Gonna be up front a say: I’m a HUGE Brandon Sanderson fan so if this seems a little “God-worshipy” I apologize in advance. Also, this is a novella about Magic the Gathering–which I didn’t know when I read it because I will literally read anything Sanderson writes and I know basically nothing about this franchise–but you don’t need to have experience with Magic to enjoy this story. On the up side, most of Sanderson’s other novels are huge and interconnected to a point where even I, who have read most of them, get confused about who people are and why everyone assumes I know about an important event that I’m clueless about. I completely understand if you pass this over but if it is something you think you’ll enjoy IT’S FREE! You can download it here along with a bunch of other stories. So, let’s dig into this story.
One of the things that I love about Sanderson’s writing is that he can always make me laugh. There’s something about his sense of humour that matches mine in just the right way. For instance, here is part of a conversation between two of the main characters, Davriel and Miss. Highwater:
The Man [Davriel] poked at his wound again. “It strikes me, Miss Highwater, that you are not treating this situation with the gravity it deserves. My shirt is ruined.”
“We’ll get you another.”
“This one was my favorite.”
“You have thirty-seven exactly like it. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if your life depended on it.”
From Chapter Three
“That’s not the point.” He hesitated. “…Thirty-seven? That’s a tad excessive, even for me.”
I’m not entirely sure why this conversation always makes me smile but it does and there are plenty more like it in this book. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Davriel has just been stabbed and he’s like, “aw, my favourite shirt,” that gets me laughing.
The Second thing that I always marvel at in Sanderson’s novels is his way of building worlds that feel solid. I recognized that in this case this might have something to do with it being connected with Magic but I’ve read his other novels so I know that he can create worlds of his own. This is a really strange and magical world that we get thrown into–I imagined it was misty most of the time but since the story almost entirely takes place at night I guess that doesn’t really matter. It takes place in a place called Kessig (if that means something to you).
I’ll admit that this isn’t Sanderson’s best work–the plot is a little weak–but it IS a good introduction to him as a writer if you’re interested and don’t want to commit to 1,000 page epic fantasy novel.