From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, 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.
Other Tor books by Brandon Sanderson
The Stormlight Archive
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
The Mistborn trilogy
Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
Mistborn: The Wax and Wayne series
Alloy of Law
Shadows of Self
Bands of Mourning
Other Cosmere novels
The Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
The Scrivener's Bones
The Knights of Crystallia
The Shattered Lens
The Dark Talent
The Rithmatist series
Other books by Brandon Sanderson
|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||4.00(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Brandon Sanderson grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He lives in Utah with his wife and children and teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. He is the author of such bestsellers as the Mistborn® trilogy and its sequels, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, and The Bands of Mourning; the Stormlight Archive novels The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance; and other novels, including The Rithmatist and Steelheart. In 2013, he won a Hugo Award for Best Novella for The Emperor's Soul, set in the world of his acclaimed first novel, Elantris. Additionally, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time® sequence. For behind-the-scenes information on all of Brandon Sanderson's books, visit brandonsanderson.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Brandon Sanderson, Moshe Feder
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2009 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC
All rights reserved.
Annotations to Chapter One
There were great advantages to being unimportant.
True, by many people's standards, Siri wasn't "unimportant." She was, after all, the daughter of a king. Fortunately, her father had four living children, and Siri—at seventeen years of age—was the youngest. Fafen, the daughter just older than Siri, had done the family duty and become a monk. Above Fafen was Ridger, the eldest son. He would inherit the throne.
And then there was Vivenna. Siri sighed as she walked down the path back to the city. Vivenna, the firstborn, was ... well ... Vivenna. Beautiful, poised, perfect in most every way. It was a good thing, too, considering the fact that she was betrothed to a god. Either way, Siri—as fourth child—was redundant. Vivenna and Ridger had to focus on their studies; Fafen had to do her work in the pastures and homes. Siri, however, could get away with being unimportant. That meant she could disappear into the wilderness for hours at a time.
People would notice, of course, and she would get into trouble. Yet even her father would have to admit that her disappearance hadn't caused much inconvenience. The city got along just fine without Siri—in fact, it tended to do a little better when she wasn't around.
Unimportance. To another, it might have been offensive. To Siri it was a blessing.
She smiled, walking into the city proper. She drew the inevitable stares. While Bevalis was technically the capital of Idris, it wasn't that big, and everyone knew her by sight. Judging by the stories Siri had heard from passing ramblemen, her home was hardly even a village compared with the massive metropolises in other nations.
She liked it the way it was, even with the muddy streets, the thatched cottages, and the boring—yet sturdy—stone walls. Women chasing runaway geese, men pulling donkeys laden with spring seed, and children leading sheep on their way to pasture. A grand city in Xaka, Hudres, or even terrible Hallandren might have exotic sights, but it would be crowded with faceless, shouting, jostling crowds, and haughty noblemen. Not Siri's preference; she generally found even Bevalis to be a bit busy for her.
Still, she thought, looking down at her utilitarian grey dress, I'll bet those cities have more colors. That's something I might like to see.
Her hair wouldn't stand out so much there. As usual, the long locks had gone blond with joy while she'd been out in the fields. She concentrated, trying to rein them in, but she was only able to bring the color to a dull brown. As soon as she stopped focusing, her hair just went back to the way it had been. She'd never been very good at controlling it. Not like Vivenna.
As she continued through the town, a group of small figures began trailing her. She smiled, pretending to ignore the children until one of them was brave enough to run forward and tug on her dress. Then she turned, smiling. They regarded her with solemn faces. Idris children were trained even at this age to avoid shameful outbursts of emotion. Austrin teachings said there was nothing wrong with feelings, but drawing attention to yourself with them was wrong.
Siri had never been very devout. It wasn't her fault, she reasoned, if Austre had made her with a distinct inability to obey. The children waited patiently until Siri reached into her apron and pulled out a couple of brightly colored flowers. The children's eyes opened wide, gazing at the vibrant colors. Three of the flowers were blue, one yellow.
The flowers stood out starkly against the town's determined drabness. Other than what one could find in the skin and eyes of the people, there wasn't a drop of color in sight. Stones had been whitewashed, clothing bleached grey or tan. All to keep the color away.
For without color, there could be no Awakeners.
