Monday, June 25, 2012

Warbreaker Readalong: Wrapup

I finished Warbreaker; the last section was very short and action-packed.  I did feel like the conclusion was too hurried!   I still have some questions. 
 
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? 
 
 The bad guys turn out to be the people no one was paying any attention to.  I'm not sure how I like that.  I think Sanderson was too vague about them throughout the book; I wanted to know more about the Pahn Kahl earlier anyway.  They've got a different religion, but no one ever says what that is.  They're just quiet quiet quiet...and bam!  We're going to kill everyone!
 
The priests could have avoided a lot of problems by just explaining their perfectly harmless plan in the first place.  That does kind of bug me.  Many adventure novels depend on people keeping secrets, but one hopes the secrets are kept for some actual purpose.

I like Vivenna's decisions about what to do with her life.  I think she can develop into a very interesting person.  Siri too--I suppose that she and Susebron will have to rule Hallandren for at least a while now, rather than giving up the throne to an infant.  Maybe they can raise the infant as an adopted heir, make the system a little more functional.
 
 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? 
 
 That was really interesting , how Lightsong remembered his former life and how he Returned.  I guess I'd call them, not gods, but...angels of some kind?  It's an interesting setup--they really do Return for a reason, but they don't remember what that is, and how does that jibe with having to consume a Breath every week?  And what is Breath anyway??
 
 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? 
 
 I thought Vasher saw it as a burden that he has to carry, and I think I was right about that.  Clearly endowing steel with Breath is kind of a bad idea.  Nightblood has personality and purpose, but it has no idea that it's evil or how to fulfil its purpose besides killing everyone in the vicinity.  
 
I'm pretty impressed that Vasher turned out to be the original Manywar guy, and Denth his former companion.  I liked the very subtle hints that were dropped about Vasher's former occupation!  I never believed that there would actually be a phantom army, and clearly I was letting skepticism get in the way of paying attention to a Chekhov's gun device.
 
 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 enjoyed it overall, but am a bit frustrated with the lack of answers to some questions and the sudden wrapup.  I've read a good deal of his other non-Jordan-related works and I can tell that this is an earlier work, but it's still pretty good.  In my opinion Sanderson is one of the best authors to show up in the fantasy genre in years, and Warbreaker is a good story despite minor flaws.
 
Was Sanderson originally planning a sequel to this story?  The end chapter seems to set up that possibility.
 

And that wraps it up for my first readalong.  It was fun, and though with 3 going at once it got a little ridiculous, I'll do one again sometime.   I'm a bit readalonged out for now, though.

9 comments:

Naithin said...

Yup, sequel is certainly on the cards.

Ditto for Elantris, his other standalone book. :)

In fact, the Warbreaker sequel is titled 'Nightblood'. Ooer.

Source: http://www.brandonsanderson.com/article/62/Another-Long-and-Rambling-Postandtrade-on-Future-Books

Jean said...

Ooer is about right! Good, I'm glad to hear there will be a sequel. I knew that an Elantris sequel or so was supposed to show up someday, yay--I really liked that one.

bookswithoutanypictures said...

I felt like he almost bashed us over the head with the potential sequel.

I wonder what will happen to the entire religion and royal line now that the God King can speak. Will he give away his breath to a new tongue-less heir, or will he find a better way of doing things? One of the biggest themes of this book seems to be the idea of protecting people from abusing power.

thebookwormslair said...

Hmm maybe the Pahn Kahl-ers were lacking a bit in motivation (at least until the information dump at the end!)and there are still a few niggles but I agree that overall it was enjoyable.

I didn't think there would be an army either but I instantly recalled Vivenna pondering about the statues as soon as they were mentioned so maybe it was hinted at a wee bit.

Sue CCCP said...

Everyone is saying that this is probably his worst book, so I guess I need to read the others because I thought it was really pretty good! :D

Jean said...

It WAS pretty good! It's just that his other stuff is BETTER. He sets a pretty high standard, really.

M said...

I almost feel like the lack of details given about the Pahn Kahl earlier was purposeful. Since the chapters were all from the perspective of one of the major characters, and none of those were Pahn Kahl, it was a way of making the reader understand that no one really paid them much attention ya know? It gave the reader the same feeling that the characters' had when all of a sudden they were killing everyone. That's just my feeling though and you know what they say about opinions ;-)

Jean said...

I see what you mean M, and it's realistic--it's just that it doesn't seem like good storytelling. Those are two different things! :)

nrlymrtl said...

I too feel more comfortable thinking of the Returned as something akin to angles - sent back for a purpose. It adds to the plot that they have to struggle to figure out what that purpose is and that they have the choice to pursue that purpose or not.