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June 22, 2015


Warbreaker (Graphic Audio)

By: Brandon Sanderson


This Graphic Audio production of Warbreaker is fantastic! The story is not read by a single narrator, but performed by a full cast of actors. Just as in theatre, we hear them speak their lines, while sound effects and original music heighten the drama throughout the story. It’s exactly like Graphic Audio’s motto, “a movie in your mind.” And because it is like theatre, you don’t hear “he said,” “she replied,” and “the door creaked open.” It isn’t necessary. Imagine “watching” a movie with your eyes closed, your hearing sharpened to catch every sudden rush of wind, every door latch open, every sword thrust find its mark, and seeing everything in your imagination. I would love to see more audio books presented like this.

WarbreakerWarbreaker tells the story of the kingdoms of Hallandren and Idris, estranged from each other for 300 years over political and religious differences. The kingdom of Hallandren is ostentatious, colorful, and worships its “returned” as living gods. They make use of a biochromatic system of magic that utilizes colors along with their personal life force, which they refer to as Breath, to produce magical effects. In stark contrast, the people of the humble kingdom of Idris lead simple drab lives of devotion and look upon the Hallandrens’ using of their breath to produce biochromatic magic to be blasphemy. They believe in one god, Austren, and follow his tenets to keep them grounded. The Idirian people, despite being much smaller and not nearly as militaristic, occupy the mountains surrounding the city and control the passes that are so crucial to the trade of the Hallandren people. After nearly 300 years of peace, tension has been mounting to the point where war is feared by both sides. In an effort to stave off the conflict and fulfill an age old treaty, the king of Idris sends one of his daughters to marry the God-King of Hallandren and hopefully preserve peace.

The author tells the story using four intermingled storylines. The first of which is Siri, princess and youngest daughter of the king of Idris, a rebellious girl whose position in her family has convinced her that she is useless. It’s not until she is shipped off at the last minute to marry the God-King that she really starts to grow as a person. The second protagonist is her sister, Vivienne. She is the king’s eldest daughter who was groomed to marry the God-King, but when she is suddenly passed over by her father she begins to question her purpose in life. Fearing for her sister, she finds her purpose by venturing to Hallandren in an attempt to rescue Siri from the cruel God-King and help try to prevent the war looming over the Idrian people. Next, we have Lightsong the Bold. He is one of the Hallandren’s returned. Lightsong never felt quite right about being a “god” and his inquiries soon have him discovering not everything is quite right in the royal court of Hallandren. Lastly, the mysterious Vashar, the Warbreaker, with his sentient, talking sword, whose intentions and true identity are unclear until nearly the very end.

I describe the experience as 18 hours of escape into an exciting and colorful world of intrique, romance, adventure, mystery and suspense. A great story with terrific voices, exotic settings, sounds and music. The ending is just the cherry on top of this thoroughly delightful treat of a “movie in your mind.” Give yourself a treat and check out Warbreaker for yourself!

Review By: Tom Park