Profile: Epic Fantasy
I read The Way of Kings back in 2011 and never got around to posting a review. I had gotten a lot of reading done on trains in the middle of June of that year and totally overshot my ability to review things. I was going to write a review post it as a Lost Battle, but when I started I found I couldn’t answer many of the questions that I use to seed these reviews. So I re-read the damn thing.
The Way of Kings is a pretty good book. It’s a bit long and takes ages to get to the point. It does, however, follow in the best traditions of epic fantasy, capturing your imagination and attention. The worldbuilding is top-notch and the protagonists are strong and well developed. The book makes you crave more, even as it stretches out what could have been a brisk prologue story into a mammoth novel.
The story takes place on the world of Roshar, a land buffeted by regular, severe weather systems called highstorms. The majority of Roshar is adapted to these heavy inundations and resembles an enormous intertidal zone. Humans here eke out a living from the rain-scoured rocks. At some point in the distant past, human civilization underwent a series of collapses that left nearly every nation technologically backward and socially aggressive. Kingdoms war with each other for the fabulously powerful Shards, relics from the distant past that can determine the course of history.