Review – Warbreaker

Cover of Warbreaker, by Brandon SandersonWarbreaker, Brandon Sanderson

There were some flaws for me with Warbreaker — like many other reviewers, I felt that the wrapping up at the end went way too fast — but all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve found that I like Brandon Sanderson’s world-building a lot, no matter what he’s doing: he seems to bring a flair to it, seems to be able to make it that bit different from the rest of the fantasy fare around. I wasn’t sure anyone could pull off some of the stuff in Warbreaker, like the princesses whose hair changed colours with their mood — it seemed like something right out of some kind of wish fulfillment fanfic, which generally doesn’t do much for me. I mean, it’s usually changing eye colour in those stories, but the super specialness applies.

The other thing is that Sanderson manages to keep things consistent. None of this felt like a deus ex machina, even when it kind of was: the various sacrifices, discoveries, etc, all seemed perfectly foreshadowed by the text. I didn’t find all of it terribly surprising — I figured out some people weren’t as trustworthy as they seemed to the princesses, for example — but I did enjoy it, and I felt it makes sense. The storytelling, too, works for me: it goes along at a great pace and kept me interested and going ‘just one more chapter, just one more’ again and again.

One thing I didn’t like so much was Vivenna’s character development. Or Siri’s, in a way: I liked that Siri became capable, learned to value herself, learned what she could do. I wasn’t enamoured of the way they basically swapped roles, though. And we spent an awful lot of time with Vivenna being self-important and self-righteous, neither of which are traits that appeal to me. I wasn’t, in general, very attached to Vivenna and Vasher at all; their stories were necessary for the plot, but emotionally I didn’t get attached. I suppose really, I was mostly attached to Lightsong and Llarimar: Lightsong’s character development was something I really was interested in.

The ending wraps up extremely quickly, and leaves things wide open for another book, but the story itself is self-contained as well, which is rare enough in this time of trilogies (and trilogies of trilogies). I loved that it wrapped up within one book, leaving things open and uncertain in the future for the characters, but without leaving any big gaps.

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