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 V

I was pretty darn satisfied with that ending. Even the second time around.

This week’s questions, the final set, are from Amanda. Make sure to check out her site and our co-host Once Upon a Time to see what they made out of this ending.

1. There were a whole bunch of character revelations in this last section of the book. We now know who Warbreaker is, and what Blushweaver’s motivations are, and who was behind the war, and the intentions of several characters we suspected. How do you feel, now that everything’s out in the open?

I feel that all my major questions about the characters have been wrapped up while still leaving the story open for further exploration should Sanderson want to return to it. I especially like how the title Warbreaker can refer to not only the character with that name but to a number of the characters as they scrambled around trying to stop the war.

From my first read through, I can still remember being shocked by Bluefingers’ actions and surprised by the age of both Denth and Vasher and the source of contention between them.

2. At the beginning of our group read, I asked if you thought the Returned actually were divine. We saw Lightsong change his mind on his own divinity, and learned a bit more about the Returned. Has your answer about divinity changed, then, since the beginning of the book?

I am not really a believer in divinity to begin with, but for this book, I believe Lightsong met this story’s definition of divinity in the end. Vasher’s parting comments in the Epilogue were interesting because they so mirrored many of the doubts and internal arguments that Lightsong had throughout the novel.

3. Now that we’ve seen Nightblood in action, firsthand, and know more about its history, what do you think about it as an object? What are your thoughts about Vasher’s relationship with the sword?

Well, Vasher did a naughty thing bringing Nightblood into the world. On the other hand, he has been paying long penance keeping Nightblood out of trouble. I can see that Nightblood will always need a keeper, one of the noble variety preferably.

Nightblood did provide me with some good entertainment throughout the novel. In this section, I especially liked how it managed to get itself off a lake bottom and back to Vivenna and then Vasher.

4. Lastly, what are your final thoughts on Warbreaker? How did it compare to other books you’ve read, and to other Sanderson, if you’ve read more by him?

As a re-read, I caught myself catching a lot more of the subtler points. To me, that is one of the things that makes a book worth re-reading. While the humor of Tonk Fah and Denth was entertaining the first go around, I was keyed to pay more attention to it this time and pick up on some of the meanings behind the humor. Also, hints about Vasher’s identity and the history of Hallandren and Idris were sprinkled throughout the novel.

I have read 2 other Sanderson novels so far and I would put this equal to Mistborn in entertainment level but a little below The Way of Kings. All three have been excellent epic fantasies and I don’t hesitate to recommend them to folks who enjoy the genre.

Other Tidbits:

What happened to Lightsong’s squirrel?

Did anyone else find Blushweaver’s exit from the storyline abrupt?

It’s good to see that Vivenna will finally take a holiday. Perhaps Siri and Susebron will get a honeymoon.

I hope Llarimar will go back to his family now and not raise some Lightsong cult that goes on to be the foundation to some new religion of zealots 300 years down the road.

Brandon Sanderson has Deleted Scenes! over HERE on his site. Hooray!

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 III

It is very hard to get hyper Tanuki to pose for a pic. Bribery was used.

What a crazy week! So much happened in this week’s readings; even though it is a re-read for me, I am greatly enjoying the book and found it a little hard to stop.

This week’s reading included Chapters 24-34. Schedule over HERE.

Thanks once again to Once Upon A Time for keeping us all organized and Amanda over at Ramblings for this week’s questions.

The Questions:

1. Lightsong is beginning to remember his past, or at least, what he thinks is his past. Why do you think this knowledge is coming to him now, after five years as a Returned?

I think his subconscious is preparing him for big things. He has to believe in himself for what is to come. Once upon a time he did something heroic and bold and he needs that piece of himself again. It’s been buried all these years, waiting for the right moment to strike, like a hidden panther.

Or perhaps his servants will run out of grapes and he will have to peel them himself.

2. In this section, Vivenna has learned a lot about herself, and not necessarily to her liking. How do you think the new knowledge will change her going forward?