The girl who had tugged Siri's skirt finally took the flowers in one hand and dashed away with them, the other children following behind. Siri caught a look of disproval in the eyes of several passing villagers. None of them confronted her, though. Being a princess—even an unimportant one—did have its perks.
She continued on toward the palace. It was a low, single-story building with a large, packed-earth courtyard. Siri avoided the crowds of haggling people at the front, rounding to the back and going in the kitchen entrance. Mab, the kitchen mistress, stopped singing as the door opened, then eyed Siri.
"Your father's been looking for you, child," Mab said, turning away and humming as she attacked a pile of onions.
"I suspect that he has." Siri walked over and sniffed at a pot, which bore the calm scent of boiling potatoes.
"Went to the hills again, didn't you? Skipped your tutorial sessions, I'll bet."
Siri smiled, then pulled out another of the bright yellow flowers, spinning it between two fingers.
Mab rolled her eyes. "And been corrupting the city youth again, I suspect. Honestly, girl, you should be beyond these things at your age. Your father will have words with you about shirking your responsibilities."
"I like words," Siri said. "And I always learn a few new ones when Father gets angry. I shouldn't neglect my education, now should I?"
Mab snorted, dicing some pickled cucumbers into the onions.
"Honestly, Mab," Siri said, twirling the flower, feeling her hair shade a little bit red. "I don't see what the problem is. Austre made the flowers, right? He put the colors on them, so they can't be evil. I mean, we call him God of Colors, for heaven's sake."
"Flowers ain't evil," Mab said, adding something that looked like grass to her concoction, "assuming they're left where Austre put them. We shouldn't use Austre's beauty to make ourselves more important."
"A flower doesn't make me look more important."
"Oh?" Mab asked, adding the grass, cucumber, and onions to one of her boiling pots. She banged the side of the pot with the flat of her knife, listening, then nodded to herself and began fishing under the counter for more vegetables. "You tell me," she continued, voice muffled. "You really think walking through the city with a flower like that didn't draw attention to yourself?"
"That's only because the city is so drab. If there were a bit of color around, nobody would notice a flower."
Mab reappeared, hefting a box filled with various tubers. "You'd have us decorate the place like Hallandren? Maybe we should start inviting Awakeners into the city? How'd you like that? Some devil sucking the souls out of children, strangling people with their own clothing? Bringing men back from the grave, then using their dead bodies for cheap labor? Sacrificing women on their unholy altars?"
Siri felt her hair whiten slightly with anxiety. Stop that! she thought. The hair seemed to have a mind of its own, responding to gut feelings.
"That sacrificing-maidens part is only a story," Siri said. "They don't really do that."
"Stories come from somewhere."
"Yes, they come from old women sitting by the hearth in the winter. I don't think we need to be so frightened. The Hallandren will do what they want, which is fine by me, as long as they leave us alone."
Mab chopped tubers, not looking up.
"We've got the treaty, Mab," Siri said. "Father and Vivenna will make sure we're safe, and that will make the Hallandren leave us alone."
"And if they don't?"
"They will. You don't need to worry."
"They have better armies," Mab said, chopping, not looking up, "better steel, more food, and those ... those things. It makes people worry. Maybe not you, but sensible folk."
The cook's words were hard to dismiss out of hand. Mab had a sense, a wisdom beyond her instinct for spices and broths. However, she also tended to fret. "You're worrying about nothing, Mab. You'll see."
"I'm just saying that this is a bad time for a royal princess to be running around with flowers, standin' out and inviting Austre's dislike."
Siri sighed. "fine, then," she said, tossing her last flower into the stewpot. "Now we can all stand out together."
Mab froze, then rolled her eyes, chopping a root. "I assume that was a vanavel flower?"
"Of course," Siri said, sniffing at the steaming pot. "I know better than to ruin a good stew. And I still say you're overreacting."
Mab sniffed. "Here," she said, pulling out another knife. "Make yourself useful. There's roots that need choppin'."
"Shouldn't I report to my father?" Siri said, grabbing a gnarled vanavel root and beginning to chop.
"He'll just send you back here and make you work in the kitchens as a punishment," Mab said, banging the pot with her knife again. She firmly believed that she could judge when a dish was done by the way the pot rang.
"Austre help me if Father ever discovers I like it down here."
