Series: Stormlight Archives #2.5
Published: October 17, 2017
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, a special gift edition of Edgedancer, a short novel of the Stormlight Archive (previously published in Arcanum Unbounded).
Three years ago, Lift asked a goddess to stop her from growing older–a wish she believed was granted. Now, in Edgedancer, the barely teenage nascent Knight Radiant finds that time stands still for no one. Although the young Azish emperor granted her safe haven from an executioner she knows only as Darkness, court life is suffocating the free-spirited Lift, who can’t help heading to Yeddaw when she hears the relentless Darkness is there hunting people like her with budding powers. The downtrodden in Yeddaw have no champion, and Lift knows she must seize this awesome responsibility.
I get the impression that Edgedancer is going to prove its value primarily after I read Oathbringer. As I was reading the story, I thought that it was entertaining but not necessarily as special as a lot of Sanderson’s other work. However, the book made more sense to me after I read Sanderson’s postscript: he wrote it because he realized he needed to offer more character development for two characters who will be prominent in Oathbringer. In one sense, then, I’m not sure I can fully judge this before continuing to read the Stormlight Archives, but I’ll offer a few thoughts anyway.
Protagonist Lift is, admittedly, annoying, but I think one of Sanderon’s strengths is that he writes a wide variety of characters, and they are often realistically flawed. In Lift’s case, she’s a bit hard-headed and determined to believe in her own vision of the world, no matter what other people say to her or what evidence she sees to the contrary. Part of this, we learn, is defensiveness, which suddenly makes it more understandable. So while she’s not necessarily my favorite book character of all time, and we certainly wouldn’t be BFFs, she’s interesting, and I think a lot about her is very real.
Plot-wise, the book is fairly straightforward with just enough small twists to remind me that Sanderson is generally a master of taking me by surprise. This isn’t quite as mind-blowing as some of his novels, but since it’s a novella meant to fill in some gaps of the main series, I think the amount of surprises is fair.
Mostly I appreciated this book for prodding my memory about some of the primary events that happened in The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. I’m probably still going to need to read a more detailed recap of the first two books before jumping into Oathbringer, but before reading Edgedancer I remembered practically nothing about the start of the series, so it was nice to get some reminders about what the major developments are and what a couple of the major characters were up to. (So, yes, Edgedancer is going to be spoilery if you have not read the first two Stormlight Archives books yet.)
I purchased this because Sanderson is basically an auto-buy author for me now, and even though it’s fairly short and not 100% on the level of most of his other work, I think it was money well-spent, and I think it’s going to be worth having read before I get to Oathbringer.