The Way of Kings Read Along: Week One

wayofkingsral

Week one is here!  I’ve been quite excited to start this read along, as it’s my first.  (Yes, I’m a read along virgin!  Hooray for cherry popping~!)  This should be quite a lot of fun, I think.  This week we’re covering the Prelude through Chapter 6, so warning you now that THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW FOR THIS SECTION.  Early book spoilers, but nonetheless.

1) Is this your first Brandon Sanderson experience? Any expectations going into this read along?

Yes, actually.  Though I do own Elantris and a box set of the Mistborn Trilogy in paperback format, and Steelheart on my kindle… Yes, I know I buy too many books and don’t read enough of them.  (Owning the book is half the battle, right?  Right?)  Because of his presence on the NPR Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels as voted by fans, and this book’s presence on that list in particular, I do have some rather high expectations for this novel.  Especially since it’s got over a 4.5 average star rating on Goodreads.  I dislike having expectations of an author going into my first work of theirs, but I suppose it was unavoidable in this case.

2) In the Prelude to the Stormlight Archive, we see that Talenel (Taln) died and his sword is unaccounted for. Jerzien and company have decided it is best for 1 to suffer instead of 10. What do you make of this scene?

Due to the huge time skip (4500 years to the prologue?  Crazy!), I can only assume this plays into the mythology of Sanderson’s world.  We keep hearing mentions of the Radiants, which are revered as practically deities, so perhaps this is the source of the legends.  I do remember reading a part that used names similar to Jerzien, Talenel, etc., though not quite the same, which makes this hypothesis a lot stronger.  I’m quite curious to find out how this plays a role in the larger storyline.

3) What did you think of Szeth’s fighting abilities and the fight scenes? Any thoughts on the crystalline sphere and King Gavilar Kholin’s last words?

It was a bit difficult following along with the fight scenes at first.  I tend to have issues when certain words and phrases get repetitive in text in too short of an interval, which became a slight problem in these scenes to me.  However, with the explanation of the Lashings as the fight went along, while breaking the flow of the narrative to a degree, helped a lot with my understanding of what was going on.  Szeth’s got quite a bit of talent going there… I certainly wouldn’t want to piss him off.

I’m sure the sphere will play some interesting role at some point in the story, as I don’t think it would be mentioned in a prologue if that wasn’t the case.  Same with the last words.  At this point I can’t quite speculate on what sort of role, but I have a feeling the crystalline sphere won’t be in the right hands and will cause some sort of chaos at some point.

4) Each chapter proper starts with a few words from a dying person, their station, and status in life. Any thoughts on what these portend?

It seems as though they’re having some insight to the bigger picture before death, regardless of who they are.  It’s pretty foreboding.  Possibly foretelling a great calamity to happen in the future?  Someone’s obviously trying to figure it out through collecting these samples.  It reminds me of the collective dreams that occur in “The Call of Cthulhu” to some extent.

5) Kaladin went from warrior to slave in a matter of the first 2 chapters. Care to speculate on the details of how his life changed so drastically?

He apparently didn’t kill the right man, as far as I know.  He’s been painted falsely as a deserter, too… I can only assume he pissed off the wrong person.  Probably this Amaram fellow.  Poor Kaladin is suffering dearly, too.  Someone really hates him and hates him a lot to do this to him.  (Or is just a sadistic fucker.)  I really want to give him a hug after all the shit that went down with his first experience in Bridge 4…

6) Sylphrena (Syl) the Windspren seems attached to Kaladin. Are you enjoying her character? Do you like the Spren in general in the worldbuilding so far?

She’s mischievous and fun while caring about Kaladin, so I definitely like her a lot.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of her and watching her character develop.  Spren of the talkative sort are pretty much unheard of, so she has to have something that’s making her unique.  The entire concept of Spren inhabiting the world is pretty interesting, though it seems like it could cause a lot of various issues.  How the hell would you be able to keep emotions to yourself?  Everyone could read what you’re feeling based on the Spren around you, so keeping secrets would be really difficult.  It would drive me crazy…  *shivers*

7) Shallan Davar has finally caught up to Brightness Jasnah Kholin and her soulcaster. Jasnah and the jeweled fabril can change stone to smoke; what else do you think it can do?

