Let’s Stop Reading Way of Kings


Yes, it’s official: I’m dropping The Way of Kings like a hot potato.

There are two main reasons for this:

1) The book is ungodly boring. This probably comes across somewhat in my posts. The fact that it’s *really* long- easily one of the longest books I’ve ever attempted to read- doesn’t help.

2) Wizard’s First Rule feels like it’s going to be at least entertainingly bad throughout (and I’ve been assured that the first book contains several WTF moments), with occasional moments of quality, whereas Way of Kings seems like it’s going to just keep trundling along doing the same thing until the sun dies, drowning us all in made up fantasy bullshit. I feel like I’ve pretty much said all there is to say about it.

Luckily I’ve already chosen a replacement.

I decided to steer clear of epic fantasy bricks this time and focus on something smaller (but which still ha enough potential to tide us over until the third Kvothe book), more lightweight, something that would provide an endless font of bad writing and lulz for us to sink our teeth into.

And it turns out there’s only one literary creation capable of fulfilling all of my requirements, one trench-coat wearingest, blasting-rod havingest urban wizard:


Yes, that’s right: it’s time to dive into the Dresden Files series.

I’ll be starting at the second book because I already covered the first one way back in a review that was given the Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement In The Field of Blog. As far as I can tell these early books aren’t really connected all that much.

Wizard’s First Rule posts will continue as planned. You might have noticed the gap between posts has gotten wider; this is because for the last few weeks I’ve been doing a first draft of a new writing project, The Aethervoid Chronicles: A Tale of Sexual Intrigue, which I expect to be published to great acclaim and kickstart my whirlwind professional writing career. I’m just on the brink of finishing it, but then I have three other first drafts I want to go back and rewrite, including the thing I hammered out in a sugar-fueled haze during NaNoWriMo. What I’m saying is the blog is now competing for my time quite heavily and thus posts might be intermittently not as frequent as usual.

(Note that parts of the preceding paragraph may not have been entirely accurate)

The first Dresden post should go up over the weekend. Look forward to it!


22 thoughts on “Let’s Stop Reading Way of Kings

  1. Grifflyman

    I’m super late to the table here but how can you criticise something and mak any type of valid argument towards others when you’ve admittedly only read 25% of the book?

    If it’s too slow for you fine, but bashing it and other people for enjoying it just makes you look like an ass hole.

  2. Handsome__Devil

    I hated the beginning of the book. The whole description of the Chulls and likewise crustacean creatures in the world were just too fantastical for me to enjoy. But, as I work the night shift, I had nothing but time and the book was something to do. It ended up picking up the pace and the weird world presented was juxtaposed against a more realistic setting on the other end of the land the exhausting list of characters occupy. Unbelievably the story arc of the characters seamlessly melded and became quite interesting. The last 200 pages or so left my jaw dropping. Not only was it one of the best written action sequences that I’ve been privileged enough to read, but there were twists to each of the four main characters endings that left me speechless. The story properly ended in a satisfying way that tied up all the loose ends while simultaneously leaving enough substance to make me yearn for the next installment. I highly recommend giving it one more solid attempt at completion. If you can drone through the first 25% of crap, there is an amazing light at the end of the tunnel. I, for one, will remember this as one of the great fantasy novels of our time and the beginning for what is sure to be counted as a sweeping epic tale of high fantasy for generations to come.

  3. pierrelaronde

    Damn. I hoped you’d finished this so I could find out what happened. I tried to listen to this as an audio book but I lasted about as long as you did before I gave up in boredom and returned it. Oh well, guess I’ll never know.

  4. Ancalagon

    This entire unenlightened opinionated rant made me smile in disgust. I’m pretty sure you said you didn’t even finish it? I don’t give a shit WHAT you’re into, this is a finely written fantasy story. Either you lack the imagination required to visualize what Sanderson is going for, or you just have a poor outlook on good fantasy.

    1. J

      Oh look, someone who thinks the only explanation for another human being not sharing their opinion is a lack of “enlightenment” or bad taste.

      I’ll respond in kind – you’re just the sort of person The Stormlight Archive is written for – shallow minded readers easily distracted from poor writing and characterization by shiny ‘world building.’

      You know the problem with Stormlight though? None of the world building amounts to a damn thing. Can you legitimately tell me that Sanderson could not have written the exact same plot with straight-forward, well known elements in place of his exotic ones? Does having your wagon pulled by a cow-sized crustacean, which the author spends thousands of words describing and referencing over and over, add to the story over having your cart pulled by an Ox, which would serve the exact same purpose, require no excessive description, and not act as a red herring to distract from the fact you just spent a chapter reading a description of this oh-so-fascination, fantastical creature.. that has absolutely no fucking relevance to anything? Sanderson spends what any reasonable reader would consider an INSANE amount of time describing utterly plot-irrelevant elements of his world. He probably doubles the length of his novels with them.

