Stormlight Archives, Book 1, The Way of Kings, sets up the series nicely. Totally unlike A Song of Ice and Fire, which feels like a thousand page long introduction to Game of Thrones.
The setting and magic system in this book is pretty unique for a fantasy book. The world is buffeted by constant storms and the seasons seem to come and go randomly. Accordingly the plant and animal life have adapted to weather the constant storms. Humans, though seemingly live in a middle-age type era, have also adapted their way of life to this harsh world. As you can guess from the title, the storms are a source of magic in this fantasy realm. Sanderson is known for creating balanced yet fantastical magic systems in books. This new storm-based magic system intrigues me. Not only because it’s unique, but also because the magic system is purposely vague and misunderstood. The characters don’t seem to understand it themselves. It feels like a mystery to guess what the magic system really is.
Oh, and the storms aren’t the only source of magic in this book. Hint, hint.
The Way of Kings has a few protagonists, who’s lives (you bet) will intertwine as the various subplots (you bet) will cross with each other. The focus of this book is really on Kaladin, a former warrior/surgeon who has fallen from grace and became a slave. Apart from this backstory, his story is about how he deals with his present situation which seems pretty bleak. Meanwhile, the other major characters slowly (but not fully) uncover a plot that could bring the world into turmoil.
Considering the length of the book, it’s pacing is pretty good. You will also get a good sense of the vastness of this make-believe world, and the depth of it. This comes from the side stories of minor characters scattered throughout the world.
Oh, and the plot twists, I loved them all. Yes, multiple plot twists. My only gripe with this was that the plot twists all happened in the closing chapters of the book, one after another, in quick succession. This made the ending chapters the most exciting. But it also made me wonder where the excitement in the middle chapters was. It’s not as fast-paced or as exciting than the Mist-Born series, but still far better than most fantasy epics I’ve seen.
All in all, if you want to get invested in a fantasy novel series, this one is a good pick. It’s just starting up now, so it’ll be a good time to get into it. Reading this book makes me want to continue onto reading the next book.