There is a mighty god-king who everyone is terrified of, a young girl from another kingdom who has no intention of getting married to him but yet finds herself forced to. A Haman of sorts, a Mordecai of sorts...and more parallels that I can't explain without giving away the mind numbing, heart thumping, soul satisfying plot.
I'm probably prejudiced, but Brandon Sanderson is a freaking genius. Some authors I love because of the characters I grow to know better than friends in real life. Some (all right...most) authors can keep me guessing with the plot. Some authors seduce me with setting, but it takes a really clever magic system or incredible setting to make me feel like I haven't just walked onto another cliche' fantasy stage. Somehow (and I really wish I knew how), Brandon Sanderson manages to accomplish all three with Warbreaker. Plus balance multiple viewpoints, plus has an incredible handle on dialogue. What in the world? I hate you Brandon Sanderson, you make Flash Fiction Friday very embarrassing for me. (no, of course I don't hate you, please don't listen to my jealous ravings...please come for dinner sometime...).
When I started reading the book, it almost felt like another book I've read and liked, Goose Girl, a YA novel by Shannon Hale. That resemblance however lasted only the first few chapters. Shannon Hale is very fond of the softest sort of magical realism. Brandon Sanderson likes to come out with both guns blazing (metaphorically). In Warbreaker the magic revolves around color and breath. Every person has a breath, with breath everything is brighter, more beautiful, life is more vivid. But you can sell your breath or give it away, to people who want more breath, because with breaths you can do magic. Thus, more breaths=more power. Power for both the good guys and the bad guys.
Beautiful little Siri finds herself the lowly owner of one breath, because she believes in one God. Her husband the god-king is the possessor of at least 50,000 breaths, making him the most dangerous person in the world and blasphemous. She's supposed to produce an heir ASAP, but even talking to him or kissing him could mean her death. Meanwhile the court is filled with lesser gods-- lazy, gorgeous, selfish beings with nothing but politics and drama to amuse them. War amuses them, and half of them want to declare war on Siri's people and homeland. The other half? They aren't quite sure what they want.
Oh yeah, and there's a sword running around who has the attitude of a thirteen year old, the patience of a two year old, the mental capability of a four year old. He says whatever he's thinking and he has the skill of a jedi master. He is awesome.
Not surprising, I was both laughing, crying and on pins and needles the whole book.
I don't like the cover. It makes no sense. That character would never wear that dress, and I mean never. So maybe it's a different character, but then the sword and colors coming out of her mouth make no sense. Drives me crazy when they do that to covers.
And in case you missed yesterday's post... You can also read the book for free.