I just finished reading the first two books in a potentially 10-book series known as, “The Stormlight Archives” by Brandon Sanderson. Next to “Harry Potter”, it is probably the best book series ever written, and I’m only two books in! Many might say it’s even better than “Harry Potter”, but I will never betray Harry and all he stands for by admitting they’re right.
For those who are unfamiliar with Brandon Sanderson, I first became aware of him when he completed “The Wheel of Time” series, which was first created by Robert Jordan who died before he could finish all of the books. He asked Brandon Sanderson to finish the last three volumes of the 14-book series. I’ve never actually read the entire series, but many years ago I read the first book and so was somewhat familiar with the style of fantasy that would likely present itself in Brandon Sanderson’s “The Stormlight Archives.” He is also the author of the “Mistborn” books.
My husband read “The Way of Kings” before I did and after he finished he ranted on for days that it was the greatest book he’d ever read and he begged me to read it also. Originally I was not too keen on reading this book. It’s over 1,000 pages and has many characters, not to mention it takes place in a fantasy world so I knew that at the beginning of the book all the names, places, and concepts would be completely foreign to me as the reader and it would take a while to become familiar with it all. I usually have a difficult time getting into books like that so the prospect of tackling a 1,000 page book, the first of TEN, was daunting. However, my husband finally persuaded me and I am so glad that he did!
The book follows many different characters, but it primarily revolves around three: Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar, all of whom exist in the midst of a massive war between two central civilizations that has been ongoing for 6+ years. Kaladin is a former spearman and captain who was betrayed by his commanding officer and sold into slavery. Shallan is a bright young woman who has to undertake a very serious quest in order to save her family from financial ruin and, quite possibly, death. Dalinar is the brother of the late King Gavilar, who’s assassination inspired the war in which they are all currently fighting. When reading the book, I couldn’t help but compare Kaladin to Aragorn from “Lord of the Rings” and Dalinar to King Theodin (but even more boss).
Admittedly, 1,000+ pages seemed a little extensive for this book. For the most part, I enjoyed reading every page, but there were a few sections in the middle that I found a little repetitive, even redundant. Even without excess chapters, the book would still be well into the 800 page range, but sometimes it felt like the length of the book was more of a “wow factor” rather than out of necessity. Still, I was never bored!
One of the things I admire most about Brandon Sanderson’s writing style is that when you read from the point of view of each character, they each have very different and discernible personalities. His character development is absolutely phenomenal and every time the book switched from one character to another, I felt like I was in their head and could sense their personalities.
If possible, “Words of Radiance” was even better than “Way of Kings.” It followed the same three central characters, but the action escalated and the three character’s stories became intertwined. Also, unlike the first book, there were no moments in this one that I felt unnecessary or repetitive. It was jam-packed full of excitement from start to finish and I wanted to cry when it ended. The third book is scheduled to come out in November 2017, so hopefully I can keep myself sane for a few more months until it does… and then again when I finish it and have to wait three more years for book four. Oh dear.
I’m told Brandon Sanderson has agreed to make a movie out of “The Stormlight Archives.” I’m a little concerned about this because the books are so long and eventful that I don’t see how they could make a movie without cutting a lot of vital sections. I, personally, think it’d do better as a mini-series or something. But if the makers of this movie destroy “The Stormlight Archives” the way Stefen Fangmeier did when he made “Eragon” into a movie, I will be furious.
For anybody who’s intersted, I recently learned that the “Mistborn” books are being made into movies as well. Brandon Sanderson, if you’re reading this, my brother had the wonderful idea that you should make the last four books first (because they take place a few hundred years after the first trilogy) and then make the trilogy as origin-story movies the way Star Wars did. But better. Much better than Star Wars Episodes I-III, I beg of you!