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The Way of Kings

The Stormlight Archive
Length: 45 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5,411 ratings)
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Summary

According to mythology, mankind used to live in 'The Tranquiline Halls': Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms, but the Voidbringers followed. The Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, the Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won (or so the legends say).

Today the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself - and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.

On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes, a young spearman is forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn't understand and doesn't really want to fight.

©2010 Dragonsteel Entertainment LLC (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited

What members say

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • Winchester, United Kingdom
  • 08-06-11

Philip from Winchester

I won't spend time on a summarry as the publisher has that well covered. I have 105 Epic Fantasy titles in my audio library and I generally listen when out with the dogs or home alone, as it is a fairly anti-social activity. This is the first book I have listened to where I have found myself sneaking away to create 'listening space'. My interest didn't flag from beginning to end. The narration by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading is as expert as you would expect, the characters are engaging and both the world and the plot which Brandon has created are riveting. A real five star listen!

136 of 146 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • Bournemouth, United Kingdom
  • 27-12-11

Slow Burning Magnificance

It would have been easy to dismiss this audio book after three or four hour due to the assault on my memory with the bewildering number of characters and an alien world introduced in a short amount of time, but persevere and it does not disappoint. The main characters grow depth as their history builds with recollections from the past enhancing this. The seemingly separate strand converge brilliantly leading to a satisfying finale. I appreciate the use of two narrators for the male and female roles, but if there is one slight criticism it is that they were not prepped on the pronunciation of the main characters names, this doing it differently in some cases.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • escaping to another world
  • 25-08-11

Outstanding

One of the best reads (or listens) I have ever had! Easily a five star rating - indeed it's making me question my other 5 star awards, as this is far superior to those. It's label of "epic fantasy" is more than justified. It's a unique story, in a unique landscape. Not so fantastical as to be ridiculous, but really well thought through, and everything gels together to make a world that is almost tangible. The plot is anything but predictable, nor are the characters. Many happy hours walking listening to this - and many "sneak away to keep listening" moments too!

A really good listen (and the narrators are good - I think the dislike of Ms Reading must be a personal thing for some listeners - apart from pronouncing one of the characters names in a completely different way to the other narrator, I thought she was fine.). Highly recommended. I read with dismay that book 2 is only scheduled to be out in 2012 - gutted at the long wait!

And a final thought.... it's a 7 part download of between 5& 7 hours each - pence per hour of listening, you'd be hard pressed to find better value thant this!

60 of 65 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Patient Giant of the Fantasy Genre

Brandon Sanderson has achieved something marvelous here. From the very opening scenes it is crystal clear that you are reading an author who has developed a fantasy world of incredible depth and detail. In these early action scenes he demonstrates a refreshingly ingenious form of combat magic, depth of character and hints at the world beyond. As the book unfolds the sheer scale of his imagination is revealed as the history, geography, flora, fauna, religion and mythology of his creation is revealed. This is done gradually without huge long paragraphs of description to bog things down.

The characters too are thoroughly detailed and explored through conversation, flashbacks to previous times and even their dreams. There are no one-dimensional heroes or villains here, nothing in that sense is spoon fed as the characters have a constant struggle to find their right path. When reading this book time and again you will imagine you know where something is heading and be pulled up short. Sanderson is a very patient author and doesn’t take the easy plot route often.

Of course with a book of this length the narration is important, forty-six hours of monotone would make this hard going and the idea of splitting the narration is a very sound one. Michael Kramer is excellent, he rumbles through the book adding real gravitas and atmosphere to Sanderson’s often grim world and its inhabitants. Kate Reading is eloquent and very precise but clearly not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m afraid she’s not mine, her intonation is too often lacking the correct inflection making her sound like an automaton at times. She does read much less of the book than her counterpart but I still think the audio sample should have included some of her reading to help prospective purchasers make an informed decision.

