The Way of Kings Prime

Discussion in 'Brandon Sanderson' started by Stephen Lightheart, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Stephen Lightheart

    Stephen Lightheart Aes Sedai

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    The Way of Kings Prime is available as a free download on Sanderson's website:

    https://www.brandonsanderson.com/the-way-of-kings-prime/

    In Brandon's own words:

    I'm 10% in and I can tell you this book is a freak. Like, almost all the pieces for the real Way of Kings (and some small parts of the next two books even) are there, but everything is different. So far, as long as I can forget that this is not actually The Way of Kings, I'm really enjoying Prime. It is different enough that I have no clue what is happening and will happen.

    Anyone else giving it a try? I'd love to discuss as I read this!
     
  2. Stephen Lightheart

    Stephen Lightheart Aes Sedai

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    Just finally finished this today. What a book! Has anyone else read it by now?
     
  3. Ilverin Matriam

    Ilverin Matriam Aes Sedai Director of Research and Records Historian Tower Gatekeeper

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    oh wow I am only seeing this now. I will deffinately give this a try when I have a bit more time to read :D Can't wait!
     
  4. Ephrem Elpidius

    Ephrem Elpidius Citizen

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    can you share some overall non-spoiler thoughts on it? I am curious. Not sure I will read it though, will it make me confused when I get back to the canon books?
     
  5. Stephen Lightheart

    Stephen Lightheart Aes Sedai

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    I'd been meaning to respond to this when you asked, but I forgot all about it!

    So, a few quick, hopefully not too spoilery thoughts:
    • I regularly paused my reading to read the Rhythm of War preview chapters when they came out. I did not find it confusing.
    • I do, however, view a few characters slightly different, I've noticed on my reread of the canon books. Not strongly, just that some characters get more fleshed out in Prime when they have to wait for their spotlight in canon.
    • The biggest example of the previous bullet is Taln, who is one of the main characters (perhaps the most main character) of this book and won't get a spotlight until the second set of Stormlight books. He is also absolutely amazing here.
    • Also, the Warbreaker character I won't name just in case of spoilers, who is hidden (sort of, I mean, that RoW part 1 thing...) in canon, has a much bigger role. On my SLA reread, I was surprised at how small his role actually is in canon.
    • In terms of characters, I'd put this somewhere around Elantris level Sanderson. As in, it's written before he got really good at writing people.
    • One interesting thing is that in the introduction Brandon writes that he kept being rejected because people wanted more gritty GRRM type stuff. He goes on to say that Way of Kings Prime was his counter-response to that, and that he instead wrote the opposite of GRRM, but a love letter to epic fantasy. I was confused by that, and hope to one day get a chance to ask Brandon, because the way he treats his characters in this book feels very Song of Ice & Fire to me.
    • It's good. Like, it's not Stormlight Archive good, and I'm glad he rewrote it. But it's still good. It's way better than the average epic fantasy, but just not quite Sanderson level good.
    • I'm actually sad that there won't be sequels, even though I'm happy with the thing we got instead. I still want to know how this particular story continues.
    • Because, like, it has almost all the pieces from canon Way of Kings, but it's still 100% its own book. It's similar enough to give Sanderson fans something to geek out over, yet different enough to provide you a genuine reading experience, rather than, idk... I think I expected some kind of slightly weird reread, almost? Like rereading Way of Kings, but with a few differences? A caricature of Way of Kings. Oh, like when you read those White Sand comics, and they're just not that good and it's all kind of weird, but it's like 90% the same as the novel, which is way better, and so it just feels really funky and why didn't they just make the novel better instead of creating this atrocity with bad art (all of this imo, of course, and I find that the art gets better in the third volume—also, if like me you were put off by the bad adaptation of White Sand, Dark One is actually really, really good).
    • And yes, as noted above, it has almost all the pieces. Just a few differences, but those are cool and it's really awesome to see how those small differences make canon Roshar so much better and more complex.
    • The magic is super cool and it gives some of the order names a really fun background. Like, seeing how those developed in Brandon's mind is so cool. I don't want to say too much, but, like, if you read Prime, it becomes kind of funny that Brandon kept the name "Windrunner," because suddenly you see where the name came from and it makes so much more sense than in canon and it's just really awesome to observe.

    Conclusion: It's an amazing book. Canon Stormlight is way better. Yet, I wish this was written by a different author and it was an actual epic fantasy series of its own. I'd be a little less excited for it than I am for Sanderson's books. I wouldn't pay hundreds of dollars for leather-bound or signed and numbered copies, but I'd still be preordering the Kindle releases and excitedly starting them the morning of their release. Though if they'd released book two today, it'd have to wait.