Welcome to Part 1 of the Way of Kings groupread! I’ve decided to feature a different piece of Stormlight Archive fan art in each of my posts for the readalong, because it’s neat to see how different readers imagine the events.
This week’s questions were written by Deanna from Polishing Mud Balls. My boyfriend will also be joining me in responding to the questions, as we have similar taste in books. For more information about the readalong (and if you want to join!), you can visit Polishing Mud Balls Read Along Page.
Just as a disclaimer, spoilers start here.
1. Before I started reading The Way of Kings, I did have some thoughts on how I would like this story; did you? If you did, how is The Way of Kings actually comparing to those thoughts?
Mike: I thought that Way of Kings would be a Wheel of Time-like book. I spent the majority of the first part looking for similarities between the two series, granted I haven’t gotten to the Sanderson books in the Wheel of Time series yet. It’s different, way different, and it deserves it’s own merit for being a very engaging story.
Me: I was kind of scared at first, because I didn’t like Robert Jordan’s writing style at all. However, Sanderson is a far better writer than I expected. I think he did a good job of revealing details without repeating them over and over again a la Jordan.
2. What do you think of the pace of this story? so far. And what do you think of the prose? Do you think the prose is too descriptive? Not descriptive enough? Give me your thoughts on the writing thus far.
Me: I really like the writing. Sanderson immerses you in his world from the start rather than beginning with an infodump of world building, but manages to do it in such a way as to not alienate the reader. I get the impression that he focuses on the story first, and allows the world to reveal itself as the story progresses.
Mike: Way of Kings builds the world it’s in pretty well, with some parts almost feeling entirely like they were put there just to give perspective on some other place (I refer of course to the interlude). This already detailed world meshes well with the characters. Characters are well-written with differing but believable desires and fears.
3. What was your favorite part of this first section?
Mike: The scene where Kaladin rescues Cenn. I have it pictured in my head. Here’s Cenn thinking he’s gonna die as a spear comes at him, and out comes running Kaladin, spear in hand as fast as he possibly can run. Just as the spear starts to come down Kaladin jumps into the air and deflects/parries the spear with his own IN MID-GODDAMN-AIR, then he lands and proceeds in a flurry dance to take out every soldier in front of him and Cenn, even using a knife to kill one. Considering I’ve seen how spears are succesfully used in battle it was probably a mesmerising sight for Cenn.
Me: This is a tough one, as there are so many parts to choose from. I enjoyed reading from Kaladin’s perspective the most, but I thought that the scene where Shallan was drawing was extremely well-done. I can just picture her intently working, surrounded by ever-multiplying creativity spren.
4. Which character(s) do you find most interesting and why?
Me: I find Syl to be very interesting. I’m curious how she managed to become sentient. Conceptually, the spren are pretty neat, and almost provide characters with an extra sense to gauge both their environment and others’ feelings. I do get the feeling though that if I started seeing spren I’d probably wonder if I had been drugged.
Mike: All of the major ones, although Sanderson did a really good job with the lesser ones too. They all were given a pretty good level of detail and personality I almost thought they were main characters too, Cenn being my most obvious example.
5. All right, what I really want to know is… what do you think of this book overall? so far. Are you finding the story easy to follow? Are you fascinated, interested? Is the book holding your attention? Are you bored? Indifferent? Please share your overall thoughts.
Me: I’m loving the book thus far. Sanderson’s world is really cool, and he does things that stand out among fantasy authors. Mike and I both thought it was cool that there is a character who is openly atheist; that’s something that isn’t expected in a fantasy novel. I do get the impression that Sanderson enjoys torturing poor Kaladin. In fact, as I was reading, I don’t think that 20 minutes went by without me randomly being all like “….but …..but ….POOR KALADIN!”
Mike: The book is holding my interest, though the desire to see what happens to Kaladin is what is holding my attention more than everything else, because Kaladin is the star of this book. We’re definitely getting the next book when it comes out.
Me: I wonder what happens if some freak of genetics causes a dark-eyed kid to be born from a light-eyed family.
Mike: He becomes a peasant. Or the dark sheep of the family. Or is locked in the basement. Or whatever nobles do with disabled kids. Also, poor Szeth. He’s not as bad as Kaladin, but his life is rough.
Be sure to join us for next week’s discussion of Part Two!