"You just like being close to the food," Mab said, fishing Siri's flower out of the stew then tossing it aside. "Either way, you can't report to him. He's in conference with Yarda."
Siri gave no reaction—she simply continued to chop. Her hair, however, grew blond with excitement. Father's conferences with Yarda usually last hours, she thought. Not much point in simply sitting around, waiting for him to get done ...
Mab turned to get something off the table, and by the time she looked back, Siri had bolted out the door and was on her way toward the royal stables. Bare minutes later, she galloped away from the palace, wearing her favorite brown cloak, feeling an exhilarated thrill that sent her hair into a deep blond. A nice quick ride would be a good way to round out the day.
After all, her punishment was likely to be the same either way.
* * *
Dedelin, king of Idris, set the letter down on his desk. He had stared at it long enough. It was time to decide whether or not to send his eldest daughter to her death.
Despite the advent of spring, his chamber was cold. Warmth was a rare thing in the Idris highlands; it was coveted and enjoyed, for it lingered only briefly each summer. The chambers were also stark. There was a beauty in simplicity. Even a king had no right to display arrogance by ostentation.
Dedelin stood up, looking out his window and into the courtyard. The palace was small by the world's standards—only a single story high, with a peaked wooden roof and squat stone walls. But it was large by Idris standards, and it bordered on flamboyant. This could be forgiven, for the palace was also a meeting hall and center of operations for his entire kingdom.
The king could see General Yarda out of the corner of his eye. The burly man stood waiting, his hands clasped behind his back, his thick beard tied in three places. He was the only other person in the room.
Dedelin glanced back at the letter. The paper was a bright pink, and the garish color stood out on his desk like a drop of blood in the snow. Pink was a color one would never see in Idris. In Hallandren, however—center of the world's dye industry—such tasteless hues were commonplace.
"Well, old friend?" Dedelin asked. "Do you have any advice for me?"
General Yarda shook his head. "War is coming, Your Majesty. I feel it in the winds and read it in the reports of our spies. Hallandren still considers us rebels, and our passes to the north are too tempting. They will attack."
"Then I shouldn't send her," Dedelin said, looking back out his window. The courtyard bustled with people in furs and cloaks coming to market.
"We can't stop the war, Your Majesty," Yarda said. "But ... we can slow it."
Dedelin turned back.
Yarda stepped forward, speaking softly. "This is not a good time. Our troops still haven't recovered from those Vendis raids last fall, and with the fires in the granary this winter ..." Yarda shook his head. "We cannot afford to get into a defensive war in the summer. Our best ally against the Hallandren are the snows. We can't let this conflict occur on their terms. If we do, we are dead."
The words all made sense.
"Your Majesty," Yarda said, "they are waiting for us to break the treaty as an excuse to attack. If we move first, they will strike."
"If we keep the treaty, they will still strike," Dedelin said.
"But later. Perhaps months later. You know how slow Hallandren politics are. If we keep the treaty, there will be debates and arguments. If those last until the snows, then we will have gained the time we need so badly."
It all made sense. Brutal, honest sense. All these years, Dedelin had stalled and watched as the Hallandren court grew more and more aggressive, more and more agitated. Every year, voices called for an assault on the "rebel Idrians" living up in the highlands. Every year, those voices grew louder and more plentiful. Every year, Dedelin's placating and politics kept the armies away. He had hoped, perhaps, that the rebel leader Vahr and his Pahn Kahl dissidents would draw attention away from Idris, but Vahr had been captured, his so-called army dispersed. His actions had only served to make Hallandren more focused on its enemies.
The peace would not last. Not with Idris ripe, not with the trade routes worth so much. Not with the current crop of Hallandren gods, who seemed so much more erratic than their predecessors. He knew all of that. But he also knew that breaking the treaty would be foolish. When you were cast into the den of a beast, you did not provoke it to anger.
Yarda joined him beside the window, looking out, leaning one elbow against the side of the frame. He was a harsh man born of harsh winters. But he was also as good a man as Dedelin had ever known—a part of the king longed to marry Vivenna to the general's own son.
That was foolishness. Dedelin had always known this day would come. He'd crafted the treaty himself, and it demanded he send his daughter to marry the God King. The Hallandren needed a daughter of the royal blood to reintroduce the traditional bloodline into their monarchy. It was something the depraved and vainglorious people of the lowlands had long coveted, and only that specific clause in the treaty had saved Idris these twenty years.
