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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker (edition 2010)

by Brandon Sanderson

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1,459None5,116 (4.12)190
Authors:Brandon Sanderson
Info:Tor Fantasy (2010), Edition: First Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 688 pages
Collections:Your library, Recently Read
Tags:read, fiction, fantasy, gods

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

2009 (8) ARC (9) Brandon Sanderson (7) color (13) ebook (25) epic (8) epic fantasy (14) fantasy (348) fiction (91) gods (20) Green Dragon (8) high fantasy (8) Kindle (16) magic (33) novel (10) own (6) politics (11) read (26) read in 2009 (12) read in 2010 (11) read in 2011 (7) religion (15) romance (6) science fiction (19) sf (7) sff (10) signed (16) to-read (60) unread (9) war (7)
  1. 60
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both are epic fantasy novels featuring strong female characters and focusing on gods in the respective fantasy worlds and their interactions with humans
  2. 50
    The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (infiniteletters)
  3. 40
    The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Another book with phenomenal world-building and complex plot told through the points-of-view of interconnected characters.
  4. 20
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (leahsimone)
  5. 10
    Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (kgodey)
  6. 10
    The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (Mav.Weirdo)
  7. 00
    Talent Storm by Brian Terenna (Anonymous user)
  8. 00
    Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan (infiniteletters)
  9. 00
    Progeny by R. T. Kaelin (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Both books demonstrate wonderful world-building and a unique system of magic.
  10. 00
    The Charmed Sphere by Catherine Asaro (infiniteletters)

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» See also 190 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
My fellow reviewers at FanLit have sufficiently covered all of the important elements of Warbreaker (indeed, Bill’s review was nearly as long as the book) so I will briefly report my own reaction and then mention Recorded Books' audio version.

I really enjoyed Warbreaker for all the reasons that my colleagues did: Unique world and magic system, interesting twisty plot, agreeable humor, and great characters. I was slightly annoyed with Vivenna’s use of the word “ostentatious” and her constant concern about modest clothing (this reminded me a lot of The Wheel of Time), but I looked forward to the transformation of her character that was obviously coming.

There are two things that I really like about Brandon Sanderson’s writing in general, and Warbreaker is no exception:

1. His magic systems. I’ve read all of his work now, and in each case he’s developed a wonderfully thoughtful, unique, and internally valid magic system.

2. He’s funny. So many authors try to be funny, but I find few of them to be actually funny. Brandon Sanderson is funny.

This brings me to the audiobook. At first I was put out by James Yaegashi’s slow pace which at times sounded like he was reading to first graders (I know how big this book is, so I thought “this is going to take forever!”), but it turns out that his reading really highlighted Sanderson’s humorous dialogue.

Yaegashi’s voices for the mercenaries Denth and Tonk Fah really brought out that “comic duo” feel and worked charmingly with their hilarious black humor. His voice for Nightblood (the sentient sword) was suitably creepy, demented, and naïvely zealous at the same time — perfect. The following scene is one I played back several times because Yaegashi’s rendition made me laugh (keep in mind that up to this point nearly all of Nightblood’s thoughts, speech, and actions have seemed remorselessly evil and unnecessarily bloody):

[Vasher:] reached into a pouch at his belt, pulling out the object within: a dead squirrel.
Yuck, Nightblood said with a sniff.

(This renders better on audio than print, I realize now, but I guess that’s my point.)

Also entertaining was Yaegashi’s voice for Lightsong, the god who doesn’t believe in himself (actually, his priest preaches to him!) and who strives to be as lazy and useless as possible. Yaegashi chose to use upspeak for Lightsong’s voice, and the effect is amusing because it reinforces the impression that even his stupid jokes are purposeful.

“Lightsong,” Lifeblesser said with his tactlessly honest voice, “You really need to take more of an interest in politics. It can be very diverting. Why, if you only knew the secrets to which I’m privy!”
“My dear Lifeblesser,” Lightsong replied, “Please trust me when I say that I have no desire to know any secrets which involve you and a privy.”

