Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Read Along of War Breaker by Brandon Sanderson: Part 5

You can see Naithin’s Part 5 post, and the links to the other blogs taking part, here.

This week we have read up to the end of the book.

I would like to thank Naithin and Amanda for hosting the read along and everyone else who took part: yet again it has been terrific fun!

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?

Exhausted! There was so much going on that I feel a little frazzled.

I am not sure that all the plot ends were tied up neatly. We do not know that the Awakened statues were successful in averting the war, although they ended the last one so we can assume that they did. If the Royal family is descended from a Returned I assume that Siri will be able to have a child by the God King, but it would be nice to know if she can. Also, which Returned are they descended from? We saw Denth’s hair shift color, so is he their ancestor? I would also like to know what has happened to the previous God Kings: are they out there doing good deeds or simply relaxing in retirement? However, my biggest question is about the way that the religion functions: is everything going to return to how it was before the attempted war or will Susebron change things?

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 still do not think that they are divine themselves, as Lightsong remembers some power offering him the possibility of Returning. However, they are Returned deliberately, with a purpose that will be revealed to them by their ability to see the future. If Lightsong is typical, then they were people who showed courage or goodness or some other quality that the divine power perceived. It is the divine power that chooses them and gives them the hugely powerful Breath that makes them Returned, so they are simply its messengers.

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?

It is the perfect example of how an object created to do good can end up doing bad things. Although it was created with the best of intentions it is incapable of making the moral distinction between good and evil and so cannot fulfill its Command as it was meant to. It seems to be heavily dependent upon those people it likes to give it guidance as to who it should kill, otherwise it will just kill everyone.

Vasher knows how dangerous the sword is, but also knows how to control it and his temptation to use it. Obviously it cannot be hidden because it will entice people to rescue it, much like the One Ring. I presume it cannot be destroyed, otherwise he would surely have done that after Shashara died, which I assume was on account of Nightblood’s actions.

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?

I thoroughly enjoyed Warbreaker, and I would love to read a sequel, although I guess we will have to wait until all the Wheel of Time books are done and dusted before we see it. I can see why he was chosen to compete those books although Mr Sanderson seems better able than Mr Jordan to restrain his fantasy to a more manageable size. I have only read one other Sanderson novel, Mistborn; the Final Empire, but I am impressed by his ability to create lavishly detailed worlds and his magic systems are excellent and original. I intend to read all his other works as I find time. I like how he can produce intricate plots with interesting characters without everything feeling derivative. He also writes nice strong female characters, which I appreciate.


  1. Agh, bastard browser ate up mah comment! (Crashed during posting, not sure why). Worst part is, I don't even recall what I was saying now. Took that long to recover. (Aren't work PCs grand? :P )

    In any case, I like your comparison of Nightblood to the One Ring. I had seen a bit of that as well, in that there is such a temptation to use it but to do so is to succumb to a terrible cost the more you do.

    Maybe the sequel will be about Vasher and Viv going on a journey to drop Nightblood into Mt. Doom. :P

  2. That might be the only way to destroy it! :D

  3. I agree with you about the Returned. I definitely got the feeling that they are just the messengers and/or pawns of some divine being up in a higher plane that has some sort of master plan. Maybe Sanderson will get inspired to write a trilogy about it when he runs out of other things to write ;-)

  4. Just a short sequel to answer some of the questions would be enough! :D

  5. So many good questions you have! I also want to know if there are a bunch of tongueless dudes out there that once ruled the nation.

    The first time I read this book, I was surprised it ended without us knowing for a certainty that the war had been averted. But the second time through I was more comfortable with it. 

  6. I wonder what you do with yourself after you have been God King? Perhaps there is a special retirement home for them . . .

    In some ways I would have liked a concrete ending, but I know that there was supposed to be a sequel, so I can forgive it. Though he really should write that sequel when he gets a chance! :D


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