Sanderson became one of my favorite authors. I consider the Mistborn trilogy to be masterpieces of fantasy literature. I’ve recently read Warbreaker, and this is not one of his best works. Does that mean Warbreaker is a bad book? Well, let’s find out!
The story is political and colorful. Though there’s something missing in this book. I know I should treat every book as its individual thing, especially since Warbreaker is a stand-alone work, even though it shares the Cosmere.
The book itself is more character-driven. We have a few descriptions of the world of Nalthis. The events happen in mostly in the kingdom of Hallandren, where the Returned (people that came back from the dead and are revered as gods). We explore a few points of the conflict between Hallandren and the country of Idris (where our protagonists, daughters of the King Dedelin are from). And though it is interesting how the story develops around it, we don’t really see much of it.
Warbreaker is a character-driven story. We have our focus on three characters in a third-person point of view:
- Sisirinah, she is the reckless daughter of King Dedelin. Siri is sent too Hallandren to marry the God King instead of her sister. Her father thought it would be better to send her impulsive, hasty, disobedient daughter, while keeping his pride; the eldest daugher, Vivenna in Idris. And as for her character, we see a Siri that doesn’t change the attitude much, but unlike what some of her acquaintances might have thought of her, she is very smart; her forced relationship with the God King has a little twist after a few funny (or perhaps uncomfortable) performances to fool some priests.
- Vivenna, the eldest daughter of Dedelin, she was originally meant to marry the God King. Her manners, education, and intelligence, made her the best candidate to represent Idris. Her father couldn’t let her go, Siri replaced her as the God King’s wife. When Siri was sent to Hallandren, Vivenna felt responsible for it, and believed that her sister was getting between a dangerous plot, so she went to the kingdom to rescue her. This is where the character has to deal with different problems; I have to say she’s got an interesting development, because we see that her royal training and education is not enough, not even close, to deal with the intern conflicts the kingdom and her country are dealing with.
- Lightsong, and to me, the most interesting character among the protagonists. He is a Returned, revered as the God of Bravery. We see this character not taking anything as seriously as he should. In fact, he insists so much that he is useless, doubting his own divinity all the time. This is the most unpredictable character, in my opinion; his mocking attitude and his self-proclaimed ineptitude made him a box of surprises.
The other characters are good, but nothing special; it is hard for me to see anyone else standout, perhaps the little twist with the God King’s personality.
The thing that have personally disappointing me is the magic. This is where I am going to feel a little bit guilty, because I don’t see appropriate to make comparisons; but this magic system, based on breath and colors is very interesting, I really liked it. Unfortunately, we don’t explore enough of it. We know how it works, but we see it put into good practice until the second half, perhaps close to the end, of the book. After reading Mistborn, is hard not to take this magic into account; we know that Sanderson is an expert creating magic systems in his stories.
The book was supposed to be a stand-alone novel, taking that into account, the ending is kinda abrupt, in my opinion. It wasn’t satisfying. Today we know that Sanderson has confirmed a sequel in the future, so I guess I should not be mention it now.
Would I recommend this book to anyone? Definitely, it is a good fantasy story with good protagonists and a few twists that are going to make you feel excited. It is a quick page turner; it is indeed hard to put down once you start reading it. However, if you’re a fan of Sanderson works, perhaps you will find this just a little disappointing.
Have you read the book? Feel free to share your thoughts.