I liked “The Way of Kings” a lot, and found “Words of Radiance” a good follow-up. I absolutely love the Mistborn books. I’ve read everything Sanderson has traditionally published. I have a good handle at this point on what sort of Sanderson stories I like, and which ones I don’t. Unfortunately, this is one of the ones I don’t.
There’s not some bizarre newfound flaw of his writing in the novella or anything – it’s a cohesive, structured, flowing work. There are some interesting character revelations in it. The plot trucks along alright (although a lot slower-paced than most of his works – this seems to be an issue in “The Stormlight Archive” but none of his other current or recent works, strangely). I don’t even really mind that the story is YA instead of standard fantasy, like the actual novels in this series. It’s just the protagonist.
It’s a combination of her being emblematic of some of Sanderson’s sense of humour that I don’t share, and her being a strange child character that feels more grating than compelling to me. Granted, some of the twists at the end of the novella made me revise my opinion of her in an intellectual sense (Sanderson was doing something more clever and intentional with the character than I initially realised), but that doesn’t change the fact that most of my experience reading the novella from her point of view, wasn’t really a pleasant one.
This story doesn’t change my (very positive) opinion of Sanderson at all; I knew as soon as I heard the premise I wouldn’t be much of a fan of it, so it wasn’t really a disappointment or anything to me. I’m still a great fan of his and of this series. But as for this novella itself, I give it two dinners, and a fork.
Note: All credit for the cover image used for this story goes to user “sharklops” on Reddit, who made it in this thread, and the specific image of Lift is fan art by ‘Dominick Saporano’.