Yaegashi’s voices actually contributed to my surprise at a couple of the plot twists which involved characters doing uncharacteristic things.

Warbreaker is a terrific book and would be nearly flawless in my eyes if not for Sanderson’s just slightly superfluous writing style. For example, the “Yuck” quote above would work better this way:

[Vasher:] reached into a pouch at his belt and pulled out a dead squirrel.
Yuck, Nightblood sniffed.

I’m sure I’m unusual, but these things pop out at me — probably because of all of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, Omit Needless Words is the one I find myself constantly working on with students. So, I can’t help but notice needless words in all of Brandon Sanderson’s works (though they’re getting better!) and this is the main reason I can’t consider him to be the Perfect Fantasy Author. However, though style is slightly lacking, substance is not — Brandon Sanderson writes great worlds and great characters. He is a Nearly Perfect Fantasy Author and is near the top of my must-read list. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
I would have given it four stars, but the ending was really abrupt and less polished than the rest of the book, which sort of ruined the experience for me. ( )
  fitakyre | Mar 13, 2014 |
The cities of Idris and Hallendren have been on the brink of war for years. The king of Idris, hoping to stave off the impending conflict, sends his young and unrefined daughter Siri to marry the enigmatic God-King of Hallendren. Hallendren is a world unlike anything Siri has experienced in her young life. The women wear revealing clothing, colors of all hues abound, men and women deal in breath and returned Gods live on high above all. Siri’s eldest sister, Vivenna, follows Siri in hopes of rescuing her from this blasphemous land and the evil God-King, but she is pulled into a war of her own where she strives to save her fellow Idrians from almost certain slaughter.

Brandon Sanderson is well known for his complex magic systems and in Warbreaker he delivers once again this time with the concept of Biochromatic breath. What is Biochromatic breath you ask? Every person is born with breath and they have the ability to give their breath to another person. Once someone accumulates enough breath they can combine color and breath to bring the inanimate to life. The rules are complex, but part of the fun of Sanderson novels is learning the ins and outs of the magic system.

Warbreaker delivers on all levels with deep likable characters, a fantastical world unlike any you have read about before and a magic system that will in the very least provide countless hours of confusion. Highly recommended! ( )
1 vote JechtShot | Feb 9, 2014 |
80% into this book and I kept wondering if it was actually a series because I couldn't see how it was going to wrap up. A little too rushed - especially because the twists really are great - would have liked them to be played out a bit more. The world-building was fantastic with a great magic system, but I'm still not a huge Sanderson fan. His writing style just doesn't grab me the way it does others, and I'm not inclined to be looking for the sequel to this book. ( )
  reckshow | Jan 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
After reading Warbreaker, it's readily apparent that Brandon Sanderson is an extremely talented author. The novel was a real page turner and was filled with wonderful characters and thoughtful original ideas.
added by sdobie | editSF Site, Dominic Cilli (Nov 1, 2009)
Sanderson's prose falls into a nice rhythm that helps to move the action forward. Multifaceted characters and action of both the mystical and sword-fighting realms bring added excitement to a complex and creative read.

"Warbreaker" is an improvement on Sanderson's other work. And if he continues to follow along this path, fans of the Wheel of Time series will have nothing to worry about.
added by Katya0133 | editDeseret News, Jessica Harrison (Jun 14, 2009)
But the narrative is richer, spinning together hilarious dialogue, descriptive action sequences, and genuinely sweet romance.
The system of magic is also novel ... and demands far more of the characters' ingenuity, which in turn demands developing them--male and female, divine and mortal--to a far higher degree than one expects of much fantasy these days.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Roland Green (May 15, 2009)
Sanderson again demonstrates his capacity for handling large and complex themes while creating believable characters.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Journal, Jackie Cassada (May 15, 2009)
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For Emily,
who said yes.
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It's funny, Vasher thought, how many things begin with my getting thrown into prison.
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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.… (more)

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