Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service. -pg 831
The Way of Kings brings David and Goliath odds to a whole new level. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a story where the little guy got stepped on so many times and or the superior force of the bad guys been so complete. To make matters more difficult, the little guy is not only fighting ridiculous odds, he’s also fighting to define and embrace his own honor and humanity in a world of white washed sepulchers.
Tackling this book is not for the faint of heart! Reading on Kindle, I was dumbfounded to realize that after reading 400 pages worth of story (the max length of most books I read), I still hadn’t reached the half-way point. While the story is interesting from the beginning, it takes much of those first 400 pages to learn the story world and get acclimated as the tension and action slowly ramps up. It’s well worth sticking to it!
I love that Sanderson doesn’t shy away from deep moral themes and questions. I appreciate the way these topics integrate into the story and help me identify with the characters and think about concepts that transcend the bounds of the story. Not all of the characters subscribe to my perspective, and many of the characters I relate to vary from my perspective in some ways, but the characters are three dimensional as they wrestle with right and wrong and how to define and live by a moral code. The two themes that stood out to me most clearly were honor and the sanctity of life.
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” –pg 806
It’s important to note that this book is not a Christian novel. While it was completely clean, the religion of the fantasy world is not Judeo-Christian in nature and the “Almighty” that religious characters credit as being the heart and originator of morality is not (nor is intended to represent) the eternal, omnipresent God we know and love. This is a fantasy world separate from our own and not attempting allegory.
For those readers who prefer to avoid magic, this high fantasy novel does not depict magic being thrown around by wizards and such. Sanderson likes to make the “magic” in his stories part of the natural laws of his fantasy universes.
If you love Tolkien, high fantasy, and complex plot lines or world building this book will rank high on your favorites list.
What themes have you noticed in your most recent read?