If you didn’t know, Brandon Sanderson’s increasingly large worlds are actually inter-connected. Yes, like Tarantino movies but with a lot more finesse. Arcanum Unbounded is a collection of short stories and novellas from worlds unseen in the Cosmere plus a few We have already experienced. Right out of the gate I’d say if you are not a Sanderson reader, do not pick up this book. Half of it you will not understand.
I went through some wild extremes reading this book. Enjoying it, to hating it, to loving it, to being a little bored by it, to being disappointed by it.
Here’s the thing. There’s some great stories in here. OH, how I loved The Emperor’s Soul. Unique powers, unique world, unique character. It was super fun to enjoy a ride with Kelsier again in Mistborn: A Secret History. The story of the innkeeper and the shades was another highlight: adding a little bit of terror into the mix. Of course, there’s the reason you bought the book instead of the standalone novella: Edgedancer, Lift’s side quest from the Stormlight Archives. Although Lift is a great character, I didn’t enjoy that story as much as I could have. If these stories, plus a wonderful tale inspired by Polynesian culture, were the only tales within, I’d think pretty highly of the collection.
Unfortunately, as a collection of short stories, there’s enough to dismiss to make me think differently. A forgettable Elantris story, followed by an awful Allomancer Jak tale. Boring city. A humdrum world about sand soon to be wiped from my memory. And the collection ends with the introduction chapters to Mistborn AND The Way of Kings. I’ve already read those novels. If I wanted to read them again, I would. New fans aren’t going to pick this book up and then go read his longer works. Exactly the opposite. Which is why my opinion is mixed on the book as a whole. But if you’re a Sanderson fan, there is enough to love.
2 out of 4 stars.