It's been a long time since I've read a great big fantasy epic. I read Sanderson's Mistborn
trilogy, which I liked, but not without some irritation. And this is supposed to be book one of a ten
Well, I guess I'll be waiting for the next nine books to come along, because while this was not a perfect book, it was what a fantasy epic should be, which is entertaining and original from start to finish. It's got all the hallmarks of epic fantasy -- gods, heroes, villains, powerful magic, ancient artifacts, political intrigue, kingdoms rising and falling, prophecies and visions and End Times a' comin'... but Sanderson has actually created an original world that does not feel in any way Tolkienesque, nor does it resemble your usual vaguely medieval European fantasy setting. He's designed everything about his world in immense detail, and it's about as alien as can be while still hosting a recognizably human civilization.
It's a great (though very long) read. The characters are all likable (even some of the villains). My complaints are that there was too much filler, including some minor characters who got one single chapter each, and I have no idea if they're meant to be recurring characters, and that (as is the nature of big epic fantasies) Sanderson left a lot hanging at the end of this book, and I suppose this will continue in each succeeding volume. There is also something just a little too orderly and planned about his magic and cosmology, the trait of an author who has spent a lot of time playing RPGs and thinks in terms of rules and "magic systems." But this didn't take away from the high fantasy feel and some people probably prefer that kind of "logical" fantasy world, as opposed to a more mythic one where the powers and beings are more nebulous and undefined. By the end of this book, we have a pretty good idea of the "rules" of the world, but I expect a lot of new stuff to pop up in book two.
So, read this if you love big epic fantasy novels and are willing to become invested in a story that's only just getting started after a thousand pages.