That treaty had been the first official act of Dedelin's reign, negotiated furiously following his father's assassination. Dedelin gritted his teeth. How quickly he'd bowed before the whims of his enemies. Yet he would do it again; an Idris monarch would do anything for his people. That was one big difference between Idris and Hallandren.
"If we send her, Yarda," Dedelin said, "we send her to her death."
"Maybe they won't harm her," Yarda finally said.
"You know better than that. The first thing they'll do when war comes is use her against me. This is Hallandren. They invite Awakeners into their palaces, for Austre's sake!"
Yarda fell silent. finally, he shook his head. "Latest reports say their army has grown to include some forty thousand Lifeless."
Lord God of Colors, Dedelin thought, glancing at the letter again. Its language was simple. Vivenna's twenty-second birthday had come, and the terms of the treaty stipulated that Dedelin could wait no longer.
"Sending Vivenna is a poor plan, but it's our only plan," Yarda said. "With more time, I know I can bring the Tedradel to our cause—they've hated Hallandren since the Manywar. And perhaps I can find a way to rile Vahr's broken rebel faction in Hallandren itself. At the very least, we can build, gather supplies, live another year." Yarda turned to him. "If we don't send the Hallandren their princess, the war will be seen as our fault. Who will support us? They will demand to know why we refused to follow the treaty our own king wrote!"
"And if we do send them Vivenna, it will introduce the royal blood into their monarchy, and that will have an even more legitimate claim on the highlands!"
"Perhaps," Yarda said. "But if we both know they're going to attack anyway, then what do we care about their claim? At least this way, perhaps they will wait until an heir is born before the assault comes."
More time. The general always asked for more time. But what about when that time came at the cost of Dedelin's own child?
Yarda wouldn't hesitate to send one soldier to die if it would mean time enough to get the rest of his troops into better position to attack, Dedelin thought. We are Idris. How can I ask anything less of my daughter than I'd demand of one of my troops?
It was just that thinking of Vivenna in the God King's arms, being forced to bear that creature's child ... it nearly made his hair bleach with concern. That child would become a stillborn monster who would become the next Returned god of the Hallandren.
Excerpted from Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, Moshe Feder. Copyright © 2009 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Brandon Sanderson is hardly a rookie author. Having read Elantris and all of Mistborn, I came to the table expecting an enjoyable read out of Warbreaker. Still, I was blown away. Though a little apprehensive about reading it all on a computer screen, I was board while traveling for work, so I downloaded it. I couldn't stop reading. I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning because the book was so engaging. The story was excellently told, and the comic relief was spot on. Warbreaker is much better than Elantris and Mistborn in every way (except, perhaps, the magic system; alomancy is too cool). While I appreciate Sanderson's motives in writing stand alone epic fantasy, I hope that he reneges. I would be thrilled to see another novel set in the Warbreaker world. If Sanderson keeps improving at this rate, he will become the benchmark over and beyond Tolkien, Jordan or any other author you care to mention. Even though I've already read the free downloadable version off of Sanderson's website, I will definitely order a hardback for my personal library.
Brandon Sanderson has once again proven that he is one of the modern masters of fantasy with this stand alone novel, Warbreaker. Novels such as this, Elantris, and the Mistborn trilogy prove to me that he was the perfect author to take over the helm for Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Just like in his other novels, the story, background, and characters are all very original, and very colorful. In fact, in Warbreaker, colors serve as the basis for divine powers. It seems to me that Brandon Sanderson must have a little notebook of amazingly original ideas that he then uses to flesh out a whole new universe with such deoth that you could actually believe that you are there. This story, with it's love, betrayals, deep characters, and beautifully detailed setting, is one of my favorites. I honestly hope that there are more stories set in this glorious setting in the future. Maybe even as much as I want to some set in Elantris, or in the land of the Mistborn...
