grellian's Reviews > Warbreaker

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
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's review
Jul 12, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: epic-fantasy

In a very short period of time the prose of Brandon Sanderson has soared to the heights of fantasy fiction. One of his latest novels is “Warbreaker” which, once more, does not disappoint and has the potential to attract even more staunch members of the author’s fan club. The plot of the book focuses on the intertwined fates of three main characters and is further strengthened by a solid setting and an unbelievably original magical system.

Lightsong is a god who questions his divinity and whiles away time in sarcasm and wry humor leveled at the more civil (yet rather overindulged) gods from the pantheon. Sensing the false security of his secluded world, the constant manipulation and lies of the priests, Lightsong starts questioning his privileged position and ask himself whether this temple of his is not just an overly comfortable prison. In Idris, far away from the court of gods, where modesty is a virtue and colorful clothing is strictly forbidden, two princesses reverse their positions and are forced to deal with the consequences. The elderly and mature Vivenna has spent all her life preparing for a wedding with the dreaded king of a rival country. But when her lively and guileless sister Siri is sent in her stead, the fastidious and clinically calm princess decides to act on her own and finds herself overwhelmed with responsibilities and encircled by foes. Siri, though frustrated and unnerved by this new world of tasteless colors and endless intrigues, is not a little girl anymore and she weaves an intricate scheme to deceive those foolish enough to underestimate her.

As in all of Sanderson’s previous works, magic plays a pivotal role in the setting of “Warbreaker”. The author has created a system based on colors, their intensity and hue being of utmost importance. In this world, every person has at least a single Breath, the so-called BioChroma, which enables them to discern one color from the other. The more Breaths one possesses, the more capable of influencing the environment he becomes. All in all, the magical system enables the author to describe dynamic battles that well rival those in “Mistborn” and with the progress of the story, the reader witnesses some spectacular displays of BioChroma.

Nonetheless, the strength of “Warbreaker” is not this fabulously described magical system, but the interaction between protagonists, their clashing worldviews that make the novel consistent and plausible. Through the frequent change of characters’ view point, Brandon Sanderson has managed to flesh out individuals that are part of a society and a hierarchy. As a result, our stubborn heroes are well-developed in terms of demeanor and peculiarities. Rarely do I encounter characters that last beyond the end of a book, that are unique and subject to drastic change.

Of course, there are some minor ones that have been thrown into the novel with an exact purpose and therefore seriously lack decent background and motivation. Nevertheless, “Warbreaker” is undoubtedly an excellent continuation of Brandon Sanderson’s domination in the fantasy genre. No matter how hard I try to find fault with an aspect of his writing, there is none. Persevering characters, an elaborate storyline with unexpected plot twists and magic that drains out color are just little shreds of what a reader encounters in this richly detailed world of intrigue, betrayal and love.

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