I read this book audibly (Quite literally, I downloaded my copy from Audible.com) at the end of 2009. Drowned in the long shadow cast by Sanderson’s prowess, this book just doesn’t get enough attention.
I have read all of Sanderson’s published works, and still this is my personal favorite. Sanderson is often noted for his first novel Elantris, his trilogy Mistborn, and his work on the The Wheel of Time. His new series, the Stormlight Archive, which begins with The Way of Kings has been met with critical acclaim and a lot of hype built around the knowledge that there are 9 more novels to come.
I read the Way of Kings and loved it, as well. Where Warbreaker is my favorite stand-alone, the Stormlight Archive is well on it’s way to becoming my favorite series. In fact, I love all of Sanderson’s books equally, but Warbreaker has something that speaks to me.
Warbreaker was released for free online as Sanderson wrote the story, in rough draft format. For those who may want to sample his work, it is still available, and it is still free.
The story begins with Syrie, the free-spirited daughter of a king who cannot bring himself to honor his treaty agreement to send his eldest daughter, Vivenna, to marry his enemy’s God-King. Syrie is sent in Vivenna’s place. Unsure and Unprepared, Syrie decides to take this task seriously, even if it is the first time she has done so. She is to provide an heir to the God-King’s throne, but how can she when she is not allowed to even talk to her husband?
Vivenna takes to the city of Hallandren immediately, intending to rescue her sister from a fate that should have been her own. Awarded with a gift of breath that would match a noble’s, and a pocket full of gold, she begins to organize a revolt that would serve as the perfect distraction.
Lightsong, God of Courage, doesn’t even believe in himself. Not that he needs to, in order to enjoy the comforts of a god’s life. However, changes in the court have caught his attention – something isn’t right. Why does that bother him so much? What can he do about it? Would knowledge of his mortal life shed any light on the subject?
I’m a sucker for the really good stand-alone Novel, and this one stands alone as the best, in my opinion. I’ve re-read it twice and the ending gets me a little choked up every time.
If you’re out of cash and hard-pressed for a good read, check out Brandon Sanderson’s website for the free copy. And if you end up loving it like I did, consider picking up a copy for your own future re-reads, loans to friends, and maybe to get it signed next time he comes by on tour.