The Way of Kings – (my) problems with prose

As I said I expected to have some problems with the prose and need to adjust to it. Hopefully enough so that I don’t focus on just nitpicking.

I was discussing especially that I dislike infodumps that are out the context of the PoV character and written solely to fill in the reader. Directly writer to reader without characters as filters.

Here’s an example from the Prologue:

He hit the ground in the midst of the soldiers. Completely surrounded, but holding a Shardblade.
According to legend, the Shardblades were first carried by the Knights Radiant uncounted ages ago. Gifts of their god, granted to allow them to fight horrors of rock and flame, dozens of feet tall, foes whose eyes burned with hatred. The Voidbringers. When your foe had skin as hard as stone itself, steel was useless. Something supernatural was required.
Szeth rose from his crouch, loose white clothes rippling […]

Extraneous info dumped by an omniscient narrator solely for the reader and unrelated to the PoV or context. Between one step and the other. Right in the middle of an action scene.

It’s an obvious choice of style and the whole Prologue is written like that.

Other things I have to digest are the insane number of compounded words, as already pointed out, and some redundancy of prose. Like:

As always, the Shardblade killed oddly; though it cut easily through stone, steel, or anything inanimate […]

Turn two pages:

The rock sliced easily; a Shardblade could cut any inanimate object.

Turn another page:

When your foe had skin as hard as stone itself, steel was useless. Something supernatural was required.

And it even ends with a rather weird and clunky – yet again seemingly off context – consideration:

When one killed with a Blade, there was no blood. That seemed like a sign. The Shardblade was just a tool; it could be not be blamed for the murders.

I also noticed a repetition of expression:

pag. 27
as he approached, small fearspren – shaped like globs of purple goo – began to wriggle from the masonry, pointing toward the doorway.

pag. 38
Small fearspren – like globs of purplish goo – began to climb up out of the ground and gather around his feet.

Not just same description, but also a repetition of the structure of the sentence.

I guess the redundancy helps the accessibility as the reader is expected to absorb various notions that are specific to this fantasy world. The same infodump style was used even for the description of the magic system, which produced some cinematic scenes. Feels quite like wuxia, or wire-fu. With the hero flying around like in those Chinese movies, only through the use of gravity manipulation rather than great leaping skills. A system that made me question a bit its “logic” since it’s unclear whether it works on area of effect or is somewhat selective.

That said the action moves felt a bit formulaic and repetitive. The scene also ends because of what I consider very dumb choices that in the text were defined “clever”.

EDIT: Worth updating. I’m now further into the book and for all the issues I had with the prologue it seems that I don’t have anything bad worth quoting for the rest. Either the writing suddenly “improved” or I got interested more in the flow of the story and less in nitpicking the style of prose. I haven’t noticed anything else that is odd and characters, albeit not exactly wildly original, are already claiming their space. I suspect this book reads very easily and quickly despite its bulk.

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