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Edgedancer, by Brandon Sanderson: Review

Lift doesn't make plans. She doesn't stay anywhere long enough to be known. She doesn't think, whenever she can help it. Nope, Lift steals food. And occasionally stops assassinations—on really, really good days when she's had enough to eat.

But not making plans doesn't feel as right as it used to, not with a soulless man named Darkness hunting people like Lift—people with powers they're not supposed to have, who do things they shouldn't be able to do. More and more, Lift hears a call to something more, a call to remember those whom the rest of the world ignores. She may not know who she is or what she's supposed to be, but she knows how to stand up for the little guys . . . even in the face of Darkness.

Though I didn't read this Stormlight novella in its intended place (between Words of Radiance and Oathbringer, for those of you wondering), I am so glad I finally got around to Lift's side-story! Though Lift makes appearances throughout the series, I under-appreciated her until Edgedancer. The ten-year-old girl with superpowers, awful manners, and a knack for stealing food takes on much greater depth when understood for what she is—a kid with a fear of growing up, no idea what her purpose is, and a heart of syrup-on-pancakes gold. In short, I totally love her.

Central to this novella (along with intricate worldbuilding and a quirky narrative voice that only Lift can pull off) is the desire for certainty. Lift struggles to grasp who she is and how to find her place in the world when she understands so little of it. She has to learn that no one is sure of everything: we all have questions about the big picture and we don't need to understand it all to do what's right when opportunities arise. Reaching this conclusion through the eyes of an orphaned street urchin lends the message both power and universality. Once again, Sanderson captures the beauty of selflessness, courage, and compassion in unexpected places.

Content Notes: other than a smattering of mildly rude humour, this book is a clean fantasy read.

Looking forward to more Stormlight novellas in the future!

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