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The Way of Kings  By  cover art

The Way of Kings

By: Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by: Kate Reading,Michael Kramer
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Publisher's Summary

From number one New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, book one of the Stormlight Archive, begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the 10 consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where 10 armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar's niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan's motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of more than 10 years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.

Strength before weakness.

Journey before destination.

And return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson:

The Cosmere

The Stormlight Archive:

  • The Way of Kings
  • Words of Radiance
  • Edgedancer (Novella)
  • Oathbringer 

The Mistborn trilogy:

  • Mistborn: The Final Empire
  • The Well of Ascension
  • The Hero of Ages

Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series:

  • Alloy of Law
  • Shadows of Self
  • Bands of Mourning

Collection:

  • Arcanum Unbounded

Other Cosmere novels:

  • Elantris
  • Warbreaker

The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series:

  • Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
  • The Scrivener's Bones
  • The Knights of Crystallia
  • The Shattered Lens
  • The Dark Talent

The Rithmatist series:

  • The Rithmatist

Other books by Brandon Sanderson:

  • The Reckoners
  • Steelheart
  • Firefight
  • Calamity  

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2010 Dragonsteel Entertaiment, LLC (P)2010 Macmillan Audio

Featured Article: The Best Fantasy Audiobook Series


There is nothing like a great fantasy series, one that invites you to bring yourself into an inventive world unlike our own. And a masterful fantasy audiobook can further enhance that feeling, taking an engaging reading experience and amping it up to the realm of total immersion. Marked by brilliant narration and perfect character voices, a stellar audiobook series takes an already amazing fantasy saga and transforms it into an unforgettable adventure. If you’re looking for the best fantasy book series to listen to, these titles are a great place to start.

Editor's Pick: Best of the Decade

Here’s to another 10 years at the top
"My journey as a Brandon Sanderson fan began more than a decade ago. My brother and I discovered one of his very first published books, Mistborn, at a gas station rest stop in high school and both of us have been hooked ever since. But Brandon Sanderson, who started out as our little secret, has grown to be one of the biggest and most respected names in fantasy today. It’s been such a joy and delight to be his fan as he’s only gotten better and better at creating compelling, creative, and human stories over the years. Is it weird to say that I feel proud? There is no doubt in my mind that his epic series, the Stormlight Archive, deserves a spot as the best of the decade."—Melissa B., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Way of Kings

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars

It doesn't get any better than this!

I gave up on the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series by Volume 5 so never got to Brandon Sanderson’s concluding contributions to that series. My first books by Sanderson were those of the Mistborn Trilogy. I was totally captivated by the story and its writing. I avoided The Way of Kings because of its Audible 2 credit price but finally caved because I had lusted so long for something so good as Mistborn. I should not have delayed. The Way of Kings was well worth the price and promises to be one of the best ever series by Sanderson or any SF/Fantasy author. This is Book 1 of the Stormlight Archive.

Coming in at over 45 hours on audiobook or over 1000 pages in print, for some TWoK might seem too lengthy. Personally, for me, it ended all too soon. The book was totally gripping and absorbing. I could not put it down. The writing contains wit and charm, adventure and philosophy, comedy and pathos. It’s all there, a wide range of human thought and emotion. While constructed of multiple arcs, the writing is completely straight forward, accessible and easy to follow.

I became totally invested in each character and cared for everyone of the good guys and even some of the bad ones. One of the most interesting characters, one named Szeth, is a peace-loving believer in nonviolence but is also an ultimate, ninja-like assassin who hates to but is forced to kill and cries each time that he does. How’s that for a crazy mixed-up contradiction. Frankly, I think that Szeth is a metaphor for many of us and our behavior. But among my favorite and central characters were a peasant, apprentice surgeon named Kaladin and a spren named Syl with whom Kal has a rather magical and symbiotic relationship.

Spren appear throughout the book. They were for me various types of conscious energy or spirit-like entities that were part of or associated with almost everything on the planet including specific kinds of thoughts and emotions, wellness and sickness, life and death. They particularly seem to appear when “change” happens and it is at least at this point in the series difficult to know if they are responsible for, contribute to or are just present when changes in anything from one’s health to the weather occur.

Speaking of the weather, the environment and particularly the atmosphere of the planet and how the geology, flora and fauna have evolved within the influence of extreme weather is integral to the storyline. The book describes and develops half a dozen interesting and well defined fictional races. Wars exist on the planet among them over the power and dominance brought by the magical weapons known as Shardblades and Shardplates. And, while war is one of the central themes of the book, descriptions of battles and war do not dominate the narrative.

What came across most movingly, uniquely clear and beautifully written were the two human qualities of love and compassion. I do not think that those two attributes have ever been more deftly portrayed than it is in this book. Some of my other favorite SF/Fantasy writers including Dan Simmons and Peter F. Hamilton while brilliant in almost every other respect, fail to adequately communicate those two essential qualities of our nature. Other authors talk about it, their characters go through the motions and maybe say the words but I just do not always “feel the love” in their writings like I do in reading this book. The humanity and heroism portrayed by some of the characters in TWoK were strikingly remarkable. It is another one of those attributes of Sanderson’s writing that makes everything more real and capable of eliciting emotions within the reader.