Apparently the best of the best fabrial can transmute quite a number of things, from what is mentioned.  I mean, perhaps they could turn stone into rare gemstones or other things of an elemental nature.  Would be a pretty great way to build wealth for the kingdom, though it would REALLY mess up the economic system.  I got slight Fullmetal Alchemist vibes from this Soulcaster business, though I’m certain it’s not quite as extensive as that.  And probably does not have an equivalent exchange principle.  Don’t listen to me on this, really.

Other fun things:

I want to know what this safehand business is about.  Why is covering the left hand necessary?  It’s some sort of modesty thing, but what is it about a hand that requires modesty?  Do they have a special use for their left hand that makes it obscene to look at?  Are they marked in some strange way?  I’m rather confused.

That’s that until next week.  See you next Wednesday for the next installment!

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8 thoughts on “The Way of Kings Read Along: Week One

  1. Szeth did seem a little unbeatable didn’t he! There was just literally no stopping him. I enjoyed the description of the fights – at first I was a bit ‘what’? But then I realised what he was doing – it does make him a bit less than straightforward to fight with doesn’t it!
    I like Kaladin so far – his men respected him on the battlefield and even now when he’s so down trodden he’s still trying to help people. The scene with the bridge was awful!
    I love Syl – I’m not sure why she seems to be so different from the other spren – it’s almost like she’s attached herself to Kaladin and may actually be helping him?
    The safehand is unusual – the only thing I can think of is that it’s some sort of display of a female’s status (bit like wearing a wedding ring) but I’m sure that’s far too simplistic and it really does puzzle me.
    Lynn 😀
    My link:
    http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/the-way-of-kings-by-brandon-sanderson-week-1/

    • The whole messing with gravity thing was quite unique and I enjoyed that aspect a lot. Can’t wait to see more of it, from Szeth or others perhaps! And I want my own version of Syl to follow me around. :O

      I’m trying not to let my mind get in the gutter too much regarding the safehand’s need of modesty… Perhaps it’s supposedly tempting to men or something? No idea. O_O

  2. I’m another first-time Sanderson reader! I was assuming Shallan wanted to use the soulcaster to generate wealth, but that sure would screw up the economy. I wonder if there are soulcasting laws against using magic for that sort of thing.

  3. My first time reading this, I had a hard time following Szeth’s first fight scene. I am glad there was some build up to it, the descriptions of the Parhendi, him wearing white, and finally his battling Kholin in his shardplate. Since I have read more of Sanderson’s works, I found this scene much easier to follow this time around.

    It’s cool you bring in the Fullmetal Alchemist. I have only watched a little of this show, but I can see the slight similarity.

    • I think the best thing the prologue did was set a good stage for worldbuilding. While the fights were slightly difficult to follow at first, it’s meant as an introduction and I doubt the breaks for slight info dumps will be a problem throughout the book. Excited to see more of Lashings and such. 😀

      For some reason it’s what I thought of, haha. At least the general concept of transmutation, though that’s easily found in old alchemist lore in general. I think my mind was just on anime for some reason, lol.

      Looking forward to part 2~ Going to start on Sunday/finish on the plane Monday. 😀

  4. 1. He hasn’t disappointed me so far, and the reading this week suggests that he won’t with this title. Plus, you really need to read those other books, especially the Mistborn trilogy! 😀

    2. It reminds me a little of reading the Illiad, where the ‘human’ characters are so ancient that they have become woven into mythology.

    3. I don’t think it helps that this fight sequence is probably like nothing you have read before . . . of course, if you had read Mistborn you would have had a similar experience there . . . just saying!

    5. Yep, I can’t work out what caused Amaram to behave like this, but I do want to poke out the guy’s eyes for it.

    7. Interesting idea about the soul caster being able to create wealth – there is something very dodgy going on with Shallan though, so I doubt that it is as simple as that.

    Now you have me wondering what the women really do with their left hands! *smirk* 😀

    • I definitely do need to read the Mistborn trilogy! I keep buying books for myself while not thinking about the fact that I’m in college and a slower reader than I like, so they’re just going to pile around my apartment at some point. *cries* It is waiting for me in a pretty boxset though~

      I’m really curious as to how Shallan plans on making money with the Soulcaster… Just selling it? Or something more interesting? *ponders*

      For some reason I think it’s less dirty than my mind wants to make it, haha. But we’ll see :O

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