Dreamer (2014) by Brandon Sanderson

This was a really uncharacteristic story for Brandon. Sure, it has an intriguing magic system, and the fast pace that his Earth stories (like Legion) generally have, but the actual story itself was quite disturbing. It drifts toward a certain nihilism I’ve never seen Sanderson go anywhere near.

The characters are selfish, murderously flippant, casually bloodthirsty, and there’s no humanistic or divine element to offset this as there usually is in his work. I honestly didn’t think he was capable of writing something like this, and I’m extremely intrigued and excited to see if he ever does anything like this again, whether as part of one of his series, or in a standalone work.

The story is very short, but in a good way, tight and lean. It isn’t overburdening the reader with information the way his earlier stories like Defending Elysium did; he’s clearly got a much better handle on writing short fiction now. It is pretty thin though; there’s not the depth of Legion or anything. I’m hailing this story for what it represents more than what it actually is really.

I was very impressed by this, and it makes me excited as to his future work – if he can still surprise me after reading so much of his work, then I feel pretty energised about the scores of books he has planned for the future.

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