Tag Archives: The Final Empire

Book Review: ‘The Way of Kings’, by Brandon Sanderson

thewayofkingsWhat I decided very early on was that I’m definitely not a fan of audiobooks, though I am willing to concede that this one is done well, with a female reader for the female PoV chapters and a male reader for all the male PoV chapters. While one might think this a superficial detail, I found it made the whole experience significantly more immersive. Having said that, it took a little while to get used to, and I found it a little jarring to begin with. Once I got used to it however, I found myself enjoying it, though there were a few instances of different pronunciations between readers.

Having been introduced to Brandon Sanderson later (partly due to the end of The Wheel of Time, but also largely due to the desire to read The Stormlight Archive), I have by no means read all of his works, starting with the Mistborn Trilogy last year, before trying Elantris earlier this year. Both had a certain flavour to them, and while the subject matter was in places very dark and grim, I felt the overall tone was light and fun, and I suppose a little innocent. I think the best characterisation of how I personally feel about the books is that they came across a little more as YA (albeit incredibly dark YA) in style and tone.

By contrast, I thought that The Way of Kings seemed considerably more mature, far darker (in perhaps a less obvious way), and far more cynical. As well as this, there was a lot more of an explicitly military focus, which I always love, and the scope was, as is common in Sanderson’s work, epic beyond belief. The plot gathered momentum like a tide, and I found the final battle and its immediate aftermath so gripping I listened to almost the last hour in a single go. I particularly enjoyed the numerous teases seeded throughout for the rest of the series. There is a lot to think about, and even more to be excited about for the coming series.

‘The Way of Kings’, by Brandon Sanderson is the first in The Stormlight Archive.

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Book Review: ‘The Final Empire’ by Brandon Sanderson

It’s taken me a very long time to get round to a well-loved series of books. I have to say, I can see what all the fuss is about. The twist on the usual interpretation of fantasy is very refreshing – the idea that the evil overlord (the ‘Lord Ruler’) is in control, with the main characters being the rebels.

The magic systems as well (those of ‘Allomancy’ and ‘Ferochemy’) are unlike anything I have read before. By virtue of its sheer innovation therefore, the story is one of exploration of a new world, complete with histories and cultures. For me, a self-confessed world-builder, I found such an exploration incredibly interesting.

The plot itself, while starting a little slowly, does build up momentum, and by about the halfway point, I found myself pulled along by the political intrigue. While a book including political intrigue seems bound to be compared to Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the sort found in The Final Empire is far more accessible and perhaps more understandable, if less subtle. By the time I reached the last five or so chapters, I was unable to stop myself from continuing. The twisting nature of the final chapters was so unexpected that I was forced to re-read them more than once, and I still ended up shouting at the book – always a good sign for me.

In short, I would definitely recommend the book, and feel that it certainly lives up to the hype. Writing immediately after finishing the book, I do feel however that this high praise comes only off the back of the conclusion of the book. The slow initial sections are inevitable when introducing a new world, and I feel they were dealt with as well as can be hoped for.

‘The Final Empire’ by Brandon Sanderson is the first book in The Mistborn Trilogy.