Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Way of Kings Group Read (Part Three)

The readalong for The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson continues.  If you want to join in or find other thoughts on the book, check out the Polishing Mud Balls Readalong Page.

It is with great self-discipline that I put down the book before getting too far into Part Four.  Doesn't it just sound weird to say "Only 300 pages left?"  Kind of like getting excited that gas is now only $3.66 . . .
But of course I would rather read this book, even hundreds more pages of it, than fill up my tank.  I am finding Sanderson's doorstop to be such a page-turner, that I may even end up reading it while filling up my tank because I won't be able to put it down.
This weeks questions are brought to us by Memory

1. Part III reunites us with Shallan, who we haven't seen for a few hundred pages, and separates us from Dalinar and Adolin for a few hundred more. How do you feel about leaving characters behind for such long stretches? Did you lose any of your connection to them during the break?
Somehow it works for me, even though some of the story lines/characters are left for hundreds of pages.  I had mentioned somewhere that I didn't miss Shallan much during Part II, but when she returned in Part III, I was riveted.  Kabsal freaked me out and I was trying to figure out if he was up to something.  I just kept wondering what was up with all that bread and jam!  But then there are a lot of things that just don't seem to add up about Jasnah's explanation of the poisoning.  I seriously do not know who to trust!  If Jasnah is lying, why?  Is it just another "hands-on" lesson?  Did she do some soulcasting when she put her finger in the jam?  Does that mean that she has a functioning soulcaster or doesn't need one?  Or did she just simply want to smell the darn jam? At one point I even thought Kabsal was working as sort of a spy for Jasnah to find out more about Shallan.  I don't get that idea now.  I have a million more ideas and questions about this whole storyline, so I'll just stop here.

I also didn't miss Dalinar, but now that I am beginning Part 4, I'm just as enthralled.  There is so much I want to know about the visions. And still, why his memories of his wife have been erased.  For something that has only been mentioned a couple of times, it occupies a lot of my thoughts!

2. So far, how would you compare this to other epic fantasies you've read? Does it remind you of any other series?
It does strike me as different than the fantasy I've read.  I have felt more of a connection to our world in other books, whereas Roshar seems quite alien.  Maybe I haven't read enough other fantasy to compare, but The Way of Kings seems quite unique.  Originality jumps out of every page. 

3. How do you feel about the masculine and feminine arts? If you're female, do you think you'd be content to stick to scholaly pursuits, or would you rather do something physical, like go to war? If you're male, would you be willing to forgo learning to read, even if there were women around to read to you? What about the food? Does the spicy for men and sweet for women restriction fit your own tastes?

I think if I ate all those sweets I'd be fat and my teeth would fall out.  What guy would want me reading to him then?

4. What do you think of the flashbacks to Kaladin's childhood?
I look forward to them as they piece together the events in his life that have led him to his present condition.  He seems to have a pattern of depression that leads him to the brink and then he comes back even stronger.  Of course I wonder in each chapter of his past if we will finally find out the exact details of Tien's death.  I was a little vexed when that period of time gets skipped over and we return to the original battle scene from the beginning.  I liked the way we got a different perspective of the battle, and it made me appreciate more that the first time it was from Cenn's perspective. 

5. Do you have any theories yet as to where the story is headed? What do you most want to see in the last quarter of the book? 

In a nutshell, I want to see Kaladin and his group to escape, I want Dalinar's visions to be believed, and I have no clue what I want for Shallan.    But what I want may not be what's best for the story.  I'm sure Sanderson will play around a bit with what the reader wants to have happen, and what will actually happen.  I hope so.  I'm mostly hoping that at least a couple of things will have some closure, and that not everything is left for the rest of the series. 

At this point, still more questions than answers.  Love it!


  1. I've got no idea who to trust, either. Part of me thinks that Shallan's Soulcaster wasn't really broken, but she just didn't know enough about it to use it. I find it hard to believe that Jasnah would go so long without using the Soulcaster, and if it was broken, surely something would've came up during that time.

    I hope Shallan continues her time with Jasnah, and I hope it takes a turn from scholarly to mystical.