All told this is a book that demands respect, it does take an investment from you to get through it but the rewards are incredibly rich. I was hooked in from the brilliant opening scenes which included some very innovative ideas. Sanderson is a genuine giant in the fantasy genre and those wanting depth, detail and new ideas coupled with a gripping story will definitely want to head this way. The last few hours of the story are as good as anything I have read.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story, well worth a listen

Very engaging, well paced story that trots along keeping you listening for more. This being my second book of Sanderson's but my first fantasy read, I am now, without doubt hooked. Sanderson creates very inventive "magic" worlds with very engaging characters that allow you to explore that world. Micheal Kramer is great but Kate Reading is absolutely abysmal; at her worse she sounds like a really awful droning computer generated voice that has almost no expressive inflection, has terrible timing and no natural rhythm. She sounds incredibly robotic and truly annoying. I really do hope that she is not included in the next book in the series . That said it's still worth suffering through her chapters as Micheal Kramer reads the majority of the book and the story is definitely very worthwhile despite this. So, be warned but not put off spending a credit on this listen (plus it's very decent value for money)

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

good story slightly ruined by Kate reading

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and Michael Kramers narration of it but every time it came round to Kate Readings parts it just completely sucked me out of the story, she ends the last word of every sentence with this weird downwards and then upwards inflection and once you notice it, it's all you can focus on. this would be a 5 star if the entire narration was Kramer but I'm bumping it down due to Reading.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Astounding

Yet another corker from Brandon Sanderson. This enormous audiobook kept me gripped from start to finish, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

An aside: The sheer size of this epic audiobook (45.5 hours) does make me wonder why the publishers of the Game of Thrones audiobooks cannot release them in one purchase per book such as this, when Brandon Sanderson's epic is fully 15 hours longer...

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • Potten End, United Kingdom
  • 28-06-11

Recommended

Not having the time the read this book (or perhaps the strength to lift it) I chose to listen to it.

I confess that I got 2-3 hours in an realised my mind had wondered so much that I had no idea what was going on. That is not good. However, on a second attempt I got up to speed and really enjoyed it. At first I was a little miffed that the readers are American. I generally don't like that. Reading isn't my preferred reader by any means. Kramer and Reading read all the Wheel of Time books on audio and I wasn't that attracted to her then - I have only listened to the first one. Her intonation is quite annoying at times. Perhaps not to the north american ear but it is to mine. I get through 3-4 audio books a month so I've listened to a few now.

Otherwise, it's a great book and worthy of the David Gemmell Legend Award for fantasy. It's high fantasy with a broad sweep and a different feel with Shardblades, light-eyes, great use of the stormlight in allowing wielders of it to 'lash' themselves to walls and ceilings such that 'up' becomes 'down' and so on. Great world building and vision with some truly memorable characters. High fantasy at its best.

If it wasn't for Reading, I would have given it a 5.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brill

Was enthralled by this book, I work on a farm and for the 2 weeks planting cabbages, it made an otherwise sole destroying job tolerably, if i didn't have this to listen to i think i might have lost my mined, every part of this book kept my asking questions and wanting to hear more.
just wish audible would bring part two out i really want to know what happens and being a slow stuttering reader id loose the story over such a large book.
but defiantly for anyone who is looking for a good fantasy this is well up there, along with the mistborn series, again another work of magic.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

Great story, I love the imagery. Michael Kramer works really well as the narrator, but I struggled with Kate Reading. she always sounds frantic and stresses sentences that don't need it. It adds unneeded tension and drama to scenes I envisage as being quite calm. It just pulls you out of an otherwise fantastic story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-06-11

Brilliant

I have listened to over 100 Audiobooks, and this is the first time I really felt the need to write a review. I picked up a Brandon Sanderson book about two years ago, and was immediately impressed by his writing style. Too many fantasy writers forget how important it is that their worlds should also have rules and limits and plausible (if fantastic) magic. Every brilliant writer is an artist on his own, and should not be compared to another. Brandon Sanderson completed the Wheel of Time series, and I hope that he wouldn’t therefor mind being compared to Robert Jordan. An amazing story and a satisfying end, although I feel the itch of the addicted for the next book. The brilliant narration by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading (the narrators for the Wheel of Time) takes you right into the world and leave you hungry for more. I give this book my highest recommendation and my only wish is that I can have a selective memory loss so that I can enjoy this one again.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carmen
  • 10-12-11

Epic

This book consumed my life for 3 weeks. Not a second of it was wasted.

