Warbreaker is another stand-alone novel by the ever talented Brandon Sanderson. This is a bit of a peculiar release, as before it was published in print, Sanderson posted the various drafts and final version online for all to access. In fact, even with the book printed, all these versions are still available (see links at the bottom). With Warbreaker he once again creates an entirely new world for readers to discover, with its own history, traditions, magic and exceptionally lovable characters. Sanderson never lets me down and Warbreaker is yet another proof of that.
Warbreaker is the story of two sisters who happen to be princesses the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.There are a lot of great things about this book but I’ll start with the magic system that Sanderson has created. BioChroma is undoubtedly among the most original and intriguing magic systems I've encountered, even when comparing to others Sanderson himself has created. It's intriguing and the way it has been written (and just from the name you can see this) has a very scientific quality to it. It’s both very precise yet even the most adept practitioners among the characters will admit that there is very little known about it. As I mentioned in my reviews of some of his other books, Sanderson is known for creating these original magic systems and making them believable through obvious and inescapable flaws, something he doesn’t fail to do again in Warbreaker.
Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallendren’s capital city where a power known as BrioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as Breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.
By using Breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracle 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.
One of the things I love about single novel stories is the break-neck pacing that almost has to be present if the author wants to finish his or her entire story. Of course this can also be found in series, it’s just more characteristic in a standalone novel. In this regard Warbreaker follows the trend and is read very fast. I, for one, hate when I’m reading a book in which the changes between point of view characters are slow and I’m stuck with a boring character while I know that something incredibly exciting is happening with another. Well I was happy that this book wasn’t at all like that. There are very few, if any, boring moments from the three main POV characters. The switches are made often and as seamlessly as possible, so there is always a reason to read on to the next chapter.
Another thing I appreciated was that Sanderson included quite a bit more humor in this book than in some of his other work. Lightsong, the god-that-doesn’t-want-to-be-god, delivers sardonic dialogue by the bucket; this is actually funny stuff, not just corny, geeky humor. Sure it’s not laugh out loud but some parts will for sure get a smirk on your face. Lightsong also represents another aspect of Warbreaker that I liked, how contrasted with the typical image of gods he is, and the worst part (or funniest?) is that Lightsong is the first to acknowledge the contrast. The book is full of other contrasts and ironies, like the God King’s particular condition, Siri's aptness in the Court of the Gods versus her sister’s, and so on.
An intense (in the light kind of way) read for any lovers of Sanderson’s previous work or those that like out of the mold fantasy with a classic feel to it (if that makes any sense). This is an awesome epic fantasy that makes me long for summer 2010 when Sanderson’s immense epic, A Way of Kings is due to be published. A must read for anyone, fans or not of Sanderson’s work.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Reading Age: 14 and up
Brandon Sanderson’s website: http://www.brandonsanderson.com/
Read It Online: Various Versions, Published Version