Sometimes it’s hard to try new things, okay?
When it comes to reading recommended books or watching TV shows everyone tells me I need to watch, I procrastinate. Hard. I keep saying, “Oh yeah, I’m going to do that soon!” And then I don’t. Until I do (years later), and I inevitably fall in love with whatever it is.
My brother-in-law recommended Brandon Sanderson’s books to me years ago. Oddly enough, I’d never heard of him before that (somehow). And when I first learned about his books, I was a little suspicious. I have a very fragile relationship with high fantasy; if it’s too long-winded and complicated, favouring technicalities over the actual story, I chuck it out the window. (Not really, I’d never do that to a book! Except for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.) However, I jumped on the wagon pretty soon after the recommendation and tried out Warbreaker.
I was stunned. Never since Tolkien had I read something that balanced intricate worldbuilding and story so well. I thoroughly enjoyed it…
…and then forgot about Brandon Sanderson for another couple years.
It wasn’t until I was at a Barnes & Noble with my (almost) husband a little over a year ago that I was reminded of how much I enjoyed Warbreaker. I saw a boxset containing the first three books in The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson selling a pretty good price, so I snatched it up.
One year later…
“Oh hey! These are the only books on my shelf that I haven’t read yet!” was the exclamation that preceded me finally picking up The Way of Kings, the first book in The Stormlight Archive. It’s a hefty beast, containing almost 400,000 words (for reference, the average book is around 80,000) and well over 1,000 pages.
It took me a while to read. I had to sludge through the beginning a bit as I was still learning about the characters and the world. There was a point where I just about quit halfway through—but then it completely picked up. I zoomed through the last third or so of the book, but I had some other things to read afterwards so I didn’t get to Words of Radiance immediately.
A couple weeks ago, I finally picked up the sequel. And I hardly ever put it down. Even though Words of Radiance is even longer than The Way of Kings, I flew through it like it was nothing. After the story world was established in the first book, the sequel focused more on the main characters and had them all interact rather than keeping them separate for the most part as in the first book.
The whole time I was reading the book, I felt thoroughly impressed. The pace of the book was relentless, leading to a huge climax, but at the same time there were wonderful character-building slower moments that didn’t drag the narrative down. The characters became even more incredible and nuanced as they were developed. I was especially excited that all of the main characters finally ended up in the same place so that they could interact frequently; it was so interesting to see how they played off of each other.
The ending did not disappoint. When I put down the book, I felt like I’d been on a rollercoaster. I was exhausted, like I’d lived through the harrowing experiences that the main characters had gone through. And it also left so many questions open that I immediately wanted to grab Oathbringer—but alas, I don’t want to read it until I have Rhythm of War in my hands!
Needless to say, I highly recommend The Stormlight Archive for any fantasy lovers. I know I’m late to the party, but I certainly won’t be the last new reader as this ten-book series continues.
And the next time you get ready to read a new book, don’t take as long as I did!