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

You can read the review of my first read-through here

It’s weird re-reading books, what you remember and what you don’t. I remembered very vividly the biology and quantum physics of The Way Of Kings, as well as that brutal final battle that had me crying for forty pages straight. I remembered Syl but she loomed much larger in my recollection than she did here, and I’d completely forgotten what kind of spren she actually was. Even more shamefully, I’d completely forgotten who the big bad behind Szeth’s hiring was, as well as the circumstances leading up to said battle, as well as the price Dalinar paid in the end. Holy shitballs, that was a lot of important information to forget! Very glad I got a chance to refresh my memory ahead of finally reading Words Of Radiance and, hopefully, Oathbringer (insert whinging regarding all the obligatory reading that suddenly leapt out at me after finishing TWoK. #FirstWorldProblems)

I think the most surprising thing for me on re-reading this complex, wonderful book is how things have shifted in importance since the last time I read it. I’d come off a string of reading Barry Stus the last time, so was quick to deride some of Kaladin’s struggles as being the same: I didn’t feel that urge at all this time. I’d been in the middle of a complicated intellectual/emotional relationship at the time, so the Syl-Kaladin connection resonated more deeply with me. Now that I’m an older mother of three, the Kaladin-Tien relationship hit much harder, as did Navani’s role in the book. I also didn’t find the culmination of the Shallan-Kabsal relationship to be as predictable as I apparently had the last time. And after reading the disaster that was Steven Erikson’s Gardens Of The Moon, I so very much more appreciated the thought and emotion put into this multi-layered, intelligently executed fantasy novel.

But above all, I realized that the narrative threads, whether they be Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar or Szeth’s, all sang the same true thing: that perseverance is important, and as long as there’s life, there’s hope. My best friend is purportedly a fast reader but still hasn’t finished it, and I’d been looking forward to his insights to help me write my own review here. I think this is enough for now tho. Who knows, I might incorporate his thoughts into the review of my next re-read, some years from now.

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