Sunday, August 29, 2010
The story follows two princesses, Siri and Vivenna, as they're thrown into the politics of Hallandren, the land of Returned gods. While Vasher, a mysterious man, seeks his own goals, and Lightsong, a Returned, seeks to find out about his past.
Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson, is more colorful (pun intended) than his previous series, Mistborn. It's also more lighthearted, more funny, and a very different kind of book in general.
The magic system, as in all of Brandon's books, is once again unique and fascinating. It allows its users to animate objects by draining colour out of the inanimate and breaths out of the people. Confusing? A little, but Brandon manages to explain the mechanics of his world in the prologue, (meaning the very start,) making the magic system easy to understand as well as intricate and realistic.
Each person is born with one breath and can give it to others at will. Gaining breaths results in increased senses. Having no breath results in a person becoming a drab--a person who feels incomplete. This concept creates interesting morale choices that Brandon uses to the fullest, making Warbreaker a deeper book than a simple rescue story. (I might have just spoiled a little.)
He also uses the practical elements of the magic, creating vivid, unique action scenes--especially in the climax, which is one of the best in recent books due to the clever tying of plots and reveals. However, one gets the feeling that there is still alot left to learn about the magic system. (A sequel is being planned.)
The book has great characters: a funny god, a reluctant princess, and another princess more of the Xena type...though not that intense. Oh, there's also a mysterious character who appears from time to time--obviously not that often since I almost forgot about him. He is awesome though--mysterious characters with mystical powers and magic swords often are.
The plot is tight and uses a nice blend of irony and reversals to achieve interesting effects. Often, comic effects. And who minds comedy? I don't. Remember Lightsong, the funny god I mentioned? Yes, gods can be funny, and this one gives the story just the right amount of jokes. Without them it might have felt a tad slow (the main story is little short for a 200,000 page book), but with them it becomes a fun read. A real page turner as they used to say.
You may have noticed that I have revealed alot about the book--alot about everything...except the story. This is because Brandon utilizes so many twists and turns that if I even talk about the first page of Warbreaker, I'd be spoiling. Spoiling big time. What does that mean? It means that Brandon wrote an awesome book, (You know I hate spoiling awesomeness.) and that you should read it.
Though, I suppose that I should tell you some of the negatives before forcing you to commit to reading an entire novel. Fine, I will.
Brandon is a great writer. His prose is tight and effective, yet poetic and dazzling it ain't. If you're looking for beautiful writing, you won't find it in Warbreaker. Though, you will find a beautiful story. Remember that.
The book is a standalone. Wait, isn't that a positive? Maybe. If you're looking for an awesome self contained novel, you'll find it in Warbreaker. If you're looking for another long epic fantasy series, you'll be disappointed. However, remember that a sequel is already being planned. Unfortunately, it's not being planned for the near future. But hey, Brandon writes at the speed that money vanishes. Meaning...very quickly.
Warbreaker is not a gritty, dark book. Once again, some may see this as a positive, some may not, but it's worth considering that there aren't much lighthearted fantasy books out there nowadays. Warbreaker is one of those. It might be worth reading just for that--or not. This book will make you feel happy at the end. Some people don't like that. (I don't know those people.)
Now that I am done going over the negatives, (I know they weren't really bad, but I had to say something) let's go back to my original point.
Read it, and then go to Brandon Sanderson's website and check out the awesome annotations (bonus content) he's posted for the book. You can find that at:
In fact, Brandon has tons of bonus material available and still has enough time to give back. He, along with Dan Wells and Howard Taylor, host a podcast each week on a site called Writing Excuses. It's an awesome source of tips for beginning writers and you can check it out at:
Now, if you don't know who Brandon Sanderson is and read epic fantasy, check his books out. Seriously, check them out. This guy is the real deal and will be so for along time. And by real deal I mean...he is AWESOME.
Violence: Some, but it's well done and not overly visual.
Profanity: None here. Unless you count made up terms.
Sexual Content: Some things are implied, some sounds are made, though nothing is really shone. Still, this book isn't really for children. It's for a mature audience. (Perhaps I should have mentioned that earlier.)