Cover of Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson
|Publication date||June 9, 2009 (first edition, hardback)|
|Media type||Print (hardback)|
|Pages||592 pp (first edition, hardback)|
|ISBN||ISBN 978-0-7653-2030-8 (first edition, hardback)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.6 22|
|LC Classification||PS3619.A533 W37 2009|
Warbreaker is a stand-alone fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson, published in hardcover in June 2009 by Tor Books. Sanderson released several rewrites of this title under a Creative Commons license, one chapter at a time. Older drafts of the various chapters are also available. The entire novel is available in digital format from Sanderson's website. Warbreaker has been well received by reviewers.
Warbreaker tells the story of two princesses, Vivenna and Siri. Vivenna was contracted through treaty to marry the God-King of rival nation Hallendren. Instead Siri is sent to meet the treaty. Vivenna then follows to Hallendren in hopes of saving Siri from her fate. Both sisters become involved in intrigues relating to an imminent war between their home nation of Idris and Hallendren.
The book uses a system of magic, "BioChromatic Breath", which allows mages to bring life to objects as well as provide benefits directly to the mages, such as perfect pitch, perfect color recognition, perfect life recognition, and agelessness. Use of BioChromancy drains the colors from surrounding objects and the less colorful an object is, the more difficult it is to apply BioChromancy to it. The system has been praised as a unique and original magical system.
According to Sanderson, "Warbreaker's substructure is that of reversals." In the early chapters Sanderson begins to show a swap in the roles and attitudes of the main characters Siri and Vivenna. Through the contrast between the Hallandren and Idrian civilizations, a few major themes are displayed. One is the misunderstandings that can occur between two cultures, and the biases that can result from these. This is in part shown by the mistreatment of Idrian workers, who are thought to be boring, untrustworthy, and stuffy. Another is how two cultures may interpret history differently – the Hallandrens think of the Idrians as rebels, while the Idrians think of themselves as the rightful rulers.
Orson Scott Card said that he initially found some aspects of the magic system disappointing because he felt it was too far-fetched to obtain magical power from color. He did not mind it as much when it turned out that the draining of color was a symptom of magic use rather than the source of the power. He stated that "As with all good fantasy fiction, the story isn't about the magic; that's just the rule set within which the real story takes place. That story is absolutely up to Sanderson's very high standard, with political intrigue, carefully differentiated cultures and believable human motivations."
Michael Moorcock has also noted high praise from Warbreaker saying, "Brandon Sanderson has written a heroic fantasy depending on originality of character and plot. His "heroines and heroes are outstanding -- especially Vasher, the Warbreaker, whose special relationship with his sentient sword is both sardonic and sinister. The mysteries of life after death, of identity and destiny, the politics of magic, are unveiled through three-dimensional characters." and finishes, "Not only has Sanderson drawn a freshly imagined world and its society, he has also given us a plot full of unexpected twists and turns. . . . Anyone looking for a different and refreshing fantasy novel will be delighted by this exceptional tale of magic, mystery and the politics of divinity. Warbreaker might even take your breath away.” 
SFFWorld called the book "well-wrought, intelligent, and at times, surprising – one might say a conspiracy novel with slight hints of 1984 wrapped in a wonderful fantasy package."
Sanderson has discussed the possibility of writing another book in the same world as Warbreaker. It would not be a sequel (in the strictest definition of the term) as the first book was written as a stand alone novel. Sanderson has not stated anything about possible location, events, or characters involved. A possible name for the second book is Nightblood, which refers to the living sword Nightblood which is carried by Vasher, one of Warbreaker's main characters.
- "Warbreaker Rights and Downloads". BrandonSanderson.com. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- "Barnes & Noble".
- Orson Scott Card (June 25, 2009). "The Proposal, Warbreaker, Cups, Yogurt". Uncle Orson Reviews Everything. Rhinotimes. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- "Book Review: Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson". Blog Critics. August 20, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
- Sanderson, Brandon. Warbreaker. New York: Tor, 2009. pg. 589 June 6, 2010 <http://www.brandonsanderson.com/drafts/warbreaker/Warbreaker_hardcover_1st_ed.pdf>.
- Brandon Sanderson. "Warbreaker Annotations, Chapter 2". Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Brandon Sanderson Blog: Baffled Editor". Brandon Sanderson. May 12, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- "Q & A with Brandon Sanderson." GoodReads.com. June 6, 2010 <http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/264132-q-a-with-brandon-sanderson>.
- "GraphicAudio". Retrieved 2011-11-17.
- "Recorded Books". Retrieved 2011-11-17.
- Warbreaker – Official website
- Free ebook download of version 6.1 (the last step before copyediting): zipped MS word – mobipocket
- Free ebook download of the PDF final version ("The images in this file are not at full print resolution, and printer's marks such as crop marks are absent, but otherwise this is the final copy Tor sent to press.")