It's not a bad book. Unfortunately it's not a very good book either.
Let me elaborate on that (slight spoilers):
The confusion starts from the beginning, where in the first 50 pages we get a prelude, a prologue and a first chapter all from different points of view and set in different points of the past. The first chapter is actually there only to introduce the main character, Kaladin, while everyone else is killed.
The switch in POV goes on for the rest of the book, and we rarely get two chapters in a row seen by the same person. They're not actually in rotation though, so one of the main characters might disappear for hundreds of pages at a time, while another hogs half the book. Some chapters, called interludes, are dedicated to characters and locations which do not appear again and are simply hooks for the sequels, making this already long book even longer.
The world building is detailed as usual and the magic systems are interesting (though Sanderson is going a bit overkill in this one) but the book is very long winded and takes forever to get anywhere.
Kaladin's story is the largest and unfortunately also the least interesting. It's the classic emo (sorry, anti-hero) story where a good soldier down on his luck (he's been made a slave and put into the worst job ever) thinks that he's been cursed because he survives when everyone dies, and the universe keeps throwing stuff at him just for the hell of it, and we also get a healthy dose of flashbacks of his emo youth just to pile on it (no, really, he actually has a Saint Seiya moment where he has a chapter-long flashback while in the middle of battle). It's the kind of character that you can't dislike even when you hate him, because it would be like kicking a wet puppy.
Guess what? He's actually (view spoiler). This wouldn't be bad if not for the fact that we realize this about 500 pages before him.
The second longest story is about brightlord Dalinar Kholin, brother of the king who died at the beginning, and who is plagued by visions every time the Storms hit. Combined with his following of ancient codes of combat, as a last request from his brother, this means everyone starts to think of him as crazy or a coward, while he's actually the only one who has any real interest in winning the war and the good of his nation as a whole.
This is the best part of the book: all the characters are well developed or at least well sketched, we discover things along with a protagonist we care about, it's the bit with the most world building, and the plot doesn't drag along but is actually well paced.
The third story is about a girl named Shallan, who seeks place as the ward of Jasnah, a famous scholar and historian, in order to steal a powerful artefact. This part has enormous potential, as Shallan is a sheltered girl with a lot of growing up to do who is thrust into something much bigger than she anticipated, and Jasnah is a very strong and complex character that makes for her polar opposite. Unfortunately Shallan's bit is cut short, as she only appears in a handful of chapters. It seems she is going to feature more in Book 2, but I would've liked to have a lot less Kaladin and a lot more of her in this one.
All this would've normally got a 3 or 4 stars from me, but the last few chapters make it clear that all of this was nothing more than an enormous prologue for what seems to be a series of at least 10 similarly-sized books. Yes, there is a bit of closure, but not enough to make the book stand completely on his own (like, say, Fairyland or Wizard's First Rule do). Sanderson might be a gifted author but 1000 pages just to put the pieces down on the board is really too much....Continua