All of the characters are interesting and real. Even the bit players stuck with me - Ishic the Fisherman in particular. I really hope that Sanderson will expand on some of those in the next books - I'm optimistic, from all reports he'll have plenty of pages to fill :). I keep trying to imagine what will happen when all of the characters eventually meet (for instance, I'm certain that Rock will fall head-over-heels for Shalan).

The glimpses you get of the 'magic' systems are intriguing, and I kept catching myself trying to put the pieces of it together when I really should have been doing other things (sleeping, for instance).

The environment is unique, the plants and animals are a mixture of the familiar and strange and hint at events that must have happened in the world's past ... and even as I write this, I'm putting more pieces together :) I think I may have to listen to it for a 5th time.

I would recommend listening to the whole book at least twice. Listening over it again with hindsight/foreknowledge of where the story is going lets you see events in a very different way, and the simple length means that even the most careful listener will miss some gems. I'm considering buying the hardcopy as well.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • 06-07-12

Stick with it

If you could sum up The Way of Kings in three words, what would they be?

Epic, brilliant, extensive

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Getting towards the end, I found every opportunity to listen.

Any additional comments?

Being such an epic this title begins by developing some backgrounds and history pertinent to the the overall story. In doing so the story takes a bit of time to form but when it does there is no disputing that this is an outstanding epic journey into a completely original culture and world. Initially I felt that Brandon Sanderson was, in a way, showing off his ability to create such a different society but after giving the title time to develop my opinion was utterly changed. Please stick with this book, you will be glad you did....

Double N

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Siddharth Gupta
  • 23-02-18

Kate Readings ruins a perfectly good book

The book is a true epic. Kate reading however with her weird end of sentence inflections ruins most of her parts. Her narrative is so irritating i found myself wincing everytime her part would come up. Kramer on the other hand is steady and stoic as expected. Ive been meaning to hear the wheel of time series but seeing its also kate reading, I think I'll give the audio books a pass.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • 14-06-17

Took forever to get anywhere

My heavens. This book creeps forward at a dizzyingly slow pace. He writes well and there has been great thought and care put into creating a world that is detailed and colorful. But oh my god, all the endless back and forth, uuurgh. Just kept wanting it to go. Anywhere. Now.

Like riding a donkey after robbing a bank.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Noel
  • 21-09-13

WOW!!

This was very new to me. I thought I was going to be bogged down with slow periods in a long drawn out novel. I was very wrong. Splendid.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sumit G.
  • 06-10-11

Brilliant!

Wow! Brilliant! One doesn't realise Brendan Sanderson's genius until you reach the end and can encompass the entire book. To write 40 hours of material with focus and and keeping the dialogues sharp and inventive is a unique talent.

This book had a great variety of characters. Some "critic" reviews on other sites have complained about characters lacking depth. But, I found all the characters were well rounded and had a variety of facets to their personality.

I would highly recommend listening to this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 18-07-11

Epic

I've been looking for a good epic fantasy world since I've finished Sword of Truth and got as far as you can with Wheel of Time, and if this book is anything to go buy The Stormlight Archive is going to be an amazing Epic fantasy series.

It might just be because this book has the same narrators as the Wheel of Time but the writing style is very similar to Robert Jordan, this might be why he was asked to finish off the WoT series after Jordan's death.

The writing is great, the narration is great and the action scenes flow nicely enabling me to really visualise the story in my mind.

Love it, five stars isn't enough.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mohammed A.
  • 24-11-17

Magnificent - one of the best if not the best

Highly recommend, smart novel that make you curious and eager for more, 5 great stories interlinked with each othe. Top notch

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • am
  • 30-01-14

couldn't turn off

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

top story, characters and writing and really subtlety performed

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Way of Kings?

the attack on the tower plateau

Which character – as performed by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading – was your favorite?

Syl

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

absolutely

1 of 1 people found this review helpful