God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai’s world.
Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date.
One of the things I have come to love about Brandon Sanderson is that he proves with every new release that he is not done growing as a writer and that he isn’t afraid to let his stories get a little weird. And there is no denying how weird I found Perfect State to be, it is an odd combination of science fiction and fantasy. Throughout all the years that I have been a reader I have only ever found one author who can combine elements of science fiction and fantasy and not have it turn out horrible–Anne Mccaffrey. I probably shouldn’t be as surprised as I am that Brandon Sanderson nailed that combination so well with Perfect State.
In the last 300 years God-Emperor Kairominas has managed to conquer and unify all of his known world, and has managed to master all aspects of his Lancing ability except weather control, and one day he knows he will learn that as well. There is only one thing left in the world he has yet to do, and it has been determined it is time for Kai to find an appropriate mate and procreate. When you have the power of a god you would think that there would be nothing left that could scare you, but Kai is terrified.
Despite the fact that this is a non Cosmere novella– I haven’t been a big fan of the non Cosmere stories Brandon has released so far, Perfect State has turned out to be one of my favorites. Despite being another of his shorter novella’s, I found the world building of Perfect State to be surprisingly solid and detailed without feeling rushed or crammed. Plus, Brandon Sanderson almost wrote a sex scene…I almost dropped my book while I was reading it thinking he was going to take the scene to its conclusion, it’s a very risque book by Brandon’s normal standards!
I really hope Brandon continues the story of this novella in the same way that he has continued the story of Legion and that we really get to see exactly where Kairomina’s story ends up going.
When the familiar and seemingly safe turns lethal, therein danger lies. Amid a forest where the shades of the dead linger all around, every homesteader knows to follow the Simple Rules: “Don’t kindle flame, don’t shed the blood of another, don’t run at night. These things draw shades.”
Silence Montane has broken all three rules on more than one occasion. And to protect her family from a murderous gang with high bounties on their heads, Silence will break every rule again, at the risk of becoming a shade herself.
I wasn’t sure what I would think of Shadows For Silence In The Forests Of Hell when I started reading it, I had heard a little too much about how short it was compared to the rest of Brandon’s stories. While I don’t think it was long enough to justify it being called a novella, the fact that it’s so slow is a testament to Brandon’s skill as a writer. He has taken a very short story and filled it with an impressive amount of character and detail without having the story feel weighted down.
Silence Montane is a Forescout–those who were the first people to leave the Homeland to explore and settle a new continent. She has learned to survive in a world where the very trees around you seek your blood, and the shades of the dead seek to destroy you. The owner of one of the safest waystop in the Forest, Silence will do whatever it takes to protect her waystop and keep her family safe, even if it means breaking every rule of survival she has learned from birth.
Despite the lack of the interesting magic systems that have become the trademarks of a Brandon Sanderson story, Shadows For Silence In The Forests Of Hell is probably one of the best things I have read this year so far. I did not expect to read one of Brandon’s stories and be glad I left my bedroom light on while I did so, it is truly the creepiest story I have seen him write so far. Threnody may not be one of the more important Shard/Cosmere worlds, but I really hope Brandon chooses to revisit it some time in the near future.
While any fan of Brandon Sanderson would love this story as much as I do, I would really suggest anyone who has not read any of Brandon’s works read it as well. I would be shocked if they were not a die-hard fan by the end of the story.