Author Topic: Warbreaker: Free Ebook  (Read 143003 times)

DavidB

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #555 on: May 03, 2007, 05:20:46 AM »
Um...I don't know what to say about this. I feel kind of like an idiot. Maybe it's just that it's been so long since I read the beginning parts of the book, but a whole pile of stuff in the last couple of chapters just seemed to come out of nowhere.

I don't mean the bit about the statues. I had an idea that something was going to happen with the statues all along, and as soon as Vasher mentioned a secret army at the beginning of this chapter, I thought of the statues right away. So that made sense.

But...

Super Saiyan Vasher. What? I mean, uh, WHAT? Where'd that come from? Why'd he have to change form just to tell Susebron that the statues were a secret army? And assuming his new form gives him extra strength or something, why didn't he change form earlier and use the glowy-ness to beat up Denth before the Lifeless marched, and stop the war without having to unleash his "terrible tool"? (Or for that matter, change form during that final council, use the glowy-ness to make everyone else think he's a god, and then use his god-hood to go see Siri and the God King instead of sneaking into the palace and getting his butt captured?)

Susebron kneels to Vasher. Even though Vasher is some kind of historical figure, Susebron shouldn't know him, since Susebron is only sixty-ish years old. And he knows hardly any history, which was why Siri had to get Lightsong to hire a historian. Unless Susebron has been lying to Siri about his past the whole time, which doesn't bode well for their marriage.

Susebron is an awakener. This doesn't make sense on two levels: I thought the returned couldn't awaken stuff, and even if they could, when did Susebron learn the commands?  The priests sure wouldn't have taught him.... (Actually -- this is part of why I feel like an idiot, I guess -- I guess I still don't really get what Susebron is. Is he really a returned, or just a guy with a whole lot of breath?)

Scared of the lifeless. Since the Pahn Kahl have been defeated, the Lifeless army now has nobody commanding it. Which means it's now an army of forty thousand idiots. From what we know about lifeless, they can't plan, they can't communicate with each other, and they sure can't react to changing battlefield conditions, react to the enemy's strategies, and come up with new tactics. Their actions, in short, will be utterly predictable. With forewarning, any creative and guileful military captain should be able to take out that army by himself. (I thought of several ways to do this as I was reading this chapter, didn't you?)

My life for your tongue. Maybe it's clearer in version 3.0, but somehow I'd gotten the impression that the Returned's power was to turn someone else into a returned when they died, not to straight-up heal them. (Although straight-up healing does make some stuff from the earlier chapters make more sense.)

If you prick us do we not bleed? How were the returned kept unaware of the fact that they can be cut, hurt, and killed? It makes sense that the priests wouldn't have hurt them, and would have tried to keep them from harm. But surely the gods would have on occasion stubbed their toes, or cut themselves with their eating utensils, or bitten each other during bouts of rough sex. Or did I miss something that was done to Lightsong and Blushweaver when they were captured, in order to make them vulnerable?

Engage Nightblood mode. Vasher's power when he drew Nightblood wasn't too unexpected -- we always knew something crazy would happen. But I'd had the impression that the reason for not drawing Nightblood was that it made you go insane, not that it drained your breath. (And it did seem rather like engaging a super-power mode in a computer game.)

I can only give you all of my breaths at once. But I can store all the breaths I don't want to give you, transfer the rest, and then take the ones I stored back, which pretty much makes this restriction moot. Vivenna can't have been the first person to realize this. And that being the case, there doesn't seem to be much point in having that restriction in the magic system at all.

I suppose some of this stuff might get answered in the next chapter. And, except maybe for Super Saiyan Vasher, none of this stuff was really that big a deal, it's just that it kept adding up. 

But anyway. Definitely looking forward to the next chapter. Robots versus zombies!

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #556 on: May 03, 2007, 05:31:30 AM »
Er, I think the next chapter is a short epilogue, so I doubt there's much action.  :-\

SSJ Vasher: He became a Returned (or was one all along?), and they're all in SSJ form. But I don't understand why he didn't do it before and why he did it now. First I thought he took some of Susebron's breath (back) to do it, but on closer reading it seems not?

I also don't understand why Susebron & Vasher can awaken stuff, but no other Returned can.

What tactics for defeating Lifeless did you think of? Landslides? Breaking dams open?

I definitely did not ever read anything saying a Returned made someone else into a Returned. The power seemed to be malleable to the required situation.

The bleeding thing...I think they did know they could bleed, but they just weren't in touch with their mortality. Did any of them ever try to kill themselves?