Magic abounds in the book and all of it seems to make sense if ever magic can be made sense of. It was once said that any technology sufficiently advanced will appear as magic and this is that kind magic, magic that can almost be but not quite understood. There is plenty of adventure and excitement contained within the pages and Kate Reading and particularly Michael Kramer bring it all to life. Yes, this is the same duo that narrated the Wheel of Time saga. Their talent was well highlighted there but I believe even more so in The Way of Kings.

This was one great book and the only downside is that Sanderson is so prolific with his other literary pursuits that the sequel to this one is long overdue and the Audible rendition even longer than that.

500 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved the Book, One Glaring Narration Issue

I loved this book. Of course it was a little slow at first, but that's to be expected when background information is being given at the beginning of any long novel. The characters are well developed and you care about what happens with them. I got a little tired of the jumps back and forth in time, but that was only minor. The glaring flaw was in the narration. Michael Kramer and Kate Reading do a great job and unlike other reviews I have no problem with their style. Toward the very end of the book though the pronunciation of Sadius was changed by Kate Reading to the point where I was asking myself if a new character had been introduced somewhere that I missed. I soon figured out who she was talking about, but it's one of those little things that grate on the nerves every time you hear it. It doesn't seem too much to expect that pronunciation of names be consistent throughout an entire series let alone a single book. The producers should be embarrassed to put out a final product with such an amateur flaw. Audio books should be edited as properly as written books.

361 people found this helpful

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Wow - 45 hours long and leaves you wanting more!

I have become a big fan of Brandon Sanderson's work and this new series does not disappoint. He has created another interesting world full of rich characters and I can't wait for book two.

The same narrators from the Wheel of Time series re-unite with Sanderson to create another winner. Mistborn, Warbreaker, Elantris, and now this work vaults Sanderson to the top of my must-read list. This book is so good I will gladly listen to it again as a refresher when book two comes out!

329 people found this helpful

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Great Story!! Cons: slow start & poor narration

Very angry & frustrated listening experience. I learned to appreciate Michael Kramer's performance but Kate Reading CHANGED THE PRONUNCIATION of a key character's name 3/4 through the story!!!! How the hell did this pass editing? It did not help matters that I'd already grown distasteful of her repetitive tone and inappropriate cadence for a narrative story. She reads as though each line is poetry, punctuating the same parts of every sentence with the same tone of voice. This may be great for reading prose but it quickly grew tiresome having to listen to such a repetitive rhythm, and toward the end of the book I was groaning each time the chapters switched from Kramer to Reading. Fantastically gripping and imaginative story once you get past the lengthy slow start though. just wish Kramer had gone it alone.

And for those who move on to the 2nd book Words Of Radiance...Be prepared for Kate Reading's cringe worthy, horribly over exaggerated French(??) accent for the sailor character Yalb -- a bizarre and unprecedented switch from the totally normal accent she'd given him in The Way of Kings. WHAT IS HER ISSUE???? Stormfather help me get through this...please prove that the story is worth her torture

248 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable (but a slight warning)

I really, really enjoyed this book. The performances and story easily in my top five favorite Audible titles.

I was was introduced to Sanderson by listening the Mistborn series (which I enjoyed). Sanderson is very good at making his characters three dimensional as well as bringing his settings to life. He creates a full background and mythology for his characters that give a fullness to the experience of his stories.

The performances here are top notch. I significantly preferred the sections performed by Michael Kramer but both narrators fit their main characters well and do a great job of creating separate, distinguishing voices for their characters.

HERE'S THE WARNING: This book does not have a complete ending. I hadn't realized that book two isn't out yet. When I finished this book, I was ready to skip all of the other titles on my listening list and go straight into the next book. I've listened to enough preexisting series (Dresden Files is a good example) that I expected to continue the story when this book left me hanging. I know I'm spoiled and I'm whining a bit but hurry up! I was already feeling extremely impatient waiting for Rothfuss's next Kingkiller Chronicles (another don't-miss-it series with a similar epic feel to Sanderson's) but now I've definitely become a whiny-baby.

The book does have a partially satisfying ending but, like most series premiers, it leaves many things unresolved and many questions unanswered. This book is still on my list of must-listens but be prepared to long for book two.

180 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant!

The Way of Kings is Sanderson's greatest work to date. the characters, the world, the story are all masterfully written, and truly comes to life with the reading of Micheal Kramer and Kate Reading. getting those two to narrate the book was a truly brilliant decision on the part of the publisher.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. from beginning to end, despite the book's length, it held my interest like few books I've read recently. There really aren't any truly slow periods. there are periods without action, or without exposition, or without drama, but there is never a scene that feels unnecessary. Normaly, i only listen to books when I am at work, but this one pulled me in so completely that i listened to it every free moment, and it even kept me up into the wee hours of the morning, unable to tear myself away. the last five or six hours were, hands down, the most riveting fiction I have ever encountered, and far beyond what one might expect from merely the first book of what is planned as a ten book series. Where the Wheel of time starts at a slow burn with The Eye of the World, The Way of Kings hits the ground running.

