The Stormlight Archive, Book One

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

There will never be another Lord of the Rings, and it is a shame that it is so. I am much too critical of fantasy novels. I want to write some myself, and it is certainly possible that a great alternative to Middle Earth simply just hasn’t found me yet. The pessimist in me believes such an encounter will be unlikely in my time.

It’s because of our simplified intellect. An example should clear up my point. “Irregardless” is not a word. Yes, I know that dictionaries list it, but Oxford still admits that it is INCORRECT IN STANDARD ENGLISH!

Don’t worry; I don’t have conniption fits when I hear it (out loud anyway). But my issue is that we have come to accept it as an alternative to it’s actual correct usage counterpart, “regardless.”

Supposedly, “irregardless” was used in print as far back as the late 1700s, so it almost defeats my point, but it’s not the only word that fits the description; it’s just the first one I could think of.

Why do we do this? Why do we accept “irregardless” as a substitute for accuracy? Why are we given the option? What happened to clear and concise rules for grammar? Even the Oxford comma; why is it an “either/or” option?

This is not by any means to say that I speak so eloquently. I assure you I do not. But there is a huge difference between the spoken and written word.

I also admit that the written word does have room for mishaps and broken down dialect barriers. It does not have to be perfect! BUT when we intentionally decided somewhere in our history that, oh, you can use whichever word you feel in this case, I have a problem with that!

I do not mean to say that Sanderson is dumb or incompetent. He is really good. My point is that he is no Tolkien, even though some would say they should be mentioned in the same breath. Sanderson should be, and probably is, ecstatic that anyone holds such a belief, whether that “anyone” is a publishing dignitary of the world’s largest syndicate or Joe-Schmo sitting on his couch eating Cheetos. Extremely high praise.

Sanderson’s books are just easier to read, not by intrigue of adventure, but by difficulty of comprehension. And that’s what I mean by our simplified intellect. We can’t enjoy another Lord of the Rings style masterpiece because we can’t read the words. Therefore, we can’t enjoy the story. I’ve seen it. With my own two eyes.

Before you know it, a 10-page, picture book will be all that we can preserve in our ever-weakening minds, and I have a problem with it. That’s all I’m trying to say…

Sanderson is perhaps most well-known from his deal to complete the Wheel of Time series, Robert Jordan’s masterpiece set. But this man writes SO much material. I’m impressed at the mere amount of his works available to read. I would certainly say that Brandon Sanderson is the fantasy novelist of our day, even if by default and lack of competition.

Now, as The Way of Kings is concerned, the idea is brilliant. How in the world did he come up with this stuff? The writing style is, again, a bit elementary, but where narration lacks appeal, the dialogue, particularly that of the character, Wit, satisfies with skillful cleverness. A great character. The greatest beauty, however, is the story. This is where Sanderson will separate himself from others in his genre. I’m always here for a twist, and there is a great key-change near the end that I really enjoyed. I will read the next installation of the series without a doubt.

With a PG rating (I guess — I’m not sure how those ratings work), I would also put this story above the works of George Martin. In my personal and not-always-so-humble opinion, there is no need for adult material in a fantasy book. Or any book for that matter. In no way does a descriptive scene of intercourse add to the greatness of a story. I can handle insinuations if they are important to a character, but in nearly all cases, it’s rubbish. While we’re at it, the same applies to television shows and movies. Stop it. It doesn’t make anything better.

So. Should you read The Way of Kings? If you are a fan of fantasy, yes. If you are a Lord of the Rings snob like me, yes, but be prepared to battle through. If fantasy isn’t really your thing, I doubt this is for you.

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