A sprawling collection of mini-epic fantasies from genre stalwart Sanderson (The Bands of Mourning, 2016, etc.).
An expert forger confronts her greatest challenge yet: a man’s soul. A woman fights for survival on the edge of a forest swarming with bloodthirsty ghosts. A man risks his life to save a mysterious island that tries to kill him at every step. In these stories, Sanderson extends the worlds he’s created in his many novels—and begins to hint at how all these worlds are connected. This kind of thing is like catnip for a certain type of fantasy fan, and fans of Sanderson’s other works will eagerly devour this collection, in which familiar characters return and familiar worlds are further explored. The novella Edgedancer, for example, gives a minor character from the Stormlight Archive series a chance to fight assassins, face down storms, and, as she puts it, “be awesome.” When these stories are good, they’re very good, with all the quick wit, richly detailed settings, and memorable characters fans have come to expect from this prolific writer. But some of the stories in the collection are more like deleted scenes from other stories than like stand-alone tales, and others focus too much on worldbuilding and not enough on Sanderson’s real gifts for creating character, emotion, and suspense.
There are some standout stories here, but overall, it’s more of a treat for superfans than a way for casual readers to dip into Sanderson’s work.