Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker Cover

Story

The neighboring countries of Hallandren and Idris have managed to avoid war for the past 20 years. Soon the treaty that has maintained the fragile peace will be put to the test. King Dedelin of vulnerable but pious Idris must send his daughter to wed the monstrous God King of Hallandren.

One of the core differences between Idris and Hallandren is how they view Awakening. With the power of Awakening, a person can bring life to inanimate ofbject, or even raise the dead. To perform such miracles requires the Awakener to give up Breath, the vital essence of life. The people of Idris follow the god Austere who forbids using the magic of Awakening. Hallandren is on the other end of the spectrum. The Hallandren God King is the most powerful Awakener in the world.

The sacrifice of the princess may postpone the looming war, but few are foolish enough to believe the war can be prevented. The only hope for Idris is to push back the invasion for as long as possible and hope their efforts can buy them one more day to prepare.

The Princess is not entirely alone in the Hallandren Capitol city of T’Telir. There are people frantically preparing for the coming conflict. Some work in the open, and some in secret. Some work to bring the war about, and some work against it.

There are even rumors of another princess in the city rousing rebellion amongst the Idrian population.

(Ed. Note: I received a copy of this book for review at no cost to me. )

My Opinion

I was pleasantly surprised by Warbreaker. Brandon Sanderson’s novel managed to tell the story of two nations on the verge of war without becoming a dry and confusing web of political intrigue. Intrigue there is, and plenty of it, but the telling remains fresh and exciting throughout the nearly 600 pages.

The characters are charming, witty and downright frightening when they need to be. From lowly mercenaries to a full pantheon of gods, Sanderson has populated his tale with a full world of life. We’re not restricted in our associations as is the Idrian princess. We get the chance to meet all types of people, even though most of the story happens within the walls of the city of T’Telir.

There are twists aplenty. Once you think you know what’s going on, something changes. It starts to cause a small amount of anxiety for the characters. You never know when something else is going to go horribly wrong. Surprises keep popping up and making you wonder what could possibly happen next.

Brandon Sanderson keeps you guessing.

Magic

color-spin
The system of magic that Sanderson uses is very interesting. Blending color and sound with the very essence of a person’s spirit, Awakening takes fantasy magic in some cool directions.

Awakening has 3 components… Color, Breath and Commands.

Color is, well, color. it gets stripped away to grey when Awakening is used.

Breath is like a persons vitality and spirit, but not necessarily their soul.

Commands are clear, often short, instructions. The commands tell the object being awakened what to do.

History Repeats Itself

One of the best parts of Warbreaker is the history Brandon Sanderson has created for his world. Even though the story takes place in a relatively short span of time, the events that brought us to this place stretch distantly back through time.

The more we learn about the history of Hallandren and Idris, the more we come to understand what brought these two nations to this point, and why they’re inextricably tied together. The conflict sometimes seems to be unavoidable. The weight of history has pushed them to the brink war, and now it’s going to push them over.

Pet Peeves

There are only a couple of things that I didn’t really like about the book. They’re not anything big, just pet peeves of mine. (“Peeves are boring.“)

The use of apostrophes in words. I don’t mean contractions or possessive words. I’m talking about the use of that little tick as if it were a letter all on it’s own. It’s used far too much in fantasy. It’s gotten to the point that it irks me to see it. It’s not used much in Warbreaker, but the 2 things it’s used for are major parts of the book. The Hallandren capitol of T’Telir and the statues known as D’Denir come up frequently throughout the book.

The ending seemed a bit stretched out. When all hell broke loose I expected the pace of the action to pick up a bit more. The ending isn’t bad, it just moves a bit slower than i was expecting.

Verdict

Warbreaker is an excellent work of fantasy with plenty of twists and turns. The history of the world is palpable, but never weighs down the enjoyment of reading.

I recommend picking up a copy of Warbreaker.