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"The Way of Kings" by Brandon Sanderson; Tor Books, 1,008 pages, $28
Epic. There's no better way to describe Brandon Sanderson's "The Way of Kings."
"Kings" introduces the reader to the incredible new world of Roshar and more specifically The Shattered Plains, a field of rocks that require bridges to get from one plateau to another.
Over the span of 400,000 words - roughly 1,000 pages - "Kings" lays the groundwork for a 10-book series called "The Stormlight Archive."
The story of "Kings" centers on three main characters - Kaladin, Dalinar and Shallan - and a world that sometimes outshines them all. Kaladin is the main character in this book, although the other characters will have their turn in upcoming books.
Kaladin is a common man who has to choose whether to heal or destroy. His father was a surgeon and taught Kaladin how to take care of the sick.
After his little brother is drafted into the army, Kaladin decides to enlist to protect his brother. Failing this endeavor, Kaladin, now a talented soldier, slides into depression.
Kaladin's failures drive him to doubt everything he's done until finally reaching an integral decision that could lead to his death or later redemption.
Sanderson's treatment of the characters and his world are delightful. By the end of the book, the reader is cheering for Kaladin, worried for Shallan and proud of Dalinar for the decisions they make.
Yes, the book is 1,000 pages long, which can appear daunting. But the pages fly by as the reader gets engrossed in the story of these characters, especially Kaladin. It only took a week for me to finish.
The book is epic in all regards - size, scope and story. With this epic, it's time to get in on the ground floor.
-- Michael Mason-D'Croz