Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Book Review: Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Sisters Vivenna and Siri are princesses of Idris. Susebron is the God King one must marry. Lightsong is the reluctant minor god of bravery. Vasher is an immortal still trying to undo mistakes of centuries before. Magic from individual breath from everyday objects can perform all manner of miracles and mischief.

This is going to be a difficult review to write. The reason for this is that I Loved Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson to pieces and it made me feel and think many complicated, unexplainable things. But there was one thing I know for sure - this book was AWESOME and I just fell in love with it.

Before I talk about Warbreaker I need to take a side step and talk about Elantris. Trust me I need to talk about it to get my thoughts into some semblance of order in this post. I read Elantris recently in May/Late April. I was intrigued to learn that this was a stand alone. That in itself would not be interesting except for the fact that this was fantasy. There aren't many fantasy books that are stand alone, if not solely for the fact that it is difficult to portray a fantastical world without writing at least a couple of books to flesh out the world, the characters and the stories. So I picked this book up and was pleasantly surprised. It was a bit slow to pick up but boy did it get interesting very fast after the first 100 pages or so. What I loved was that there was not a lot of info dump that I would forget anyway a few chapters in. I learnt the history of this world as I read the book.

I loved Elantris. I did not think it could get any better. And then I started reading Warbreaker. You need to know something about the way I read. I am excited about reading books but I do not show it in outward appearance. It was difficult to keep my emotions in check with this book. I was squealing with delight at some parts and cringing with horror at others.

What I love best about Brandon Sanderson's writing is that he doesn't just write characters. I mean he does, but these characters somehow become people in the readers eyes. I can imagine someone like Siri and Lightsong as real people. But let me tell you what I did not like about this book - There wasn't much about the mysterious Vasher, at least till almost the end of the book. A byproduct of there not being enough pages dedicated t Vasher was that I did not get to see enough interaction between himself and the sentient sword Nightblood that he lugs around. 

Now onto the things I loved!! 
The Magic System - Sanderson always lives up to my expectations when it comes to the  building of a magic system. Actually he exceeds my expectations every time. In this one it is to do with BioChromatic Breath and Colors. Each person is born with one Breath. The more you accumulate the more powerful you become. Some equate Breath to a persons soul - mostly Idrians. In Hallandren the Breaths are used as wealth - people sell their breath for money. And then there are the Returned. The Returned are those who have died and come back to life. They are not zombies exactly as they are living but when a person is Returned he comes back with enhanced physical prowess and a powerful BioChromatic Breath. And the Hallandren worship the Returned whereas the Idrians consider them an abomination and worship Austre.

The Religion - I have noticed that in almost every Brandon Sanderson book religion and Gods are a central part of the story and world. His portrayal of religion in Elantris was rudimentary in comparison to the one in Warbreaker. The 2 religions had their origin in the same basic tenet. It was based on the divinity of Breath. On one side the Idrians believed in Austre a God you could not see and on the other there were the Hallandrens who worshiped the Returned. Though both cultures valued Breath - The Hallandrens gave it a monetary value and also sacrificed their breath so that their Gods lived another week where as the Idrians thought it blasphemy to make a business out of it. 

As as we delve in to the history of these lands and cultures we see that the 2 religions have the same origin. But they branched off from one another. This brought out a lot of questions on morality. There was a part where one of the characters, a mercenary, says - everyone thinks they are in the right and that they are doing good. This is something that we migh take as common sense but something that a lot of us ignore.

The Characters - I absolutely loved the main characters. There's Siri, the carefree sister who has made peace with being the unimportant one, Vivenna - the sister who has been betrothed to the God King of Hallandren, a monster and an abomination in her and her people's eyes, Vasher - a mysterious man with an even more mysterious quest & last but not the least, Lightsong a Returned.

I was a little skeptical about Vivenna at first. She was too much of a prude - and seemed to preach and hold herself above others even though according to the religion she was devoted said not to put oneself above others. She claimed to have come to Hallandren to save Siri but it seemed like she had come to Hallandren just because she was upset her place was taken by her younger sister. It took away her purpose in life. She did love Siri, but she was more worried about what this did to her than her younger sister. Then I realized that Sanderson wrote her character that way and her character arc is till the end of the book was well plotted out. She changed over the course of the book, not suddenly. She still was a bit like her old self. But in her case she came to see herself for what she truly was and decided to change what she could and live with the rest.

The 2 people I absolutely loved were Siri and Lightsong (I liked Lightsong a lot more). Siri was the youngest sister of 4 children. The eldest was betrothed to the God King, the 2nd eldest went on to become a monk and the son, the youngest, is heir to the throne. So Siri has been more or less let to run free. Though her religion calls for being modest, humble, not be ostentatious, she has difficulty doing so. But the king of Idris decides to send Siri in place of Vivenna to the God King to stall a war which he deems inevitable. And her world turns upside down. In case of Vivenna we see that there is a complete change in character in Siri it somehow felt that she was always true to herself. But in doing so she became more in control. Her interactions with the God King made me squeal with joy once or twice.

Lightsong, a Returned, is the awesomest character in this whole book. It was mostly through Lighsong that a lot of the dilemmas to do with divinity were brought across. He was a God who did not believe in his own divinity. He constantly strove to undermine himself but the people thought of him as a better God for it. I always loved the parts where he was in the story because he was the most fun characters. His internal conflict was written very well. My most favorite parts of the book is anything where there is a dialogue going on between Lightsong and his High Priest Llarimar and between Lightsong and Blushweaver, a Returned Goddess.

