Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Warbreaker
Brandon Sanderson
Tor, 592 pages

Warbreaker
Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1994, he enrolled at Brigham Young University as a Biochemistry major. From 1995-1997 he took time away from his studies to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Upon his return, he became an English major. It was in 2003, while Brandon was in the middle of a graduate program at BYU, that he got a call from an editor at Tor who wanted to buy one of his books. In December of 2007, Harriet Rigney chose him to complete A Memory of Light, book twelve in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

Brandon Sanderson Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Mistborn Trilogy

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Dominic Cilli

Advertisement
Brandon Sanderson's latest novel Warbreaker has me convinced that he will be a mainstay in the fantasy scene for years to come. There was so much to love about Brandon Sanderson's The Mistborn Trilogy, that I was really anxious to get my hands on his latest work and I was not disappointed.

Warbreaker tells the story of the kingdoms of Hallandren and Idris. They have been estranged from one another for 300 years over political and religious differences. The kingdom of Hallandren is ostentatious, colorful and worships its "returned" as living gods. They make use of a biochromatic system of magic that utilizes colors along with their life force, which they refer to as Breath, to produce magical effects. In stark contrast, is the humble kingdom of Idris. They lead simple drab lives of devotion and do not believe in the using their breath to produce biochromatic magic and feel the Hallandren's use of breath to be blasphemy. They believe in one god and following the tenets of Auterism keeps them grounded. The Idirian people, although being much smaller and not nearly as militaristic, occupy the mountains surrounding the city and control the passes that are so crucial to the trade of the Hallandren people. After nearly 300 years of peace, tension has been mounting to the point where war is feared by both sides. In order to stave off the conflict and fulfill an age old treaty, the king of Idris sends one of his daughters to marry the God-King of Hallandren and hopefully preserve peace.

Sanderson tells the story using three intermingled storylines. The first of which is Siri, princess and youngest daughter of the king of Idris. She is a rebellious girl whose position in her family has convinced her that she is useless. It's not until she is suddenly shipped off to marry the God-King that she really starts to grow as a person. The second protagonist is Vivienne. She is the king's eldest daughter who was born and bred to marry the God-King, but when she is suddenly passed over by her father she begins to question her purpose in life. Vivienne decides to give her life meaning by venturing to Hallandren to rescue her sister from the cruel God-King and help try to prevent the war looming over the Idrian people. Finally, we have Lightsong the Bold. He is one of the Hallandren's returned. Lightsong never felt quite right about being a "god" and his inquires soon have him discovering not everything is quite right in the royal court of Hallandren.

In many ways Warbreaker contains a lot of the same formulas for success that Sanderson used in The Mistborn Trilogy. Once again, He starts by creating an absolutely original system of magic and makes it the focal point upon which the characters and story develop. In short, the magic system in Warbreaker, instead of drawing on the power of metals like in Mistborn, draws from the power of colors coupled with the practitioner's "breath." If it sounds bizarre, that's because it is. I was a bit put off by it at first, but it appears to be every bit as fully formed as his Allomantic magic system from the Mistborn series. Readers will find that as more and more of the magic system is revealed the more scientific and plausible it becomes. Once again, we learn how this system works through the teacher-mentor relationship Sanderson used so well in the Mistborn series with Vin and Kelseir, except now it's Vasher and Vivienne. I would be utterly remiss if I didn't mention one of the most compelling parts of the book. Once we are introduced to Vasher, we find he wields a sentient sword named Nightblood and the dialogue between he and the sword was one of the high points of the book and leaves the readers wanting to learn more about this weapon.

After reading Warbreaker, it's readily apparent that Brandon Sanderson is an extremely talented author. The novel was a real page turner and was filled with wonderful characters and thoughtful original ideas. I tried to discover whether Warbreaker will continued, but could find nothing definite. However, I did find out that Sanderson recently signed a ten book deal with Tor to produce The Stromlight Archive. The first installment, The Way of Kings, is due out in 2010. So, sadly, I think this may be it for now for Warbreaker, but Sanderson's blog mentions a possible sequel sometime in the future called Nightblood.

Copyright © 2009 Dominic Cilli

When asked to write a third-person tag line for his reviews, Dominic Cilli farmed the work out to an actual 3rd person, his friend Neal, who in turn turned it over to a second person who then asked his third cousin to help out and this person whom Dom doesn't even know then wrote in 8th person Omniscient mode "Dom's breadth of knowledge in literature runs the gamut and is certainly not bounded by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. One thing I can say with certainty is that of all the people I don't know who've ever recommended books to read, Dom's recommendations are the best.


SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to editor@sfsite.com.
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide