I have a bad habit of starting new books while I’m in the middle of a book I had already started, which is why I usually have three or four books going at once. I start these new books for many reasons–I’m bored with the first one, I got a new one I really wanted to read, I’m mad at a character and need a break, ect. The reason I stopped reading Nightmares and Dreamscapes is that I have a hard time reading books of short stories, and need a small distraction every three or four stories. Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson, was the perfect book for the job.

Warbreaker

Brandon Sanderson is one of my all-time favorite fantasy authors. Every book of his that I’ve read was incredibly enjoyable and wonderfully written. I have reviewed one of his books, Elantris (which you can find here), and read his Mistborn trilogy before this blog started. If you like fantasy, do yourself a favor and read all of his books. What I love most about Sanderson is the amount of detail that goes into each of his books. They all have different systems of magic and different governmental, religious, and social structure, and each one is wonderfully developed and detailed.

Warbreaker created a magic system and world order that lived up to my high expectations for a Sanderson book. I read Elantris and Mistborn a few months ago, and I sometimes find that the way I remember an author and the way they actually write do not always match after I’ve had time to think; any fear on my part that he wasn’t as great as I remembered disappeared within the first chapter. The book is rather long (my hardback copy is 582 pages), but I read the book in a little over two days. I’m beginning to think Sanderson will force me to take back my “I hate books that switch main character every chapter” stance, because all of his books are written that way and I don’t mind!

The basic storyline of Warbreaker is focused three character’s efforts to stop a seemingly unavoidable war. Idris is a small nation based upon a religion that worships one god. In Halladren, they worship the Returned (men and women who die, then come back as gods) and are ruled by the God King (the most powerful Returned). Idris values humility and simplicity, while disproving of bright colors and clothing that distracts people from their humble lives; the people in Halladren wear every color of the rainbow and delight in risky fashion. The story follows three main characters: Vivenna, the king of Idris’s oldest daughter at 22, who is betrothed to the God King as a political move to delay the war; Siri, the youngest daughter at 17, who rebels against her strict society by making her hair bright colors; and Lightsong, the Halladren God of Bravery, who has the ability to start or prevent the war if he stopped being lazy and apathetic.

My favorite part of the book was the magical system Sanderson created. Each person is born with one Breath, a magical substance that those in Idris believe is the soul. Individuals who are able to gain additional Breath (often by buying it from others) can use it to give life to inanimate objects. Breath is used in four ways: to created the Returned (people cannot create Returned, the Gods simply come back to life that way after their mortal body dies), to create Lifeless (dead people or animals that are animated using Breath and are created by people), to command items to perform tasks (like commanding a rope to grab and hold something) and to give objects sentience (a sword that can think, for example). The people of Idris never use breath, believing those who Awaken to be evil and blasphemous against their god; the people of Halladren regularly sell and buy Breath, believe the Returned are gods, and use Awakening.

Overall, I loved this book. I only wish there was a sequel to it! Despite its length the story goes very quickly and flows smoothly. The characters are lovable, even the two slightly stuck up princes. This book has everything: war, lots of action, magic, a love story, political intrigue, and mystery. I highly recommend this book for all fantasy lovers, along with all of Sanderson’s books.

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