I think it was healthy for her to admit she was a hypocrite. Learning that ‘your people’ are gangsters and prostitutes and feel that they are better off in the slums of Hallendren rather than the empty slopes of Idris must have stung a bit. In some ways, Vivenna became a much more interesting person in this week’s reading- having to confront what she would do in a moment of terror. Perhaps now she will vary her daily dress a bit.

3. From the beginning of the book, both the Idrians and Lightsong have been telling us that the Returned aren’t Gods, and that the Hallendren religion is untrue. Now, though, we’ve had a few other different perspectives: Jewels’ vehement faith in the God King, the God King’s own belief in his divinity, and finally, Hoid’s collection of historical stories. Given the new information, have your ideas about religion in this book changed? How do you view it now?

Most importantly, it was very good to see Hoid again. He turns up here and there in other Sanderson books.

Religion is an organized group of people who believe roughly the same thing. Hallendren definitely has it’s religion – with some of the Returned subscribing to it and others not. I really love how Sanderson weaves together all this religious turmoil into the story line. I think Lightsong is deeply disturbed by the religion surrounding him, because he does not believe himself worthy of such adoration and dedication, not to mention the breaths he must take from children each month.

Susebron has known nothing else. Siri is the first person he has had contact with that has been honest to his face about not believing in his divinity. While the priests that surround him use religion as a tool to maintain power, they have always reinforced his belief in his divinity.

The only way I can think to relate to this is by looking at my mundane life and imagining someone telling me, very seriously, that I am divine. Huh? You must be a little nuts. Go put the harp away. No, we don’t need choir music. OK, leave the candles if you must, I wanted to read anyway.

4. Denth says, “Every man is a hero in his own story.” What do you make of this, especially given Denth and Vasher’s apparent rivalry, and Vivenna and Siri’s different perspectives of life in Hallendren and the Gods’ court?

Siri is making the best of an impossible situation. She wasn’t trained for this position, she was ordered to it last minute, and when she gets there, it is not as advertised. I think she is doing remarkably well. It is a good thing she is flexible.

Vivenna started off as pretty inflexible and it was her stubbornness and idea of ‘Right’ that got her this far. But this week, we saw a lot of her believes challenged. I am expecting this to lead to personal growth on her part.

Denth and Vasher. this is a a re-read for me, so I won’t say too much. So far, we have spent very little time inside eithers’ head. We’ve heard more chat from Denth and how he has taken pains to protect Vivenna. On Vasher’s side, we have seen a lot of threatening postures, a few deaths/injuries, and several occasions where he goes out of his way not to kill. So far, they are both suspicious to me.

Other Tidbits:

Hoid’s storytelling performance with the various thing she pulled out of his pockets was very cool.

Hopefinder and Blushweaver: That was a very entertaining conversation, with all the back and forth.

Do you think Clod has any of his personality left? It was pretty amazing how the Lifeless retained such mobility and fighting skill.

Sooner or later, Siri will have to explain to Susebron exactly why she bounces on the bed, making moaning noises. I find it entertaining how she is in the awkward position of sooner or later explaining the mechanics of reproduction.

Warbreaker Read Along I

Warbreaker Read Along II

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!

Warbreaker Read Along Part I

Hello everyone. Welcome to the read along of Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. This read along is the brainchild of those lovely, quick-tongued, and highly entertaining folks over at Once Upon A Time, so make sure to stop by and enjoy their site. They also have the links to all the other participating bloggers.

This is my second time reading this novel in the past year. I enjoyed this book so much the first time through, I read it very fast and missed a lot of the details. So this read along was the perfect excuse to re-read it, and slow down my pace. With that said, I promise not to spoil anything in my answers for first time readers.

1. All right, let’s start easy – how are you liking the book so far? We’ve been introduced to a lot of characters and started several stories now. Any in particular catch your attention? Anything intrigue you?

I have to say the cover drew me in right away. Just gorgeous work.

I remember the first time reading this and finding it a little daunting to grasp the rules of the world right off the bat. Luckily, Sanderson provides plenty of details to help me get on board quickly enough.