Yeah, if you can limit the number of breaths you put into some cloth, then why not be able to limit the breaths you put into a person? But I guess you generally can't limit the amount of breath you put into a cloth...how much breath is taken from you depends on how powerful your command to the awakened cloth. And you can use all your breath except one to awaken, and the "my breath to yours" is all breath.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 05:44:44 AM by Ookla The Mok »
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DavidB

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #557 on: May 03, 2007, 05:45:43 AM »
But...but...they're fighting zombies! With giant robots! That's some kind of ultimate, uh, something! You can't just set something like that up and then not deliver....

DavidB

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #558 on: May 03, 2007, 06:08:46 AM »
Like I said, it's been a long time since I read the beginning parts of this book. I think I got the idea that returned create other returned when they die based on some comment about the returned always replenishing their numbers. (If a new returned is created each time one dies, then there would always be the same number of returned gods.)

Towards the end of the book, Vasher and Vivenna were routinely doing stuff like storing all but fifty of their breaths in a piece of cloth (in order to disguise their status as awakeners), without even having to awaken the cloth. It seemed like they could store any number of breaths they wanted.

Random, off-the-top-of-my-head strategies for defeating the lifeless--
  • Assuming alcohol-ichor is really based on alcohol, it should burn pretty well. So wait until the lifeless are marching through a dry field or something, then set it on fire. If the lifeless were ordered to march to Idris, they'll just keep going, rather than running away or trying to put the fire out, so they'll burn to death. Better yet, soak the field in oil before they get there.
  • Of course, any other sort of trap should work equally well, as the first lifeless who encounter the trap won't be able to tell the others to avoid it without a commander to order them to do so.
  • Using a small company of mounted soldiers, lead the army somewhere where they'll have to split up, such as a hill or peak that they'll have to run around. (Each lifeless will take the shortest path, so some will go left around the peak, while others go right.) Then have some soldiers ride ahead of each of the two columns of lifeless, holding up an Idris flag. When the two columns of lifeless see each other again, they will see that the other column is led by soldiers carrying an Idris flag, and so (being stupid) each column will assume that the other column is fighting for Idris and attack it.
  • Cribbed from the native americans: have some mounted soldiers lead the lifeless to a cliff. When they get there, the soldiers should dismount and carefully climb down the cliff, just ahead of the lifeless. The lifeless in the back won't be able to see the cliff and will keep running forward, pushing the lifeless at the front off the cliff.
Of course, landslides and dams would work too.

dreamking47

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #559 on: May 03, 2007, 02:09:42 PM »
Welcome back, DavidB -- you hadn't posted in a while.  I was wondering whether your deus ex machina warning lights hadn't been going crazy these past few chapters.  ;)

You can tell from my past comments that I had a lot of the same questions, especially about what a Returned can do, how much they know about their own abilities and weaknesses, and whether folks like Susebron actually are Returned.  I also wonder whether Vasher can survive (and for how long) in Returned form without an intake of Breath.

Only Brandon knows the answers but I did have a few impressions that may work towards answering a few of your other comments:

Vasher didn't know what the plan was and whether folks like Susebron were involved before his showdown with Denth, so going to them beforehand would have been problematic. He went into the Court of Gods only to try to save Siri, remember.  But beyond that, the thing with Vasher is clearly meant to be character-driven: if he declared who he was, people would expect him to rule, and based on past personal history with the Manywar he has no desire to rule, no confidence in his ability to lead (thus the whole loner thing), and was unwilling to give up the power of the statues to Hallendren given what happened with the Lifeless.  I kind of expect all this to be dealt with more explicitly in the epilogue, it's an epilogue-y sort of discussion.  Now, whether it all works for you is another question.  Certainly he seems to cave in to Vivenna rather easily; although hey, that's puppy love for you.

With Susebron kneeling to Vasher, there's the implication that Lightsong's miracle healed more than just Susebron's physical tongue...so if the healing included how to speak and knowledge of Awakening, it perhaps it also included enough historical/personal knowledge or awareness to recognize Vasher in his Returned form?  A bit of a stretch, I admit.

The book overall has something of a console RPG/anime feel to it, from the young women with funky hair colors to the giant "tentacles" of cloth at the end.  Super Power Nightblood Breath-Consuming Mode fits right into that milieu.  I think what we (and the book) are bumping into is that anime story logic and Western literary story logic sometimes clash, and we get different signals at different points regarding which the book is following.

I'd be curious to know what specific Command the Lifeless army was given.  They obviously didn't stop to kill all the Idrians in Hallendren so presumably they were told to go to a specific place and kill the Idrians there.  Just moving the Idrians someplace else would probably save them.

But...but...they're fighting zombies! With giant robots! That's some kind of ultimate, uh, something! You can't just set something like that up and then not deliver....