Though he is loathed to do so, King Dedelin of Idris must adhere to the treaty signed ages ago in which he is required to send his daughter to marry the God King of Hallandren; as he cannot renege since Susebron's kingdom is so much more powerful than his. However, the agreement is not specific as to which daughter he sends so he decides to go with his younger one, seventeen year old tomboy Siri rather than the apple of his eye, lovely Vivenna.--------------------- Upon arrival at her new home, Siri is shocked by the intrigue and backstabbing of her fiancé's retinue; especially those allegedly loyal to the monarch. Spies are everywhere. Meanwhile, Vivenna runs away from home to save her sister from a fate she believes is worse than death. She joins a band of Idrian travelers and begins to learn to control her magical skills. At the same time back from the dead hero Lightsong wonders what the Returned Gods commanding Hallandren's army of zombies want from King Susebron.------------------ Known for his Mistborn saga, Brandon Sanderson provides a superb stand alone character driven fantasy. The story line is action packed from the moment the courageous Vivenna sets out to save her younger sister Siri and never decelerates. Yet with that fast pace, several great twists, and plenty of adventures, the cast makes the tale super as monarchs, reanimated dead, returning Gods all learn to never judge a book solely by its cover; because if so Vivenna would have stayed girly girl inside her daddy's castle. Hopefully Mr. Sanderson provides more tales in this interesting realm.------------ Harriet Klausner
This an excellent book! The humor of the mercenaries was excellent. The wonderful Siri, who overcomes the antics of the court & claims her husband. Her sister Vivenna, who learns that not everything is black & white. The ending brought tears to my eyes. Lightsong made the greatest sacrifice. Check out other books by Mr. Sanderson, they are quite brilliant!
This book is and eye opener and a resounding success. It is about two countries and their history and antagonism. The main characters are two princesses from one country and the gods of the other country. This is an utterly engaging complex story. It is rich in detail, plot, and character development. It challenges the characters about their culture, belief structure, religion, and explores people pushed well beyond their comfort zone. I intend on reading other books by Brandon Sanderson and will recommend this book to mid-teens and older. This book can provide scintillating discussions on the book itself or on the questions it asks about people and their situations. I had a hard time putting this book down.
This really was a great book. It got me hooked almost right away. I could hardly put it down until I finished it. The characters where great. I particularly liked Lightsong and his humor. The imagery was also fantastic, with every scene cooming alive with vivd colors. My only gripe, minor as it may be, is that the ending was fairly open for what is billed as a stand-alone novel.
Since the publication of "Elantris" in 2005, Brandon Sanderson has quickly become a shining beacon in the world of epic fantasy. Mr. Sanderson can create a deeply detailed world that carries along a series-long plot (see the Mistborn trilogy), or more impressively, can create a gripping whirlwind of a stand alone novel (see Elantris and Warbreaker). The stand alone novel is becoming a rare find in the world of epic fantasy; and the quality has followed the same downward trend as the quantity. I rejoiced in the arrival of Mr. Sanderson on the stage of fantasy writing and hope he continues to write superb stand alone novels for years to come. This newest novel, Warbreaker, continues Sanderson's commitment to exploring new and exciting magic systems. Come lose yourself in the political intriuge and magical schemings of a world where any person can sell their "Breath" or could die and be reborn a God. Follow the adventures of Siri and Vivenna as they travel to the unholy city of Hallendren only to find new perspectives on life, duty, and the meaning of good and evil.
- This book has some great plot twists, the end is almost imposible to guess at and the book will leave you thinking. - Another of Brandon Sanderson's unique "magic" system comes into full light here. A very interesting system that begs you to understand it.
Brian write another great series. He is able to take magic and fantasy and bring it to an entire new level. The twist plots and in-dept characters make you not want to put the book down.
Excellent read. Great plot, great characters. A real page turner. Loved the story line and all the characters, especially Lighttouch and BlushWeaver. Could not put the book down. Brandon Sanderson has really out done himself with "Warbreaker" I recommend it not only to Fantasy readers but to all readers.
Brandon Sanderson is quickly cementing himself as the one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time, and he is still very young. He continues to create fresh ideas that are always pushing the fold. This book in particular was very difficult to put down. You will find yourself reading right through it very quickly. Sanderson always brings the whole package. You will not be disappointed.
4.5? 4.75? I don't know. It was spectacular either way, but is anyone surprised? This is Brandon Sanderson. I would have liked a little more from the ending, especially given the information we learn. I hear there is going to be a sequel, so hopefully, the unanswered questions will be explored there. Vivenna's chapters were my favorite and they got even better after a certain turn of events.
