Author Topic: Warbreaker: Free Ebook  (Read 175821 times)

Pterath

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #315 on: January 10, 2007, 03:16:42 PM »
Just read Chpt 41...

Kidnapped 3 times or is that 4?!   That is about as broken as it gets and I thought she'd hit rock bottom before.  Good grief, the poor woman!  One has to ask was Vasher her savior or a captor again?  I cannot decide.  I want him to be a force of good for some reason.

K

dawncawley

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #316 on: January 10, 2007, 06:52:05 PM »
Wow. Ummm, let me see, where to start....

First, I love that we still don't know if Vasher is a good guy or a bad guy, that the lines with him are so blurred as to not even be there. He has taken Vivenna away from Denth twice, and we know that he is not what he appeared, so I am leaning towards good guy with a bad way of going about things, or maybe just a jaded way, but it is still so up in the air. I am glad that he is back though, it seems as if it has been a while since we have seen him.

As for Vivenna, she is starting to think like a human being and I like that. She isn't Miss High and Mighty anymore, she is starting to think about the dilemmas that plague people everyday, on a more extreme scale in her case. Instead of thinking in black and white, she is now thinking in shades of gray, I guess is the point I am trying to make.

I think that I would love this book even if the plot with the God King and the war were gone, because of the sheer force of humanity, and scope of it as well, that you are showing with this. The characters are such a huge part, and you can't just KNOW for sure whether one person is "good" or "bad" from the beginning, as I am sure we have all read with other authors in our lives. The character development is top notch in my opinion and is probably one of the things that I like best about your writing. Well, that and the fact that you manage to still come up with new "magic" systems in a field that has seen many repetitions.

Before anyone jumps on me that wasn't a slam to this field, or to any particular author, just a statement of fact. Brandon, as far as I have seen, is a person that has more imagination than any ten people I know put together and that is what this field has needed for a long time. It is hard to be original when there are only so many things you can do with magic systems, and it just took a bit for  a pioneer to come out of the woodwork, so to speak. That does NOT mean that I would quit reading fantasy, ever, or that I think that it is a badly written field of work.

DragonFly

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #317 on: January 10, 2007, 07:52:47 PM »
Some ideas that have been mulling around in my head--I tend to be way off base with this type of thing, but here they are.

Is Vasher in Hallendren as an agent of Panh Kahl trying to overthrow the government? If you remember, the prisoner he took the breaths from, and then killed in the beginning was named Pahn. Their conversation together showed that they had worked together in the past.
If that is the case, his interaction with Vivenna makes a little more sense--she was probably messing up his plans with her actions, so he needed her out of the way while he tried to figure out what her motivations where. That's why he was surprised by her reaction to his sword.

Quote
(From Tjaden, posted yesterday:)  She (Vivenna) keeps putting herself in places where she questions her ability to judge people, and place herself above them.  While these are admirable qualities, they should not be in a princess.  Vivena is constantly being shown as more naïve than Siri – which bothers me on a few occasions.

I don't know if naive is the right word for Vivenna. She was the "perfect child" growing up. She seems to never have allowed herself to question much of anything--her religion, her destiny, her upbringing. She only had been taught one worldview and didn't realize that other peoples' views might be just as valid and reasoned. The places she is put in are all forcing her to expand her horizons. Siri on the other hand, grew up questioning everything and thus was able to adapt to her new circumstances much more readily.
Work is like fertilizer in that I'm very glad it exists--I just don't ever want to get stuck in it
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Tjaeden

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #318 on: January 10, 2007, 08:09:49 PM »
I'm happy to see more effects of the sword.  We keep getting teased by what it can do, and only a few hints have really given us solid info.  If this is a stand alone (better not be!), then maybe there could have been some legends about it - maybe Lightsong could have asked Dusk if there were any stories about a black-hilted blade used in the Manywar.  Or Vivena, with all of her tutoring, would know something about enchanted blades - Nightblood does seem to be the only "magical" thing around, besides the zombies.

Vashar rocks.  We love to see good guys with bad guy qualites/methods/or other quirks, I think.  It's almost cliche now to have such a flawed character be a hero - we are always reminded that no one is perfect.  With that said - I think Brandon has not done that with Vashar quite yet.  There is still too much we don't know about him.  He could have the mindset of Denth, separating his beliefs from his actions with ease.  I, for one, am hoping for something more brooding - maybe he is a man that Vivena could fall for, but Vashar would(could?) never love a woman.  Kind of the last stop on Brandon's spectrum of heroes - Raoden --- Kelsier --- Vashar.  That would be satisfying, I think.

