AngelDeath

Did anyone else hate Warbreaker at first?

63 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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I loved the premise of the book and all of the characters exept Vivenna.

I would be reading and get through a couple of chapters only to see the next chapter was a Vivenna PoV and have to put the book down for a couple hours because I just couldn't bring myself to read through Vivennas Childish Ignorance.

 

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This book has some of the best written male characters and Lightsong literally steals my heart and is well written. Along with the sword's interactions, they were a really good fantasy element I've hardly seen in any other book. Magic system wise, I'd give it to Sanderson! One thing that irked me the most is poorly written Female characters.

He's ofcourse not the first white male author to have written horrible female characters, but I had hopes from this guy. 

Vivenna as well as Siri had roles that were majorly that of an accessory to other males running their lives. The goddess Blushweaver was overly sexualised, which was okay to me initially. 

But things like "do you want me to wiggle my breasts at you again?" To end an argument, and "she doesn't know how beautiful she looked when she took the time to *respect* herself" (when she wore more clothes than usual) literally ruined the whole thing for me.

Blatant sexism ruins a good book. There's a lot of scope for Sanderson to learn to write female characters.

Edited by Readeratheart
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3 hours ago, Readeratheart said:

This book has some of the best written male characters and Lightsong literally steals my heart and is well written. Along with the sword's interactions, they were a really good fantasy element I've hardly seen in any other book. Magic system wise, I'd give it to Sanderson! One thing that irked me the most is poorly written Female characters.

He's ofcourse not the first white male author to have written horrible female characters, but I had hopes from this guy. 

Vivenna as well as Siri had roles that were majorly that of an accessory to other males running their lives. The goddess Blushweaver was overly sexualised, which was okay to me initially. 

But things like "do you want me to wiggle my breasts at you again?" To end an argument, and "she doesn't know how beautiful she looked when she took the time to *respect* herself" (when she wore more clothes than usual) literally ruined the whole thing for me.

Blatant sexism ruins a good book. There's a lot of scope for Sanderson to learn to write female characters.

Have you read his other books?

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On 14.3.2020 at 9:02 PM, Nameless said:

Have you read his other books?

The answer has to be no. In 10 years of being a fan, I have never seen anyone accuse Brandon of sexism (and most of the Brandon fans I know in person are progressive females) - this is a first.

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It's oddly satisfying to see that I'm not the only one who didn't take to Warbreaker at first. I went to far as to sell my (hardback first-issue but not signed) copy at Half Price Books - thought I'd never want to read it again.

But then (Stormlight Archives spoiler)

Spoiler

Vasher turned up on Roshar, and Nightblood too

and I had to go buy a (budget paperback) copy and reread it.

Wow, was I surprised - it was waaaay better the 2nd time through.

Like others here, I initially felt that the female characters in WB were weak and/or annoying. But on re-read, that didn't stand out so much - I saw how Brandon wove them into the bigger plot, and why he needed them to be the way they were. Their parts actually seemed shorter to me the 2nd time round. (Also, gotta say that these 2 sisters were nowhere near as annoying to me as all of the ladies in WoT were. I confess that I literally wanted Edge-weenie, Nigh-knave, and the rest to die; it gave me great pleasure to mispronounce their names, LOL!)

So now I wish I had my hardback copy of WB back again (sigh).

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it took me the first quarter of the book before i started to like it. 

i loved Siri and Vasher. anything with the Magic or God-King had me hooked.

i know a lot of people love Lightsong, and i did too(for his first few chapters) but after a while i just got so tired of his 24/7 Laid back/nonchalant attitude.

and don't even get me started on Vivenna. i had to put the book down for a few hours, everytime i got to a Vivenna PoV. she was just so whiny and prissy i couldnt take it.

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I'm presently on my ... 8th? (I can't remember) attempt to read Warbreaker.

I like some of the stuff in it, mainly Lightsong, and Vasher(Nightblood too obviously). But I cannot for the life of me seem to get into the book. I don't generally mind it while I'm reading it, but anytime I go to start my brain screams "Nooooo. Do it later." I'm determined to finish it this time, but it's not going well - last reread of Oathbringer(Only my second read of it) took about 2 weeks. I'm on week 6 and I'm only halfway through Warbreaker. X-x I can't quite put my finger on why I can't get into it - but, blegh. I'm half tempted to start taking breaks and just switch to it after each other book I read. I don't think it's that I've heard spoilers about it, since I'd heard spoilers for several other books before reading them(Most notably Bands of Mourning) Anyone have any tips for it? Most of my progress happened when I started listening to the Audiobook. I've been switching back and forth between it and the ebook.

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2 hours ago, Odeem said:

Anyone have any tips for it? Most of my progress happened when I started listening to the Audiobook. I've been switching back and forth between it and the ebook.

I mean, if you don't like the book you're not obligated to finish it. If it's just an issue of time management, I'd say try reading it during a breakfast or something. That way you're doing something else while reading, so it doesn't feel so daunting at first, but you're still able to get into the story.

Personally, I didn't love Warbreaker at the beginning. The first time I read it, I stopped after a few chapters. I only picked it up again because I was in the ER and my mom offered to read me something to distract me. Once the plot picked up, I found myself loving it a lot more. If you're halfway through, and not invested yet, though, it's possible it's just not the book for you.

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@Odeem - Are you open to just skimming it, not reading with your full attention? That might work.

The first time I read it, I disliked both Siri and Vivenna a lot.

Reading it again a few years later, it seemed to me that those 2 female characters were what they needed to be for the plot that Brandon wrote, but neither of them nor really any of the characters in WB are up to his usual standards of creating characters. I never felt like I got to know them or develop any kind of sympathy/empathy for them like I did with Kelsier and Vin and Dalinar and even Alcatraz Smedry and Spensa. The WB characters seem to be more at the level of the characters in the White Sand graphic novel - kind of not well defined. Just my opinion; YMMV of course.

Hope you can see it through; it does get better in the last 1/3-1/4 of the book. :-)

Edited by Iarwainiel
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@Rushu42

I know I don't HAVE to finish it. But I'm determined to do it lol. I'm determined to read all the Cosmere books at least once. I like the idea of the magic system and all but I guess just the characters for the most part do not mesh with me. I may end up dropping it and reading a couple of the short stories, or another book entirely and come back.

@Iarwainiel

I'm not the type to just skim something usually, unfortunately. Even on audiobooks I rewind even if I only miss one word lol. I've not read White Sand yet, but I had plans to go through it later this year. I'm hoping I won't have this issue with that one.

 

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