Just Breathe: A Review of Warbreaker

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Introduction

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson follows the story of several point of view characters as they deal with the various troubles that plague Nalthis. Warbreaker, like the Mistborn books takes place in Brandon Sanderson’s shared universe called the Cosmere. It’s magic system revolves around the collecting of ‘Breaths’ a sort of soul that everyone is born with, but is not required for life. As people gain more and more Breaths, their worlds become richer in color and sound. Awakeners can also use their Breaths to temporarily imbue objects with a semblance of life, giving them commands that the objects act out to the best of their abilities.

┬áThe story focuses mainly on Siri, the Idris princess wed to the God King of Hallandren. The main theme of this book I suppose is romance, and sacrifice, and while it takes a bit to get going, and the magic system is my least favorite of what I have read of Sanderson’s work, it’s still a successful book. Sanderson again manages to weave a web of excellent characters and a good amount of twists and turns to add tot he drama in a satisfying way.

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What Works

Sanderson manages to write a compelling relationship between Siri, and the God King, without resorting to the explicit, which may be a disappointment to some people but comes as a relief for me. He also introduces two compelling characters that have further reaching influence in the Cosmere in Vasher and Nightblood, both of which have fun cameos in The Stormlight Archives. This book’s greatest strength is it’s characters, which are able to make the story compelling despite a weaker magic system than we are used to from Sanderson.

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What Doesn’t

As mentioned before, the magic system of BioChroma just didn’t strike a chord with me. Sucking peoples souls out to see deeper color and appreciate art better seems well…silly. Sure Awakeners are pretty cool, and the Lifeless are an interesting take on the Golem mythos, but overall it doesn’t compare in the least to Surgebinding or Allomancy in pure awesomeness.

The pacing of the book also left something to be desired, it takes quite a while to get going, and then seems to rush to it’s conclusion.

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Final Word

While clearly not my favorite of Sanderson’s work Warbreaker is still an interesting read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the Cosmere novels, if not as a stand alone book. Most of the characters are great, but they are weighed down by a world and magic system that failed to catch my interest. All in all I’d give Warbreaker a 2.7 out of 5.

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