AngelDeath

Did anyone else hate Warbreaker at first?

40 posts in this topic

Yeah, I skimmed over Vivenna, because it was slow and only read Siri and Vasher at the beginning. Then I skimmed through Siri and only read Vivenna and Vasher

Note, the only reason I always read Vasher was Nightblood.

Nightblood is the best.

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I remember reading Warbreaker for the first time before MB Era 1 and not liking it at all. I also tried to read Way of Kings and put it down about 1/3 of the way through. I wasn't used to Sanderson's style of writing and was only just coming back to fantasy books. I read MB Era 1 and was obviously startled at the sheer complexity of the writings. I tried Warbreaker and Elantris and although I agree these can be the weaker of his work, I found myself more focused in his tone, his humour, his foreshadowing and realised that there's always more going on and that just draws me right in.

To see the connection between Stormlight and Warbreaker I think that just cemented him as one of my favourites. How can a guy write stories year after year and keep the ideas so fresh, so familiar yet to deeply complex? 

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The first time was hard but when I reread it I found myself liking it much more.

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I certainly agree with a lot of you that the Vivienna chapters were a bit of a slog.  It was really hard to learn to like her character, and it felt like she mainly existed as the "fish out of water" so that the reader could get exposition and descriptions about Hallandren.

But, I really ended up enjoying the book as it went on.  Denth's betrayal was a surprise and Lightsong sacrificing himself to heal Susebron was a fitting end true to his character.

And ironically (SA Spoilers)... 

Spoiler

Vivienna has quickly become one of my favorite characters of all time after her appearance as Azure in Oathbringer.

 

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 The first time I read Warbreaker I was incredibly disappointed, and I had no desire to re-read it ever.  It was the only Brandon Sanderson book that I really did not like in the slightest.  It was only after I read Oathbringer that I figured I should actually read it again to refresh my memory.  The second time, reading not as a solo novel but as a part of a greater whole, I thoroughly enjoyed it and find that I cannot wait for Nightblood to be released.

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Warbreaker was an odd experience for me. Im not a big fan of the girls. Their story had its moments but mostly it was just meh. Saw the betrayals and twists coming miles away. However. LIGHTSONG! His arc is literally one of the best I have ever seen. I was definitely frustrated with parts of the story but Lightsong redeems it BY FAR.

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For the first read of Warbreaker, I wasn't as clued up on the Cosmere as other re-reads. The way that Sanderson describes colour is absolutely mesmerising though. When I read it back I was so glad to see the connections and I definitely appreciated the story a lot more. It's not his best work but it certainly has an element of great fantasy with its magic system, princesses and mystery.

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It admittedly gave me a good chuckle to read people criticize a Brandon Sanderson book for being too "sexual".

Regarding Warbreaker as a book, I think that out of all Cosmere works, it's the least consistent in tone. I love the idea of an epic fantasy story of kingdoms and Courts of Gods serving as a framework for an Arabian Nights inspired romance, all of that enriched by a color-based magic system ... yet there are undead and sociopathic serial killers that make the story divert from its otherwise colorful tone. It might have felt more complete without incorporating those dark fantasy elements that Elantris and Mistborn had prior to it (and, in contrast, succeeded to imbed well). That said, while not everything it does fits perfectly together, the things it does are amazing. Some of the best main characters, one of my favorite Invested Arts, a lot of good dialogue, and it always felt more fleshed-out than Elantris from a literary perspective. It's really great and I see no reason to hate it, two or three weaknesses notwithstanding.

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I finally got into the book after the 3rd attempt.. I didn't hate it, but found it boring to begin with. This is nothing personal toward Sanderson, this often happens to me with various books. It takes allot to get me interested from the first go on a book.

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I found the beginning of Warbreaker difficult to get through, for similar reasons as I did the beginning of The Way of Kings: the internal dialogue was too expository, it felt forced and unnatural.

It was off-putting to me to have Vasher think things to himself about how "losing one's Breath was not fatal", or "but of course, that was the way it was always supposed to work", and so on. If he was such a master practitioner, he wouldn't be thinking things like this to himself, especially not while he was preparing to bust out of a jail cell.

Similarly, for TWoK, in the very first chapter we have Szeth's POV of using a Blade, wielding Stormlight, and doing Lashes in his mission to kill Gavilar, where in the middle of his fighting he's thinking things to himself about how the multiple different kind of Lashings were defined and worked, and so on. It doesn't seem natural to have that as internal dialogue.

I don't know what the right writerly answer is to be able to give that kind of background info while also beginning the book with an action sequence, but this feels inelegant.