I want more ... not much more to say.
Magic, politics, religion, love, trust and betrayal combine in a monumental scope in Brandon Sanderson's fantasy epic Warbreaker. The story is complex and exciting filled with unpredictable twists and turns and peppered with well-drawn characters. The heroes and villains were equally enchanting - and the distinction between them often blurred - and as the narrative switched between the multiple subplots a riveting story was woven together. Sanderson's world-building is phenomenal. The rich layers of detail about the neighboring kingdoms and the incredible theory of magic involved with BioChromatic breath, Awakening, and the Returned were seamlessly blended into the story. Each new facet of the setting was introduced subtly, leaving the reader with a sense of discovery rather than a displeasing "info-dump".From the opening chapters to the dramatic climax, Warbreaker was a spell-binding tale. The ending offered a satisfying conclusion with just enough of an open door to leave readers with their fingers crossed that perhaps a future book will return them to this marvelous world. Although this was the first book I have read by Brandon Sanderson, it most certainly will not be the last.
Warbreaker takes several ideas found in Sanderson's first novel Elantris - arranged marriage, a religion in which the gods are physically present (and furthermore, were once mere mortals) - and explores them in quite a different way.
The treaty between Hallandren and Idris, the remnants of Hallandren's former royal family, demands a marriage between Hallandren's Returned God King and the King of Idris' daughter. Vivenna has been training for this marriage all her life, but at the last minute her father decides to send her rebellious younger sister, Siri, instead. As Siri is forced into an unwelcome marriage, Vivenna finds herself suddenly purposeless. She runs away to Hallandren's capital to make contact with her father's spies, hoping for a chance to rescue her sister - and prevent a war. If she can.
Lightsong is one of the Returned, and the god of bravery. (Returned have supposedly died with honour and are returned to life as immortals with a powerful BioChromatic breath - more on that later; they're treated as gods). He is much more interested in picking holes in his religion's theology and being generally lazy than involving himself in politics. But as the political climate intensifies and Lightsong begins to piece together more clues as to his former, mortal life, he finds his disinterest hard to maintain
Imminent and disastrous war threatens between Hallandren and Idris, and the enigmatic and powerful Vasher and his sentient sword are on the prowl. Sanderson does original epic fantasy really, really well - the characters are convincing and enjoyable, the magic system is original and complex, the plot captivating with unexpected twists and interesting mysteries to unravel, and a nice balance between humour, reflection (thought-provoking-ness) and suspense. I could remember most of the main plot points, a few details and not much more, yet I still found it very difficult to put down! The magic system may be complicated, but it is vividly explained - if you are in the dark, it is because certain characters are as well and you are sharing in their confusion. It is also remarkably very different to anything else I've encountered, especially its link to colour. (Each person is born with one BioChromatic breath and it is possible to give it away, or gain more. Breath can be used to Awaken inanimate objects and give them Commands - the more breath someone has, the greater power they have as an Awakener. Awakening also requires something to drain colour from. Increased breath grants other abilities, amongst them perfect pitch and perfect colour recognition. It's all called the Iridescent Tones and I'm not an expert on it all.) The world-building, too, is really well handled and well-written - there is something colourful and vivid to it. The changes in points of view are equally well managed. Characters are strong and delightful, with convincing flaws and shades of grey. They have complex motivations and are generally not who they first appear to be. First time of reading, I was drawn in by Siri's, and then Vivenna's stories - both of which are emotional and involve a lot of tension and growing up. The second time I read this, I found myself really enjoying reading about Lightsong. There are other humorous moments, but Lightsong is constantly making jokes. He's sarcastic and witty, and keeps trying to challenge everything. The result is a likable, funny character who doesn't feel at all stereotypical.Still, I have to say, I have a strange attachment to Vasher's sentient sword. Nightblood gets less time than anyone else and likes killing people a lot, but has an amusing, child-like character. And Vasher is really intriguing... Warbreaker raises a lot of interesting thoughts, about religion and faith, morals and ethics, responsibility and action versus inaction, humility and hypocrisy. And it raises questions for discussion in a thought-provoking manner, rather than throwing its own conc
Sanderson's world is quite distinctive and colorful (pun intended), and his political intrigue was inspired - I didn't see it at all. But the climax and resolution were so abrupt. It's like he realized that he had under 100 pages to end the book and rushed to fit in as much as he could. There are some lingering resolutions especially concerning the Hallandren gods, does Susebron continue to rule or is the other path mentioned in the book (no spoilers here) taken? Also, the ending open to a sequel with Vivenna and Vasher was a little cheesy.