As far as Vivena...  I think I am biased, in believing that her education should have prepared her better. (I am a high school English teacher, so, it makes sense in my world).
1. She was trained to be the wife of the God-King (all duties included).
2. She is learned about BioChroma - even if she didn't pay too much attention.
3. She knows what it means to be a princess, and, by default, know a measure of government.
3a. If that is true, then economics MUST have factored in there - and Fantasy-Capitalism means there are peasants and poor people.
4. She was trained in what to do during a kidnapping.  This one bothers me the most.  Does she know how to ride a horse?  I think that combat training (even a little) is not called for here, but the *knowledge* of who would kidnap her, how she might be kidnapped, and that she knows she will be left for dead, is important.

All those points -- to me -- show a woman who is less naive than Vivena.  All the things she hints at from her tutors just keeps reinforcing what Vivena was *not*.  Are we supposed to think she ditched her classes as much as Siri?  The impression I get was that Vivena was the perfect daughter (maybe sheltered, yes, but not naive) - as evident that the King "picked" her most, and then decided that she was not worth sacrificing.  

I don't know - it just seems a little confusing of a character transformation.  It's like Vivena is set up, then "forgets" all she knows when she gets to Halledren, then "relearns" it all.  If that is supposed to be how it works, then the reliance on what her tutors taught her (I actually love how she remembers things during stress, quoting her tutors, and even Denth) needs to be lessoned.

Maybe instead of tutors - monks?  Focusing more on the religious aspect of marrying a God-King?  (I know that was mentioned once).
« Last Edit: January 10, 2007, 08:15:03 PM by Tjaeden »
Once I dreamt of death /
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Tjaeden

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #319 on: January 10, 2007, 08:13:55 PM »
I don't know if naive is the right word for Vivenna. She was the "perfect child" growing up. She seems to never have allowed herself to question much of anything--her religion, her destiny, her upbringing. She only had been taught one worldview and didn't realize that other peoples' views might be just as valid and reasoned.

That's a really good point.  But, by the way Brandon wrote and referes to her "tutors," I would think she would be more knowledgable.  I know knowledge about something  does not equal first hand experience.  But, even in Siri's chapters, the reader is given information about what kinds of things the tutors taught.

As I mentioned above - that strict world view teaching doesn' make sense if tutors are preparing a Princess to marry a God-King of an extremely wealthy, powerful, port-city.  If, however, they were monks constantly reinforcing Austre - then I would buy it. 
Once I dreamt of death /
now it dreams of me,
And only rats and rotting flesh /
can hear my silent plea...

dreamking47

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #320 on: January 10, 2007, 08:35:16 PM »
Thoughts...

Chapter 41

You asked after the last Vivenna chapter whether we thought her path was too clichéd.  I said no then, but this chapter did feel a little clichéd to me, melodramatic in a way very reminiscent of Les Miserables: she's on the streets, begging, she sells her hair, considers prostitution, etc.  Partly I think it's a matter of show vs. tell -- you tell us that she sold her hair, that she was beaten, but all we see is her begging and then taking that single dramatic step towards the whores -- it ends up feeling overly dramatic because we didn't experience any of the drama that led up to it.  Probably I'm just not sympathetic enough, but because we haven't walked those miles with her, I end up feeling more that she's a wuss rather than empathy for her despair.  Granted it's always easier to say these things when you're sitting comfortably indoors and well-fed, but it seems to me that Vivenna has enough Breaths that she could use them to make money legitimately or illegitimately, steal things, break into places, defend herself, etc.  Plus if fed, she could sell her hair once or twice a day.  Or at least try to get a message to someone (you'd think a civilization with the ability to Awaken/Command would have a good postal system).  Instead, she just slinks off and waits to be a victim.

I think the bottom line is that I just don't care for her as a character, so take whatever I say with a grain of salt.  She's always been too passive for me to feel much for her.  Maybe, hopefully, that's a desired reaction to her.  (And I did think that maybe she's acting this way because she isn't carrying any Breath now, that this is what being a Drab is like, but she always had this passive element to her character, so it's not noticeably different.)

I did like that we got to see Nightblood "in action" in this chapter, you've been building up to that and it felt like a good time to remove that veil.

Magic Etc.

One thing that's been a little vague are the overall levels of "technology," societal organization and intellectual sophistication of this world, of Hallendren in particular.  That's partly why "BioChroma" does feel a little out of place: it sounds alien to and more sophisticated than the surrounding words.  There may be explanations for this that would be interesting to read about: maybe the society is actually in decline since the Manywar and the word is a remnant of that past age of scholarship?  Have they really advanced at all since the Manywar?  I sometimes picture Hallendren as an over-ripe fruit, past its prime: big, bright and colorful on the outside but gone squishy and bad on the inside.  Or yeah, maybe it's just a word that select people use.  That might be something interesting to explore with the priests vs. the mercenaries, since at least in our Middle Ages, it was the priests who were the at center of most scholarship (indeed, the maintainers of Greek learning) yet here it's been the mercenary chapters that have provided much of the exposition on BioChromatic metaphysics.

