“Every man is a hero of his own story.”
Brandon Sanderson is known for making fantastic and adventurous new worlds in his many book series. Warbreaker continues his legacy by bringing interesting characters, great humor, and a story that keeps you wondering what is next.
On the cosmere world of Nalthis, each person is born with a BioChromatic Breath. Whether this Breath is actually a person’s soul is something that is something of much debate, but each person can give away their Breath to another person while still keeping their life. The more Breaths a person accumulates, the more powerful they become and the more vibrant colors around them become.
The Returned are men and woman who have died heroic deaths and come back to life and are worshiped as gods. They can’t get sick and they don’t age but they must absorb the Breath of a person once a week in order to continue living.
This magic system of Awakening and Breath is another well done system by Sanderson but perhaps not his best. Not overly complex but it does still having many creative ways the breaths could be used. Unlike Allomancy from Mistborn or even stormlight from The Stormlight Archives, the rules surrounding this system are not as well defined. It is still well built and there definitely are rules to this magic system but they are a bit looser than the stricter rules surrounding others by Sanderson.
There are also several questions still surrounding what Breath is. Where did it come from? Is it in fact a person’s soul? Why does this Breath effect colors and the pitch of a person’s voice?
The world building is masterful as always here and we don’t even get the whole world.
Hallandren and Idria are the two main countries we focus on. While they were once one nation, Idria is now its own country where to true royal line rules. They worship the god of colors, Austre. To them, the taking or using of someone else’s Breath is horrifying. The Hallandren worship the returned and willing give their breaths for their gods. A daughter of Idria is sent to marry the God King of Hallandren due to a treaty signed 20 years ago. When she arrives things are not as she expected.
Along with a great cast of characters we are lead on by once conspiracy theory after another. The main bullet point made in this story is showing the misunderstanding that happen between two cultures and the bias that is a result of that.
We cannot mention characters with out mentioning our favorite one, Lightsong the BOld. He is one of the Returned, one that does not believe in his own religion. He is the Nathan Fillion of this story. Consistently arguing with others and making jokes. This witty and fun character is one of the greatest reasons you should read this book.
There is as well the blade, Nightblood, wielded by Vasher. Nightblood is a sword given sentience and was given one role: to destroy evil. Seeing as he is just a sword he doesn’t really have a firm concept of what evil is and so he simply tries to destroy everything and then wants you to thank it. This blade and its owner are interesting and will hopefully be a bigger focus should more books be made.
Siri, the princess sent to marry the God King, was a fun character to read as she at first attempted to do her duty despite her fear. She was raised the youngest child of the King of Idria and therefore always saw herself as unimportant. Now that she has been thrust into a role that could define her nation’s relationship with their neighbor, she has some growing up to do and she does so wonderfully.
Then there is her older sister, Vivenna. Opposite of Siri, Vivenna always thought that she was going to be the princess sent to marry the God King and so her life has been devoted to preparing for that duty. Now that Siri has instead been the one sent away for this, Vivenna has no idea what to do with herself.
She was a bit irritating at times as she let her own sense of how important she was supposed to be and thus her anger towards a culture she grew up looking down upon take over a lot of her decisions. She is hateful to the Hallandren people in the beginning as they live the opposite sort of life that her religion says people should live and it is on every page for most of her story. Later on, she does change here outlook to a slightly more favorable view, but still kinda annoying.
Warbreaker is a good size book (sitting at 592 pages, hardback) and while there are some dry moments, overall a good time. If you need humor, and a intriging story to back it up, then you wont want to miss this one.
I will always love a Sanderson book. Not saying he is perfect but I do love his work. Warbeaker is another one that goes to my shelf. The characters, the fun story, all had me locked in.
Now I will say this is not my favorite of his. The Stormlight Archives have so much more to them and I like the story of Mistborn better. I can see where Warbreaker does peak through in the Stormlight Archives, here and there. If you love Sanderson, you will enjoy this book.
Like so many of Sanderson’s books, I started out with this one a little bit skeptical and ended up thoroughly enjoying it.
It did seem sometimes that this book was a precursor to The Stormlight Archive though. Vivenna reminded me of Shallan at times. Their stories were very different but in personality they were somewhat similar. And then the magic had to be breathed in by the user. This really isn’t a negative or a positive just something that I noticed. And maybe these similarities are intentional as they are both part of the cosmere universe.
On a final note…Lightsong is bae. ♥