Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Published 2009, Tor Books
"Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them."
While reading this book, this quote from Shakespeare echoed through my mind. Some of the characters are born with greatness (like the God King, Susebron), others achieve it (like the Returned god, Lightsong or the dynamic Vivenna), and, to tie it all together with my favorite one, some have it thrust upon them. Specifically, when talking of those who have it thrust upon them, I think of Siri. Her wild, uninhibited unwillingness to be tamed made her the perfect person to send in place of Vivenna. Though Vivenna didn't understand this at the time, she wasn't prepared, even with years of training, to be the person needed to change the world. This would fall to other people -- Lightsong, who grew from lazy god to the very definition of hero; Siri, who in learning to love a God King found herself and helped makeover her world; Susebron, growing from "kept man" to a true leader... But don't let this simple fact that Vivenna wasn't prepared to change the world lessen her impact on it. She makes a choice that eventually leads her to dramatically update her perspective on how the world around her works, and in doing so, becomes a heroine in her own right.
Just like with Way of Kings, I feel like Brandon Sanderson is decent at plots (though maybe not at pacing, because much of the first half of this book bored me to tears) but really shines when it comes to CHARACTERS. He makes them come alive on the page, like he as the author Breathed life into them, makes some easy to love, others easy to hate; forces us, as readers, to alter our own perspectives and maybe see our own world in a new light through the lives of these other "people" in other worlds. He demands us to see the Colors around us through these heroes and heroines and villains and anti-heroes and morally ambiguous and everything-in-between characters.
He's restoring my appreciation for the high/epic fantasy genre, that's for sure.