I went into this because there were so many good reviews of it and I was looking for a holiday book. The summary and the cover were not very amusing, and it being a 1200 pages novel did not help either. But I finally decided to give it a go, what else to do two weeks while camping?
It wasn’t only hype, this is really good entertainment. Mr Sanderson knows how to tell good stories within in an interestingly built world. That’s all there’s to say, if you like fantasy books this one is a must. And I’m hooked into buying the second part of the story (if that’s an indicative of how much I liked it).
Be warned though, you’re in for a slow burn. A set of stories and small backdrop pieces set up the world and present it from various point of views: A naive young noble with a disgraced family, a surgeon apprentice turned soldier and fallen into slavery, and finally, the classic portrait of a ruler who has a very strict view of honour. Those three are the bulk of the book, sprinkled with an assassin, a fisherman on a remote land, the young king and etcetera.
Compared to other fantasy like Game of Thrones it is a very tame book. Yes, there’s war, there are assassins, some characters get tortured one way or another, some fall in love, a lot die… but it feels like a book a younger audience could also enjoy. Lots of mystery, fights, special powers, plot turns… I would not be surprised if the story is pitched in the future for a Hollywood adaptation.
On the things I did not like… I’m not a fan on how the drawings and pictures are treated in my edition (Spanish 6th edition). The original art tries to give the feeling of an old parchment. In my print it does not look convincing, and to add to the injury the translation on top of the images uses a regular font instead of giving it a manual treatment, it falls too hard into the faux parchment area for my taste. There are also some mismatches between the country names in the map and in the text… nothing that detracts from the book, but looks cheap for such a huge and expensive novel.
As a closing, I like this post of Patrick Rothfuss about the way of kings 😀