Maybe that's what the sequel is for?  Although the book is in a weird place right now, somewhat like Hobb's Assassin's Quest when the Elderlings are awoken...it feels like there should be about 3-5 more chapters in front of us, not just a short epilogue but not a whole sequel, either.

Either way, Brandon, you may want to change the bit in the first post in this thread where you talk about the book being a stand-alone.

MattD
« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 03:17:50 PM by dreamking47 »
"It had blood in it.  That makes it a good metaphor." -- Tonk Fah, in EUOL's Warbreaker

Claye

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #560 on: May 03, 2007, 04:30:29 PM »
HAHAHAHAHA!  HA!  I figured that something like this was going to happen!  Of course, the whole nightblood-thingie is a little weird I admit.... Anyway, what if Susebron really was just the stillborn baby? Then those breaths would have turned him into a kind o Returned, I suppose.... So maybe he really never needed all those breaths he got every week, and actually was a semi-returned semi-lifeless guy?! ???  Any other pepole's ideas? I'm wondering when the other Scholar will appear?

DavidB

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #561 on: May 03, 2007, 04:42:12 PM »
I'm wondering when the other Scholar will appear?

The book doesn't say for sure, but my guess was that the five scholars were:
1. Vasher
2. Denth
3. Denth's sister
4. Arsteel
5. Pahn

If I'm right, then they're all dead except for Vasher.

vadia

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #562 on: May 03, 2007, 05:42:32 PM »
Nice turnaround.  We all should have seen that Golem ex machina.  But couldn't have.

A few minor points which made reading difficult for me.
Quote
  Of course, that didn’t work for many of the stones they passed.  Though large chucks of the building were still black, a good half of it had been turned white.
   Not just the grey of normal Awakening.  They had been made a bone white.  And, becoming that white, they now reacted to his incredible BioChroma, splitting back into colors.  Like a circle, somehow, she thought.  Colorful, then white, then back to color.
The second paragraph is bulky with the first. 

I think You mean that the white glow and black don't, but the "though ..." sets me up for non-glowing as the major focus, so I was confused. 
Perhaps something like this:  of course . . . passed Though large chunks of the building were still colorless black, a good half of it had been turned white.  Not merely the grey etc.,

Quote
The breeze blew Siri’s hair--red, to show her displeasure--as they stood atop the palace. 
Breeze blew red?  Did the color change have something to do with wind before?

Quote
   
“I don’t want to see anyone,” Susebron said.  “Who are they?”
Seems too sudden a transition of emotions, from "GO AWAY," to "well now I'm curious, who is it?"

Maybe Split it up, or just get rid of "Who are they"

Quote
   Siri paused hesitantly.  Silly, she thought.  This is Vivenna.  I can trust her.
   She’d thought she could trust Bluefingers too.  Vivenna regarded her with a curious expression.
Just an odd set of juxtaposition, and maybe a mid paragraph focus change  (she, vivenna)

Quote
   It was a quick judgment.  She had gotten over chastising herself for making those, though she had learned to leave herself open to reinterpret. 

Sounds like she's chastising herself for making a quick judgement there, and I think you should say "reinterpret them." or similar statements.


   
Quote
“You have a group of rogue Lifeless,” Vasher said.  “You’ve lost control of them.”
   “I’m sorry, my lord,” the God King said.
   Vasher regarded him.  Then, he glanced at Vivenna.  She nodded her head.  “I trust him.”

This whole scene seems odd, sure I understood that Vasher is from the Manywars, but that he is accepted as a lord and it isn't helped by the stilted conversations IMNSHO here.

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #563 on: May 03, 2007, 08:12:14 PM »
This is all EXCELLENT feedback. 

Here's the thing about my books.  I tend to pile a lot into the endings, and so when I warn people a draft is rough, it doesn't usually have to do with things you can see on the micro-scale.  It has to do with the entire work as a whole, particularly foreshadowings and character arcs, which are the most subtle--and I think--difficult things to pull off.  Yet, worth it, if you can get it right.

I'm going to go ahead and break my rule of not responding too much to people.  Usually, I don't want to bias their opinions for later chapters--but since there's only one more of those, I figure I'll go ahead and mention some things to get reactions from you all, which will help me decide just how much I need to talk about and explain in the text. 

FIRST
I’m realizing that I need to give more explanations of the magic in this book.  I worry about overloading people, but from the questions, I’m realizing that I need a tad more. 

Susebron IS Returned.  What happens with Returned, actually, is that they are given ONE breath, but a breath given to them by God.  So, think of it as a ‘super breath’ which brings them back to life for a time. 

