Author: Brandon Sanderson
Pages: 202 on Kindle
Goodreads Rating: 4.57
“They’re trying to be good. But they’re, you know, Alethi. Conquering folks is basically their primary cultural heritage.”
In Dawnshard, we follow Lopen, a Knight Radiant, and Rysn, a merchant and shipowner, as they embark on a dangerous mission to an island surrounded and presumably protected by a violent storm. It is critical that they succeed at discovering the island’s secrets and making it back to Urithiru with their newfound knowledge to ensure the safety of Roshar and the Cosmere as a whole.
Tons of new lore and plot possibilities
Sanderson packs a ton of info into approximately 200 pages. In Dawnshard, we learn more about the Sleepless, ancient guardians, larkins, luckspren, oathgates, and (of course) dawnshards. Along with that hefty list, the setting for the story including the island, its storm, and the history behind it is fascinating. What I especially love about this novella is that all of the new lore and insight leads to so many questions and plot possibilities for future books.
Needed character development and interesting secondary characters
I appreciate Sanderson’s novellas because they spotlight secondary characters and give fans the opportunity to learn more about the Cosmere from a new POV. In Dawnshard, we follow Lopen and Rysn. I was extremely excited to learn more about Rysn and her larkin, Chiri-Chiri. That level of enthusiasm didn’t apply to Lopen (which I will expand on later). Luckily, Lopen’s much needed character development in Dawnshard is promising and will hopefully lead to a more tolerable Lopen in future books.
Along with Rysn and Lopen, we also get to learn more about Huio, Rushu, and Cord. I thoroughly enjoyed their parts in the book. I think Huio, Lopen’s Herdazian cousin, was especially helpful in Dawnshard in a number of ways including providing a new Herdazian perspective outside of Lopen. Lopen and Huio have extremely different personalities and Huio’s curiosity and sincerity have made him one of my favorite secondary characters.
One minor downside was that it took some time for the story to take off. With that in mind, the start of the book had to set up some pieces of the story that would be necessary for readers to understand why things were happening later on. The first 30 pages essentially set the scene, the next 30 pages start the storyline, and the rest is an action-packed adventure.
Main character selection
Ah, Lopen. Simply put, he’s not my favorite character… his immaturity and style of humor get annoying. I know he’s a good person… but his way of expressing himself is worthy of many eye rolls. His character development in Dawnshard almost has me excited to see how he behaves in future books. And if I have to suffer Lopen’s behavior in order to get more of Huio, I suppose that’s a fair trade.
This is the novella that I’m here for! Comparing Dawnshard to Edgedancer, there is no competition. Dawnshard wins for me in every category. Dawnshard is meant to be read between Oathbringer and Rhythm of War but you can get away with reading it after Rhythm of War if you prefer.