Saturday, July 13, 2019

Review: SIXTH OF THE DUSK by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 4/5 stars

This was an interesting little story. I liked the carnivorous tropical island setting with magical birds called Aviar that have different talents, such as the ability to show you your death or the ability to read the minds of their prey. I thought it was a cool story.

I struggled the whole time, however, to see the purpose of the story or to understand how it relates to the cosmere. It could be set in a different universe and I would be none the wiser. There were references to the “Ones Above” that Brandon said was the link to the cosmere but I still didn’t know how that connected.

This was a totally different setting than Sanderson usually writes and it could have been expanded so much, even into a full-length novel, but instead all we get is this short story. And while I liked the setting, I did think there was little character development or emotional connections made (as is the nature with novellas). I also didn’t really know what was happening for the first third of the story. This was probably just me being distracted because I did reread this part after I finished the whole thing, and it did make more sense the second time around, but there was still clearly no indication of what was to come; the beginning is 100% world building with no plot.

I also think it was too short (again, as is the nature) and ended too abruptly. I wanted to know more about the nature of the island, the birds, the briefly mentioned mainland, the cultures of the people, the politics, etc. The society is on the brink of a technological change but I felt like I knew nothing about it. And what exactly is the big machine they keep referencing?

I was also dissatisfied with the ending. I started really enjoying the story from about the 40% mark to the 90% mark, but then the ending made no sense to me and I don’t understand the implications. What does it mean? What’s going to happen next? It felt like the end of a first book with a big opening of more to come. Sanderson said that there were no plans for future stories in this world, but that we’d likely see more from the people of this world. I don’t know what that entails but I’m looking forward to it regardless.

Although I enjoyed the setting of this little story, it still felt like much of the plot was missing, mostly because of how it ended. Unfortunately, even Sanderson can’t make me a fan of short stories and novellas, but I will still continue to read everything he writes. I do think this is one of the better short stories of his that I’ve read, though, but I still have quite a few more to get to so we’ll see.

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