Rating: 4/liked (1-5/hated-loved)
I made a mistake when I bought this book. I love everything Brandon Sanderson writes, so when I saw he had something new just released, I grabbed it. Unfortunately it was only after I read it that I saw it was just a section taken from another book.
Sixth of Dusk is one of the four stories in Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology. But the stories are only part of what Shadows Beneath has to offer: With each one, the author explains not just why they wrote it, but earlier drafts of the story, how the ideas evolved, how it was edited, the whole process from first idea to final draft. Sixth of the Dusk is the final draft of Sanderson's story in Shadows Beneath.
From Amazon: For years the hosts of Writing Excuses have been offering tips on brainstorming, drafting, workshopping, and revision, and now they offer an exhaustive look at the entire process. Not only does Shadows Beneath have four beautifully illustrated fantastic works of fiction, but it also includes transcripts of brainstorming and workshopping sessions, early drafts of the stories, essays about the stories’ creation, and details of all the edits made between the first and final drafts.
Come for the stories by award-winning authors; stay for the peek behind the creative curtain.
So, yeah. I'm reading Shadows Beneath next.
But! For now, Sixth of Dusk. It's set in set the Cosmere universe (where the Mistborn, Stormlight Archive, and a bunch of his other books are set), and tells the story of a young man (a trapper) on an island full of animals who hunt by sensing thoughts, in a world where birds bestow magical powers to people. But larger than that, it's a story of post-first contact with an alien race.
Typical of Sanderson's books, Sixth did not hook me from the very first page. With every book I've read by him, I started out thinking "Oh well, guess I'm not going to like this one..." then it starts growing on me and never stops until I get to the "This is the best book ever!" level. Because this was a novella, the slow building of my love didn't have time to get to the "Best ever!" level, though I did like it a whole lot.
It's interesting that that 'quickly hooking the reader' arrow is missing from Sanderson's quiver: Every other author I love hooks me right from the first page. I think it's because of what he offers: Amazing world-building and very realistic characters -- things you can't show in the first paragraph. (Other than the Chaos Walking series, man those books had everything).
As there is less than a week left in 2014 (eeek!), this is likely my last book of the year. I'll do a summary of the year sometime next week.
Happy holiday, everyone! Thanks for reading! :)