Although I was only able to read the very beginning of Warbreaker, I was very much impressed with both the writing and the story. In the first ten pages of the novel the concept of “Breath,” its implications and benefits, and even what it felt and looked like were all addressed in a way the was both interesting and informative of the plot. Having read a lot of manga, I’m very much used to stories simply being interrupted for a straightforward explanation of certain rules or powers that operate in the world the author is describing. It may be for this reason that Warbreaker impressed be so much; I was not taken out of the story at all, rather I was brought into the story more with the explanations of “Breath” and the various “heightening”. What really drew me in at the end of the prologue was the talking sword, Nightblood. A brief foreshadowing of the dangers of Nightblood was made early on in the prologue, however by no stretch of the imagination was I expecting a talking, killing sword.
I was also very pleased to see that only two main characters were introduced. One issue I often have with sci-fi and fantasy novels is that too many characters and concepts are introduced too quickly and I’m left struggling to keep up with each character and his or her place in the story. In Warbreaker, to start with, we were given one character, Vasher, the good guy. We were left with him until we understood him and his personality and then we were introduced to Vahr, the bad guy. I often find that simple, clear characters make for much more interesting stories and Warbreaker seems to be no exception.
I’ll be very interested to see where this story goes, and even more so to find out why it is completely free and so readily available online. One thing I noticed was that this version of Warbreaker was 6.1, which implies a fairly great deal of updates. It maybe not be on the level of Tolkien’s work but at the very least, Warbreaker seems like a great read.