This is what you need to do tomorrow

I read a lot of stuff, in a lot of different genres. The last three books I finished were Patient Zero (a hyper-violent paramilitary zombie novel), The Graveyard Book (a sweet and wacky urban fantasy middle grade novel) and Kitchen Confidential (a ribald behind-the-scenes restaurant memoir). When people ask what I read I usually say “books,” and leave it at that, because I honestly don’t know from one day to the next what kind of book is going to interest me, and I’ll pick something up and think it’s awesome and then something else will jump out and blindside me and I’ll to read that first. This is why I usually read four books at once.

The book I want to recommend to you today is a fantasy, by which I mean ‘epic fantasy,’ by which I mean ‘the future of epic fantasy.’ Remember how Robert Jordan came out twenty years ago and revolutionized the fantasy genre? If The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson doesn’t do the same, I will eat my hat. And I love my hat, so that is saying a lot.

Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way first–Brandon is a friend of mine, we are in the same writing group, we are in the same roleplaying group, and we record a podcast together every week. I am, in fact, in the interest of full disclosure, writing this while in his house, in my office in his basement (this is where I do most of my writing, for the simple fact that my children aren’t here). We are, in short, very good friends. Do not assume that I am going soft on his book for this reason–if I don’t like a book of Brandon’s, I will tell him so. I did not, for example, like the Alcatraz series, and quite honestly I was very worried about The Way of Kings as he ran it through our writing group: it has a high learning curve, a huge cast of characters, and a non-standard timeline. It is not entry-level fantasy.

But for an audience well-versed in the genre, it is the book you’ve been waiting for all your life.

The thing I like most about Brandon’s writing is that nothing is accidental or capricious. If he’s going to subvert a stereotype he does it for a reason–not just an “I’m an author I can do what I want” reason, but an in-story reason, a reason that will actually affect the characters and their goals and the way they live their lives. In Way of Kings, for example, he changed not just the magic level but the entire ecology of his world; this is not medieval Earth, this is all-new world with all-new cultures and people and weather and rules and everything else. And he’s not just doing it just for hell of it–he has a reason, like I said, and as you start to watch those reasons click together the book takes on a scope and dimension more worthy of any ‘epic’ story I’ve ever read before. Even when he does things I don’t yet understand (I still think the concept of the safehand, for example, is silly), I trust Brandon enough to know that it will eventually be important, and I will eventually love it. This is the man who wrote Mistborn, after all, which had the biggest, most satisfying series climax I have ever read. He knows what he’s doing, he knows how to do it, and The Way of Kings completely won me over.

The book comes out tomorrow, if you’re like most people, or tonight at midnight if you’re in a location lucky enough to have a midnight release. Run, don’t walk to your local bookstore. Buy this book. Take a day off work, and stock up on cheetos and chopsticks. Want to know what your grandchildren will hail as their generation’s Lord of the Rings? Then start reading now, because the future of fantasy has arrived.

11 Responses to “This is what you need to do tomorrow”

  1. I-zuki says:

    As some one who has read an ARC I totally agree. If there was anyway to go to a midnight release I would so be going so I could read it another time through but as it is now ill need to pick it up on my way to work tomorrow

  2. Patrick Sullivan says:

    Ever since it came up on the podcast I’ve been more and more curious about this book. How often does an idea survive as long and yet finally make it out into an awesome form? But all the reviews I’ve read from people with ARCs has been high. Unless something changes will be getting the ePub version for my nook tonight (though depending on when they push it probably won’t push until tomorrow… I’m in Denver so could well see it at like 10pm *hopes*).

  3. Christoph says:

    Once again it sucks being in Germany… Dear amazon would not deliver until September 25th, which is downright annoying!! So I ran to a local bookstore, and for once they were better than amazon and I get it tomorrow (hopefully). Still, I hope I will be able to make it to a midnight release some day.

  4. anja says:

    You know my pain, Christoph … but I have a very friendly bookstore, Otherland in Berlin ( http://www.otherland-berlin.de/contenido/cms/front_content.php) there I can order my books. But I have to wait … 2 weeks. Sigh.

  5. Guerry Semones says:

    We’ll be seeing Brandon tomorrow night here in St Louis!

  6. andrewv says:

    I’ve got an ARC and I agree with Dan. tWoK is awesome melted down into book form.

  7. Lindsey says:

    Waiting for my copy to come from Sam Wellers. I wish they didn’t have to be so careful about the street date because I really wanted my book today… I got an ARC, but it’s not the same as having the actual book.

  8. Steve D says:

    It was quite a lovely release signing. It’s nice to see such a high retention rate of readers from his Mistborn series, through the whole WoT thing, and now here to TWoK.

    I’ve known Brandon for basically his entire published career, and I too was worried about TWoK. TWoK is a fantastic start to what could be a genre defining series. You know, as long as he doesn’t blow it.

    It was also nice to get 1500 extra hits on my blog because Brandon facebooked the review, and blogged it.

  9. Hannah says:

    I just got a book for my birthday called the ‘Eye of the World’by a certain Robert Jordan ;) Sequel also. I am halfway through and I find it immensely enjoyable.

  10. erisian23 says:

    please share a photo of the hat for reference.
    i think should it come to it, you will be allowed condiments,but no salt. it is important to have these details hashed out in advance.

  11. stu11926 says:

    I am one of the many that discovered Brandon’s work after he was selected to finish the Wheel of Time series. Having finished The Way of Kings a couple of days ago, I am now looking forward to the next installment of The Stormlight Archive MORE than the final two books of the Wheel of Time. THAT is saying more than I can express in text on a web page!

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