I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Warbreaker” by Brandon Sanderson! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“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.”
Worldbuilding Development: 1.5 out of 5 stars
When I first picked up the book, I found the concept to be interesting. The magic system involving colours, as well as the worldbuilding, had promise. Unfortunately, both the magic and the worldbuilding were rather weak and it was hard to pick up in the beginning (though it did get a little better later on in the book).
Character Development: 2 out of 5 stars
Romance Development: 2 out of 5 stars
If there was anything I liked about Siri and Vivienna, it was that both of them became increasingly like each other. Siri became the one that used her wits to get through situations and try to control the overall situation with her own status, while Vivienna ended up becoming increasingly reckless and stubborn while trying to reach Siri and rescue her. This is really funny when you consider that Siri thinks of Vivienna as the noble, political one, while Vivienna sees Siri as the stubborn one. Unfortunately, there was virtually nothing else to their development. Both of them are too witless to realize they are being led on by Bluefingers (in Siri’s case) and Tonk Fah and Denth (in Vivienna’s case) respectively, and the relationship developments they had with Susebron and Vasher felt forced (Vivienna and Vasher moreso than Siri and Susebron). I also thought Siri would object more to being called “Vessel” a lot of the time, because she does not seem like someone who would willingly let herself be called such due to her role being to be pregnant with Susebron’s child.
While on the topic of relationships, I felt that Siri and Susebron should have stayed platonic. Yes, they were technically married to each other, but I didn’t really feel romantic development between them, and the way the two finally started getting along and understanding each other felt more platonic than anything. It probably doesn’t help that Siri was literally reading children’s books to him and teaching him to read and write, either. Instead, it gives off the image of Siri being Susebron’s mother, and then the fact that they become romantic feels more discomforting as a result.
I found Susebron’s muteness to be interesting, but I also found it to be a missed opportunity. I don’t understand why they bothered returning his speech to him right at the end of the book, and I especially don’t understand how he can speak so clearly despite being without a tongue for literally 90% of the book. Yes, he was capable of speaking prior to the tongue being cut out, but going without literally talking for so long should have realistically resulted in him jumbling up his speech when he spoke for the first time in the book, or at least his words not coming out as clearly as they depict it. Also, how did he communicate with everyone prior to Siri teaching him to read and write, especially if he couldn’t speak at all? Yes, his position was to be purely a figurehead and not much else, but what if he had an emergency like being sick or something? How would he communicate that to a priest or servant, especially if he couldn’t write, speak or at least use sign language (there is no mention of anyone using sign language in the book, which presumes that this form of communication doesn’t exist in Hallendran or Idris)? That just turned into one giant plothole a result.
The characters that stuck out for me the best were, despite being the antagonists and having no point of view in their perspectives, Tonk Fah and Denth. Both of them simultaneously subverted and played along with the expectations of what mercenaries would act when serving nobles, literally making fun of all of this in conversation with Vivienna during the first half to two-thirds of the book. They had snappy dialogue and cunning that really appealed to me as a reader, and so these two were more interesting than any of the protagonists in the book as a result. I would’ve loved to read this in their perspective instead.
Overall, I’m rating this book 2 out of 5 stars!
It’s worth it for the mercenaries, but not as much for everything else, unfortunately.