Top critical review
Too much teenage dialogue
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2021
I know, I know, these are YA novels, but of the 4 in this series, this had some longer stretches of mostly pointless juvenile interaction that made the writing feel juvenile- too much tell, not enough show. Lacked continuity with Sanderson's usual subtle ways of getting a story to the finish with deeper context understood. This one ground out some scenes that had me rolling my eyes a bit. Just needed some more polishing, I think.
I really enjoyed the first novella, it sounded like FM. The relationship built there was obvious too, but it was meant to be- we knew what was happening, they didn't. It was deliciously awkward and very typical of what you'd expect of teenagers... But it didn't feel juvenile. Maybe because there was more thinking and misinterpreting over actual dialogue until the end?
Alanick.... Opened up opportunities to explore some philosophical differences between being raised in a war zone vs. being raised as a second class citizen... So much potential to carry the story on that tension!! But it felt clumsy trying to make the heavier issues be carried almost exclusively by akward relationship building. The end result was a miss on the deeper topic development and so little chemistry it made me cringe.
The new world that was introduced felt more like Sanderson, and the pieces involved in building that world were much better than the execution of the story that takes place there. And the story itself was fine... Just the writing threw me. Who am I to know, I know... But it felt like Sanderson described the world, outlined the story then handed it off. (Sorry Jaci, haven't read your stuff outside these novellas but I wasn't prepared for what felt like a quite shift in writing style)