The Way of Kings is the first novel in the Stormlight Archive series. Be sure to keep your eye out for our reviews of the entire series!
In the realm of epic fantasy, where sweeping landscapes and intricate worlds collide with complex characters and enthralling narratives, few series can match the grandeur and ambition of The Stormlight Archive. At the heart of this extraordinary literary tapestry lies The Way of Kings, the first installment in Brandon Sanderson’s monumental saga. Published in 2010, this groundbreaking novel not only introduced readers to the stunning landscapes of Roshar but also set the stage for a multi-layered, thought-provoking tale that has captured the hearts of countless fans worldwide.
Do you think you’re ready to jump into a work of legends, knights, battle, and war?
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The Stormlight Archive is an epic fantasy series penned by acclaimed author Brandon Sanderson. Set in the richly imagined world of Roshar, the series follows a grand narrative filled with political intrigue, magical systems, and larger-than-life characters. With its meticulously constructed world-building, complex plotlines, and intricate magic systems, The Stormlight Archive has captivated readers with its sweeping scope and masterful storytelling.
The series explores the Knights Radiant, legendary warriors who possess magical abilities known as Surgebinding. As the ancient order resurfaces, their return brings hope and fear in equal measure. These Radiants, along with other key figures, are burdened with the responsibility of unraveling the mysteries of Roshar’s past and finding a way to save humanity from an impending cataclysm.
Each instalment of the series follows a different character, which we have included below!
The series currently contains 5 books:
- The Way of Kings – Kaladin Stormblessed (2010)
- Words of Radiance – Shallan Davar(2014)
- Oathbringer – Dalinar Kholin (2017)
- Rhythm of War – Venli (2020)
- Knights of Wind and Truth – Szeth-son-Neturo(Planned for 2024)
As well as three novellas:
The Way of Kings
According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed…
They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won.
Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself – and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.
On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few day a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight.
What happened deep in mankind’s past?
Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield
Kaladin, a former soldier, is a central figure whose journey forms the core of the novel. Haunted by the loss of his men and betrayed by his superiors, Kaladin is sold into slavery and stripped of hope. Still, he begins to discover hidden reserves of strength and a potential for greatness.
Shallan Davar, a young scholar and artist, embarks on a mission to secure a mysterious artifact that could save her family from ruin. As she infiltrates the household of a high-ranking noble, she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she thought to be true.
Meanwhile, Dalinar Kholin, a highprince and warlord, struggles with visions that reveal fragments of an ancient past and a foreboding future. As he seeks to unite the fragmented kingdom against imminent threats, he must unravel the enigma surrounding the lost Radiants, legendary knights with powerful abilities.
Throughout the novel, we delve into the intricate world-building of Roshar. Roshar encompasses diverse cultures, intricate politics, and a unique magic system known as Surgebinding. As the characters’ individual journeys intertwine, they encounter danger, political machinations, and mysterious forces that threaten to plunge Roshar into chaos.
Each character faces personal trials and moments of growth, navigating moral dilemmas and making choices that will shape the fate of Roshar.
The Way of Kings culminates in a climactic battle where the storylines come together, setting the stage for future installments in The Stormlight Archive series. As the characters strive to find their place in a world fraught with turmoil, the stakes rise, and the destiny of Roshar hangs in the balance.
If you’ve read from Brandon Sanderson before; prepare to see the true extent of his writing abilities. This novel may very well rival George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series! Taking a turn away from convention, these novels are largely character-driven rather than plot-driven – which is all the more impressive considering the plot is thrilling. This book painting a true image of the human condition; life&death, love & hate, hope & despair.
Kaladin Stormblessed may be one of the most fleshed-out and well-written protagonists in the fantastic fantasy genre. With true feelings, realistic dialogue and revealing just enough information to understand the character’s condition, whilst still being intrigued!
If fantasy worlds are overwhelming, be not afraid. The world of Roshar is written with in-depth, yet plainly understood descriptions of everything one may need to imagine such a vast universe. Weather, history, politics, races, magic system, culture; there will be little to piece together yourself! Combined with simple and accessible writing plus maps, this world is addictively easy to become immersed in.
And yes! You heard us: MAPS!
Please note that this book is a slow-burner! The action doesn’t pick up until after the half-way mark. Considering this is a 1000-page novel, the 1/2 way mark is a novel in and of itself. But try not to be intimidated. We promise that despite its length – the book isn’t long enough! We were so thankful we had the sequel, Words of Radiance, on stand-by!
The Way of Kings is truly an understated gem. If you’re a lover of any sort of complex high-fantasy novels, this book should definitely move up to #1 on your TBR.
Frequently Asked Questions
What reading level is The Way of Kings?
You might think that such a large novel must have an equally high reading level. This is an extremely accessible book with a reading age of between 11 – 14 or so. Some character development may be lost on younger readers due to the depth of the characters, but the book is mighty enjoyable nonetheless.
What is the main plot of The Way of Kings?
The Way of Kings takes place in the awe-inspiring world of Roshar, a land plagued by never-ending storms and ruled by a complex hierarchy. The story follows the lives of several key characters whose destinies become entwined as they navigate a tumultuous landscape on the brink of war.
How many books will be in The Way of Kings?
The Stormlight Archive series will be comprised of 5 novels and 3 novellas. Currently, 4 novels and 2 novellas are published with the remaining instalments expected in 2024.