Ah, the one and only Brandon Sanderson. If you are a fan of high fantasy you are probably familiar with his works and can reminisce on the first Sanderson book you experienced. I say experienced- not read- because working the way through a Sanderson novel alongside his characters is an adventure. I started digging into Sanderson’s works with the Mistborn trilogy, which I highly recommend. The trilogy is a great introduction to Brandon Sanderson’s works as it is shorter, but still provides that intricate worldbuilding and thought provoking storytelling for which he is so well known. Since I finished the Mistborn trilogy, my husband has been begging me to read Way of Kings. After about a year of relentless pestering of how I needed to read this book, I begrudgingly started listening to Way of Kings. To my husband’s great satisfaction, I quickly became invested in the outcome of the novel.
Sanderson’s characters make this novel for me. They are powerful but flawed, diverse and introspective, but often unaware of their own abilities. While magic plays a large part in the Cosmere (this universe), I always looked forward to the character-driven plot. The circumstances are different from our world today, but these characters encounter the same questions of religion and ethics; they battle issues such as racism and sexism. I think this is what makes the world feel so real to the reader- the characters are different but relatable.
I listened to the audiobook because I adore the narrator Michael Kramer. He narrates many of Sanderson’s audio books and does a fantastic job creating a different voice for each character. Way of Kings book has two narrators- Michael Kramer and Kate Reading; Kramer narrated the male parts, and Reading narrated the female. I appreciated the variation in voices because not only helped me identify the characters more easily, but also because the change in narrator was also a cue for a change in the story’s tone. Both narrators were wonderful at character accents and using voice to create moods, which further immerses the reader into the adventure.
If you are familiar with Brandon Sanderson, you probably know what to expect in terms of story flow with this 1007 page novel. Sanderson uses his tried and true formula of detailed descriptions and world building throughout the book. At points I found myself irritated with certain characters’ angst and inaction; sometimes the intricate story details seem to be a bit much. However, patience always pays off tenfold, because as readers near the end of the book there begins an avalanche of action sequences. Known to fans as a "Sanderlanche," the smallest hints come together beautifully for big reveals. I adored the characters in this book, but now have so many questions that can only be answered by continuing the series with the next book- Words of Radiance.