Warbreaker

My aunt is a librarian.  She's a wonderful lady (just like my mother) and her profession could be put into an infinite list of reasons to love her.  Along with wicked-fast reference skills, she gets lots of free books.  Let me say that again: she gets free books!  One such freebie that she passed on to me was a fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson called Warbreaker.  Though I had heard of Sanderson, I was unfamiliar with the book I was given, but the description was intriguing enough to entice me to read it, and  it turned out to be one of the best novels I've read so far this year!

Magic, politics, religion, love, trust and betrayal combine in a monumental scope in Brandon Sanderson's fantasy epic Warbreaker. The story is complex and exciting filled with unpredictable twists and turns and peppered with well-drawn characters. The heroes and villains were equally enchanting - and the distinction between them often blurred - and as the narrative switched between the multiple subplots a riveting story was woven together.

Sanderson's world-building is phenomenal. The rich layers of detail about the neighboring kingdoms and the incredible theory of magic involved with BioChromatic breath, Awakening, and the Returned were seamlessly blended into the story. Each new facet of the setting was introduced subtly, leaving the reader with a sense of discovery rather than a displeasing "info-dump".

From the opening chapters to the dramatic climax, Warbreaker was a spell-binding tale. The ending offered a satisfying conclusion with just enough of an open door to leave readers with their fingers crossed that perhaps a future book will return them to this marvelous world. Although this was the first book I have read by Brandon Sanderson, it most certainly will not be the last.
I know a lot of people don't particularly enjoy "high fantasy" - a genre title usually given to what many call "swords and horses" novels - but with the popularity of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia, it seems that many non-fantasy readers are giving the genre a chance.  That said, I think Sanderson would be a great author for readers looking to test the waters of fantasy literature.

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