The Stormlight Archive is the new face of epic fantasy, like the Wheel of Time was before it. Sanderson has truly come into his own on this one.

142 people found this helpful

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Sanderson & Kramer brilliant. Reading unlistenable

I'll get this out of the way because it pains me to write this - I tried many times to wrap my head around Kate Reading's phonation and cadence but it was so unnatural that it routinely broke immersion. She intonates words the way an early computer speech program would. It may seem pedantic if you're just reading reviews but if you listen you will see what I mean.

Overall the entire story and the chapters read by Kramer are truly phenomenal. My favourite work of Sanderson thus far.

136 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brandon's Best Work Yet

I read Warbreaker when Brandon became Robert Jordan's successor, as I wanted to measure his writing style against my expectations for the Wheel of Time. I have since devoured every novel (except the Alacatraz books) he's written. I expected TWoK to be on par with all his other excellent works, but I was completely blown away. This is far and above Sanderson's best work, and that's really saying something because all his other books are, in my opinion, outstanding.

Oh, and Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are awesome. That is all.

86 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Not interesting

I love epic fantasies and was very much looking forward to getting lost in this one. But after 35 hours, it is still a collection of character sketches -- sketches of uninteresting characters who make really stupid decisions for extraordinarily contrived reasons. As I listen, I repeatedly find myself thinking, "No one thinks this way. This character is doing exactly the opposite of what both emotion and reason dictate. Obviously the author is contriving a thought process and forcing this character to make a certain decision just to move the plot along. Oh, wait a minute. There is no plot. Why am I still listening to this?"

Why? Because it is Brandon Sanderson, and he has written way too many books that are nothing short of awesome to delete this one from my playlist.

Now, I'm sure there are a lot of audible members going through these comments, thinking, "Well, I'll see what everyone else is saying about 'The Way of Kings,' but I'm going to download it anyway."

My advice: Lower your expectations. Not only is the plot thin and the characters shallow, but the dialog -- the writing itself -- can be finger-nails-on-a-chalkboard grading

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Worthy Successor to The Mistborn Trilogy.

I'm about halfway through and I've loved it so far. It seems to start off a bit slow but its worth it. Love everything Brandon Sanderson has written. Plus its a great deal 45 hours for one credit. You can hardly go wrong unless its completely boring, which it isn't.

Name of the Wind it the only fantasy book I've read this year that I liked more.

73 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-15-20

Fantastic

Brandon is probably the best writer of Epic fantasy in the world! He creats and draw you in into an dark and wellconstructed world.

The story and characters are captivating and you cant stop listning. The Narrorator is also the King of dark Epic fantasy and suits Brandons books perfectly! Really makes you belive in the story and characters.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Freek Vermeer
  • 10-23-21

Mixed narrator quality

The female reader has incredibly annoying inflection. No emotion, weird upswing on the end of the sentence.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-13-21

Great opening work.

It takes a good chunk to get into it, but it flowers out into an interesting and dynamic story, leaving you loving the characters.

The biggest downside here is both of the narrators, most of the male parts are a little monotonous, but luckily good writing prevails through. For the female narrator I agree with how robotic and impersonal she comes across. Making almost no distinction between male or female speakers in her parts.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-14-22

A vast and great story

It was hard to get a hold of the story at first, alot of impressions at the same time, but when I got the story and the characters I was more than entruiged. Will buy the next book aswell.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amilia Espania Slioa
  • 03-08-22

Obsessed

Dang. Been a while since I've enjoyed a book this much! It's just epic, can't get enough!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-27-22

Perfect

The pinnacle of fantasy and one of Brandon's best works to date. Takes a long time to get into and has a steep learning curve but trust me, it is worth every word.

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  • Jakob
  • 01-10-22

Blown away

Kate Reading and Michael Kramer are beyond incredible, and Brandon Sanderson is a genius.
The story takes a while to get you hooked, but once you are, you're never leaving. Phenomenal performance.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-23-21

The book is amazing

I haven’t read the entire story but I have loved it so far.
If I would described the book in three words it would be I couldn’t stop.

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  • Melissa
  • 09-20-21

Amazing

Great narration and a really exciting story. Bought the next book! I absolutely love Sanderson.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shailin
  • 04-13-21

A story full of imagination and mystery

This book is absolutely fantastic. It is so full of details, creativity, adventure and relatable characters. The more I listen to this book the more curious I am of the world Brandon Sanderson has created. Sanderson really has taken fantasy to a whole new level with a world that is completely original. The voice actors are also very talented and make it easy to understand diologue between different characters and make the story come to life. Really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy books with a touch of mystery.

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  • Bradley
  • 04-19-19

If you love fantasy. This is it!

This book stands alongside Malazan, king killer chronicles and WoT. You won’t be disappointed with this book.