‘The Way of Kings’ Read-Along (Week 1)

Posted 1 January, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

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Anya from Starships and Dragonwings and Nrlymrtl from Dab of Darkness are hosting a read-along starting in January for Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. Please check out THIS POST for more details on how to participate and the schedule of chapters covered.

Happy New Year! πŸ™‚ Ahh! I can’t believe I almost forgot that the event started today *blushes* But here we are, at the start of Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, th first volume in his Stormlight Archive series. As I mentioned in my introductory post a few weeks ago, I’m re-reading this novel, not only in preparation for the second novel that’s coming out this year but also to pick up more on the story and see if it changes my opinion of it πŸ˜‰ Conveniently, it also counts for the A Year of Re-Reading 2014 challenge that I’m participating in.

But that’s enough on that, on to the questions! πŸ™‚ SPOILERS ahead!

1) Is this your first Brandon Sanderson experience? Any expectations going into this read along?
Nope. I’ve read a number of his previous books (feel free to search my blog for reviews on his other titles–the only one I never got around to reviewing was Elantris, which was also the first book I ever read by him) so naturally my expectations when it comes to reading his books are pretty high πŸ˜‰ He’s actually my favourite modern fantasy author, so there’s that too =P But going into this read along, I’m expecting a bit more from myself, to see if I can grasp some of the details of the storyline a bit better and understand the character motivations more. I’m hoping the questions accompanying the week’s assigned chapters will help guide my reading, and thus my thinking and attention to the story. But no pressure! πŸ™‚ Filling out that answers below, it’s a bonus that I don’t remember much from the book to begin with =P

2) In the Prelude to the Stormlight Archive, we see that Talenel (Taln) died and his sword is unaccounted for. Jerzien and company have decided it is best for 1 to suffer instead of 10. What do you make of this scene?
Firstly, re-reading this prelude was a lot more epic than I remembered, lol. Secondly, it raises so many questions about the world and the circumstances that warriors found themselves in. Thirdly, the fact that Taln’s sword is unaccounted for is rather chilling; I reckon it’ll pop up again somewhere unexpected. And finally, doesn’t the mention of the Desolations remind you a wee bit of the Norse concept of Ragnarok? But about that scene, I thought it was interesting because I was wondering if having that 1 to suffer instead of 10 was an attempt to end the endless cycles of participating in the Desolation–or escape it.

3) What did you think of Szeth’s fighting abilities and the fight scenes? Any thoughts on the crystalline sphere and King Gavilar Kholin’s last words?
The fight scenes were very interesting and the pacing reminded me of Mistborn. What interested me more was how the Shards work and what they are as well as King Galivar Kholin’s last words. I wonder if those last words has anything to do with the Desolation and the heralds, but I can’t imagine how it all factors in…

4) Each chapter proper starts with a few words from a dying person, their station, and status in life. Any thoughts on what these portend?
Oh man, do you know that the first time I read this book it never occurred to me that these words all came from a dying person? All of them are pretty dark, alluding to the cold and the darkness; I think it may reflect the coming storm, the coming of another Desolation (or reflecting the war that’s going on right now on the Shattered Plains). My favourite one by the way was from chapter 5: “I have seen the end, and have heard it named. The Night of Sorrows, the True Desolation. The Everstorm.” Very chilling indeed.

5) Kaladin went from warrior to slave in a matter of the first 2 chapters. Care to speculate on the details of how his life changed so drastically?
I feel like there’s a lot more to whatever led to him becoming a slave. He mentions a little about it but maybe Kaladin came across something he shouldn’t have or pissed off the wrong guy (or that guy was jealous of how good Kaladin is) or there was that cliffhanger from the end of his first chapter. Re-reading it this time, I’m also surprised at how much younger Kaladin is; I thought he was in his mid-30s or thereabouts given how good he was out in the battlefield.

6) Sylphrena (Syl) the Windspren seems attached to Kaladin. Are you enjoying her character? Do you like the Spren in general in the worldbuilding so far?
Syl is a very interesting character and the Spren really adds to the magical/supernatural quality of the world this story takes place in. I also feel like there’s so much more to Syl, that there’s a reason why she’s following Kaladin around. I also get the sense that she’s slowly remembering something, remembering herself, over the course of hanging out with Kaladin so far.

7) Shallan Davar has finally caught up to Brightness Jasnah Kholin and her soulcaster. Jasnah and the jeweled fabril can change stone to smoke; what else do you think it can do?
In the hands of certain people, the Soulcaster can be a dangerous item. Shallan is trying to become a ward to Jasnah Kholin after her family had fallen into hard times; I wonder if she’s hoping to recover their losses by retrieving the soulcaster…

And those are my thoughts for this week on The Way of Kings. What did you think of the opening chapters?

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6 Responses to “‘The Way of Kings’ Read-Along (Week 1)”

  1. I definitely kept thinking of Mistborn during the first few sections but it wasn’t in a bad way. I enjoyed Mistborn and I think Sanderson is so good at writing the action scenes so I suppose there’s bound to be some similarity. I also had high expectations for this book because I liked his Mistborn series and I loved The Emperor’s Soul. I was really excited to read this as a readalong – it’s such a chunky book and reading everybody’s answers helps to clarify certain things and reinforce others.
    Kaladin is very interesting to read about – there’s definitely more to him than meets the eye and the fact that Syl seems to have adopted him also makes me suspect this.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

  2. I was tricked by Kaladin’s age as well. Given that he was a squad leader, had a reputation, and was skilled, I assumed he was somewhere in his 30s. It really threw me when it was revealed that he was only 19.

  3. Yeah I was surprised by Kaladin’s age, too. He seems much older than his years. And I’m really loving the Syl story line, Can’t wait to hear more about that. πŸ˜€

  4. Yes, the Desolation does have a Ragnarok feel to it, doesn’t it?

    This is a reread for me too, and I remembered Kaladin as in his 30s too. But now, rereading it, I see that he is 19. But he is mature for his age. Probably has seen and dealt with some heavy stuff.

  5. Sue CCCP

    2. It wasn’t clear to me whether their desertion would stop the Desolations from happening or that they would just avoid taking part. But I do feel for the poor guy burning away in hell all alone.

    4, As well as setting an ominous tone, I am sure that they will become increasingly significant in some way – Mr Sanderson is not likely to include them just for atmosphere.

    5. I have to admit that I had pictured him as much older than Cenn in Chapter 1, so it was a surprise when his age was revealed. I suppose it isn’t the age but the mileage . . .

    6. I love the bemused aspect of their relationship: neither of them understands what is going on or how their bond works.

    7. After the reveal about her intentions, I find myself wondering how much of her thoughts are actually true or self-delusions. All is not as it seems with this woman.

  6. YAY Sanderson is my favorite modern fantasy author too – though this is my first time with WoK πŸ˜€ I could NOT agree with you more: that prequel was SO epic!! Wow! I have a feeling their decision to leave one behind might still be having serious repercussions for our current characters…and I shudder to think how Taln suffered πŸ™ Szeth’s fight scene reminded me of Mistborn too!! It was still completely original you know but something about the sheer intensity and mind-blowingness just really brought Vin to mind in her most kick-ass fights haha! I adore the Spren too and YES they really do add to the magical quality of this world!

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