“‘Good for you,’ Lift said. ‘Can I eat your dinner?'”
Three years ago, Lift asked a goddess to stop her from growing older–a wish she believed was granted. Now, in Edgedancer, the barely teenage nascent Knight Radiant finds that time stands still for no one. Although the young Azish emperor granted her safe haven from an executioner she knows only as Darkness, court life is suffocating the free-spirited Lift, who can’t help heading to Yeddaw when she hears the relentless Darkness is there hunting people like her with budding powers. The downtrodden in Yeddaw have no champion, and Lift knows she must seize this awesome responsibility.
TW: death (parental), body horror, gore
After reading Words of Radiance, which is SO DENSE, switching over to the novella focused on Lift was like a breath of fresh air, especially since Lift is such a fun character. She’s a teenager, and it shows clear as day in her impulsive nature and the way she clings to what she believes, right or wrong. She’s remarkably human and incredibly fun.
She’s also very, very hungry.
Since her powers are fueled by Stormlight, which she can somehow generate simply by eating basically everything in sight, she uses her powers and street smarts to steal people’s dinners. Lift isn’t after money or glory or recognition so much as the satisfaction of stealing a rich man’s meal out from underneath his nose. Plus, she’s also out to help those who aren’t able to help themselves, the ones no one else will remember, and I’m a sucker for characters who see and actively act on behalf of those who cannot. It’s why I’m so attached to Kaladin, after all. Protector characters are my favorite!
But mix all that in with a man who is hunting her down, as well as other people like her, and it makes Edgedancer delightfully fast-paced and exciting. On one hand, because I prefer novels over novellas, I do wish there had been more, especially on the character development front. We get a bit of change for Lift, some for Wyndle (who is like a nervous, blabbermouth old uncle and I kind of love him), but I feel like there should be more. On the other hand, Lift will someday be a more central character in the Stormlight Archive, and now probably just isn’t the time to reveal all of her secrets and push her to her final character form. Reasonable, but frustrating for me since I’m interested in ALL OF THE STORY right! now!
The novella format works well, though, for developing Darkness, introducing a crucial character change that’s going to affect how we see him and his motives in Oathbringer (whenever I get to that; give me some time after finishing the brick that is Words of Radiance lol). This makes Edgedancer highly recommended reading before jumping into Oathbringer, since I suspect it will be much harder to get a grasp on his motives without this novella.
Darkness actually might have a key role in one of my favorite scenes from this book, too. Without spoiling too much, I’ll say that it creates an interesting juxtaposition, the conversation he has with Lift, between his aims and hers, and what he says he stands for versus what he’s actively doing.
And on top of that, there are some cameos of characters still alive and others very dead. Some are mentioned in passing, others actively featured, and all of them introduce some very interesting complications to the world of the Stormlight Archive, especially regarding the nature of spren, the Knights Radiant, the Heralds, and the Desolation. Little is answered (it’s #2.5 in a ten book series, you just can’t solve things this early!), but pillars it’s beginning to prop up are immensely intriguing, with the potential for excellent payoff.
On the whole, I loved reading Edgedancer. The tone shift after Words of Radiance was a refreshing change, and I can’t say no to books about thieves, so I’m very, very attached to Lift now. I just wish it had been longer or answered more, which aren’t really options for a novella but caused me some frustration all the same. Too many loose ends, even when they’re very intentional, can be a little irritating.
Have you read any of the Stormlight Archives books yet? How about Edgedancer in particular? Also, who are your favorite fictional thieves? Let’s chat!