Stars: four and a half
I have read other works by Sanderson (notably his Mistborn trilogy and The Way of Kings), but I think Warbreaker is his best. I love the characters, the magic system and the duel plots that come together with a strong climax. As with all of Sanderson’s stories, the ending leaves room for imagination – and possibly a sequel. (Please?) The setting – the tropical, and magical, city of T’Telir – is the perfect escape from a cold day.
Warbreaker is the tale of two sisters who are swapped in a marriage deal – the younger, Siri, sent to marry the terrible God-King to spare the older (more loved), Vivenna. The swap sets off adventures and character growth for both. Mixed in are the Returned Gods, including prankster Lightsong and the God-King, and the mysterious Vasher. Sanderson’s excellent characterization of women, as well as the growth of all of the characters, make the story more real and more engrossing.
An interesting feature of this particular novel is that Sanderson published the chapters online as well as subsequent revisions. His theory was that people would still by the book when it was published – and they did. You can still read the book and compare the revisions on the website. He is now adding annotations to each chapter to flesh out some of the fun details (how, exactly does Breath work?) and explain things that are glossed over for flow and plot purposes. Essentially, it is an interactive novel. Sanderson found the process successful and has mentioned doing it for another novel at some point.
I highly recommend Warbreaker, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with Sanderson’s work. It is a good stepping-stone into Sanderson’s worldbuilding and characterization styles. I will definitely be covering more of his work in the future, so stay tuned!