Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Chupacabra and Warbreaker

Why I Read It: Read along hosted by Once Upon A Time

Where I Got It: Own it.

Who I Recommend This To: Those into epic fantasy.

Publisher: Tor Fantasy (2010)

Length: 688 pages

This book was a play on plot twists. Brandon Sanderson has entertained me quite well once again. Siri and Vivenna are sisters, Princesses of Idris, a high mountain, sober town. Vivenna has known all her life that she was betrothed to the God King of Hallandren, a bustling city steeped in color and vice. However, the King of Idris cannot bear to send his eldest, and favorite, daughter. Siri is sent in her staid, much to the shock of all, including the untrained and ill-mannered Siri.

Vasher and his thought-projecting sentient sword Nightblood have a quest of their own, which no one is quite sure about for a good chunk of the book. (I loved guessing on his intentions). Denth and Tonk Fah are dark-humored mercenaries who meet Vivenna shortly after she makes her secret way to Hallandren to rescue her sister. Siri, in the mean time, has been learning to enjoy succulent fish dishes and wear fancy, flashy, sexy gowns. She befriends one of the pantheon of the Court, Lightsong. He has some of the best lines of the book, constantly irritating and making the other gods and royalty laugh. A good chunk of the pantheon and their priests are for war with Idris, which is seen as a rogue city defying the rightful rule of The God King. Oh, and they have some very lucrative mountain passes used for trading with other nations. Just in case you need a monetary reason to go to war.

In this tale, BioChroma plays a large role. The more Breaths a person has, the more objects a person can animate and command. This includes dead bodies, and hence Hallandren has an army of Lifeless – soldiers who do not need sleep, rest, food, or water. They feel no pain. Shudder. Yeah, Idris is in trouble. While Siri and Vivenna work in their separate ways to head off this war, Lightsong begins snooping around after a mysterious death of servant occurs at Mercystar’s palace. Vasher and Denth continue to circle each other, alternately aggravating and avoiding one another.

What I Liked: The BioChroma rules for this world; the dark humor of Denth and Tonk Fah; the God King’s secret; Lightsong’s banter with the curvaceous Blushweaver; Nightblood has some of the best lines; the lifeless squirrel!

What I Disliked: The first time reading it, it took me some time to grasp the rules of BioChroma.

Warbreaker Read Along Part IV

Heldig in one of her better moods.

Ha! What an interesting section of the book (Cpts. 35-49). Everything has changed, been turned upside down, and twisted inside out. I hope you all have enjoyed the revelations as much as I.

Make sure to check out Once Upon A Time, our hosts, to see what they make of these questions.

 

1) So, pretty much everything has been flipped up on its head in this section. Which particular revelation was the greatest shock to you and how has it impacted your view of the book as a whole?
The first time I read this book, the brutality of Denth and Tonk Fah really threw me. I had bought into their quirky, brusque mercenary personas and didn’t look past them. So when it was revealed that they were working for someone else and willing to torture Parlin to death, plus the dead animals, I was wickedly surprised. Did that scene remind anyone else of the scene at the end of The Village where they discover the remnants of several animals under the floor boards of the mentally handicapped kid? Spooky.
Of course, Sanderson can’t leave it at that. He followed one twisted plot point up with another through these chapters. I love how Vivenna has had to question everything and how Lightsong is becoming useful.
2) Vasher is perhaps one of those things who we’ve had flipped over on us. Turns out he may have once been a scholar, even! Vasher and Vivenna have quite the conversation about Awakening and Returned and skate across the topic of ‘Type 4’ Awakened Objects, which the story implies to be objects like Nightblood. Vasher is completely unwilling to discuss it any further – any guesses as to why?
I think Vasher was experimenting and made a big, bloody, animated mistake by bringing the sword Nightblood to life. He now serves out a penance by being it’s protector. At least Nightblood has a better, if darker, sense of humor than Vasher.
3) Siri’s conversation with Treledees perhaps indicated that for all the disregard he shows for Siri, that he may in fact still care for the God King. If true, does this clash with their idea of simply holding onto the Divine Breath until the return of another, or how could you see it being reconciled?
I don’t like or trust Treledees. I am not inclined to say he devoutly believes in the God King. Perhaps he believes in his own sanctity as protector of those mighty Breaths. That would click better with his inflated sense of self-worth and bullying attitude.
4) We’re so far through the book now, and the War has yet to come. Do you (still?) see it as inevitable, or do you think that it may yet be headed off?
Since this is a reread for me, I will say that the first time I read this book, at this point, I was still unsure whether or not there would be war. But the title seems built for a war breaker. So I had to wonder if this was going to be a story about heading off a war, or a story about several people trying to break up a war and failing. I was routing for Lightsong, Vivenna, Susebron, Siri, and Vasher at this point.
Other Tidbits:
Allmother actually seemed to be doing something for those who petitioned her. Why don’t more of the gods do this? You would think that some of them, like Lightsong, would find some satisfaction in this.
That squirrel is my hero. I need one. Where can I find ichor-alcohol to animate one? I already am pretty decent with needle and thread.
Vivenna + sword = [pick an injury]
Siri needs a bumpersitkcer: Good food leads to sex. Always. Be prepared.