Doesn't Siri comment on the "Vessel" title earlier in the book, in an early conversation with Bluefingers or Tridees?  I thought she did, but it may just be my imagination filling in the blanks.  (Edit: I did a quick search and I was wrong, it never is explicitly stated what the term means, although I always understood it because Bluefingers does comment very early on that Siri's sole duty is to provide an heir.)

MattD
« Last Edit: January 11, 2007, 04:45:32 PM by dreamking47 »
"It had blood in it.  That makes it a good metaphor." -- Tonk Fah, in EUOL's Warbreaker

DragonFly

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #321 on: January 10, 2007, 10:05:58 PM »
I like the idea of monks as Vivenna's tutors. That would explain why she really had no idea how Hallendren society works and why she is so convinced that everything to do with BioChroma is evil and oppressive.
Work is like fertilizer in that I'm very glad it exists--I just don't ever want to get stuck in it
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firstRainbowRose

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #322 on: January 11, 2007, 06:06:36 AM »
I have to agree with dreamking47 about how the chapter felt a bit too cliche.  I was actually considering posting something myself along the same lines of what was said.

I actually am rather glad that Vashar was the one to pick up Vivenna rather than Denth, because I feel he's a little bit safer.  He's got something in mind, works for himself, and... just feels... safer.  At this point Denth is kind of a wild-card that we can't be sure if he'd kill Vivenna or keep her alive, or what would happen.  However, I am slightly worried about something that was commented.  I think he could be good for Vivenna if she were to fall for him, however at this point if something were to happen, it would be way rushed, and I while I do believe that you can fall in love quickly, something like that type of love would need to be well explained.  Why would she actually allow herself to be with someone who she's just seen kill?  Wouldn't she hate the fact that she was in love with him?  Why is it that she does have feeling for him, and yet she's never displayed intrests before?  (My thought for that one is she's never let her self dream since she knew she would be married to the God-King, but now she knows she won't be with him, so thus she's free and yet she still hasn't considered dating other people...)  I think more that I would like to see them by the end of the book have a tenitive friendship, or if she does get feelings for him, have them be a graditude to the person who saves her which she's confusing for love.

As to the learning, I agree with everyone that monks would make more sense for teach.  It would also slightly explain why Siri payed so little attention, since she doesn't seem to care that much for religion.  Also, to me Siri seems more like the type of person where if she wanted to learn about something, she'd study it as much as she could and become best friends with that tutors, and just ignore the other ones (case and point: getting the history.  She decided she wanted to know about it so she did everything in her power.)  And since she seems to have enjoyed the "extravagent" things (her love for flowers at the beginning), she would be intrested in BioChroma, and most likely talk to people visiting from Halledren since they would be intresting to her.  Yet I feel like she only went to classes when she absolutly had to.  Maybe that's just me...

I kind of agree with the comments about BioChroma, mostly because it doesn't fit the magic system.  Usually when you're naming something, you either give it a name that explains what it does or how to use it (breaths make sense here) or else after the person who discovered it.  Maybe Color-Soul or Bright-breaths, or something may make more sense (and actually the comment about soul would make sense as to why the drian seem to think that using breaths or losing all of your breaths is like losing part of your soul, which also hasn't made full sense as to why they would think that.)

In regards to the way that Subron is going to lose his breaths, I think that by this point Siri would have started to do research into that herself.  See if any of the Iredecent Tones died shortly before the god-king, or even try to find out more about breaths (maybe using wanting to understand her own, or something as an excuse) so that she could try to put a set of actions ready to prevent that, so she could use her excaping the city as a backup plan.  Right now she seems way too focused on that, and less on preventing the need to do so, yet she's always hoping she doesn't have to.

Anywho, that's my thoughts...
"The custom of royalty in referring to oneself is to naturally employ the royal 'we'. We are very happy, we are very sad, we are bored and suffer from ennui. For a royal prince there's no such word as 'me', It's always 'we'. So rightfully I should be two or three, don't you agree?"

Master Bombadil

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #323 on: January 11, 2007, 06:43:39 AM »
In regards to the many complaints about the term 'BioCroma':

I think it is supposed to sound more advanced.  I get the idea that in Hallandren society, there is a lot of research into BioCroma (comments about 'modern commands' and Hallandren being 'the center of BioCromatic research' come to mind) but otherwise they haven't really advanced beyond the middle ages;  it would make sense because those with the leisure and wealth to conduct research would also have Breaths, and be able to extend their powers by researching that field.  BioCroma looks anachronistic because it is so far ahead of everything else.

