I finished Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings, book one of The Stormlight Archive. It. Is. Awesome. Granted, I've been in love with Sanderson's writing since Elantris. But this is excellent. He is an amazing world-builder, magic system constructer and such a concise and (a huge deal for my inner-editor) grammatically skilled. I just hate when a fantasy writer rambles on about a knoll for three pages or his or her writing is marred by being riddled with typos and grammatical errors. But I digress.
Way of Kings reminds me in some ways of Mistborn, but bigger. Sanderson revisits some devices from Mistborn also. The introductions to the chapters in Mistborn were paragraphs from a journal kept by one of the characters. Sanderson uses the exact device here. I won't spoil whose journal this is, as you don't discover that until well into the book.
Also, Way of Kings protagonist (one of many) Kaladin harkens back to Mistborn's Kelsier. It bothered me at first. I kept wondering who this character reminded me of and I think my brain just ignored Kelsier because of the name similarity. Just like I initially ignored my comparison of Mistborn's Vin to Wheel of Time's Min for the same reason. But, the feeling both characters leave me with is that of a strong rebel who turns into a fierce leader due to circumstance. Kaladin is by no means the "main character" here, though he is one of my favorites. There are a ridiculous amount of main characters. And, instead of an ensemble cast of underdeveloped characters, Sanderson employs a technique used in some of the classic fantasy series. Each character is developed in epic detail by going back and forth between the realms of each "main" character. At some point, the realms will likely collide.
In its character, The Way of Kings may be the beginning Sanderson's own Wheel of Time. He is already finishing that series for deceased author Robert Jordan (and, in my opinion, no offense to Jordan as he was ill the last several books, he is doing a better job than was being done in the previous several WOT books). Now Sanderson is creating his own in The Stormlight Archive. The series promises to be excellent. If the rest of the book and series follow through with the grace that the first half of The Way of Kings has, The Stormlight Archive may be this generation's ultimate fantasy series. Its creativity and detail in world-building and character (and even national) interaction lead it to stand out as only a few modern works are capable, Wheel of Time being the most recent and Lord of the Rings being the most prominent.
My mind boggles at how all the events could possibly happen in one book that occurred in Way of Kings. And, of course, I cannot wait for book two to come out. It looks like the plan is to release book two in fall 2012, two years after the first book's release. That seems like an awfully long time to wait. In between those books, Sanderson will release the final installment of the more than 20-year Wheel of Time saga as well as another Alcatraz the Librarian series book. So, it's not like he's just twiddling his thumbs. But I still find myself a little impatient for the Stormlight Archive release.