Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Stormlight Archive: Book 1. The Way of Kings ; a review

Hot damn.
Lyrics come to my mind first, and they're Hello, is it me you're looking for?  The answer is a resounding yes. This is the book you are looking for. Brandon Sanderson, you are an absolute genius.
Roshar, a fantasy world where war is being waged it seems, everywhere. Ancient cities built by gods. Betrayal from the men who were cast to protect everyone. Six foot swords, impenetrable plate armor, magic, love, and lore. The child in me wants to scream and run around the room. The adult in me wants to tear through the pages faster than possible. This is a true and great fantasy book.
I find myself in life reading books that have messages for whatever it is I'm dealing with or going through at that time. Same is said for this book, the creed.
  • Way of Kings cover art by Michael Whelan
    Life before death - The Radiant seeks to defend life, always. He never kills unnecessarily, and never risks his own life for frivolous reasons. Living is harder than dying. The Radiant's duty is to live free.
  • Strength before weakness - All men are weak at some time in their lives. The Radiant protects those who are weak, and uses his strength for others. Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service.
  • Journey before destination - There are always several ways to achieve a goal. Failure is preferable to winning through unjust means. Protecting ten innocents is not worth killing one. In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.
Those are what hit me first and foremost. Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. One of the characters in the book has a great line, the destination for everyone is death. As I sit squabbling over my minor problems in life, whether it be I don't know what I'm doing in terms of moving or that I dislike my job, they are so petty that it's asinine to even compare. It's a great wake up call, to me, that I'm reading this characters hardship and having moments of self doubt in the comfort of my life, while he has having moments of self doubt as a slave, forced to run into on coming arrows with nothing to protect himself with. Straight slap to the face, wake your ass up and figure it out, to me anyway.
It's inspiring. I can't help but feel inspired by the triumphs of the characters in the book. The honorable route is worth the difficulties that are tied to it. I related heavily to both of the main characters, Kaladin and Dalinar. I thought both of their personal struggles were displayed in a very real way. I was finding myself so amped during certain scenes. It was invigorating to be cheering for a character so heavily. There were times when I thought both of those main characters were in very real danger, and other times when they both expressed qualities of one another that I found to be a great message, we aren't all complete. We aren't the best we can be no matter what, and it might take a slaves words for you to realize that. It might take someone who is a figurehead to an idea that you distrust so badly, but he says the right words to you to make you understand, this whole mess of life isn't meant for you to sit around and distrust everyone. Not everyone is bad. If you had nine people tell you something horrible, you can't anticipate the tenth to drive the nail in.
There was a scene, Kaladin was the only person running back to rescue another who was entirely surrounded. No chance of survival. Kaladin didn't have any reason to go help these people, they had betrayed him many times before, but it starts with one person doing the right thing. If no one does it, how can anyone follow? All it takes is one, you, to do what you feel is right for the right reasons. You can change the world that way.
With these prospects in mind, I went for a walk (it was really to go get the second book), I usually walk after digesting 1300 pages in a week. Collect my thoughts. My feelings. Certain passages weighed heavy on my mind. I was caught off guard while walking as a woman in a winter jacket came up to me and asked Could I have ten dollars? Ten dollars I thought? No.. I told her, and walked away, thinking that's a weird request to ask. I give change to the homeless here and there, but not as often as I probably feel like I should. Though it weighed on me as I was walking away. I don't need that ten dollars. I'm doing okay, and as it happened, I had a ten dollar bill on me. I walked back and handed it to her, she stared at it and I walked away before she could even look back at me. I'm not sure what she needed it for, but if you're asking strangers for ten dollars, you probably need it more than I do.
Now I'm not specifically saying that this book is going to make you give to the homeless, but I am saying that it made me feel like I should the better version of myself as often as I can. It's not about being being safe at home every night, it's not about the ability to relax after a days work. It's the friends you make and the journey you walk. We're all going to end up dead in the end, and I honestly believe it's how we get there that is all that matters. Live a life you're proud of, and don't just let these days float by.
“And so, does the destination matter? Or is it the path we take? I declare that no accomplishment has substance nearly as great as the road used to achieve it. We are not creatures of destinations. It is the journey that shapes us. Our callused feet, our backs strong from carrying the weight of our travels, our eyes open with the fresh delight of experiences lived.”

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