assassin who uses magic to kill with special powers (I envision Neo in the Matrix at times) against his will as he must follow his master’s orders. All the characters are interesting. The history and legends of the Gods and protectors of this world are intriguing and there is so much left to explore after this book despite a satisfying ending.
Magic system? There aren’t wizards running around with magic wands but some people have Soulcasters that allow them to change things from one form to another. There are magical swords and armour that have great power. Some people have the ability to absorb Stormlight which gives them greater strength and abilities to fight. This is secondary to the characters and plot themselves imo.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While nothing completely blew me away I couldn’t stop reading. The second book is a must read for me.
The Way of Kings is the brilliant beginning to what could be the best epic of our generation if the focus, character development and quality of writing in this book are carried through this series. The Way of Kings is a hefty read at over 1000 pages, but I promise, once you begin you will not be able to put it down.
The chapters in Way of Kings are broken up by different character perspectives. We have Shallan, Kaladin, Szeth, Dalinar Kholin. Shallan is a young woman trying to do dubious things to save her family from ruin. Her father has died, but left them with great debt, and she begins the story, attempting to become princess Jasnah's protegee in order to steal something very important to restore her family. Kaladin is a brave, honorable, slave who was once a soldier, but was betrayed and sold into slavery. Szeth is a Truthless and is bound to serve whoever holds his oathstone. Dalinar, is uncle to the king (and Jasnah). An honorable man, he suffers from visions of the past.
It's difficult to summarize the plot of this novel. Once the "Radiants" served the people, protecting them from the voidbringers. Long ago they abandoned their roles and enough time has passed that the people believe the danger has passed. Now, only their armour and weapons (Shardplates and Shardblades) remain - magical weapons that are prized and fought over.
In the beginning of the novel, Szeth assassinates Dalinar's brother, the King. Now his son, the new King, and his high princes are at war to avenge his father. Dalinar, the former king's brother, suffers from visions that urge him to unite the people before it is too late. The desolation may be coming and, this time, there are no Radiants to protect the people.
5 stars. Everything is aligned in this novel. The characters are fascinating, the writing is excellent and the plot is intriguing. There is certainly enough material in this world for an epic series. In this, we get a glimpse into the history of the world and the history of the main characters (and are introduced to many more who may prove to be major players in later books). Brandon Sanderson - I want more of this and fast! I can't wait to see if the rest of this series lives up to the promise of the first.
I've never read a Sanderson book before, never read Wheel of Time or anything. I've actually never read a book over 1000 pages before. But, as soon as I got 100+ pages in to "Way of Kings" I was completely and utterly hooked!! I read the entire thing in roughly a month, which is fast for me. I couldn't put it down.
Sanderson has a way of writing where every chapter has a payoff. You learn something interesting about the world, it's characters, and story every step of the way and I always want to know more. This world is so carefully thought out, and fascinating in the best ways. The story is incredibly epic, the characters are all very likable in their own ways, and this world feels alive and unique in a way that I haven't felt about any other Fantasy series in a long time. I'm already quarter of the way into the second book and I can't wait to find out more about the rich world of Roshar. I might even get started on some of his other book series too (since they all take place in the same universe). Do yourself a favor and give this book a try. I've been recommending it to everyone I know. I may have found my new favourite author! Two thumbs way up!
Top reviews from other countries
I'm always looking for fantasy books and I knew this was very popular so, after a few years I've decided to try it.
I can stomach the childish depiction of characters but I cannot bring myself to accept the utter idiocy of the setting. The opening is painfully bad: an all powerful assassin kills a king and his guard by having superpowers taken straight out of videogames. Then we are introduced with the hero, who, of course, rejects the greatest conceivable honour in the world out of pure spite.
He is then spared his life out of sheer plot armour, and the reader is left wondering why he hasn't been killed for constant rebellion. His mates are all killed, but he survives because, oh, he's sooo special.
Slaves are paid a living wage so that there is a way for the hero to earn money because it's needed by the story.
When the hero screws up, his senior officers are killed immediately but he's instead given a chance to survive, and, not very surprisingly, he does.
Then there is a war in the Shattered Plains: for six years the warriors, instead of fighting, go looking for overgrown shrimps to steal the enormous emeralds that grow inside of them. I kid you not, this is the primary purpose of the war: not beating the enemy but killing the shrimps while they're pupating (to turn into what, an enormous blowfly?) before the enemy slays it.
The entire strategy works like this: the entire army is sitting idly, wearing fashionable scarves and drinking wine. A horn sounds in the distance announcing that a shrimp has been found. The warriors scramble to arrive first, before the enemy but, more importantly, before the other commanders. The moronicity of the portable bridges defies belief.
The idiocy never seem to finish: soldiers with organic armour, illiterate kings with learned wives, even the regular storms that make magic. The hero, of course, discover magic that has been hidden in plain sight for countless years. In a specific kingdom, people live with feet constantly in two inches of water. In another, people eat horns and shells. For some reason, on a different planet, people know of Japanese katas. I could go on for hours: avoid this book.
Then I started reading Steelheart and I was hooked. Often noted as a YA novel, that was still quite a great read (the whole trilogy about the Epics is). The moral of the story is not to judge an author entirely based on their, quite possibly involuntary, approach to completing another's work. If they can write even a short novel like that, I've misjudged them.
The Stormlight series is so much better, that I can barely imagine this was the person who so dreadfully completed WOT. It is downright fascinating, raises more questions than answers, and creates such a complex world with memorable characters, locations and a "lost in the mists of times" historical background, that you cannot put it down. I was reading the final chapter at 3am! It's well written and you will end this book needing a second, a third, just...more. I've avoided Brandon's other works, but The Way of Kings has converted me - it's an excellent epic read that looks set to be a voyage of discovery into what exactly is Roshan, what are sprens, does anyone know what this world's "magic" really is? Who or what is Odium? The mind boggles, my brain sparks with possible theories, and I press the Purchase button for Book 2...
I've never read a book where I've felt so involved with the characters! You root for them and consistently want to get back to their story (referring to the book's chapter method of switching randomly between character stories).
On top of this, Brandon Sanderson has created a world like no other with creatures, religions, cultures and even the physical lands themselves all being unique and fantastical. I love fantasy but have never read a book where I've felt as truly.immersed in a world where I can physically picture it as a movie or TV show!
I would highly recommend this book if you're a fantasy lover and love to delve into other worlds!