The Way of Kings should come with a warning label.

“If you’re not into world building, then don’t pick this up”.

Fortunately, I am into world building, very much so, and Sanderson is one of the authors that does this best. His worlds are phenomenal and intriguing, he doesn’t just take some template from earth and puts some new species on.. He goes above and beyond, time and time again.

I like my fantasy to be grand, epic, intricate. I like it when the author creates lot’s of different story arcs that seemingly have nothing to do with each other and then starts painting in the the picture. I love it when the author takes time to create intricate worlds, that feel unique, but most importantly, feel real. I also like my stories to be on the long side, with wide character arcs and strong character development. This helps me to get to know the characters, to feel for them. I also like my fantasy to be “realistic” in a way, I don’t like the whole black-and-white theme where good prevails in the end and they live happily ever after. That doesn’t mean that I want things to end badly, I just don’t want it to be a cakewalk where the story starts off with a problem and then a lineair succession of events to a climax where everything is better. I like it when things go wrong every now and then, I (sort of) like it when characters have set backs, or even die. It’s the mark of a great story if you can let a character die and evoke an emotional response in your reader.

All of these things, are things I find in Sandersons books, huge, unique worlds with their own races, not stereotypic elves & dwarves. Unique ‘magic’ systems, different religions, economic and social systems, etc.. Sanderson uses this as a setting to create individual stories on an epic scale using everyday characters. Their stories seemingly unrelated, but in the end, all threads are connected and reach an epic climax. When finishing any one of his stories, I can’t help myself as to be amazed at how intricate the whole setup is. When I finally see the big picture I can only admire the work he has done, the preparation, the polishing and the imagination required to come up with it.

The World

For The Way of Kings he created mythology spanning thousands of years, religions based on that mythology. A whole new ecosystem and a society that is completely adapted to it. The world has his own plants, animals, weather system, architecture … The society has it’s own version of a caste system, there is a “sort” of magic that only few people can wield and it comes in different flavors depending on race and religion. Religion, of course, is one of Sandersons “things”, and yet again he does it right, not relying on existing stereotypes, the just creates something entirely new. All races he describes, apart from men, are unique and don’t really resembly any of the stereotypic races you commonly find in fantasy books.

e.g the chulls as pack animals, who in their right mind comes up with a giant combination of slugs and crabs as pack animals? And yet Sanderson does, and he makes it believable too.

e.g grass and plants that retract under ground when there is movement around? That sounds so cool, the way he describes riding trough hills full of it creates a beautiful mental picture of a world I would love to visit.

But the best thing of it all, is that ALL of this is interconnected, depending on each other and the sheer epicness of it all is just mind-blowing.

The Fights

I must mention, that I just LOVE a good fight scene, be it a magic duel, a sword fight, an epic battle or a mix of those. Unfortunately, describing any of these is a skill not all Fantasy authors posses. Sanderson write his scenes so vividly, describing every move, evey thought causing the fight to visualize before my mind’s eye. Of course, this means I’m spoiled, because from now on, I judge every “fight” scene by this standard, if the author fails to make the scene come alive in my head because I’m searching for a sense of “what is happening really?”, I’m not going to look favorably on his book.


The Way of Kings is simply another “Classic Sanderson” in all aspects of that, and the best part is, that even though I’ve read quite a number of these “Classic Sandersons”, there are few parallels I can draw between the different stories. Each one is a work of art, and I’m stoked about the next one in this series.

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