Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sixth of the Dusk Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Dragonsteel Entertainment
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Novella
Series: Cosmere Novella
Pages: 96

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Sixth of the Dusk is a novella by Brandon Sanderson that takes place in his Cosmere Universe. While an enjoyable read with an ambitious set of concepts and themes, Sanderson simply does not have the space to fully develop the myriad ideas he’s going for.

A little bit of background, Cosmere is the universe Brandon Sanderson uses as a setting for a number of his fantasy series’.  There are ten planets called Shard planets and each has a magic system that many currently believe are the direct result of the breaking of a former power called Adonalsium. The ten planets are also in the same galaxy, and there is an over-arcing story in place linking the various series’ the author has written.  The Mistborn books occupy the planet Scadrial, The Stormlight books occupy the planet Roshar, etc. etc…  and this novella occupies a new planet that is being called called First of the Sun.

If you’ve read any of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere books you’ll be aware that there is extensive worldbuilding and a lot of focus on developing complicated magic systems.  A lot of his Cosmere books are lengthy, but during all those long page counts the author does a great job of immersing you into the world.  With a new world the same needs to happen, but in a novella this simply can’t happen.  Imaging trying falling in love with Scadrial or Roshar with a story that doesn’t even break 100 pages.  There’s just not enough time for it to happen.

Sixth of the Dusk is the name of the main character in this book and he inhabits an island where birds are gifted psychics.  One bird can tell Sixth about his predetermined deaths, which is useful when it comes to choosing the right trail or avoiding poisonous plants and animals. Another bird gives Dusk a cognitive sense of life, allowing him to find living beings.  Isolated from the world at large he stumbles upon a woman whom is part of larger group of people that are on the verge of a technological boom.

The story runs with a “natives being invaded by technologically advanced newcomers,” type of idea.  There are a lot of interesting moral dilemmas that can come from this scenario, and Sanderson chooses to focus on the conflict of choosing to use new technology or sticking with tradition.
I would recommend this novel to people who’ve already read books by Brandon Sanderson.  If you’ve never read anything by the author before, then I’d recommend starting with the first Mistborn Trilogy. That will give you an idea of Cosmere, it has a manageably lengthed plot, and a great magic system.  If you’re into creative writing, then you might want to check out this episode of Writing Excuses which focuses on the author’s process in writing this particular story.

Score: 6.9

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