Brandon Sanderson’s latest work The Way of Kings is the beginning of a long epic called The Stormlight Archives. Its publication has been awaited eagerly by Sanderson himself and because of the things he wrote about the book also by me. One of my favorite authors publishes a huge epic fantasy book with nine more books to come and the book itself is illustrated with about twenty full-page drawings — where can I place my order?
Roshar, the continent on which the story takes place, is battered by the elements. Every now and then brutal Highstorms sweep across the land, an almost massive wall of wind, water and stone carrying away everything not tied down and some things that are. Seasons change in a matter of weeks with no predictable order or duration. In this hostile environment no animals and plants as we know them can survive; plants resemble stony anemones and most beasts are akin to our crabs and other shellfish. Since flora and fauna are so different from ours the interior artwork is very important as it depicts exactly what I had problems imagining.
The land’s inability to provide a stable platform for human life left traces in the several societies. In the most widely spread culture, Vorinism, trying to predict the future is considered heresy. The most favored method of executing someone is to submit him to Stormfather’s will, that is leaving him outside during a Highstorm. Since fighting for survival is part of everyday life in the eastern countries where Highstorms are worst, fighting in general is a fundamental part of society. When the Alethi people cannot fight outsiders they fight among themselves.