On re-reads, this objection dissipates, to be replaced by the enjoyment of mining the details for clues to things only hinted at later in the book(s). Brandon does take care to lay those seeds for later reaping. It's the first read-through that suffers.

Mistborn didn't suffer from this, because we see Kelsier's Mistborn murder spree "off screen", with the details of what he did and how he did it to follow more slowly later in the story as we learned more about Allomancy, in the context of Vin herself learning about Allomancy. That was much more natural.

And the fact that what Vin then learns from Kelsier is, in fact, not entirely correct, caught me by surprise (in a good way). It wasn't just an info dump via a character's expository monologue, as so often happens - it really was a person telling another person the standard received wisdom of his world/time, which was actually inaccurate.

Edited by robardin
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On 7/15/2019 at 3:26 AM, Elegy said:

It admittedly gave me a good chuckle to read people criticize a Brandon Sanderson book for being too "sexual".

Part of that I feel comes from the fact that, due to Brandon's geographical location, and professed beliefs, he tends to attract other members of the LDS faith (Which applies to myself), and given their doctrine on sexuality and it's depiction in media. So, I generally feel that particular criticism primarily originates from that part of the Sanderfandom. Not to criticize anyone who holds that criticism, because it's one I hold myself. I simply felt like offering up my explanation for it's existence.

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On 9/26/2019 at 0:56 PM, Wyndlerunner said:

Part of that I feel comes from the fact that, due to Brandon's geographical location, and professed beliefs, he tends to attract other members of the LDS faith (Which applies to myself), and given their doctrine on sexuality and it's depiction in media. So, I generally feel that particular criticism primarily originates from that part of the Sanderfandom. Not to criticize anyone who holds that criticism, because it's one I hold myself. I simply felt like offering up my explanation for it's existence.

As a Utahn who isn't LDS but was raised in the culture, I can say that that is pretty accurate. 

I personally enjoyed it the first time I read it, though the beginning of the book was fairly slow it wasn't too bad. Vivenna's whole arch is about how she was a bit self righteous and moving past that which I figured was going to be the case from the start of the book so I didn't really have issue with her parts except that it barely felt like they were advancing the plot at first. Overall I think the biggest flaw is that their is too much build up and then the climax passes too quickly. Other than that, I love the setting and concepts it introduces into the Cosmere. Most characters are understandable and generally enjoyable, and the way it twists the themes of Mistborn was nice as well. Lastly, awakening has become my one of my three favorite magic systems.

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On 7/13/2019 at 4:23 PM, Notchbeard said:

Warbreaker was an odd experience for me. Im not a big fan of the girls. Their story had its moments but mostly it was just meh. Saw the betrayals and twists coming miles away. However. LIGHTSONG! His arc is literally one of the best I have ever seen. I was definitely frustrated with parts of the story but Lightsong redeems it BY FAR.

I didn't quite see the betrays and twists coming a mile away (I was somewhat surprised by the Denth twist, figured Bluefingers was up to something, but did suspect the priests of the Court of Gods of being a mastermindy cadre of power-behind-the-throne guys right up to the end). And the blithe naivete of Siri and Vivenna (the latter of who thought she was so very capable at first) was irritating, but they both grew out of it.

But yeah. Lightsong's priest Llarimar being revealed as his brother in life, and his account of the day he died and Returned before his eyes, really hit me in a memorable way.

Plus, the Lifeless squirrel given the Command to "Make noise, run around, bite people who are not me" was a winner.

Indeed, a few moments later he heard cries coming from the doorway. Clangs and screams followed. Lifeless could be difficult to stop, particularly a fresh one with orders to bite.

Edited by robardin
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Halfway through my first read-through it was my least favorite cosmere novel, by the end it quickly jumped in quality in my eyes.

That was on the first read-through... on the second it is now one of my favorites.

I think the reason I had a bad reaction to it initially is because the first third of the book is absolutely nothing like I expected it to be based on the prologue with Vasher. Going into it a second time with some perspective changed my mind about it entirely.

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@AngelDeath At first? No.

In the middle... yeah

I was curious about Vasher

I liked the suddenness of Siri's situation and Vivenna's reaction.

I somewhat liked Lightsong

*sound of crickets chirping*

nothing happens for the first entire half of the book

No court intrigue, aside from Susebron's reveal, nothing interesting happens

Lightsong banters... and banters..... and banters.......... it became really annoying how inactive he was

Vivenna was just a complete stuck-up,  managed to do even less than the other characters

Vasher was a no-show (except one zombie squirrel)

...

Then the plot exploded.

Vivenna was suddenly destitute. Denth and Tonk Fah were the bad guys. Nightblood. The priests weren't the bad guys. Lightsong's fate started to approach... 

That was quite an about-turn the book made.

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