The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Week 1

Welcome to week 1 of the Way of Kings readalong this week being hosted by Dab of Darkness.  A readalong that is going to be pretty awesome by the way so you might want to take a peek at the schedule here and throw yourself into this event!  It’s not too late.  Week 1 covers the Prelude through the end of Chapter 6. If you haven’t read the book you should probably stop reading now for fear of spoilers – unless of course you’re a bit of a glutton for spoilers in which case dive right on in:

1) Is this your first Brandon Sanderson experience? Any expectations going into this read along? 

No, I’ve read The Mistborn books (also a readalong which was very enjoyable) and also The Emperor’s Soul which was actually on my best of 2013 list – so based on those you could say I’ve got fairly high expectations.  I have faith in Sanderson though, I fully expect that my expectations will be met, or probably exceeded!  Also, I know that Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings read this some time ago and loved it and he doesn’t steer me wrong with books!

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?

My first impression was wtf – they’re just leaving Taln in a pretty horrible situation right there.  Doesn’t feel very honorable – and also I was a bit puzzled about why they were breaking the pact – but I’m sure all of this will be revealed eventually, they seem to be holding their own? Can’t help thinking that Taln has been greatly wronged – won’t he seek some sort of revenge?  Maybe he’ll just turn the other cheek but then again.. maybe not.

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?

Sanderson can certainly write a gripping fight scene.  He just manages to make the scene come alive for me personally.  I can find some fight scenes a little tedious or more to the point difficult to envision but never the scenes he writes.   I haven’t got a clue about the sphere to be honest or the last words from King Kholin – I don’t imagine that Sanderson just put that scene in on a whim so something must come from it. In terms of Szeth’s fighting abilities – he was a bit of an unstoppable force wasn’t he – not to mention that sword did give him a massive advantage.  Couldn’t help feeling sorry for the King – and at least he didn’t try to run and hide – I thought that was a good twist that he stayed behind to fight.

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?

Mistborn had similar chapter starters and they turned out to be another story in themselves.  Not sure if that’s happening here or not but I certainly feel like I need to pay proper attention to them.  I wonder whether they relate to some sort of reincarnation type of situation – just wondering why the need to show the status??

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? 

One minute in the midst of battle then next in a caged truck.  For one moment there I thought I’d accidentally flipped ahead on my Kindle by accident.  I had to sort of flip back and have a little look just to reassure myself to be honest.  I find this development really intriguing (or perplexing) – he’s a great soldier, his men respect him, he tries to help them, he wants to be promoted to fight in a bigger war – why would he be accused of deserting – I mean, obviously, he didn’t desert, that much is evident and equally clearly he’s a strong asset in battle.  Part of me thinks perhaps he went missing in action and his men all died?  But then that’s clearly not the case – he’s been set up for some reason.   Whoever set him up better make damned sure he’s looking over his shoulder though – Kaladin doesn’t seem like the kind of foe that you want to betray and leave alive.

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? 

I love the Spren.  Mischievous, curious little sprites that they are – they sort of remind me of Tinkerbell (although they’re not little fairies).  I think Syl is a really good addition.  The fact that she’s so curious about Kaladin makes me believe that there is something out of the ordinary about him.  Time will tell I suppose.

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? 

I wondered whether Jasnah could change her appearance maybe.  I read ahead – only by one chapter (so this next thought could be spoilery – although I’m usually quite wrong with my speculation), where Shallan was waiting for Jasnah- the scene with the adept – I couldn’t help thinking it was maybe another challenge??  The way the adept wasn’t bothered about all the respect that Shallan was giving him, also he was fascinated with the picture.  And remembering that Jasnah didn’t believe in religion I couldn’t help wondering if it was really her??  But I’ve probably just put two and two together and come out with 4.7!

Great start.  Just what I would expect from this author, he doesn’t beat about the bushes or go round the houses just gets straight into things. There’s no major info dumps but there is still plenty of detail to reflect upon.  Loving it so far.

19 Responses to “The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Week 1”

  1. conflicteddesires

    Hmm… Now I’m curious about Jasnah and appearance changing! I want to read ahead but I also want to finish this other book too… Decisions, decisions. D:

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, before you read ahead, let me just mention that I’m famous (I wish) for being the worst possible guesser or any possible scenario – even if you give me a choice of three I’ll pick the most outrageous. I don’t mean to do it but I read everybody’s answers and they set me off on all sorts of tangents that are very rarely correct. I do have fun though! Decisions, decisions, we could both read on and cheat – and then you can blame me and I’ll blame you… mmmm, nope, better not, I’m also pretty bad for spoilers! Wouldn’t be able to help it. It would all just blurt out of me – wild horses would have to help – but it would all be revealed. Best to behave.
      Lynn 😀

      • suecccp

        Can we agree to share the title of world’s worst guesser? 😀

      • lynnsbooks

        I would gladly share that title – in fact we can have a little competition who can come up with the most outrageous remarks. Only kidding of course! But I’m sure we’ll still manage.
        Lynn 😀

