First off, let me note that this is technically an audiobook review of Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, Book 1 of The Stormlight Archive. I should also note that this is a fantasy book. BUT, before you stop reading, passing this book off as just another story of dragons, wizards, and goblins, let me tell you that I’m not a fan of those things.
Mainly because I can’t stop comparing any fantasy novel dragons, wizards, and goblins to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
The good thing is that this, nor The Stormlight Archive series, does not yet include any of those. I decided I had to review because it’s an amazingly fresh, interesting, epic and awesome introduction to the fantasy genre for anyone. I think I lucked out with this book being my first fantasy read since high school.
As I said, I don’t normally read fantasy novels. I love reading fiction, historical non-fiction, and self-improvement books. I got into listening to Audible.com audiobooks over the last 4 years to pass the time during my hour long commutes to and from work. I’ve listened to everything from books by the Dalai Lama to the Navy Seal memoir No Easy Day. It’s an awesome way to stave off road rage and make the commute enjoyable, even to the point where I’ve sat in my parked car trying to finish listening to a chapter, getting weird looks from fellow employees arriving at work.
I wound up purchasing The Way of Kings off the Audible library because its one of the most rated books in the entire Audible catalog. Yeah, I shit you not. At 4.7/5 stars with over 12,000 reviews, Brandon Sanderson did something right. So I said what the hell, I’ve got 45+ hours of commute time in the next month or two to tackle this.
Yes, this book isn’t for the audio book dabbler. Its pushing 46 hours for Stormlight Archive Book 1, and this is part of a projected 10 book series. But it’s a whole lot of story that fills that 45+ hours, none of it at all boring or highway coma inducing.
I was going to try to write a gripping, tantalizing narrative of the four main characters this story follows, but I think you’d be better off reading the story for yourself.
In fact, this is one of the few books I can remember that I did not want to end. Luckily, Stormlight Archive Book 2: Words of Radiance, had already been released so I got an instant fix right after I finished it. The only downside is that, while Sanderson can pump up multiple books a year, Stormlight Archive Book 3 is only in 25% of its pre-writing phase (Sanderson posts the development cycle of his current projects on his website).