Edgedancer, and the Antics of an Irreverent Urchin as She Takes on a Demigod

A symbol over a blue background, the words say "#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Brandon Sanderson, From the Stormlight Archive, Edgedancer"
Image: Tor via Amazon

Genre: Epic fantasy

Synopsis: Lift is a kid with Surgebinder powers, a companion spren who’d really rather be gardening, and a talent for utter wackiness. She’d prefer getting on with her urchin lifestyle, but the demigod wandering around killing people like her has other ideas–and she’s already on his radar. So she could either wait for him to kill again, eventually getting around to her, or she could–do what, exactly? Against a demigod? But either way, a confrontation is coming, with the lives of people like her at stake.

Series: A novella in the Stormlight Archive series.

POV: Third person limited.

Preview: Here. 

I absolutely love the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, and I’ve gushed about this series before. It’s rare for me to reread books, and yet I’ve already done so for both of the books in this series, and intend to do it again when the third book comes out (later this year!) This story follows a character who’s had a minor role in the series thus far, but is set to play a larger one in the future. 

Lift is an orphan who’s always hungry, and always on the move. She has the power to affect friction, and uses it in the most inelegant ways possible. This, along with her personality, gets her into hilarious antics. Watching her work is just so enjoyable.

The story begins after her appearance in the second Stormlight Archives book, Words of Radiance. She’s already had her first run-in with the demigod serial killer. She saved a friend’s life, and he became an emperor. He invited her to stay with him indefinitely, eating as much food as she wanted and wearing comfortable clothes. So the first thing she does as the story opens, is to sneak out of the palace and take off to parts unknown by herself, without any money.

Or not entirely by herself, because her powers come with her bond to a spren, a kind of spirit, that only she can see–Wyndle. Poor, exasperated Wyndle, who just wants a nice, steady existence putting his exhibition talents on display. Instead, he’s following around an impulsive little girl who refuses to listen to him and thinks he eats souls. Which he would never.

Lift is carefree on the surface, and struggling to maintain her careless attitude underneath. I love how she has this irreverent, thoughtless manner, acting like she never thinks of anything beyond the present. Yet her actions belie that–she’ll end up in the same place as that serial killer, who she totally wasn’t following on purpose, despite having knowledge of where he’d be. She’ll re-purpose a thief’s stolen goods for the benefit of refugees, while insisting it was just a quick, easy way out of her own problems.

She’s not the more stereotypical ‘pretending not to care’ type–she pretends not to notice. She pretends that all she cares about is freedom. And it’s so clearly not true. Through the course of the story, Lift confronts her relationship with her more-complex-than-she-admits personality. And comes to terms with what’s holding her back.

Both Lift and Wyndle are so personable, and their banter is so entertaining. There’s always plenty to love in Brandon Sanderson’s writing–the worldbuilding, the creativity, the characterization. But in this novella, Lift and Wyndle’s personalities stand out as a huge part of what makes the story so engaging. I love these two, especially together.

Edgedancer is not only an interesting story, not only driven by an engaging duo, but also laced with subtle character development. It’s a really good read, and I can’t wait to see more of these characters.

Favorite Quotes:

“It’s everyone else that’s weird.”

Lift thought they tasted disgusting, and she’d once tried to eat a roofing tile.

“Just try not to die too violently…A nice rap on the head, rather than a disemboweling.”