Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sanderson, Brandon (The Way of Kings)

I don't see how critics write reviews of 1000-page books. There's no way you can do it without saying - "geez, dude, you wrote a 1000-page book, that's just too long, try to restrain yourself next time." It seems to be a growing theme that fantasy writers are "allowed" to write monstrously huge books that no one could even try to carry around with them unless they own a Kindle (or two). What is this strange growing trend? Because I can say for certain that no matter how complex you make your plot, you do NOT need that many pages to put forth your themes. Really, you don't.

Sanderson, as usual, does an incredible job creating his signature theme of exploring faith and how faith moves us to do interesting, daring and heroic things. But he takes 500 pages to get to his first point. After that, things move rather rapidly. I could understand if Sanderson felt that for a planned set of 10 novels in the series (holy cats, I'm going to read 10,000 pages in this story?!), he needed to set the scene particularly well. But thinking back over the first 500 pages, I truly don't believe he needed that amount of lead up - even describing the environment could have been done more compactly.

I admit that I am totally sucked into this incredible world of constant hurricanes, plants that disappear into the ground when trampled on, and mystical powers - akin in some ways to his Mistborn series - bestowed upon only a few. I guarantee that you will appreciate the numerous gotchas at the end of the book - they were truly flabbergasting. And his writing is consistently entertaining, even when he goes off on tangents at times. It goes without saying that I'll continue in the series (2nd novel comes out in November), but I just hope it is a) shorter and b) doesn't contain blather for half the book.

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