Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soiless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.
It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.
One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.
Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.
First of: screw that summary and just read the book yourself because no summary is able to grasp the epicness that is this book!
Here I am again, trying to write review for yet another Sanderson book. I always try to not give anything away about the plot and that makes me feel like I’m going to repeat myself in these reviews but I also want to shout out into the world how much I loved this book.
As typical for a first book and especially one like this (the first out of 10 with 1000 pages each) there are lots of questions raised and it takes some time until even a small amount of those are answered. But waiting for these answers is worth it, even though some of them feel like a punch in the stomach. What you get when you reach the end is lots of answers but still only a fraction of what you want to know, shocking revelations that make you crave the next book and feels, lots of them.
What I still can’t get my head around is Sanderson’s worldbuilding powers. How does he even come up with all that stuff?
He makes up this new world (not even talking about is very own UNIVERSE) that is far more epic than any other world I’ve ever read about. And he talks not only about the present and about these characters’ (recent) past, but he also creates this world’s history, thousands of years of history! And just as it is with history, it lacks documentation and so we have myths/mythology and lots of questions about what REALLY happened all those years ago -> MIND BLOWN.
As if the present events weren’t exciting enough, you also want to know every single detail about what happened in the past, thousand of years ago.
The most heart-wrenching part: Sanderson tells you about someone who is dead and then slowly, painfully lets you get to know that person through past events, all while knowing that this person is going to die. Punches you right in the feels. Again and again.
Besides that there are of course all these characters you start to care about and it just feels like they are real people and you are helplessly watching how they suffer.
Sometimes it seems like there really is another universe out there and Sanderson is telling us its story because all of this, these characters, this world, these events, just feel so damn real.
I’m speechless and also afraid of starting the second book, because this time I won’t have the chance to dive right into the 3rd book but will have to wait for the next one. I’m not sure I can cope with that.