The character of Vasher I was intrigued by right away; is he a bad guy? Good Guy? His sword Nightblood often had me inappropriately laughing. Also Denth and Tonk Fah were quite the dry wit comedy duo.

Siri also had my attention right away because she is rebellious (or an independent thinker depending on your point of view). She’s a handful at home and a too curious for the Hallandren crowd.

2. The Returned are all treated as Gods, but at least one of those Gods doesn’t believe in his own divinity, despite seeing potential visions. Do you think the Returned will prove to be divine? How do you feel about the religion built up around them?

I’m going to partially skirt the answer to the first question, since I know how the book ends. Let me bore you with beer talk about divinity. That first glass of fresh, clear, cool water after working in the sun for hours is divine. That first fresh strawberry from my own garden was divine. Of course there are divine acts, which can be simple things of kindness, especially when they go against our base inclinations. Lightsong seems to be in great need of some divinity. His ennui would be irksome if he didn’t have his snide comments and nick names to entertain me.

I see lots of potential for corruption. The Gods can abuse the system and get nearly anything they want (except freedom) and the servants of the Gods control access to them, and hence have a lot of power. I find Lightsong’s questions to Scoot about believing the whole religion very interesting. Lightsong is a God and even he questions the validity of the religion – probably because of the weekly offerings and the near daily petitions that he has to turn down.

3. The God King didn’t turn out to be the way he’s presented and thought of in this world. Any ideas on what his role will be in this story?

The first time I read this, I remember seeing the GK Susebron as a mystery. At first, I couldn’t tell if he would be cruel, simple, cold and callous, or a reserved goodness. There are so many rules for Siri, even as wife to the GK. Of course, this has lead to some amusing situations and conversations. Bluefingers’ advice not to touch the GK, when they are suppose to have sex and create an heir – that conversation had me laughing on the second time through just as much as the first.

4. The title – Warbreaker – what do you think it might refer to?

The title had me guessing up to near the end my first time through. I like not having all the answers right away in a story.

So early on in the book, the reader is introduced to how close to the surface war is brewing. Between that and the title, we know the theme of war is important.

Other Tidbits:

Vivenna is also an interesting character. She has defied her father and secretly followed her sister to the God King’s city. She firmly believes her sister is in desperate need of saving. I found it very interesting how quickly she is overwhelmed by the new environment and then thrown for a loop by Lemex’s death.

Can you imagine going from pretty self-serving and living in a prudish society to having people whose job it is to bathe you? Now, does Siri get to scrub her important bits, or is this done for her too?

Lightsong refers to a Goddess that was the last decent Returned. I would like to learn more about her (Calmseer) and her relationship with Lightsong.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – The Group Read

Dab of Darkness will be participating in it’s first Group Read with Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. I have been having fun with groups reads over at My Awful Reviews and Darkcargo and couldn’t resist playing in another one.

If you’d like to participate, then check out Once Upon a Time, who is hosting this Group Read and keeping us all organized (bless their little cat-herding souls!).

Brandon Sanderson is one of those cool authors that loves his fans back; Warbreaker is available on his website as a free HTML download, and he has deleted scenes.

Here’s the schedule:

Section One: Prologue – Chapter 12.
Reading: Monday 21 May, Questions Out: Saturday 26 May, Posts: Tuesday 29 May.

Section Two: Chapter 13 – Chapter 23.
Reading: Tuesday 29 May, Questions Out: Saturday 2 June, Posts: Tuesday 5 June.

Section Three: Chapter 24 – Chapter 34.
Reading: Tuesday 5 June, Questions Out: Saturday 9 June, Posts: Tuesday 12 June.

Section Four: Chapter 35 – Chapter 49.
Reading: Tuesday 12 June, Questions Out: Saturday 16 June, Posts: Tuesday 19 June.

Section Five: Chapter 50 – End.
Reading: Tuesday 19 June, Questions Out: Saturday 23 June, Posts: Tuesday 26 June.