  2. DoingDewey

    I agree with pretty much all of your answers. At the beginning, I couldn’t believe that the were just going to leave a man behind! Definitely not honorable. I also don’t have a clue about the sphere and last words, but damn was that a good fight scene. I can’t believe how well Sanderson writes really epic scenes into the beginning or middle of a book. Typically I would expect such awesome to be reserved for a grand conclusion. And Syl is one of my favorite characters, although I really like a lot of the other characters too 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I can’t help wondering about this Taln thread – he’s sure to turn up somewhere looking for vengeance!
      Syl is a great little character – I really like that Sanderson has introduced that particular element as it helps to make the world more interesting.
      Lynn 😀

  3. tethyanbooks

    I am really curious to see how the prelude situation played out over the next 4500 years. Maybe Taln got out afterward and come after them? Does he hate them all now? And also, your spoilery bit is making me really curious to start reading the next chapter. 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      Haha, I think my ‘spoilery’ bit is totally off the track! I’m such a maniac with my wild guesses!
      Lynn 😀

  4. bafriyie

    This readalong sounds fun but when I pick up a Brandon Sanderson novel its hard to put down.

    • lynnsbooks

      I know – I’ve got to be firm though otherwise it’s difficult to answer without giving away spoilers or cheating! Have you read Way of Kings?
      Lynn 😀

      • suecccp

        I actually think I would miss too much if I just plowed ahead with the book – thank goodness the Read Along makes me stop and take notice of the details! 🙂

      • lynnsbooks

        Yeah, I was bad, I read on by ONE chapter and it was already making me over think everything!
        Lynn 😀

  5. nrlymrtl

    Yes, Taln does seem to get the short end of the stick there, doesn’t he? But he is also described as the most fearless and honorable of the 10. Perhaps he will understand why his comrades left him to his fate, or perhaps he will turn to the dark side.

    Also, with 9 of the 10 swords left on the table, does that mean there will be 9 shardblades floating around in the world during Kaladin’s time?

    I too like that Kholin stayed behind in his shardplate to fight the assassin. It almost worked, both as a ruse and then he nearly defeated Szeth. I am glad Szeth honored his last wishes.

    Interesting speculation about Jasnah. You’ll have your answer as you read forward. But my take would be that Jasnah has her believes, about everything, from what books are important to finding the arts of music and drawing irrelevant. So I can’t see her capable of pulling off such a believable disguise, both in person and in thought/deed, so convincingly.

    • lynnsbooks

      Taln turning to the dark side?? Like the Vader!!
      Mmm, yes, I kind of realised I was way off track with Jasnah but I just thought what the hell – one of those crazy ideas that you’re talking yourself out of even whilst you’re forming the thoughts!
      Lynn 😀

    • suecccp

      Not only is it the short end, but that stick is covered in large quantities of poop! Could anyone blame him for going a little Vader on them?

  6. suecccp

    1. Yep: if Carl says to “Go and read it!”, then I am convinced! 🙂

    2. The whole set up was a giant pile of WTF? to me: eternal torture interspersed with the odd bit of fighting to the death doesn’t sound like a particularly attractive lifestyle to me! I wonder if Taln will return looking to exact some revenge on the others, because I feel as if he is totally justified, especially as it has been 4500 years since they led him to suffer alone. That could make even the most tolerant person go a little crazed.

    4. I suspect that reincarnation will be an important device in this series, although I am probably wrong: I nearly always am when I try to guess what Mr Sanderson has in mind.

    5. Yet another WTF? moment for me: plus he is only 19! :O

    6. I love the way that even she doesn’t know why she is attracted to him: so much mystery!

    7. This whole section was full of WTF? I think my mouth actually fell open when it was revealed that Shallan was planning to steal the fabrial.

    Well played, Mr Sanderson, well played! 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      Haha – Carl loved this book. I was sort of a little put off, probably because of the size of the books to be honest but after reading Carl’s thoughts, and probably because he’s more sci fi than fantasy and he loved it, well, I really thought I should read it because he doesn’t steer you wrong.
      I’m sure Taln must be very much involved somehow. For me, if you banished me to eternal torture I’d probably last about 3 years before being really pissed off – imagine, just imagine 4,500 years – no. I would come back and kill them all!!!!! I’m clearly not that tolerant, but, I’m just saying. 4,500 YEARS!!
      I was also thinking reincarnation for this series – but we are the world’s two worst guessers, lol.
      He’s only 19 but he’s pretty cool already. I liked him and I hope I’m not wrong to do so. Plus I think the little imp likes him so I’m just going to assume I’m in good company with her and everyone else.
      Yes, I know – I couldn’t believe that about Shallan – I actually quite like her but to want to become a ward of someone just so you can steal from them – I don’t know. I don’t like that but, even, so I still want to like her though – she’s trying so hard to save her family. I’m just hoping she comes good.

      Definitely well played Sanderson – I already just want to plow on to the end – but, I won’t because I like the answer the questions genuinely and then look at everyone else’s responses. I think thats part of the pull of a readalong for me. Seeking if we all have the same thing in common and then reading the differing opinions.

      Lynn 😀

  7. TBM

    Oh I wish I had time for this group read. I loved, loved, loved this book. Enjoy. And Happy New Year!

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, I think that Carl may do a readalong for book 2 which is out shortly – I couldn’t swear to it but I think he always intended to do so because he also loved the first book so much. In fact I was a bit gutted that I missed that readalong because I wanted to pick up the book but I wanted company. So glad that this readalong came about! I wish you were taking part as well.
      Happy New Year to you and yours and all the best for 2014 😀

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