Author: Brandon Sanderson
Length: 1258 Pages (Paperback)
Publication: August 2010
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
"A story doesn't live until it is imagined in someone's mind."
Why have I not read this book before now? That's what I keep asking myself. I've been reading Sanderson for nearly two years and I'm only just now picking this book up. And boy am I glad I finally did. I knew I would get to it eventually, but this was the perfect read at the perfect time.
What, you may ask, is so amazing about this book? Well, to be honest. Everything. I really cannot find a single fault in this novel. It was so much fun to read, the story was engrossing, the characters brilliant. I had a hard time putting this novel down. I would have read straight through if I were able. (Although that would have been really hard. This is a long book.) I said, multiple times while reading, "if this novel never ends and I just continue reading a hundred pages a day for the rest of my life, I'm pretty sure I would be happy."
So, let's get to some of the things that I loved most about this novel: the characters. Sanderson is brilliant in his story telling and his stories are often driven by beautifully flawed characters.
- Kaladin: Kaladin is by far my favorite character. After personal tragedy drove him to become the best spearman in the army, Kaladin is enslaved and sold to work as a bridgeman for High Prince Sadeas. He is so easy for me to relate to. He struggles with depression and feels that he is cursed. As he starts to develop superhuman abilities he begins to face some of his personal demons. His struggles had me crying in several parts of the story.
- Syl: Syl is the spren that now follows Kaladin and keeps him from falling over the edge of his personal chasm and into despair. She's so funny.
- Dalinar: Dalinar is a high prince seeking to better himself and the kingdom he loves. He is often questioned by those around him, but remains true to the ideals he has set for himself. His character grew on me throughout the novel. I liked him from the beginning, but grew to like him even more as the story progressed.
- Adolin and Renarin: These two are Dalinar's sons and I found myself drawn to both of them. We don't get as much time with Renarin, but I hope he shows up more latter on. Adolin is constantly finding new women to court, but remains strong and loyal. These two are great.
- Wit: The kings Wit reminded me a lot of the fools in Shakespeare's plays. In the best possible way. The Fool was always my favorite and Wit is great. He is funny with his insults of the princes and other important people. But not everything he says is in jest.
- Shallan: I found myself drawn to Shallan at first, but then she kind of grew tiresome for me. I did still enjoy her, I just didn't enjoy her portions of the novel as well as I did several of the others. She grew on me again toward the end of the novel and I'm excited to see where her story leads.
- Sadeas: This is probably the character that inspires some of the strongest reactions from me. I found myself both loathing and loving Sadeas throughout the story. I'm not sure what I want to happen with him next.
- Szeth: While he was not nearly as large a part of the novel as several of the others, I found Szeth fascinating. He is forced to kill and go against his beliefs and we see him fall further and further away from himself as the story progresses. It's heartbreaking.
- Elhokar: Really needs to be kicked in the chest more often.
The relationships in this novel are beautiful. Kaladin and his bridgemen, Shallan and Jasnah, Dalinar, Adolin, and Renarin. And toward the end we get hints of even more great friendships and alliances forming in later installments.
There isn't a whole lot to be said about the story as a whole. It's something you need to discover as you go, piece by piece, alongside the characters. It's brilliantly developed and beautifully imagined. The descriptions are captivating and the action intense. Go read this book.
If you've read this novel let me know in the comments so we can discuss it! If you plan to read this novel, let me know! I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Words of Radiance, either in March or April so if you want to join me just let me know. Happy reading.