Thursday, September 15, 2011

Warbreaker

WarbreakerWarbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars: ****^

Well, I'm finally getting around to doing this. I have to tell you, I loved this book. I loved the world, I loved the characters, and I definitely loved the writing style. There are no glaring flaws with the book. However, there were a few little things that bothered me, and so I'm going to explain what took me away from giving Warbreaker a five-star rating.

One thing that I always notice about writing, in any form, is that grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors are everywhere. And while I make mistakes of my own, I'm sad when I see it happen in a formally published place. On a sign, in magazines, newspapers, and especially books (which should be showing off the best writers). Anyway, I'm happy to say that this was generally not a problem in Warbreaker. There were a few sentences I stumbled over, but on the whole, the writing flowed beautifully. But the reason I bring up this point at all is this. On page 501, Vivenna is having a conversation with Vasher--when suddenly Lightsong replies to something Vivenna says. Since Vivenna has never met Lightsong, I assume Mr. Sanderson meant Vasher. But that, little as it is, has been coming back to me every time I think about this book.

The second problem with this book is a smaller form of what I didn't like about Elantris. It is this: when a book sticks to three or four characters for five hundred pages, it is jarring and frustrating to introduce a tiny, trivial character's POV. Here we are in the action--I want to know what is going to happen to the characters I have come to know and love--and there's a random two-page chunk from a guy sitting in his boat. And while this sort of explains the question of "What happened to this thing?" It isn't really even necessary. Because through Vivenna's POV shortly after, we could have filled in the details ourselves.

The last thing that annoys me when I think about it is Vivenna. She's pretty useless. Sure, she gets into a lot of trouble, but she's being led by the hand the entire time. And when no one is holding her hand, she drops off into oblivion until someone rescues her. Her actions (or rather inactions) make her by far the weakest character in the book. I could get into details here, but I don't want to put spoilers in this post.

Like I said at the start, I loved this book. I was even caught by two big surprises! That doesn't happen very often for me; I can usually figure out what's going to happen at least a little while before it does. That was part of why I loved it so much. The little mysteries like who Lightsong was before he Returned and why the God King, Susebron, acts so strangely at first really kept the story engaging. I was happy to ride along, even if I wasn't sure where the story was headed. I believe that anyone who likes fantasy should pick this up. My favorite thing, its original take on magic (the colors and Breath system), was executed in a brilliant way.

Now to see if I can pick up a copy of Mistborn...

-Tsira

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