Welcome to my review of this awesome ongoing fantasy series! I’ll tell you what it is, the synopsis, my thoughts, and help you figure out where to start with Brandon Sanderson’s books! Plus a sneaky little video link to some awesome VFX Stormlight footage will feature at the very end.
Buckle in and let’s get started! (Pre-warning, you might want to make a cup of tea!)
What is the Stormlight Archive?
The four books in the picture below are books 1 & 2 of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series. The Way of Kings is book 1, and The Words of Radiance is book 2 (both are split into parts 1 and 2 as the binding wouldn’t fit them in entirety).
Book 3, Oathbringer, is due to be published in November 2017. This series is currently ongoing, it’s not a trilogy.
You can read the Goodreads synopsis here! I’ll sum it up for you as briefly as I can!
The Knights Radiant have been wiped out in Roshar. We follow: Kaladin, a soldier who’s become a slave. Shallan, a scholar on a mission of theft to protect her family. Dalinar, brother to the King and famed general. And his son, Adolin, a prince and fighter of the court. (This is all simplified to the EXTREME, by the way.) The Radiants had Shardblades and Shardplate; the armour makes the wearer ten times as strong whilst wearing it, and the swords bond to the user, appearing in their hand after ten heartbeats. These are available to Lighteyes, the socially highbrow people (e.g., Dalinar and Adolin), but only after being “won”. The narrative is intricately woven into the world of incredible storms that provide Stormlight, the power that fuels this world. Also there’s a war, but it’s been going on for so long that the princes and king are becoming complacent.
THIS SERIES GAVE ME SO MANY FEELINGS!! The characters are obviously all at separate points in the story, but eventually they cross paths in a myriad of intricate and interesting ways. This slow burn (initially) opens you up to the complexity of the world the characters live in. The high storms, the rockbud creatures, the plants that can retract so they’re not blown away by the storm winds… Plus the Spren, which seem to be the physical manifestations of emotive life force… or just life force in general.
Brandon said in his author note that this is the high fantasy series he’s always wanted to write. And Stormlight DEFINITELY reflects that. The characters, plot, world, just EVERYTHING, shows depth. There are also multiple representations of women, which I am absolutely over the moon about. All of them are complicated, fragile, strong, fighters, independent, warm. Mothers, aunts, scholars, children. It’s brilliant.
I really want to pick a favourite character so I can pinpoint something for you, but honestly I just love everyone: Kaladin’s moody, vulnerable, but incredibly skilled and clever. Shallan is quiet, cunning, shy. Dalinar is loyal, strong, fatherly. Adolin is impatient, trusting, impulsive. Jasnah is vocal, independent, smart and quick as a whip. And these are only the focus! The side characters (if they can even be called that) are incredibly developed and I wanted to know about them just as much as the protagonists. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING.
I honestly just need everyone to read these because even though they’re long, you get hooked on them, and I need fellow readers to ship characters, have outbursts, and fall in love with everything about these books like I have! These were my favourite books of 2016 and I am so happy I picked them up!
Okay, now that my excitement is on the page… here’s my advice about the plethora of books Brandon’s written.
Where should I start with Brandon Sanderson’s books?
He has SO MANY, I know. He’s a writing wizard. Personally I started with Warbreaker, where the magic system comprises of colour and the narrative (primarily) follows two sisters, who also happen to be princesses. If you click Warbreaker, the link will take you to its Goodreads synopsis.
After Warbreaker, I read Steelheart, which is a YA dystopian trilogy (complete) that basically inverts superheros. Everyone with powers becomes bad, or evil. We follow David, whose father was murdered in front of him by Steelheart. He’s on a mission to join the human Reckoners, stop Steelheart, and get revenge for his father’s death. He just needs to figure out Steelheart’s weakness first.
A lot of people have also read his other popular fantasy series, Mistborn. I haven’t yet, but the first book is The Final Empire and the magic system relies on ingesting metals. They’re called Alomancers. So cool!
Or, you could just start with The Way of Kings. It’s a brilliant spot to begin! (Do it, do it!)
Here’s a link to get you pumped for reading the Stormlight Archive series! It’s an epic 2min youtube video. So worth it.
I hope I’ve convinced you to at least pick up one of Brandon’s works! He is honestly one of my favourite authors and a must-read if you’re a lover of fantasy. If you’re a bit unsure of high fantasy, then Steelheart is definitely a great option for you instead!
Link to buy book 1, part 1: https://www.hachette.com.au/brandon-sanderson/the-way-of-kings-part-one