An In-Depth Look at Brandon Sanderson’s ‘The Way of Kings’

A book review on one of the Stormlight Archive fantasy series


Abbiegail Luker

“The Way of Kings” is an epic fantasy novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson and the first book in The Stormlight Archive series.

Will Rentfro, Reporter

The Way of Kings is a high fantasy novel written by Brandon Sanderson (or as I like to call him, Brando Sando). Published in 2010, it is the first book in the 10 book long Stormlight Archive fantasy series. Throughout the novel, there are strengths and weaknesses along with the overall enjoyment factor of this book. A score may even be given.

If you’re familiar with Sanderson’s work, you know he can get pretty extensive with his magic systems. Personally I enjoyed the hard magic system of this epic. It’s introduced in the prologue where we immediately jump into the assassination of a certain powerful political figure (see I’m being vague on purpose so as to not spoil anything, take notes people).

During this assassination, we get a look into multiple different details about the universe. We got surgebinding (which is basically just gravity manipulation I won’t get into that much detail). There are also some cool MacGuffin items such as shard blades, (which is basically a lightsaber but looks like a regular sword), with a shard plate which can protect against shard blades. And of course we have political unrest, which is the constant of all fantasy epics.

This particular magic system may not be as hard-core and complicated as some of his other works such as Mistborn, but it’s still a very thorough and creative system. For the hard-core fantasy nerds out there, I’m sure it gets more complicated in the later books. The magic scenes aren’t the only thing that happen in this book though. There are multiple different fantasy races, such as parshmen, an entire social class structure, and some pretty vivid moments that will stay in your head for months.

A weaknesses is that this book is over 1,000 pages (that’s right, you heard me). It can be a little slow at times, but is very much rescued by the final act with one of the most redeeming moments I’ve ever seen in fantasy, and some seriously amazing action scenes that will be in your head for months.

This book is split into three different perspectives, but there is a pretty obvious main character. Now don’t get me wrong, all three characters are intriguing in their own way, but Kaladin, the main character, seems a lot more interesting and more entertaining than the other two. On multiple occasions, I’ve found myself contemplating if I should skip the other two’s chapters and go straight to Kaladin. Of course I never did that, but still, that’s never a good sign.

Let me restate that this is the first book in a 10-book long series, (although only the first four are published at the moment). This means that there will be much more to be learned about the characters and the world in the later books. 

Overall, this book had a couple of flaws, they were mostly minor, however the strengths were overwhelming. The magic, the characters, and the grand scope are all exponentially well thought out and compelling. 

I thought I should look at some of the other short reviews from some online websites just to get some other perspectives. Looking on Goodreads, the average rating is 4.65 out of 5. 

Now of course other’s ratings will be different, so I will try to be as accurate as I can with gauging my own. So without further ado, my rating of “The Way of Kings” is an 8.7 out of 10. I wish I could tell you the reasons behind the rating but sometimes things just feel right and 8.7 feels like an accurate rating for this book.