Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson (Stormlight Archive Book 3.5) - Book Review

Write on: Thu, 17 Dec 2020 by  in John's Reviews Read 4326

How many other authors set out to write a novella and accidentally write a novel? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know of many. I do know a former professor of mine who once received a master’s degree he didn’t know he was working toward if that counts, but I don’t think it does. In any case, this was the case with Brandon Sanderson’s Dawnshard, the second Stormlight Archive “novella.” Written as part of BranSan’s kickstarter for the leatherbound Way of Kings, Dawnshard was originally supposed to be about the same length as Edgedancer but ended up over 56,000 words (double what it was intended to be). While this is short for a SFF novel, it is technically long enough to be considered a novel.


Taking place between Oathbringer and Rhythm of War, Dawnshard tells the story of Rysn Ftori, a merchant trader last seen in the Oathbringer interludes as she sets sail for the mysterious ancestral island home of her pet larkin Chiri-Chiri. Along with her on the expedition is everyone’s favorite member of Windrunner Lopen (did you think I was going to say Kaladin?) and an assortment of others sent by Navani Kholin to investigate this strange land that drains the stormlight from any Radiant that draws near.


Dawnshard is everything fans of Sanderson have come to expect. Relatable characters, an intricately built world, and a complex magic system. Despite being thousands of pages into the series, he manages to illuminate old mysteries while raising new questions which beg to be answered. The growth we see in both Rysn, who in Oathbringer lost the use of her legs, and Lopen, a certifiable lovable jackass who unintentionally hurts his friends, is lovely to witness and really makes this yet another memorable part of the Cosmere.


For fans wishing to experience the full breadth of Roshar, Dawnshard is an essential chapter in the grand adventure that is the Stormlight Archive, and like the secret government created writing machine that he is, Sanderson just keeps cranking them out.  


John Scritchfield spends his days caring for his four children and his nights wearing costumes and pretending to hit people with blunt weaponry. There is very little money it. He holds an MFA in Acting, which he puts to use as the Creative Director for the Calvin Theatre Company at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he also teachesIn his free time, he enjoys playing Dungeons & Dragons, reading, writing, and spending time with his wife, children, and two cats (Jasnah and Vin). Oh, he's also the Booknest co-Admin.