About Vivenna's education:

Many seem to be surprised that the perfect little child who grew up in a near theocracy (religion controls seemingly every action in Idris, from how you dress to when you're allowed to have emotions) would have difficulty adjusting to a 'heretical' society.  Her tutors very likely were monks, as (at least in our middle ages) monks were responsible for much of the teaching and learning.

She would have been prepared to marry Susebron and deal with political maneuvering, but that does not quite cover organizing terrorist attacks (and these WERE terrorist; Denth organized them to spread fear and incite a war), surviving on the streets (why would the future queen of Hallandren ever need to know what to do when she had nothing?).  Denth and Tonk Fah are both extremely skilled and experienced professionals, and should easily be able to manipulate a complete stranger to T'Telir.

Though I will say that the thing with the prostitutes was laying it on a bit thick...

Regarding Vasher:

Of course we all want him to be a good guy!  People are naturally inclined to hope for the best in others, even if they don't expect it.  That is a lot of how Denth and Tonk Fah were able to take in Vivenna (as well as all us readers, I might add).  Still, we can say that Vasher is no friend of Denth, or of scheming priests; that definitely speaks for him not being a completely rotten apple.  Good thing is, we're sure to be seeing more of him now.

Official predictions of Master Bombadil (for what they're worth):

Vasher teaches Vivenna to use her Breaths.

At least one of Siri's political maneuverings will blow up in her face.

Lightsong, Blushweaver and Llahrimar enter the tunnels together, when they finally do.

Lightsong dies.
I am not bragging.  I am understating.

Pterath

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #324 on: January 11, 2007, 08:29:24 PM »
I agree with Matt (DreamKing) about the Show versus Tell issue with Vivenna and perhaps that is why I was left wanting a bit with chpt 41.   Even if we are told part of it her reason to go into that alley and for it to be abandoned so appropriately... well it's too convenient. It is one she haunts and Vasher has figured it out and it is obvious that Denth knows and is smart enough to have hired muscle to get her captured seeing we are not seeing Tonk Fah or Denth there to be potentially killed.  Too many people are onto her and Vivenna unwitting yet again. (She is beginning to annoy m at this point.) She is smarter than that and there are only so many times you can be played a fool before becoming wary of traps such as this.

A glance down the empty alley should have tipped her off no matter how tired and hungry she was not  to mention despite small things like comfort that she is seeking a distraction of some sort would be welcome.  To keep her from noticing, a smell of something enticing or not.

I don't know... perhaps a different POV would be more interesting for the chapter.  Vasher's would be my choice.  I'd love to get into his head and get a peak of WHY he is doing this, because he is still such an enigma and I tire of Vivenna.  Then follow it up with Vivenna reacting to what has happened and she and Vasher hashing things out from her POV.


dreamking47

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #325 on: January 12, 2007, 08:08:47 PM »
[Vivenna] is smarter than that

Is she?  When has she shown it?  When she escapes from Denth maybe, although I'd say that was prompted by Clod and/or animal cunning.  I don't think she's ever demonstrated any inclination at all to think about anything, or skill at doing so.  She seems to me like someone who's fate was decided at an early age, and as a result she never really grew inside -- why bother, she was doomed and I'm sure everyone quietly treated her that way.  She learned her lessons, but by rote, not with any thoughtful understanding or ability to apply the principles of what she learned.  Most of the time she's very passive, childishly obedient, content to let others make decisions without thinking about the ramifications of what they're doing.  The few times she does make decisions tend to be childish outbursts due to losing her fate as sacrifice for her people, which however horrible was all she had, all she was (is?).

Reading people's comments on the characters is interesting...it's almost like a Rorschach pattern, how we've read the characters and what we want for them says as much about us as it does about the actual words EUOL has written.

MattD
"It had blood in it.  That makes it a good metaphor." -- Tonk Fah, in EUOL's Warbreaker

amyface

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #326 on: January 12, 2007, 09:47:35 PM »
I see the point that Vivenna hasn't shown too much extreme intellegence... I would have to say that she must be fairly smart considering her father wants her to rule Idris. I think that in itself would be saying something in itself. Plus they trained her on court politics and goverment in as a child. All of the things she learned all her life were for being a princess then a queen. She was never taught to be in the normal middle or lower class. She obviosly has some common sense. Enough to get away twice.

On the prostitution thing... I think it would be better if she didn't actually consider becomming one but she maybe thought that she now sees how one could resort to that.

