As a person who reads a lot of fantasy books, I feel the need to get down on my knees and worship Brandon Sanderson. The guy is just that good at storytelling. Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker is a stand-alone fantasy book that has a captivating storyline and characters you will no doubt come to like. That’s two elements needed for a good book and its fulfilled here in Warbreaker. However, there were still many things that disappointed me with this book. If you’ve also read the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (which I highly suggest you go do right now if you haven’t), you’ll notice a lot of similarities in the story and the magic system. This is not necessary a bad thing because what he did in the Mistborn trilogy worked perfectly and he does it once again in Warbreaker. I believe he wrote this book in between writing the Mistborn trilogy.
“Warbreaker tells the story of two princesses, Vivenna and Siri. Vivenna was contracted through treaty to marry the God-King of rival nation Hallendren. Instead Siri is sent to meet the treaty. Vivenna then follows to Hallendren in hopes of saving Siri from her fate. Both sisters become involved in intrigues relating to an imminent war between their home nation of Idris and Hallendren.”
What I liked best about Warbreaker are the characters. They are neither boring or over-the-top. What surprised me the most was the amount of humor in this book. Dialogue between the two mercenaries and a certain “lazy” god and his high priest are just plain hilarious and they were at times so funny that I actually laughed out loud while reading! While the story of Warbreaker is not necessarily gritty or depressing, the humor was well placed and something I could not get enough of. I was sad to find out that the humor got toned down towards the later section of the book.
Now, I understand that there will be despair in any given book. It allows you to feel sorry for a certain character. However, I never tend to like it when authors portray too much despair in any given characters no matter good or evil. It’s not that I don’t believe a character should not suffer but spending too much time writing about how pathetic a character feels about themselves or how they should have done things differently and now regrets it or how they feel so helpless in a given situation is a bore to read in my honest opinion. I got a little upset when Brandon Sanderson did this to Vivenna. I understood why she has despair but I felt that the author spent just a tad too much time reinforcing that point and could have used those wasted pages to have her do something useful instead.
One element that I don’t mind missing in a book, especially if the story itself is superb, is the action. There’s not a whole lot of that going on here and it was a little shocking to me because I thought the magic system in Warbreaker had a lot of potential for the author to craft up some awesome fight scenes. Granted, things do heat up towards the end but at that point, the action felt tacked on. But like I said, the story itself should be compelling enough to captivate a reader. There is a reason why so many people love the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels and I assure you those books lack any type of John Woo choreographer fight scenes!
The ending, in my eyes, felt a little rushed and not that much fleshed out. This was the most disappointing part. The ending made sense but I was disappointed in how the author brought the book to a close. I won’t spoil it here but if you want find out why I’m so mad, feel free to read the spoilers below. In the end, I feel that Warbreaker is an outstanding fantasy stand-alone book and I’m sure a lot of readers in this genre knows how hard it is to find those. I don’t, however, believe that this is one of Brandon Sanderson’s best work.