Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5)
By: Brandon Sanderson
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
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 picked this book up because it was pretty cool that the novella got its own hardback. On the other hand I am woefully behind in The Stormlight Archives and still have the second book sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. But eh, I figured I can go ahead and read it, should be enough of a standalone to read.
For the most part, as a standalone it works. You don’t have to have read the books available already from the Stormlight Archives to understand what’s going on, who the characters are and their impact in the overall series (though I guess I would’ve enjoyed it more had I known Lift’s role in the context of the whole series). Yet strangely enough it did take me a bit of time to get into the story, probably because Lift the character herself didn’t quite strike a cord with me; yes, her abilities and having Wyndle around makes her awesome, but otherwise her character just seems like any other rebellious character I’ve encountered before with the fast-taking, smart-ass persona who refuses to be placed in a box and refuses to become comfortable in one place. Her abilities with the spry and the worldbuilding interested me more, like who Darkness is and why he was after those who were like Lift, slowly developing her abilities. Sometimes I wished she would just tone down just so I can hear the other characters try to explain the context in which what was happening was having an impact on the wider world. I enjoyed the interaction between Wyndle and Lift, the back-and-forth, foil-to-each-other sort of relationship they have.
I guess I will have to see how the character weaves more fully with the rest of the series but Edgedancer was interesting enough, especially once Lift was out there trying to get a sense about what Darkness is up to and what was going on with her abilities. As I mentioned it still works as a standalone if you haven’t gotten around to the series but I think the general recommendation would be to read the series first. Nonetheless I liked it enough.