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Finished The Way of Kings

Posted by nightphoenix on September 22, 2010 in Books |

I suppose it would be redundant to call it epic. But, that pretty well sums it up.

It’s both similar to and very different from The Wheel of Time. For one thing, it’s still not entirely clear (to me, at least) where the overarching story is going. In TWoT, that was set up pretty concretely at the conclusion of Book 1: The Dragon Reborn is going to fight the Dark One in the Last Battle. Rand is the Dragon Reborn (that was pretty obvious at the end of Book 1, even though it wasn’t officially revealed until later). That is the quest; all else leads up to that.

In TWoK, things are not quite so clear. We know the Last Desolation is coming, but we don’t know exactly what that is. We know the Voidbringers are going to return, but we don’t know exactly what those are, either. We don’t know if the Knights Radiant will get rebuilt, because we don’t know why they disbanded in the first place. I’m not even entirely sure which side of things the Heralds are on.

I actually kind of like shrouding the central quest in mystery. Not that TWoT doesn’t have revelations and stuff you don’t know and have to guess, but the central quest itself is clear. I have a suspicion that my Tindaari epic (the one that’s been sitting on my computer for years, and will continue to sit there until I’m ready to write it) will need a mystery-shrouded central quest…which means that, like The Way of Kings, I will need to have some incredibly strong characters from the start.

On a somewhat related note, TWoK concentrates a whole lot more on the main characters’ lives, rather than the main characters on a quest. What they are doing is not unrelated to the central thread, of course, but they are not yet directly moving towards it. It’s a departure from the Tolkienesque plotline that seems to dominate most epic fantasy, and I like that.

Also, I swear I’ve never experienced three separate “holy shit” revelations within the space of fifty pages. The last section of the book was awesome.

If you are at all a fan of The Wheel of Time or epic fantasy in general, and you haven’t read The Way of Kings by Brandan Sanderson, then you need to.

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