I would recommend this book to any fantasy lover. But I would also recommend it to people who think fantasy is not for them because of the size and length of a series, and what better way to experience fantasy through a stand alone for the first time. You just have to read this book. This will be one of those books that I'll recommend to everybody regardless of their tastes because it is such a good book and I want everyone to love it as much as I do and enjoy the story.

This has become a saga instead of a review but who cares. I love this book and I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 19 May 2014

ShitIHaveTooManyBooks Read - A - Thon: Updates + Wrap - Up

I just completed the Bout of Books Read - a - Thon. I did pretty well, but I was not able to complete my goal of completing a series that I have one book left in. So I am going to enter the "Shit I have too many books" Read - a - Thon being hosted by Regan from PeruseProject on YouTube.

This particular Read - a - Thon starts today, that is, 19th May Monday Morning to Next Monday. It is a week long Read - a - Thon. Anyone interested in joining can use the hashtag - #shitihavetoomanybooks to tweet about it. I am not going to make any TBR or set any goals because I am apparently not up to following it. So I'll just go where my whims take me. I am also going to put up updates on this post as and when I can.

19th May, 2014 -
Update 1 - Because it is Regan hosting this Read - a - Thin I'll probably start reading a Fantasy Novel. I am leaning towards reading Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker

27th May, 2014 - 
So all I read the whole of last week was Warbreaker by  Brandon Sanderson. But I'm proud of myself for finishing it. I cannot contain my feelings for this book. It was AWESOME & EPIC. And it was a stand alone.

Long story short I completed 1 book for the SitIHaveTooManyBooks Read - a - Thon and read a total of 676 pages.

Here is the video from Regan talking about the Read - a - Thon.

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 : Challenge Post

I already have an updates post up. And I thought I'd put up a separate post with the challenges. I am not promising I will be able to do all the challenges bit I will give them a try.

Challenge Day 1 -

If you like X, try Y -- The Book Barbies
I tweeted -  If you like World War Z by Max brooks then you will like the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant.

Introduce Yourself to Your Fellow #boutofbooks-ers
Hey guys. I am Chetana from India and my tbr is

Challenge Day 2 -

Books You're Looking Forward To -- River City Reading
Instead of upcoming books I am going to list out books that have been waiting on my shelves to be read. They are -
1. Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
2. Ink by Amanda Sun
3. Howl's Moving Castle by Dianne Wynne Jones
4. Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor
5 & 6. Scent of Magic and Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder
7. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

My Life in Books

I tweeted - 
Between Celeana (ToG), Sarena (Elantris) & Vin (Mistborn) are my contenders
All 3 of them are badass but I think Calaena would win.She's cunning, smart and is a badass assasin

Challenge Day 3 -

Book Pairings -- My Overstuffed Shelves 

I tweeted
I'd pair Douglas Adams with Terry Pratchett. I just fee the writing Styles are very similar and the humor.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Bout of Books: 10.0 : Update Post

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
  Bout of Books

This is to be my update post for the Bout of Books 10.0

Day 1 -

Books Read - 2
Names - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 01 - The Tower Treasure, The Hardy Boys Mysteries 02 - The House on the Cliff
Currently Reading - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 03 -T he Secret of the Old Mill
Pages Read - 402

Day 2 -

Books Read -1
Names - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 03 - The Secret of the Old Mill
Currently Reading - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 04 - The Missing Chums
Pages Read - 136

Day 3 -

Books Read -1
Names - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 04  - The Missing Chums
Currently Reading - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 05 -Hunting for Hidden Gold
Pages Read - 266

Day 4 -

Books Read - 2
Names - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 05 - Hunting for Hidden Gold , The Hardy Boys Mysteries 06 - The Shore Road Mystery
Currently Reading - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 07 - The Secret of the Caves
Pages Read - 282

Day 5 -

Books Read - 2
Names - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 07 - The Secret of the Caves, The Hardy Boys Mysteries 08 - The Mystery of Cabin Island
Currently Reading - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 09 - The Great Airport Mystery , Fire Study
Pages Read -405

Day 6 -

Books Read - 1
Names - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 09 - The Great Airport Mystery
Currently Reading - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 10 - What Happened at Midnight, Fire Study
Pages Read - 142

Day 7 -

Books Read - 0
Names -
Currently Reading - The Hardy Boys Mysteries 10 - What Happened at Midnight, Fire Study, S by JJ Abrams
Pages Read - 136

So my last day of Bout of Books was pretty abysmal. I just could not read much. But I did rearrange my books and found more space for them! I mean I do not need that much space for my clothes. I am looking at the positive here. So I read a total of 9 books and started 3. That brings my page count to 1769 pages which is pretty decent. How did your reading go?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Bout of Books: 10.0

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

You might ask me why I am taking part in a read - a - thon after i failed miserable in the 24 hour read - a - thon. The reason is exactly that. I want to try harder on this one. And as the blurb above says, it lasts a whole week. So I actually have a chance in this read - a - thon. I am not sure about taking part in the challenges but I do plan on updating my twitter (@ChetanaHolla) and my Instagram as possible. I do have a busy week ahead too as I am taking part in a training but I will push forward. 

I am not very sure what I am going to read but I did recently get my hands on a few Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books so maybe I will read a couple of them as they are small. And I will try and finish up a series.

So my goals are - 
  1. Read at least 4 books. 
  2. Complete one series of which I have only one more book to read - The Poison Study series, Newsflesh trilogy or the Parasol Protectorate
  3. Keep updating my Twitter daily (I am really bad at this but I will try really hard giving you updates)

For all those taking part in the Bout of books, All the Best!!
Bout of Books