The Way of Kings Prime – Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Dragonsteel Entertainment 
Pages: 803
Release Date: July 7, 2020

The Way of Kings Prime is the original draft of The Way of Kings written in 2002. It is completely different to the version released back in 2011, and is not canon to the Cosmere universe. Brandon Sanderson released this version as a extra goodie during The Way of Kings 10th Anniversary Leatherbound Edition Kickstarter

The Way of Kings Prime, was written in 2002 and is basically an alternate version of The Way of Kings, which was published by Tor Books in 2010. The Way of Kings Prime is very different from the published book. Think of it as set in a different universe with a completely different plot. If you haven’t read the 2010 canonical version, please read that one first.” — from author’s website

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The Way of Kings Prime is Sanderson’s first attempt at writing The Way of Kings. The best way to describe The Way of Kings Prime is as an alternate version of The Way of Kings. There are seeds of what will become Sanderson’s published work as well as storylines/characters that are taken in a completely different directions.

As Sanderson mentioned in the foreword, The Way of Kings Prime takes on more than it can handle. The characters pale in comparison to what they’ll become in The Way Kings, the magic system is underdeveloped, and the lore/history can be confusing at times. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear that the novel bites off more than it can chew as things become more and more muddled.

The biggest criticism I have of The Way of Kings Prime is the treatment of the women in the world. The women’s lack of agency is especially frustrating when considering Jasnah and Shallan’s characters in the published version. Shallan’s alternate version, Shinri, was especially difficult to read considering some of the things that happened to her. Some of these chapters were difficult to read and so unlike Sanderson’s official work. Let’s just say, I’m glad Sanderson changed this lack of agency.

Overall, The Way of Kings Prime does read like a first draft, however this unpolished, first draft reads better than a lot of fantasy novels on bookstore shelves today. If you’re a Sanderson super fan, The Way of Kings Prime is a must read.

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Have you read The Way of Kings Prime? What did you think?

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