AUTHOR: BRANDON SANDERSON
GENRE: SCIENCE FICTION/DETECTIVE MYSTERY
PUBLICATION DATE: FEBRUARY 17TH (KINDLE AND AUDIBLE)
APRIL 2017 FOR HARDCOVER
Fantasy fans know of Brandon Sanderson for his huge worlds, master touch on magic systems and epic adventures. But within the last few years, he’s been trying different things outside of fantasy. There’s the more science fiction/superhero trilogy starting with Steelheart and his multiple personality novella series Legion & Legion: Skin Deep. Now, he gives us a detective mystery short story Snapshot.
This follows two cops who are on Snapshot duty: an alternate part of reality used to catch criminals. But when you’re in a Snapshot, you risk causing deviations: changes that can endanger those people in real life or cause planned events to go wrong. These two cops, Chaz and Davis, are trying to catch a killer in a Snapshot. Since this story isn’t a full length novel, that’ll be all I talk about the plot.
- Concept: This guy is seriously a genius! He never fails to make my brain just flat-line from awe of his imagination. This was no different, with cops being able to go into basically alternate realities. A Snapshot is scrapped by the end of each day, ending everyone and everything in it. No one knows what happens when a Snapshot is shut off. It’s cool to see how careful they have to be of deviations and how Sanderson used some science to expand his idea. Easily the best part of this book.
- Readability: While reading the synopsis of this book may seem daunting, no fear. Sanderson is a master of allowing you to see what he’s showing you. His action scenes are streamlined and aren’t bogged down by flowery writing or exposition. In this, he uses simple yet clever phrases to show people talk (especially Chaz) and you can easily picture what takes place.
- Ending: Sanderson is a master of the ending of his book. With this feeling, you have an idea of what might happened. But I will say that he went a bit uncommon with his endings and it made me think about the story for a while after, piece things together and appreciate it more.
- Narrator: This was the first narrator that I’ve listened to who does Sanderson’s work that I didn’t like. I love Michael Kramer and MacLeod Andrews, but William DeMerritt was flat, not engaging and showed no changes for emotions or inflections. I don’t recommend the audio books if you’re picky about the narrator. He made it go by slow a couple times, which is very uncommon in my reading history of Sanderson.
- Length: I was sad that this story wasn’t a full length novel. The suspense wasn’t there for me as his other things. In my opinion, if you have a large idea, a full length book (about 350 pages) is a better way to flesh out the idea around the plot and characters.
- Characters: Chaz and Davis were fine as characters. To me, they aren’t very memorable like Sazed (Mistborn), Roc (Stormlight Archive) or Wayne (newer Mistborn books). I didn’t like that you started to know the characters in the last half. There was nothing to go on that defined them in the beginning. The things revealed were good, but they came too late.
Overall: I would not recommend this short story for people new to Sanderson’s work. I would start with his adult novels, then try this if you love his books. I can see how the length and slight lack of character depth could deter some people. This is something completely different. But I do recommend this story if you need something to tide you over, read something quick, etc.
That’s it for today. Have a great weekend guys 🙂