About selling her hair, she would have to be able to find someone who would trust her to pay her in advance at least for the first time since she doesn't have the energy to grow her hair out again. She would also have to trust them with the secret that she can grow out her hair like that. It's not such a bad idea except for the fact that she's completely alone and trying to stay hidden. And now... she's kind of kidnapped again...
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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #327 on: January 12, 2007, 11:29:28 PM »
I agree with Dreamking about Vivenna's intelligence.  I think the reason readers think of her as 'smart' is partly her attitude (she definitely thinks she's smart, or used to anyway) and party that she was 'trained,' though I don't think Idris can provide a good political education.  It's a bit...I dunno...rustic?

As for her father wanting her to rule Idris, I think that is because her viewed her as perfect, not smart.  It's made very clear in the early chapters that she (Vivenna) goes along with anything she is told by the proper authorities, and is though of very highly for it.  I don't think many people in that culture question much of anything (Siri did, and she was plainly in the minority), so someone who questions practically nothing is viewed as 'better'.

I do like amyface's point about the prostitutes...it would not seem quite as overdone and would also show her learning to understand those around her better, which I think is a major theme with her.
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dreamking47

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #328 on: January 13, 2007, 01:11:10 AM »
I see the point that Vivenna hasn't shown too much extreme intellegence... I would have to say that she must be fairly smart considering her father wants her to rule Idris. I think that in itself would be saying something in itself.

But is he that smart?  All we know about him is that he gained the throne at a young age after his father was assassinated, immediately made the treaty with Hallendren to send them his eldest daughter when she turned 22 out of fear, couldn't bear to do so when the time came, and then hasn't been heard from these many months since.  I don't know if we've heard the last from him -- I rather doubt it, considering that his love for Vivenna was what started all this -- but he has not struck me as a overly wise or strong person from the bits we've seen.

Anyway, obviously I bring my own prejudices and perspectives to it, but I'm just trying to figure out what is really there in the text -- what the characters have shown us about themselves.  Sure, both Siri and their father say that Vivenna is "perfect," but what does that mean from each of their perspectives?

Quote
On the prostitution thing... I think it would be better if she didn't actually consider becomming one but she maybe thought that she now sees how one could resort to that.

Yes, that's a good idea.  It just seemed to me that she hadn't "earned" the level of despair she was showing...I think either she needs to visibly suffer a little more (not too much!) or the despair should be reined in a bit.  It depends somewhat on what her fate is to be in the story.

Quote
About selling her hair, she would have to be able to find someone who would trust her to pay her in advance at least for the first time since she doesn't have the energy to grow her hair out again. She would also have to trust them with the secret that she can grow out her hair like that. It's not such a bad idea except for the fact that she's completely alone and trying to stay hidden. And now... she's kind of kidnapped again...

Yes...although Vasher at least seems to be the not-enemy (I can't say friend) of an enemy of Hallendren.

With the hair, she wouldn't need to sell it to the same person each time.  Granted, just because I sitting here comfortably at my computer can think of it doesn't mean that she would while starving on the streets trying to stay hidden, as I said; it's just that she wasn't even trying to think of anything, and I wanted to give some examples of things that someone who was "smart" might at least consider.

MattD
« Last Edit: January 13, 2007, 01:30:21 AM by dreamking47 »
"It had blood in it.  That makes it a good metaphor." -- Tonk Fah, in EUOL's Warbreaker

Pterath

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Re: Warbreaker: Free Ebook
« Reply #329 on: January 13, 2007, 02:00:22 AM »
My comment about Vivenna being 'smarter than that' was more that there could be so much more potential there.  (I tried to be facetious - evidentally it did not come off in print as I had heard it in my head.) Vivenna has had things continually happening to her it is about time she stopped being the unwitting victim lest she be crushed/killed by her circumstances.  I'm a bit tired of hearing about her woe-begotten, ill-fated situation and it's time stood up and did something about it.  She should learn something from all that has happened and continues to do so but she just lets Vasher apparently kidnap her again!  She just feels like dead weight.  Too much introspection and overly despairing (I agree) and too little doing.  She chose her circumstances when she was robbed she just seems pathetic.

I don't mean to be vicious but she is on my nerves and I don't feel I care about her as I do Siri, Susebron, Lightsong even Vasher.

Vivenna was the good little girl that did as she was told, fitting into the vision that her father wanted and how Siri the extra unnecessary child would see her.  It gave Siri freedom and  I doubt her father thought of the outcome of commiting his eldest daughter to such a fate, he was seeking the security of his kingdom.  22 years later and growing attached wasn't something he was thinking about at the time.