Spoiler Free Summary: Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson is considered book 3.5 of the Stormlight Archive. A ghost ship is found seeming to come from the mysterious island of Akinah. What secrets does that land hold? Why are some so driven to protect them? Mysterious beings composed of cremlings seem intent on keeping people off the island, and Rysn, a shipowner, must go there. Her pet Chiri-Chiri is sick, and only a visit to its home island, you guessed it, can give the creature a chance to survive.
Character: The Lopen always steals the show for me when he’s in a story, and this one is no different. I mention him first because he’s so charming. That said, Rysn is a fascinating character. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a story where someone who couldn’t walk is the main character. Rysn is intelligent and driven. She’s sympathetic and proactive, but her vunerability (perceived (I said perceived) powerlessness) makes her story interesting. Rysn doesn’t compare to Kaladin or Dalinar by any means. It’s not an insult to her; it’s just that she doesn’t grab me the way those two do. Still, she’s a great character, and Chiri-Chiri is awesome.
Exposition: Being a short story, there simply isn’t enough time to have too much bad exposition. There are some moments that we get a bit of a data dump in the form of conversation (negotiation) or internal monologue, but the story reads fast. I think I read about thirty percent a day.
Worldbuilding: This is what excited me. First, we get to see that island that’s been teased to us. Second, we get some expansion on the Cosmere. This book really opens up the origins of the Cosmere, so if you’re a fan of it, you really should read this book.
Dialogue: This isn’t as good as Sanderson’s work normally is. It’s not bad at all, it’s just not as amazing as it usually is (though I understand this was a rather rushed story). The Lopen gets another pass here because his dialogue is always fun. I think this book falls a bit short for me because the plot hinges (as is appropriate for Rysn) on a negotiation, and that scene didn’t really sing for me. I still loved and enjoyed it, but more so because of what I learned about the Cosmere and what this book teases about future books than the plot.
Description: Sanderson has some wonderful description. I’ve always appreciated how he balances good description with the pace of a story, and this is no different. I almost always feel like I’m watching a movie more than reading a book when I’m reading Sanderson, and this book was no different.
Overall: This book is awesome more so what it implies and promises about the Cosmere more than the story itself, which is probably not something Mr. Sanderson would want to hear. The book isn’t bad at all, but it was less Rysn and her arc that intrigued me than the greater implications this story offers to future books. Again, this story was good; it just wasn’t great. I will say this was a great primer for Rythm of War, and that alone makes it worth reading.
Thanks for reading