BOOK TITLE: Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1)
AUTHOR: Brandon Sanderson
Hello dear readers! This time I tried changing the reviewing process and went from writing it right after finishing the book to writing it while reading the book. Sort of a literary experiment to see how it turns out. I choose this book for this “new technique” because it’s a fantasy one, fantasy being my favourite genre and also one that can be stretched and manipulated into many forms. There is no pattern for fantasy and each book that follows this path turns out to be different; that’s why I thought this book is a great start for trying different types of reviewing techniques.
This is my first Brandon Sanderson book, but as I have heard a great deal about him (positive, only positive things) I had very high expectations of this book. Let’s see how it turns out.
Basically, there are two main places in this book (at least in the beginning) Idris – where the royal family lives – and Hallandren (more precisely the city T’Telir) where the God King and other Gods (the Returned) live. The king of Idris, Dedelin, decides to send his youngest daughter (Siri) to marry the God King of Hallandren instead of his eldest daughter (Vivenna) who has been trained all her life for this “job”. He believes that by doing so he will avoid a war with the Hallandren nation or at least delay it. At first Siri is scared of this change, as she was accustomed to being unnoticed and doing what she pleased all day, but as soon as she reaches T’Telir she is fascinated by the atmosphere, the colours, the brightness. Unfortunately, her relationship with the God King is quite complicated as she is advised to avoid talking to him and stick to just consummating their marriage and providing with a heir.
“Every man is a hero of his own story.”
Her older sister, Vivenna, cannot stand the thought that Siri is there alone and thus she decides to go and aid her. Two unlikely alliances form, one between Siri and the God King (Susebron) who fall in love and another between Vivenna and a mysterious character – Vasher. Unknowing of each other almost until the end, their purpose is the same: to prevent Hallandren from attacking Idris.
I just finished the book and I can honestly say that I feel thrilled and at the same time exhausted because for the past few days I have been “living” in this book and picturing everything I read about in my head. It was quite a ride and I am going to start by recommending this book to all those fantasy lovers out there but also for those who haven’t tried the genre yet; I think you will really enjoy it, it is unique and action packed.
How can I even begin to describe the experience? I was surprised at first because the whole idea of fantasy was based on something new, different from what I have read so far, and I am talking about the whole BioChromatic Breath stuff. Mainly, every person from the fictional world this book presents is born with a Breath (those who lose their Breath by giving it away are called Drab); people can also accumulate more than one Breath by taking them from others – physical contact and a specific phrase is necessary for this–. As someone gains more Breaths he goes up on the scale of Heightenings (a scale that basically measures your Breaths and what kind of “magical” acts you can perform with them). There are also different BioChromatic entities, such as the Returned which were worshipped as gods by the Hallandren people, others were the Lifeless which were used for war and so on.
All this BioChromatic concept was thoroughly explained and developed throughout the book and I found it very appealing (it gave the book a sort of scifi vibe at some point). I appreciated the fact that the whole concept of Heightenings and what people with more than one Breath could do was logically and yet not too revealing explained to the reader.
“Unknowing ignorance is preferable to informed stupidity.”
The action was at first slowly built, piece by piece, but the last 50 pages made me figure it all out and solved all of my dilemmas. Another thing that spiced up the book were the characters. Siri, at first rebel and inappropriate, developed a lot throughout the book and became very royal and fitting for a queen. Susebron went from the scary God King to a childish man without knowledge of the outside world and then to a mighty ruler trying to do what is right for his people. Vivenna, the elder sister, full of responsibilities found out that there is more to life than her royal duty and decided to go on another adventure in the end; she joined Vasher who I must say remained quite mysterious until the end and I am looking forward to the second volume of the series in order to (hopefully) find out more about him.
As my favourite character (a very tough choice my dear readers, as you shall see if you plan to read this book and I truly hope you do!) I would have to pick Siri because even from the beginning I felt a connection with her character and I thought we have something in common; I liked the way she interacted with Susebron even if he was unable to communicate with her and she went from rebel teen to plotting queen (way to go!).
The writing was gripping and the author managed to pass a lot of information without actually overwhelming the book with too many characters or unnecessary details.
“It was strange, how easily and quickly protection could cause destruction. Sometimes, Vasher wondered if the two weren’t really the same thing. Protect a flower, destroy pests who wanted to feed on it. Protect a building, destroy the plants that could have grown in the soil. Protect a man. Live with the destruction he creates.”
This book has been an adventure for me and I was deeply grateful to Brandon Sanderson for providing such an entertaining lecture that ultimately teaches us that nothing is what it seems to be and that we shouldn’t be so eager to judge people when we first meet them. So, as you already know, it is a must read (because don’t you just love a well written fantasy book?)!
Overall rating: 5 stars (way to go Brandon Sanderson!) Goodreads link: Warbreaker