I’m a big fan of Brandon Sanderson’s work, having eagerly devoured the ‘Mistborn’ trilogy, ‘Elantris’ and the first two books in the ‘Stormlight Archive’. It was with great anticipation that I started reading ‘Warbreaker’.
However, unlike Sanderson’s other works, I found ‘Warbreaker’ lacking. It was certainly the least accessible of all his works. The reader is thrown headlong into the story, with terms like ‘Breath’, ‘BioChroma’ and ‘Awakening’ being used generously. It isn’t until the story is well underway that the meaning behind these terms, their implications for their inhabited universe and the world in general becomes slightly more transparent.
The story is equally dense, and it was only at the 30-40% mark that I was engaged with the characters and the plot.
That said, the quality of writing, as expected, sublime. The dialogue is razor-sharp and the descriptions are chock-full of details enough for you to paint a picture in your head.
The characters themselves are compelling — the impetuous Siri, the dutiful Vivenna, the charmingly roguish-yet-mysterious Denth, the enigmatic Vasher, the dogmatic priests, and the self-deprecating ‘God’ with a steel core, Lightsong the Bold.
In a nutshell, Siri and Vivenna are both sisters, and princesses, of a small kingdom called Idris, which is nervously anticipating war from the flamboyant and powerful kingdom of Hallendran. The only thing keeping Hallendran from invading and decimating Idris is a royal treaty that obliges Idris to send a royal daughter to wed Hallendran’s fearsome ‘God King’ so he could produce an heir.
Things, however, rarely turn out as planned.
As a budding writer myself, it continues to delight me that accomplished *and much published) authors like Sanderson continue to invent such wickedly clever names for their characters.
And the dialogue. Oh, the dialogue! I cannot stress enough on how good the dialogue is. I know all too well how difficult it is to write lines for imaginary characters to say, and make them sound believable, like they were actual people conversing. On that note, Sanderson passes with flying colours (pun fully intended, but you must read the book to get it).
All in all, a fabulous effort that takes a while to warm up. But the last 25% of the book gallops along at a brisk pace and when the tale ends, it makes you yearn for the story to continue.
Sanderson is presently working on a sequel, tentatively titled ‘Nightblood’.