It took me a couple of pages to appreciate this book but how appreciated it in the end!
This first book promises a lot for what is to come - I sincerely hope Sanderson will invent some kind of fast-writing device so we don't have to wait for the other books much longer.
About the story itself:
The characters and the world Roshar are very nicely crafted and detailed without getting into too much of detail, keeping the number of main characters low but allowing to render them so much more nicely than Sanderson could otherwise (at least if you compare it with books with an enormous amount of characters such as [b:The Malazan Book of the Fallen|55401|Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2)|Steven Erikson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1316126263s/55401.jpg|3898716]). The world Roshar faintly reminded me of [a:Peter V. Brett|1405152|Peter V. Brett|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1265682778p2/1405152.jpg]'s Daylight War and a bit of [a:Robert Jordan|6252|Robert Jordan|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1175475715p2/6252.jpg]'s [b:The Wheel of Time|228665|The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1)|Robert Jordan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1337818095s/228665.jpg|2008238] (well latter's influence is quite easily explained after all Sanderson finished writing this series of books) but the further I got reading the more I realized that it's not just a mixture of other books but has an underlying system of it's own right.
There is enough of bad stuff happening to likable characters to make it realistic but luckily Sanderson doesn't kill his characters off as [a:George R.R. Martin|346732|George R.R. Martin|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1351944410p2/346732.jpg] does, as I grew rather attached to many of them.
You don't really know too much about the characters at first and gradually find out more and more about what drives them to do what they do via flashbacks. The same is true for entire Roshar as well. While many seem to know that there is some distant (?) danger only few have more concrete ideas and even those are being developed as the book goes on, granting you more and more knowledge as you go on but never more than the characters have combined. This really made me read on because I was constantly hoping that one of them would make another revelation that might explain some of the confusing ways Roshar worked.
The only critique I might have is that a certain ability sets some characters a bit far above the regular citizen or soldiers making them nearly invincible but who knows what will eventually be thrown against them. The last chapter certainly offers a very promising cliff hanger.
Phew it's rather hard to write a review without spoilers, anyway I'd recommend this book to anyone who has a liking for high fantasy or even to those new to the genre. I spent 10 hours reading until I was too tired to hold my kindle anymore and if that isn't an indicator for a good book I don't know what is!