    #3... ahahahahahahahahaha!

  2. Oh man, I didn't even think that Jasnah lied about Kabsal. But I was wondering how it was possible that Jasnah didn't figure out about the broken soulcaster. I thought that the one Shallan gave her was still functional. Or that Jashah was strong enough to make it work. But now that you mention it, the whole thing does seem fishy. I may have to go back and look that part over again.

  3. Just an fyi, your link on the Group Read Along page is messed up so you might want to go over and re-post it.

    Love your ideas about Jasnah possibly doing something to manipulate the situation with Kabsal. I wouldn't put it past her as she definitely has her own agenda that we the reader are not at all privy to, especially as she is not a character that we are following, just seeing through the eyes of other characters. I'm with you in that what I want for Shallan is probably not what serves the story. I sincerely hope the Jasnah/Shallan pairing is not over permanently. I think that whole story arc was great. And so suspenseful, with all the creatures appearing in the drawings, etc. I'm loving how that ever time Sanderson seems to answer a question the story just spawns more questions. Keeps me coming back for more.

    I couldn't stop yesterday after finishing Part Three. I read 100 pages of Part 4 as well. The book has gotten its claws so deep into me that I suspect if the time allows that I will be done with it very soon. I'm missing it when I'm not reading it and no matter what happens I am going to be quite sad to leave these folks behind while we wait for the next volume in their adventures.

    I don't necessarily miss certain characters when they are gone but like you I find myself immediately enthralled when we get back to them. I am loving what is happening with Dalinar, for example, in Part Four (but we will talk about that next week). I can't wait to talk about Part 4 because of what it is revealing.

    It was fun to see our predictions about Kaladin and the spheres played out, and at the same time see it be much more than we predicted. I am so curious about how that will all play out and with this only being the first of 10 volumes I know we have just scratched the surface on who these characters are.

    It was really great going back to that battle that Cenn was in and seeing it all unfold from Kaladin's perspective.

  4. I had a similar thought on the Soulcasters. Also, the response to question 3 was fantastic. Love it!

  5. I was wondering that too, if it either wasn't really broken or perhaps the Soulcaster is just a means of focusing and that when one gets proficient it isn't needed? Not sure, but I have no doubt we'll find out more.

  6. That is a good theory. Jasnah seems to have a lot of power and knowledge. Scary though, as "one gets proficient it isn't needed." Would the power corrupt one's mind?

  7. I think the fact that Jasnah would have to go so long without using the supposedly broken Soulcaster is what puts the reader on guard. I tend to think that she doesn't really need it. I think Jasnah is pretty ruthless, but at the same time my gut tells me she has good intentions. I love the uncertainty of it all.

  8. I hope you are right. I like Jasnah, but she does seem to have an evil side. It will be fun to find out!

  9. Good point about Jasnah's power. It's no wonder that she's a heretic. I think the evidence or "truth" that she experiences in her powers is so beyond anything the established religion covers. It seems to drive her quest for even more knowledge. And I guess we will see how much power has corrupted her, as she seems to have adopted her own moral code.

  10. Thanks for the heads-up on the link. I was so surprised and excited that I was the first one to put up my link after being late for two weeks. That's what I get for such pride I guess!
    Even with my thoughts on the last scenes with Shallan and Jasnah, I truly want them to continue to work together. I think together they are going to discover something really important.
    After your observations about Kal absorbing the stormlight from the spheres, I paid more attention to characters who seem to be able to draw power from the stormlight. Szeth, which is pretty apparent, but also it seems like Shallan does something similar right before she succeeds in the soulcasting, and someone else that I can't even remember already. Dalinar? Jasnah? With my bad memory I will probably have to reread this before I read the second one.

  11. Yes she has adopted her own moral code!

  12. Carl are you going to make it till next week?

  13. I went on a binge and finished the book last night. You are going to love Part 4 and 5! It is going to kill me waiting for these next few weeks to talk about all of it.

  14. Cela, it's such a great book! I'm glad you're enjoying it and I can't wait to hear your thoughts. Those 1000+ pages go surprisingly fast.

  15. Just started reading this book and I love it so far.