Short Book Synopsis: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Hello dear readers, I have a new idea for posts that I want to try out. I figured since there are a lot of series that I am reading that aren’t yet finished, I would do some research and write up quick summaries for the books for others to use.

This way, instead of re-reading the books, people can read the summaries and re-live the stories.

If you think these summaries would be helpful to you, make sure to make a recommendation of a book I can summarize for you. I’d be more than happy to help!

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The book begins with a look at the Heralds, who are the leaders of the Knights Radiant. They have been in a thousands of years long war with the Voidbringers. We find out that the Heralds are cursed and ultimately will die in battle stopping the Voidbringers, where they will be tortured in a place of fire and brimstone before being reborn.

After countless rebirths, the Heralds abandon their roles and condemn one of their kind to the place of fire and brimstone for eternity. The Knights Radiant die off without their leaders or are consumed by corruption, leaving only their shard bladed and shard plate as a remnant of their legacy.


Fast forward thousands of years and we get the story from the perspective of Kaladin, Shallan, Dalinar and Szeth, who live unconnected lives from what we can tell.

Seth is sent to Kill Galivar, the king of the Alethi people and brother of Dalinar, which he succeeds in. The Parshendi take credit for the assassination, and the Alethi wage war on them, starting the War of Reckoning.

After his brother’s death we read the story from the perspective of Dalinar, who read Galivar’s final message; to read a book titled The Way of Kings, in which he starts questioning the Alethi way of life and their political beliefs. He also begins having very vivid visions, where he remembers and interacts with Knights Radiant from thousands of years ago, which makes him doubt the stories that have been passed down for generations about the Knights.

Amongst chapters from the perspective of Dalinar, we get a few from his son Andolin, who struggles to accept his father’s change of heart. Though he doesn’t outwardly state it, he is constantly in doubt of whether or not the man he has respected and looked up to, his father, is truly going mad and seeing things.

Meanwhile, Kaladin, a darkeyed (basically the lower class) peasant with a burning hatred for lighters (basically nobles) has trained with his father to become a surgeon before volunteering to go to war for his local lord. He did this so that his younger brother would not die in battle, but Kaladin ultimately fails.

Kaladin uses this pain to grow stronger, and even defeats an enemy Shardbearer singlehandedly. Kaladin rejects his spoils of war; the blade and plate, as they are taken by his lord. Kaladin is branded and sold into slavery to hide the truth of the events.

Now a slave, Kaladin is forced to serve as a Bridgman in the war in the Shattered Plains. Basically his role is to run in the front lines carrying a giant bridge with the rest of his squad so that cavalry men can ride across large chasms. Bridgemen are easy targets for Parshendi archers.

Over time, Kaladin and his soldiers train to become a more coherent unit, and eventually a pseudo-family, which gives Kaladin a will to live.

After teaching his men to use the bridge as a shield, Kaladin ruins one of the raids and is punished by being left out during a Highstorm, basically a death sentence. He survives by unknowingly absorbing the energy from the spheres he is holding, and he begins to learn to control his power to save his men from the life of a bridgeman.

Across an ocean, Shallan, a minor lighter, plans a daring plot to switch her family’s broken soul caster with one belonging to Jasnah Knohlin, niece to Dalinar. After a few rejections, Shallan eventually becomes her pupil and uses struggles to come to terms with what she must do because of her relationship with Jasnah and her love of her new life.

Things get more complicated when Shallan is unable to use the soul caster, until one day she accidentally turns a goblet into blood just as Jasnah walks into the room. Shallan tries to hide this by masking her own suicide, but realizes that Jasna’s stone is unable to soul cast, and Jasnah has the ability to souldcast on her own.

Jasnah begins instructing Shallan in the skills of soul casting, and the two prepare to travel to the Shattered Plains to meet with her uncle Dalinar and discuss the origins of the Knights Radiant and their war with the Voidbrigners.

Obviously there is more to the story than just the above summary, but I think these cover most of the major plot points.

What do you think of this type of post? Let me know in the comments if you want me to summarize other books, and make sure to follow me on social media!
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