Warbreaker is a large stand-alone fantasy novel with sequel potential. In it, Brandon Sanderson did what he does best: created a magic system that provides mystery and depth to character interactions.Having read the Mistborn trilogy, it was nice to see some twists on the themes he developed. In particular, the details about this world's Lord Ruler equivalent are quite unexpected.Like the Mistborn magic system, the Warbreaker mythos has one source of power that can be accessed in various ways which have been discovered by various cultures. This allows Sanderson to play with ideas about religion and multiple routes to the divine.While the mystery and the magic system were excellent, the political posturing felt a little too simplistic. Nations don't behave in such predictable fashions. That said, I'll still read the sequel.
This is a solid, well-crafted fantasy novel that will sate your desire for a unique, sensible magic system, and a good, action-driven story. And this review will sate your desire for too many commas in the first sentence and those following. Hmm. Well, nevertheless, I'm not going to edit them, and I do recommend this book.Sanderson has a gift for creating unique magic systems that are based around very specific rules -- namely, logic and order -- which is what makes them work within the framework of his story. Things can't just "happen" magically -- they have to make sense and follow the natural laws he created. In Warbreaker, he presents a magic system based around something called BioChromatic Breath. BioChroma relies on 'breaths' to function and are fueled by the use of color (draining it or enhancing it).None of this tells you about the story itself, I know, but I thought the magic system alone was interesting enough to make me want to read the book. As much as I love older works of epic fantasy, there does come a point when I get tired of magic happening for no reason other than the author wanted it to exist. Without rules, anything can happen, and that becomes unfair to the reader when at the climax of the book, some super-magic power can happen without warning because no rules to the system were previously established. Not so with Sanderson, which is why I really appreciate his writing and attention to detail with his worldbuilding.Er, all that said, the story itself is pretty good too. Not my favorite of his books, but a good solid fantasy with another couple of strong female characters (I love that Sanderson does this as well... no "rescue me!" princesses in his stories, that's for darn sure) and some great twists and turns along the way.My only real complaint was that the most interesting character (and object) didn't get enough face time. They didn't appear in a prominent way until more than halfway through the book, and I would have liked to see a lot more development in this area.... but my understanding is that Sanderson has plans to, one day (could be years from now, could be next week) develop this character and object a little bit more in a companion novel, so I can't fault him too much there. He obviously knows that there wasn't enough of him here, so we'll get to see him again someday.All told, a worthwhile fantasy read!
Although this one could have used some better editing, it showcases Sanderson's talent for imagination far beyond the vast majority of his peers.
My friend Jeff lent me this book to read, after discussing the Mistborn trilogy with him numerous times. I read this about 2 months ago and am now just writing a review about it. This was a very intriguing book. Once again Sanderson creates a system of magic thats really different from other stuff out there. In Warbreaker the magic users use BioChromatic Breath which they can make inanimate objects come to life for a limited amount of time. They then take the breath back. Everyone is born with one breath. The "gods" are kept god like by people giving up their breath to the "gods". Also regular people can hold more then 1 breath. There are also different levels of how much a person can hold. Very well written. The characters are memorable while reading. 2 months though with only 1 read and i'm struggling to remember their names but i can remember what each one did. The youngest daughter who was sent to marry the "God King". The older daughter that was supposed to marry him but did not. The "god" who wondered why he was a god. The group of 3 real funny bandit ruffians. Or the dude running around dropping a sword that is animated that sucks the life out of people at the swords own whim.A truly great book from Mr. Sanderson. He is definitely one for plot twists that you don't see coming, and can craft a story to last 500 pages with no filler. The way Mr. Sanderson is going he is soon to become a master of fantasy books.
Jul10:Another solid story from Brandon Sanderson.Plot: Acceptable. Just not super awesome. I still liked the world building though.Characters: Still likable. L-breaker something was easily the shining star. A god that couldn't care but had to care. The sisters were good enough. Vasher was good enough too. Not outstanding.Style: Just so real and exciting. He includes just the right number of details to keep me going. Seemed like parts of this one could use some more fleshing out still.
