Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I don't remember why this got on my order list at the library (yet more motivation for continuing to record things here!), but I'm glad it did. Brandon Sanderson is currently working on finishing off the Wheel of Time series, and now that I've read one of his novels, I had to admit that I'm tempted to re-read the whole series once he finishes.

Warbreaker blew me away. It is the story of two princesses, sisters, who both had their entire worlds taken away from them by their father deciding to send the youngest, rather than the eldest, to marry the God-King of the neighbouring kingdom. The system of magic based on breath and colour is fascinating. Exploring the idea of gods who live in the real world and don't necessarily think that they are gods, even though they are obviously super-human, is really entertaining. But on top of the wonderful ideas, it is the characters that make this story. I fell in love with Siri, the youngest princess, from the very beginning. She's the young, impulsive, naive girl who manages to find her own unique strengths in a frightening situation and really comes into herself as she realizes that she is better suited to her role than her older sister would have been. Vivenna, the older sister, I didn't like as much to begin with, which is probably deliberate on the part of the author. She has been trained her entire life to be the bride of the God-King, and then is suddenly left completely without purpose. She's a very rigid person, with a very structured belief system, vast amounts of training for a role that she no longer needs to play. Her entire character development seemed to be an answer to the question of what does it take to force someone to admit that their view of the world is overly biased, unhelpful, and just plain wrong. That the world isn't neatly divided into black and white, right and wrong.

On top of all that, there is a great story with lots of drama and suspense. Wonderful scenery, amazing ideas, really cool characters. An awful lot of assumptions that turn out to be wrong. I was completely fooled on two separate occasions as to what was actually going on (in my defense, so where the main characters), and was totally delighted when I found out the truth.

The entire book is available online but I'm planning to buy a copy of it, so that I can have a copy to curl up with. I'm also planning to read through all the rest of Sanderson's novels. I really like that this was a stand-alone story. There were no irritating loose ends left dangling. It seemed like most of the main characters had a reasonable shot at living happily ever after, at least as good a chance as any of us ever have. I suspect this is a book I will re-read many times.