Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – A Review

Hi! I’ve a sad review today, or rather one I’m kind of sad about. I finished Warbreaker a good few days ago but I decided to sit on it a bit and really think about how I felt about it before I wrote the review. Sadly, I haven’t changed my mind since then.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
  • Publication date: December 29th 2011
  • Publisher: Gollancz
  • Genre: Fantasy

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.

Uh oh! I’ve been gushing about Brandon Sanderson and all of his books forever – I even called him my favourite fantasy author (I mean, he still remains my favourite, regardless) – all before I read this book. Warbreaker had a great premise, what seemed like an interesting magic system and since it’s a Cosmere book, I thought I would love it. Alas, I needed to be disappointed by Sanderson eventually, as nobody’s perfect, and this book did just that! To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really enjoy it.

Warbreaker lacked so many things I expect to get from a Brandon Sanderson book, it nearly read like it was written by someone else. I think he’s a master of magic systems, and the magic in this one was good, but it didn’t blow me away. Though the concept itself was intriguing, it really seemed like it wasn’t fleshed out well enough for me to grasp what the breaths and the amount of them were really about until I read the ars arcanum. Also, for some reason, I thought the magic itself was based off colour before I started the book. I think the magic was still the strongest point of this novel, the true potential of it just wasn’t reached.

I usually like most (if not all) of Sanderson’s characters, as they have an incredible amount of depth and personality, even if they’re annoying shits (Kaladin, this one’s for you), but unfortunately I didn’t really connect with anyone in Warbreaker. Lightsong was probably the closest one I found to liking, but I found him too exaggerated in the end. I understand the reason why he behaved in the way he did, yet I think his potential was missed and portraying him as purely the comic relief through 90% of the book took away from his heroism at the end. I could not care less about Siri, I found her incredibly bland for the temperamental princess she was. As for Vivena, I want to forget she ever existed.

Sanderson stays pretty PG and vague when it comes to anything sex related, be it actual sex scenes, or descriptions of relationships or characters or situations where the narrative can take a sexual tone, at least in the other books of his I read, and it’s definitely part of the reason I enjoy his writing so much. This one is filled with allusions to sex, cringy dialogue filled with innuendos and rather vivid descriptions of the female physique (I don’t know why I’m trying to be so eloquent – it’s BOOBS, there, I said it). I couldn’t stand it. I’m no prude, and it didn’t in any way offend me, but it made the story less enjoyable, as it didn’t add any depth.

To add another thing to the quite sizable list of things that weren’t my favourite – Warbreaker suffers from one of the worst cases of insta love I’ve ever seen.

In the end, I feel like I should rate this book 2 stars, but I’m opting for 2.5 because I’m feeling a tad bit guilty for giving a Sanderson book 2 stars. I’m a bit nervous to pick up Elantris now, as maybe it’s the case of early Sanderson that I can’t quite get on board with.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Am I in the minority here? I feel like everyone enjoyed this but me.

Thanks for reading!

I’ll talk to you soon!

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