Warbreaker was also one of my birthday presents, and I was really excited to read it. It’s interesting that I read this book right after Elantris, because they have a lot of the same concepts. Men undergoing a transformation and being deified, and a princess being promised to a royal of a neighbouring kingdom in a political move. I thought Brandon Sanderson was being a bit repetitive (although he takes the concepts in very different directions in both books), but it was deliberate; he wanted to explore concepts that came up in Elantris, but couldn’t due to the direction of the story.
Warbreaker follows two Idrian princesses, Siri and Vivenna. Vivenna has been promised to Susebron, the God King of neighbouring Hallendren, in the hopes that it would avert a war, and she has been studying and preparing for this all her life. However, at the last minute, her father cannot bear to part with her, and instead sends her sister Siri. Vivenna is outraged and goes on an unauthorised mission to rescue her younger sister from her fate. We also follow Lightsong, a Returned god of Hallendren who doesn’t believe he is a god, and the mysterious Vasher and his sentient sword, Nightblood.
As usual, there is a lot of political intrigue and sudden plot twists that make an amazing amount of sense in retrospect, but which I never saw coming. Siri and Vivenna are very different from each other (and from all the other Sanderson female protagonists), and both very likeable. Lightsong reminded me a bit of Oscar Wilde’s lazy and frivolous protagonists, but of course he’s curious underneath it all. (I loved the revelation of who he was before he Returned.) Vasher is gruff and mysterious, but definitely an interesting person to follow.
One cool thing about Warbreaker is that it is available for free on Brandon Sanderson’s website, as well as all his previous drafts of the book. This is a really cool, especially for people who want to write books. He also has annotations for each chapter. All of this is available at his Warbreaker portal.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Tor Books, 2009 | Buy the book