Warbreaker Review

By | April 6, 2010

by Brandon Sanderson

Jakob’s Goodreads Rating: (5) of 5 Stars – “It was amazing”
Recommended for: Fantasy Readers

Book description:

Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.

Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.

By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.

I have to be honest up front, I am doing this review with a bit of a bias. I knew I would love Warbreaker for a few reasons. First being, I like other works by the author. Also, the author released the book in free ebook format, so I had already read the first 3-4 chapters. I decided to wait to finish till I got my hands on a copy and could enjoy the book at home.

Brandon Sanderson held a signing in Minneapolis, MN (Blog post here) that I was able to attend. To support the bookstore I finally picked up Warbreaker there. Hearing Brandon explain some of the things he tried to do with the book made me watch for certain things while I was reading it that perhaps I might not have picked up on before. Brandon and his editor (Moshe Feder) both said they worked on humor in this book. While I don’t think Brandon has done bad on this in the past, it does work well in the book.

As the description states the book centers around two sisters. Both sisters grow and change through the novel in ways that we can enjoy and remain believable. Religion and faith have a big role in this novel. I don’t know if this was the intent, but how we view other religions (or different denominations of the same religion) hit some interesting notes with me as well.

You see, the princesses come from Idris, one of which is married to the Godking of Hallandren. Hallandren has a full pantheon of Gods who live there and are called “returned.” Neither religion likes the other, yet as we read Warbreaker we learn that much is misunderstood about each other. I really liked the character Lightsong who often questioned his own religion – the one he is a god in.

The magic system in this novel is intricately tied into the religions and has a lot to do with why the different denominations are at odds. It takes a bit getting used to, but as the reader settles into the world it gets more and more natural.

Warbreaker I would recommend to any fantasy reader in its own right, though other Sanderson books are worth checking out as well.

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