This is a solid fantasy book: some good world-building, a novel system of magic (though perhaps a bit hokey at times), colorful characters you can relate to, and a decent plot line with a twist here and there.I won't call it great. I can't quite put my finger on it but there's something a bit awkward or ungainly about the book—almost like a teenager who hasn't quite gotten control of their new body—and there are some pacing issues. However, these aren't serious and don't really detract.If you like fantasy, give it a try. With so much clone stuff out there in the genre, this one is a bit different.
So far I am not an exhaustive Sanderson reader. I haven't read the latter books to the Mistborn trilogy (but I really mean to very soon, I promise). Yet I will admit that from what I have read, this book is my favorite of his that I have read so far (Gathering Storm was also incredible in my opinion, but I like to judge the author on his own unique works).The first thing this book sets up is a very interesting conundrum. What happens if a god (or god-like being at least) does not believe in his godhood? This leads to questions of faith and why people have the need to deify someone or something in order to make sense of their world and culture. Apparently Sanderson did not listen to the people who have said that fantasy novels do not delve into serious matters that clearly effect all of us, even today.Another outstanding part of this book is something that actually put me off initially. This is the magic system, or rather how the magic system is referenced by the characters. Like with the Mistborn trilogy, Sanderson provides us with a unique and very well detailed system of magic. It has clearly defined limitations and capabilities that while the magic users can do some incredible things they do not become invincible wielders of power. This magic power is based on number of "Breaths" which can be expended and then reclaimed and reused in many circumstances. What ends up being a little off-putting at first is how the characters refer to very specific numbers of "Breaths" to be able to do different tasks or gain different abilities. I am used to that sort of precision in science fiction novels, but it seemed out of place in a fantasy novel. We're so used to magic being indiscriminate mumbo-jumbo and hand-wavery (although it often has rules, these do little to explain the structure of the magic) that to have it clearly defined almost offends our fantasy reading sensibilities. About half way through the book I had a revelation though which completely converted me to absolutely loving how Sanderson portrays his magic system. It came to me that if we had magic in our world today, along with our systems of rational thought, experimentation, and scientific inquiry, it would be portrayed with a similar sense of precision. This is essentially what Sanderson has done, he has put a system of magic into a rational society and interpreted how they would explain and define it. The "Breaths" are merely units like we say watts or gallons and certain amounts of these units can perform certain tasks, just like a gallon of gas can propel a car thirty miles.Not everything about this book is great. At times the characters appear to be somewhat flat and simplistic. They all have clearly defined motives and personalities with little room for the messy ambiguity that I feel makes some of the most interesting characters. There are certain elements that resonate strongly with Sanderson's first Mistborn book, such as the rebellion against a strong established government and characters gaining incredible powers by accident or fate and needing to learn to use them effectively.Overall this was a very fun book to read that not only provided great entertainment, but challenges its readers to consider what they believe in and why. Like with the prior Mistborn series, Sanderson continues to push the envelope of epic fantasy by giving us new worlds and new challenges for his characters. He appears to be an extremely prodigious and prolific writer so he will be providing us with many great novels in the future.
This is an amazing book! What I love most about all of Brandon Sanderson's books is that they hook you from the very beginning. They don't spend a long time building up the history of a world which you aren't interested in until much later, instead they plunge right into the action and do the explaining and history as it goes along. This book is awesome in that regard. Also it's interesting to read fantasy where artistic elements like perfect pitch come into play, and the focus is less on swords and weaponry. Artistry as a major influence is a nice change from typical fantasy. And yet, it still is chock-full of political intrigue, it isn't merely a pretty story of magic; it makes you think too.
Warbreaker is a very unique story, where breath and color play a big part in the characters everyday lives. I found this strange and intriguing at the same time. This an epic tale, an intricate world. The story was filled with intrigue, mystery, danger and a splash of humor. Maybe it's just me but this is not a book to zip through if you want to truly enjoy and understand what is going on. I don't read many epic fantasies but I found this one enjoyable. The characters were wonderful to read. I especially liked Siri, Lightsong and Vasher.