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Unusually for the fantasy genre, this novel is a stand-alone story. Hopefully then, readers will not be put off by the thought of overlong series, with overlong waits between the books. Despite not being written on an epic scale, the story is still one of epic proportions.
The story concerns Siri, a princess of Idris, who is sent to marry the God King of Hallandren. However she was not destined for this role; that was supposed to belong to her older sister, Vivenna, and no one explains to Siri why the king has changed his mind. So she is sent alone to her new husband, a mysterious being living in the temples at the centre of Hallandren. He is surrounded by other gods, people who died heroes, and so were granted the chance to return to earth as immortals who need no sustenance, and whose dreams are prophecies, and who can only grant a prayer if they sacrifice their life for a final time. The God King is different however, and with the help of the god Lightsong, Siri begins to unravel the mysteries around him. She must tread carefully however, as there are plenty in the temples who do not want the mysteries unravelled. Meanwhile, Vivenna has followed her sister to Hallandren, knowing she is not suitable for the role she has been forced into. There she meets Vasher, a mercenary who has his own grudge to settle against the temples, and who has access to magic known as the 'breath'. Both Siri and Vivenna find themselves caught up in a far larger conspiracy, involving war between the kingdoms, and secrets about the nature of the gods themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The world itself is original, as is the magic system of breath. The plot is complex, but that is to be expected of a fantasy novel. It is full of twists and turns, and you never quite know which characters can be trusted. In some of Brandon Sanderson's other novels, I have found the endings overly complicated, requiring me to reread them a few times to understand what's happening; not so with 'Warbreaker', which has a sufficiently surprising, but not confusing, ending. My main issue is with some of the characters. The gods, especially Lightsong, are intriguing, and complex, but Siri and Vivenna are cliches. Siri is the independent tomboy, Vivenna, the spoilt, naive princess who grows up. They are not bad, but for characters who are supposed to carry the novel, a little more originality and depth would have been nice. They don't mar the story too much however, which is carried along by the strength of plot of political intrigues, and individual strife.