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.
Never call this land hell, he had said. Respect the land as you would a dangerous beast, but do not hate it.
This was an insane interesting novella set in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere. I have honestly no clue how it is connected to the cosmere as a whole yet, but man was I interested in it. As always with Sanderson, the novella starts off a bit slow. It warms you up for that ending. And wow, was that an ending. This was a darker story than I typically expect from Sanderson. It got my heart racing from early on.
The world Sanderson builds is incredibly interesting. The idea of them living in a forest populated by shades that will eat you so that you wither if you don’t follow their rules is so cool. And, the rules really don’t always make sense. And, you get hints the entire world isn’t this way, just this forest. There is a story here, a whole world not yet being told. At the end, I was left craving more in this world. It is cruel that I don’t know if there is more here yet.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for Sanderson, the main character, Silence, wasn’t exactly anything special. Or maybe that is because the world overshadowed the character so much that it was harder to recognise Silence as something amazing, too. I liked her, don’t get me wrong. It was really cool to follow a main character that wasn’t in their early 20s to early 30s, who had kids, who was a widow. I did at times find her complaining about her grandmother to be a bit much, though.
I’m not certain what I was expecting, but this blew it out of the water.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Cosmere series page!