Review: Warbreaker

Series: Warbreaker: #1

Series: The Cosmere

I wish it hadn’t taken quite so long to get to Warbreaker. It’s really quite a good book, right up there with pretty much all of the rest of Sanderson’s works.

There’s a neat magic system (as there always is)–although this time around it felt a bit less detailed than Sanderson usually is. Usually even when as a reader doesn’t know all of the rules, you get the idea that there are rules. This time, it just felt a bit more vague. I’m still unsure what exactly the color has to do with it, although the idea of magical automatons powered by souls (Breaths, whatever) is neat, if not quite as original as Sanderson often is. (It doesn’t help that I’m also reading Mistborn at the moment.)

The really interesting part though is that of the Returned: those that come back after dying, but will only stick around if they’re fed another soul once a week. It doesn’t kill those they feed upon, but it will leave them without some sort of inherent spark.

Oh, and the hair thing? That’s kind of strange. I’m not sure what the point of that is. I kept expecting being able to grow bright colored hair to save the day (since to use Breath, you have to drain colors), but it never came up. Perhaps in the eventual planned sequel?

Characterwise, I really enjoyed Siri’s point of view and her interactions with the God King. Up until the last chunk of the book, he really felt like someone who had been through the exactly what he’d been through. There’s an amusing note in the introduction in that this is the book Sanderson was writing when he got married and that his wife had a lot of input into the process. Given the nature of Siri and the God King’s wedding night and early interactions… It’s amusing to imagine a pair of newlyweds talking through those sections.

My favorite character though had to have been Lightsong. He had one of the craziest character arcs that I’ve seen in a novel. At first, he’s a mix of unlikable and amusing, but I really grew to care for him by the end. And then… Just read it. You’ll see.

Plotwise, it’s straightforward enough, albeit with a couple of larger twists towards the end. My only real complaint is that the ending just sort of fell together entirely too quickly. Add to that that I really didn’t feel like the character of Vasher fit with the rest of the world (although his sword is neat), and I wasn’t overly thrilled with how things turned out. I wanted so much more… and then it was over.

Overall, it’s not the strongest of Sanderson’s works, but so far as I’m concerned that still leaves it a wide margin ahead of much of the rest of fantasy literature out there. I’ve heard there will be a sequel some day. I look forward to it.

And then there was Hoid. I’m pretty sure the object he was playing with had relations to at least White Sand (the first book Sanderson wrote), Elantris (the first he published), and Mistborn (which he’d finished just before Warbreaker). It’s a neat Easter Egg for those paying entirely too much attention (or those who’ve read the Coppermind Wiki). One of these days I really want to see a book from his point of view though. Hard to pull off, but I’m confident Sanderson could / will do it.