Tuesday, July 19, 2011

so many books....so little time

The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, #1)The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Clearly in the minority of readers, I found this NY Times Best Seller "epic fantasy" to be a verbose, bloated, complex and disjointed mess with the characters going in circles, battle after battle, flashback after flash-forward, and constantly changing voices. It doesn't even begin to come together until about page 600, and even then it doesn't really ramp up for another 250 pages, with the final result being a giant prologue to his newest fantasy series. When the 1007 page novel finally ends it isn't really over and I don't care to read another 9,000 pages of sequels to reach the real conclusion. This is one novel that would benefit from a ruthless Reader Digest condensation.

But don't decide to read it or not based upon my opinion as I'm definitely not an epic fantasy aficionado and 66% of Goodreads readers give it 5 stars; less than 1% give it 1 star. I give him high marks for masterfully crafting a complex fictional world of fauna, flora, terrains, extreme ecospheres, civilizations with multiple races, cultures, ethnicities and class structures, complete with its own Stormlight Series taboo words & phrases e.g. "storm it". Hey, there are even multiple palindromes. And I give high praise for omitting all too common obscene language, vulgarities and gratuitous sex.*

His overall theme is laudable: Life before death; strength before weakness; journey before destination. Still, the clever complexity feels more like schizophrenic disorganization. With so many books, and so little time, choose carefully.

*This is a "Squeaky Clean Reads" book http://www.squeakycleanreads.com/

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