Review: EDGEDANCER by Brandon Sanderson

Publisher: Tor Books
Page Count: 272
Release Date: November 22nd, 2016
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars – Liked it!

Note: Possible light spoilers for earlier books in THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES.  If you haven’t read them, here are reviews for THE WAY OF KINGS and WORDS OF RADIANCE!

EdgedancerLift will be the first to tell you that she’s kind of awesome.  Well, sometimes she’s awesome.  And when she is, she can climb any wall, or slide along any surface.  Not bad for a thirteen-year-old with a penchant for breaking into difficult places simply for the excitement.  But her awesomeness has attracted the attention of a man she calls Darkness, who is determined to see her executed for her gift.  Having escaped him once, Lift travels to the city of Yeddaw.  She’s barely there before she discovers that Darkness has traveled to the city as well — but this time, he’s hunting someone else.

EDGEDANCER is a fun adventure for those well-versed in THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES universe, but is one of those novellas that will only resonate if you’ve read previous entries.  Lift is a character who was introduced in a single “interlude” chapter in WORDS OF RADIANCE (which is helpfully reprinted as the “prologue” of EDGEDANCER).  THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES, while steeped with rich characters and world-building, has been playing it close to the vest with its mythology and magic systems, and you’ll find little hand-holding here to explain the hows and the whys of, well, just about anything.

That being said, if you’re just looking for a quick fix, focusing on some very specific character arcs, snuggle into a cushion.  This is a story of Lift trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life and even more importantly, her stormlight powers.  This is her journey to “saying the words,” a kind of innate magical moment when a person becomes even more connected with the source that grants them their gifts. Lift can be obnoxious (she’s a thirteen-year-old girl who likes to prove she doesn’t need anyone else) but she has a good heart, and that’s what ultimately saves her as a character.  She wants to do something worthwhile, she just isn’t sure what that is (and let me tell you what a relatable feeling that is). Lift is aided by a spren (a kind of magical spirit creature) named Wyndle that only she can see, and his exasperation with the roundabout way she does things leads to some charming bickering between the two.

EDGEDANCER is a small story told against a BIG MOMENT in the world of the STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES.  It’s a reminder that while the main characters of the series have their hands full, there are repercussions happening all over the continent.  If you truly want to dig deeper into the world of Roshar, EDGEDANCER IS here for you, but this also feels like the kind of connective tissue you won’t truly miss if you happen to pass it over.

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