I finished Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. I liked it. There were the reoccurring themes of deity and religion that have been in all his books I have read. He seems obsessed with what makes one holy or worthy of worship. In two of his novels, this one and Elantris his gods are people who die and then come back. They operate differently afterwards, but the basics are the same. He creates really cool new magical systems, but the underlying theme is pretty much the same. And so far, it’s all dealt with deity.
Another thing that bothers me is the need for pairing things off. He writes really cool female characters, but a large number of them, if not all of them (and I’m not saying all because sometime the pairing isn’t explicit just implied by the end of the novel) are with a man by the end of the novel. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of relationship diversity.
In two of his novels, again Elantris and this one, the novels start out with one of the main females going off to meet her new husband in an arranged marriage. In both cases the female was sent off because she didn’t fit in the current society and found her place with her husband in the new one.
In fact in Warbreaker, I really like the fact that the daughter who is sent away is the troublesome one. She’s sent away because she isn’t her father’s favorite and in a sense he feels like he’s getting rid of a problem. And then, it is her very troublesome nature that allows her to be a success in her new life. And she is a success. I wonder if that was deliberate, the patriarchal figure sending away the troublesome female who then blossoms away from the harsh world of the patriarchy and later saves, but does not return to, the world she came from.
Final Verdict? Good. I really did like the characters. And the plot was interesting enough to keep me entertained for the novel. However I’m not sure how sustainable he is as a writer as in many ways Warbreaker and Elantris are very, very similar. Different magical systems does not creativity make.