WARBREAKER is a Disappointing Novel
I’ve got a bone to pick with one of the top fantasy authors working today, Brandon Sanderson. And that’s this: I wasted hours on the book, Warbreaker. It’s boring as hell, and I don’t get why people seem to worship this guy’s storytelling.
Now that it’s clear I didn’t like the book at all, let’s dig into it.
The prologue showed me so much promise for a great story. It had great pacing, interesting scenery, a cool magic system, and a really cool sentient sword. Though, as a side note, I should add that I wondered if Sanderson thought up this magic system after seeing the title of Terry Pratchett’s book, The Color of Magic (or Colour of Magic, for the British).
Before the first chapter, I was intrigued… even excited about what the next six hundred pages would give me. I wasn’t expecting to be disappointed.
In the beginning of the book, we have some fairly standard fantasy elements — impending war, old treaties, arranged marriages, and an unruly princess who just wants to ride her horse across the countryside and play in the mud. I was all onboard because that all sounded fantastic!
It Was Not Fantastic
And then… NOTHING HAPPENS. Sure, some things happen, but at a snail’s pace. Everything that happened in the first 100 pages is entirely without consequence and could have been effectively shown in 20 or so pages of tight, impactful prose. But nope, that’s not what we get.
As I was nearing the 100-page mark, I realized I was unsure if I’d come across the inciting incident yet — the thing that sets the story into action and pushes the protagonist forward. I mean, it could have been when the unruly princess left for the foreign land. Or was it when the king decided to not quite honor the treaty, but still technically honor it? Or maybe it was when the rule-abiding other daughter went way off-script and throw a wrench into everyone’s plans? Maybe it was the god who wasn’t sure he was really a god, so he just wanted to drink wine all the time, and that character intro was the inciting incident?
You see? All of those things carried the same weight in the story, which was not much…