Warbreaker (book, Brandon Sanderson, 2011)
From SFX #217.
Author: Brandon Sanderson
The Colour of Magic.
Brandon Sanderson is a rising star, having been chosen to pen the closing instalment of the late Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. Not a bad choice; like Jordan , Sanderson likes his magical systems, a preference that’s to the fore of Warbreaker, that sort of fantasy where logical sorcery provides the bedrock for the story. Here it’s down to colour and breath. Each person is born with one breath which can be used to animate objects. It can also be passed on, and the more breaths one accumulates, the more powerful one becomes. As this “BioChroma” is used it sucks the colour out of the environment, while the presence of an “Awakener” with many breaths induces a state of hyper-reality in the world around them.
There’s more to it than that, naturally − a princess is sent off to be married to a God, her sister follows, and many secrets are unearthed.
Sanderson writes that kind of wipe-clean fantasy where everyone has nice teeth and nothing smells bad. The girls wring their hands all the way to heroine-hood, the men nonchalantly quip. It’s well written, the story has pace, but like a lot of high fantasy it just never seems real.
If you’re the sort who likes a touch of Disney to their fantasy and never asks questions like “where are all the dogs?” and “what do they do with their sewage?” then this will keep you happy.