However (like Nightblood activating him powers) the ‘fuel’ it takes to keep a Returned going and grant their powers is breath.  They need one a week, otherwise they’ll ‘burn’ their one divine breath, which will kill them.  So, they need to be given an extra breath each week to keep them going.

They can’t use their ‘super breath’ for much because giving it away would kill them.  If they do decide to use it, it gets burned away, and in the process creates a healing miracle.

However, there’s nothing to stop you from giving that Returned extra breaths.  He or she would then be able to use those to awaken objects, just like regular Awakeners.  As long as he/she didn’t use the command that delivers them to other people, he/she would be just fine.  (For that command gives all your breath, including the single divine breath, which would leave the Returned dead.)

 By leaving Susebron with his tongue cut out, I wanted to imply that he COULD use all of those extra breaths.  I see, now, that I need to discuss it in the text and make a distinction in the reader’s mind between the breath he holds that makes him a Returned, and the other pile of breaths he holds which could be used for other things.  I don’t know if I want to get into the divine breath concept--that’s something I’d rather deal with in another book.  But, it’s important that the reader understand that he CAN use some of his breaths, should he get his tongue back.   

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #564 on: May 03, 2007, 08:23:09 PM »
Oh, and a few more responses.

SECOND
I wanted this book to feel. . .well, more light-hearted.  Anime-like is an okay description, as it has been used before.  My original thought for the story--the princesses who swap places--is a very fairy-tale idea, and the Lightsong scenes focused on banter almost to the point that (as my editor put it) the book becomes like the old screwball comedies. 

That isn’t to say I didn’t want depth of character.  However, I did intentionally write a book that would feel different from the Mistborn trilogy.   

THIRD
Stopping the Lifeless army is something else I need to deal with, I realize.  (Meaning DavidB’s comments.) 

I’m several minds how to deal with this.  First off, Bluefingers did say that by sending the Lifeless without direction, they were hoping the things would get defeated, since that would--in his opinion--make the war effort last longer, as it would leave the Hallandren without many of their resources.  Likely, if Siri and company hadn’t stopped him, the Hallandren would have chosen to give those Lifeless support--if only to keep them alive in the war effort. 

As it stands, they COULD be defeated with some measure of ease.  However, the thing to realize about Lifeless (and this is the mistake I made in the text) is that they’re not simply automatons.  They have some measure of intelligence.  In the scene where Vivenna is run down by a group of them, they work together and coordinate their attacks.  You could, for instance, order a Lifeless to go fetch something for you, and it would be able to.  That’s what you gain by using a human body--some semblance of life and intelligence.

So, they wouldn’t be AS easy to defeat as one might think.  For an army, they move incredibly quick, and Idris just wouldn’t have much time to respond to the initial attack.  They’d have to wait until the Lifeless had taken out a few cities (perhaps even the capitol, which was the Lifeless goal) then trap them.  However, I imagine the army splitting up once it reaches Idris and making things difficult. 

And, Susebron and company would have trouble stopping them as well.  The speed issue is a big one to me.  Even with horses, it would be very tough to keep up with an army of tireless men who can move at a brisk jog without stopping to sleep.  Mix with that them having enough intelligence to get themselves out of an ambush, and enough resilience to take a rather large amount of punishment, and I think this army would be more difficult to crack than many would expect.

The task on me, however, is to get that across in the text. 
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DavidB

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #565 on: May 03, 2007, 08:41:28 PM »
I think part of what make the lifeless seem weak is that they're, well, zombies. And everyone knows a dude with a chainsaw is an even match for ten thousand zombies.

The divine breaths thing solves some of the problems, but it still doesn't explain who taught Susebron how to awaken stuff. Vivenna had to practice and train herself before she could even use simple commands. (Unless returned have some kind of innate knowledge of awakening commands, but if they did, then there wouldn't be much need for scholars to research command phrases, would there?)

Also, it seems to me like it would be more internally consistent if awakened objects consumed breath, to make all of these breath-consuming powers in the last few chapters fit in better. So for example, if Vasher awakened a shirt and left it awakened and doing stuff for a day, then he might be down one-seventh of a breath when he took it back at the end of the day. (Of course, that mechanic requires it to be possible to transfer or awaken with portions of a breath, and if you could do that, then using the "putting the breaths you don't want to transfer into a cloth until after the transfer" thing, you could feed the returned by taking a tiny fraction of all the Halladren's breaths, instead of taking some people's entire breaths and turning them into drabs.)

