Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Publication date: 29 December 2011
Page count: 672 pages/24 hours and 57 minutes
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This review is spoiler-free.
Warbreaker was the only adult Brandon Sanderson novel I hadn’t read yet (until Oathbringer came out, that is), and I have no idea why I never bothered to pick it up. Going in, I didn’t even know what it as about because I trust Sanderson enough to jump in without reading the synopsis. So imagine my absolute delight when I discovered that Warbreaker is a princess novel. That’s right, a princess novel. From Brandon Sanderson. Why did no one tell me this? I listened to the fantastic audiobook and would highly recommend it.
This is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses. Theirs is a world in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city. A world transformed by a power based on an essence known as breath. Using magic is arduous as breath can only be collected one unit at a time.
I absolutely loved Warbreaker, and it is one of my new favourite Sanderson books. It’s an interesting one because I don’t think the world building is his strongest, nor is the magic system the most intricate and intriguing. Where it does excel is the relationship between characters and the political scheming. Something that really stood out to me was the fact that the magic doesn’t overpower the story. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mistborn and the Stormlight Archives, but the most memorable thing about those books is the magic. In Warbreaker, the magic takes a back seat to the political machinations and I loved that. For me, it was one of the few times that Sanderson really dove into backstabbing politics. Of course now that the Stormlight Archives is gathering steam, this statement is probably going to be irrelevant in a year or so, but that’s okay.
Our two main characters are the sisters Siri and Vivenna. I really liked them both, but Vivenna is the real standout for me. Siri is a classic Sanderson heroine — you can see shades of Shallan and Vin in her. She’s cute and quirky with just the right amount of sass. I like her, but she’s someone we see again and again in his books. Vivenna had so much more going for her. She’s the more sheltered of the two sisters, despite being older, and I love that she decides to take hold of her destiny after being told exactly what to do and how to behave her whole life. She makes stupid mistakes, but she has incredible growth as a character. I loved watching her question her own prejudices and step out of her shell. She’s one of my new all-time favourite fantasy characters.
Warbreaker is an absolutely fantastic book filled with political intrigue, sisterly bonds, and talking swords. It is a stand-out book by one of my favourite authors, and I’m so glad I decided to pick it up!
Want to try Warbreaker for yourself? You can pick it up at the following sites (affiliate links):