      It’s bad writing. Objectively bad writing. The entire functional plot of the Way of Kings could be fit into 250 pages with no significant loss of characterization, but Sanderson comes from the Jordan school of fantasy – fill your pages with so much fantasy bullshit that the reader forgets to even think about good plotting and pace, and just drools over the next big reveal – perhaps it will be a Rhinunicorn-Lobster… or a particularly frilly bit of lace on that highborn lady’s skirt!

  5. Paragrin

    Yeah, I think a better place to start Sanderson in general is his Mistborn trilogy. It’s much shorter and faster paced – it reads more like a superhero novel than a fantasy one.

  6. Angus Dorbie

    The way of Kings is slow to start but the payoff at the end of this book is huge and very satisfying, so basically it gets better, MUCH better, and the second book is much faster paced and covers a lot of ground which comes as a surprise given the first book.

  7. Wolf_wingz

    You give up too quickly my friend. The Way of Kings is my absolute favorite of Sanderson’s Novels and the Sequel is just as good. There’s more to the books than you know.

  8. quorn

    How far through Way of Kings were you proportionally? Because I could feel the ennui as you chewed through chapter after chapter of brightly coloured blandness and was wondering if you would last the whole way.

  9. Fibinachi

    Aww, but you missed the bit where he pontificates on the ecosystem of a small forest and describes each species within by name, thropical level, their mating rituals and entire dna structure! It was only a small 5000 pages away, man.

    You quitter.

    I jest, I joke, I hope you understand that was not serious. Good on you for sticking it out so far, and have fun with the Dresden Files.

    Which are actually interesting books, in that, you can leverage a lot of criticism at them but at the very least, Jim Butcher knows how to set up a plot with a clear beginning, end and decently satisfying climax. Some of the throw away stuff in there is actually good, and a fair bit of the writing isn’t entirely bad. And it does something I found quite impressive, which is having each book clearly have one story, while also telling, all in all, a much larger tale.

    Although there’s still that certain Jim Butcherian… something-something. The mind-rape, the magical seduction, the leather, the odd stuff. The salt of the earth farmer types getting one over the useless cityfolk. Powerful men being irresistably sexually magnetic.

    I look forward to that too then q:

  10. R.S. Hunter (@rshunter88)

    While I was looking forward to your commentary on the rest of the book, but if it’s that much of a slog I’m all for you dropping it. Plus the Dresden Files should be a fun (and hopefully much quicker) series to go through. I remember devouring the books when I was uncritically buying each one when it came out.

  11. Verpa

    That’s a shame – I genuinely like Sanderson’s books and enjoyed reading them, and I might not always agree with what you say about them, but I appreciate the different perspective, and have even changed my opinion on some of the content based on observations you raised that I, myself, hadn’t noticed on my own.

    But! If something like this feels like a drag, there’s no point in carrying on. Hoping the new book will prove more enjoyable.

  12. welltemperedwriter

    As door prizes go, that’s pretty awesome.

    I read the first Dresden book and couldn’t figure out why all my friends liked it so much. I mean, I’m a fan of this sort of UF setting and have been for years, but the book still sucks. I’m told they get better later, but they said that about Anita Blake, too.

  13. Signatus

    I feel a little sad about Way of Kings. Those were some brilliant posts. Guess I’ll try to get through it obly because I bought it, and I have read quiet a bit through it to not finish it now, but once I’m done I’ll most likely be done with Sanderson. His writing is not bad, but his books are a slog.

    Anyways, this will give me time to continue with The Ambassador’s Mission, I’m very intrigued about that book (although it’s a bit slow), and Dr Mech’s Wolf; Behavior, Ecology and Conservation, which is a huge science book I got this Christmas and haven’t opened yet.

    Since I am a Dresden Fan (don’t worry, I’m not stupid enough to not see all there is to see), I won’t have to read it again. That happened to be my favorite book, and they are still decent. Gets worse and the book progresses. Ghost Story was terrible, and the one previous to that made one of those ridiculous; “oh, I have a child I’ve never met so I’ll kick my lifelong friend’s asses to save her, even though there is no emotional connection with her.” Not to mention the stuish dimension of all women fawning over Harry’s bones.
    Yeah, this will be some fun ride!

    1. ronanwills Post author

      I’ve actually been struggling with whether or not to drop Way of Kings for quite some time. I know people enjoy the posts, but the book is a real slog to write about and I’ve always felt that if something isn’t fun anymore there’s no point in doing it. I’m glad I gave it a whirl, but continuing would likely have burned me out.

      If my experience with the first Dresden book is anything to go by, our opinions of this franchise are going to differ quite severely.

      1. Signatus

        Based on your Storm Front review, I don’t think they’ll differ that much. 😛
        You adress pretty much all my issues with this books, and really, they get worse. WAY worse.

        Why do I like them? Mainly because they are short, easy and fun to read. Gives for a nice bedtime reading and, lets be serious, I must have a terrible taste in books. XD
        You should give Laura Garcia Gallego a try, her Memories of Idhun is terrible!


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