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #566 on: May 03, 2007, 08:49:50 PM »
Hum.  I like that suggestion, actually.  I think I'll use it.  Though, what I'll do is say that if you leave the breath in for too long, one of them vanishes.  If you can get them back quickly enough, however, there is no loss.  That gives a bit of a better explanation of why there aren't a lot of awakened objects doing things all over the place.  True, using the breath to make them would be initially expensive--but if you got a magic object that never winds down, then that might be worth the expense.

Oh, and on a previous comment, I'm planning to write into the scene where Vasher draws Nightblood more of an emotional struggle to keep Nightblood from taking control and causing mass destruction.  In the initial draft, I just figured that Vasher was too experienced to worry about that, but I think it will make the scene work better. 
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DavidB

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #567 on: May 03, 2007, 09:16:05 PM »
It doesn't make sense that Nightblood could have caused much more destruction than it actually did, because Vasher used up almost all of his breath as it was.

Suggestion: If Nightblood drains all of Vasher's breaths, than it will also drain his life-force and he will die. Vasher knows that drawing Nightblood will cause him to go mad, and that he is not strong enough to fight it. So when he draws Nightblood, Vasher figures that he's dead already, but he can still use Nighblood's power to rescue Vivenna. Since Nightblood also likes Vivenna, he figures he can direct the madness well enough that he will be able to do that. But he still has to fight to keep on task, rather than wasting time on killing random priests and lifeless.

So Vasher fights his way to Vivenna, rather than going after Denth. Vivenna understands what he's done, but is able to talk him out of the madness the same way she did when she and Vasher rescued the little girl. (You may want to beef up that scene to better foreshadow this one.) Then, after Vivenna has gotten Vasher to stop killing stuff but before he manages to untie her, Denth shows up, and Vasher kills him the same way as is in the story now.

dreamking47

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #568 on: May 03, 2007, 09:38:57 PM »
But, it’s important that the reader understand that he CAN use some of his breaths, should he get his tongue back.

A lot of the confusion with Returned and Breath might be cleared up if you added a scene much earlier in the book where one of the Returned Gods does use Breath to Awaken, or even if you just have some of the Gods discussing it.  The problem now is that if they can, why don't they?  You could of course just write in that they do.  Or maybe it's considered gauche for a God to get extra Breath, given that their followers are giving up one a week already?  You could have Mercystar talking about getting some extra Breath for self-defense because she's scared after the break-in; or Lightsong saying he never carries extra Breath because his mind is too lazy to form the visualizations needed to Awaken; or some newer God actually doing Awakening while Allmother looks on unhappily and makes a snippy comment about how people will think Gods are just people with a lot of Breath, etc.

Basically it's just that because there's nothing in the text that indicates a Returned can use Breath, when one of them does it leads to the question of whether they really are Returned.

I like David's suggestion regarding Vasher, Nightblade and Vivenna a lot.  Even better if Vasher has to rescue her from Tonk Fah instead of just finding her in a closet.  I didn't mean the reference to anime to be a derogatory one, it's just that the level of seriousness and of suspension of disbelief required seems to vary wildly throughout the story.  It's hard to reconcile for example that the same people who lose control and torture Peprin to death just toss Vivenna unharmed into a closet after she damages their plans.  David's suggestion could not only add tension to the Nightblood aspect but also to the Vasher-Vivenna story -- if Vasher doesn't beat Denth, it would be clear, something bad will happen to Vivenna.

MattD

P.S. Edit: after one of the recent chapters ended, I had this charmingly funny image of this little piece of rope that was forever inching its way after Tonk Fah, through cities and forests and across deserts, over years and years, trying to fulfill its Command to grab him.  :D
« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 09:58:05 PM by dreamking47 »
"It had blood in it.  That makes it a good metaphor." -- Tonk Fah, in EUOL's Warbreaker

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #569 on: May 03, 2007, 10:11:01 PM »
It does offer something interesting to think about, but I'm just not convinced--personally--that Denth would simply kill Vivenna.  She's a princess of Idris, and a very valuable prisoner.  She's wiggled away from him a couple of times, true, but I still think it would be a bad idea to kill her.

Killing her gains you revenge, but not much else.  (She really hasn't interfered that much with what he's been doing.)

Keeping her gains you both a pawn to use against Vasher, a valuable prisoner for political and financial gain, and perhaps even some leverage against your employers.  It seems a fantastically BAD idea to just kill her. 

(Plus, remember, Peprin's death wasn't intentional.  He was being tortured to make sure he didn't know where Vivenna was, but Denth didn't really want him to die.  Not that Denth was broken up over it happening, but even still, there is that to remember.)

I make these arguments, by the way, to see how you respond.  I appreciate the suggestions, and I very well may take them.  I try to offer counter point so I can explore how people are feeling and see just where I need to revise and what I need to change. 
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