Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★
Looking back at my review of the first novella, Legion, I’m not really sure why I chose to read Legion: Skin Deep. Possibly I hoped it would improve? More likely, I just forgot that I wasn’t super thrilled with Legion and plunged head first into this one willy nilly.
Technically, you don’t need to read these books in order. The plot lines aren’t really related. The core concept of this novella series is the main character Stephan Leeds, who has hallucinations. However, these are no ordinary hallucinations. They appear whenever he studies any topic, gaining the knowledge that’s locked in his subconscious. They give him a panel of experts that he carry around with him at all times and allow him to have a lucrative job as an adviser and investigator.
Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★
Snapshot is novella from one of my favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson. However, it’s not a story I’ll ever return to.
In Snapshot, the police force of an independent city have access to an advanced technology that can recreate an entire day of the recent past. Buildings, streets, food, and even people. A specialized team enters this “snapshot” to gather evidence for a case, trying not to create a ripple effect of changes due to their presence.
Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz enter a snapshot of ten days ago, May 1st, to do some routine evidence gathering. But Davis has been listening to some conspiracy theory chat boards, and he heard that something big went down on May 1st. When Davis and Chaz head to an abandoned building where police were called, they discover that the city is hiding a brutal crime.
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi. ★★★1/2
The Dispatchers is a sci-fi novella based around a single concept: what if anyone who was murdered just… came back? Right in their own home, naked as the day they were born. How would society change as a result?
Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, a professional with the license to murder. He exists to give second chances, since only murder results in people returning. He often works in hospitals, staying on hand in case a surgery goes wrong and it looks like the patient will die of natural causes, never to return. When he finds out that a fellow dispatcher has gone missing, Tony becomes involved in the investigation and the shady world of off-books dispatching.
City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett. ★★★1/2
The Divine Cities series has been one of the most well written fantasy series I’ve ever read. Yet I have mixed emotions about this final book in the trilogy. You can read either the City of Stairs or City of Blades independently, but I think you need to have read both of them before going into City of Miracles.
City of Miracles opens with the assassination of Shara Komayd, hero of the battle of Bulikov and former prime minister. Sigrud has spent the last thirteen years waiting for Shara to summon him out of exile and give him a purpose again. When he hears of her death, he decides his purpose must be to avenge her. But he soon finds that Shara wasn’t taking it easy in her retirement – she was deeply involved in a battle of shadowy forces, and Sigrud has charged head first into a situation where he has no idea what is going on.
Fire Boy by Sami Shah. ★★★
Wahid thinks he’s just a normal teenager growing up in Karachi, Pakistan. He attends school, plays Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, and crushes on a cute girl in his class. He has no idea that he’s the son of a djinn.
Everything changes for Wahid when two djinn attack a car he’s driving. His best friend is killed, and the girl he likes soul is stolen. In his quest to find the djinn who did this, Wahid becomes immersed in the supernatural side of Karachi.
The Last Witness by K.J. Parker. ★★★
I’ve been hearing a lot about K.J. Parker, and I figured this novella would be a good way to try out his work.
The narrator of The Last Witness has the ability to go into people’s heads and remove memories. Once he has removed a memory, it becomes his own, as vivid to him as if he had actually lived it, and his victims have no idea that the memory even exists. The narrator uses his talent to earn money – his clients hire him to have memories removed, either something that happened to them that they’d rather not remember, or something they want someone else to forget. As a result, the narrator becomes the last witness to a large number of crimes.
Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss. ★★★1/2
Sunset Mantle is a solid work of high fantasy. What’s most fascinating about it is that for all it’s battles and political intrigue, it’s less than 200 pages long. That’s right ya’ll. This is a high fantasy novella.
Cete is a wandering solider for hire. He knows that Reach Antach is about to be on the losing side of a war and that the smart thing to do would be to move on… but somehow, he just can’t bring himself to do so. When he sees a beautifully embroidered mantle made by a blind craftswoman, he becomes inspired to stay and to risk everything for the town of Reach Antach.