 

Warbreaker Read Along Part II

Thanks to the folks over at Once Upon a Time for running this read along. Make sure to check out their site and see what they think about the book so far.

Since this is a reread for me, I will be answering most of these questions sideways because I already know how the story plays out. This week’s section covered Chpts. 13-23. See the schedule over HERE.

The Questions:

1) We’ve seen more of Vasher and Nightblood in action and heard perhaps quite a different perspective from the mercenaries. Any thoughts on what Vasher and Nightblood’s nature or motivations may ultimately be?
Vasher and Nightblood are an interesting duo – each highly deadly in his/it’s own right and one self-restrained and one physically restrained. I am highly amused by Nightblood, in a guilty kind of twisted way. I don’t think Nightblood is a particularly good being. During my first read through, I still wasn’t too sure about these two and their motivations. I thought Vasher was harsh and probably up to no good – he killed a man in the first week’s reading, made threatening eyes at Vivenna this week. But them he goes and leaves people alive that he doesn’t have to.
2) How about the mercenaries themselves? Denth seems to be spectacularly dangerous; more than we may have suspected. Then there is Tonk Fah and the recently introduced Jewels. Are they playing it level with Vivenna, do you think?
Yes. I think they are creepy and morbid by turns, but they are mercenaries and have been hired to do a job. Denth especially appears to be taking the Princess under his wing a little and giving her some much needed advice. I like them because of their dark humor though I do miss Tonk Fah’s bird.  Jewels is the first Drab we really get to see and that only a little. She seems to have no regard for Vivenna and that might just be her nature to everyone, or perhaps she doesn’t care for royalty. She does seem to coddle her Lifeless and I can remember during my first read through thinking perhaps it was because she was socially inept with the living.
3) We – and Siri – were let in on (some of) the secrets surrounding the God King as well, and what has been done to him to keep him in check. Or at least, we’ve seen Siri’s thoughts on why it was done. Do you think she was right? What consequences do you perhaps see arising from her teaching the Godking?
I think she will be teaching him more than reading skills….. OK, highschool humor aside I think some shit will be going down as a result of increasing the God King’s comprehensive skills. The cutesy-wutesy side of me, admittedly very small, also finds this very endearing – the God King asking for help from his wife on something that reveals so much about himself.
4) Blushweaver seems to be working toward some end goal we’re not yet privy to, but we know she is after anyone with Lifeless commands. Any ideas what/who/where her target may be once control of the Lifeless is gained?
Well, I don’t think she is looking to set of a Lifeless harem for herself or a night cabaret with male Lifeless on stage. She says that she just wants to prepare for the worst case, but that is all she is presenting. She seems to get a high out of manipulating people; I hope Lightsong keeps vexing her.
Other Tidbits:
While the scenes with the Lifeless squirrel running amok were not described, I can still picture them, and they make me snort-laugh.
What do you think Vasher was doing in Mercystar’s palace anyway? Who is his informant? I remember being tortured by these questions my first read through.
Scoot knew Lightsong in his past life and believes in his goodness and divinity. That is very telling.
Vivenna has still got a stick up her rear about some things, doesn’t she? I am glad that started to waver in this section, probably due to discovering her father’s notes to the now-dead Lemex.
What do you think Susebron thinks of Siri’s new nightly performance? If he can’t read, then does he know about procreation at all? Do you think he mimics the gestures and bouncing back in his own room, trying to puzzle it out?
Lightsong, the Super Sleuth!