Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
Admitting that I am a Brandon Sanderson fan is like an alcoholic admitting he likes a little drink every now and again – we all know it, it’s not news. So I was unsurprisingly stoked when I heard news of Arcanum Unbounded, a collection of Brandon Sanderson’s short Cosmere-related fiction.
Having the book in my hands is even better.
I’m going to take a two-fold approach to reviewing this collection. In this review, I will review the collection as a whole, and mention a few of the standout stories, including the “all-new Stormlight novella” and the “Mistborn novella never before in print” – so stay tuned for those.
The book includes a brief introduction and preface from the author, and is segmented into six sections, each one representing a different system in the Cosmere. Each section includes an introduction from Khriss, “the woman who has been writing the Ars Arcanum appendixes at the ends of the novels” giving a brief overview of the system itself. Throughout the whole book there are beautiful star-system charts, as well as hand-drawn art for each short story. At the end of each short story is a short note from the author regarding the making of that particular story, and its place in the overall universe.
This is the only negative I have about the book, in that some of the notes from the author at the end of the story seem to work overtime in pointing out perceived flaws, which in most cases I never noticed, and retroactively detracted from my enjoyment of what I had just read. But maybe an author is allowed his own obsessive critiquing.
There were some stories that I have already read, including The Emperor’s Soul, but a nice array of new stories that I had never managed to get my hands on, was unaware of, or was simply awaiting printing in a copy I could put on my shelf – now I have what I wanted.
The stories from the Mistborn world definitely shed a lot of light, and might be seen as somewhat self-indulgent – but being someone who always wants more of something he likes, I don’t mind. I rather enjoyed getting to see Gemmel and Kelsier’s relationship in The Eleventh Metal. However the stand-out from the entire book was Mistborn: Secret History, which most definitely sits in the self-indulgent category, but was nevertheless an absolute blast to read.
My second favourite story was Sixth of the Dusk, which tells a story of a planet we have yet to visit in any other form, and was quite fascinating for the new world it introduced us to, the new characters and the problems they must face, and the larger scope that lays before us, unwritten (as of yet).
Finally is the book’s major selling point, a never-before-seen novella set in the Stormlight world of another Knights Radiant (one who makes a brief appearance in Words of Radiance apparently, though I haven’t gone back to confirm that). It’s not as out-and-out exciting or interesting as the previous two I have mentioned, but it is nevertheless a perfect illustration of Sanderson’s ability to easily move between short- and long-fiction. The story represents a hint of much more to come – as the character is actually (apparently) intended to be a major POV-character in later Stormlight books – and sheds further light on the world in which the series is taking place – which for me, as a massive fan of the series was a true joy.
I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the ‘Taldain System’ stories, but that is a matter of personal preference, rather than the story being a ‘dud’.
For any fan of Brandon Sanderson, this book is a must have. But more importantly, I feel that this book is a perfect jumping on point for Sanderson-newbies. Each story is prefaced with a short note about whether it contains spoilers or not, so there is no chance to unintentionally reveal something you didn’t want to know. The stories are a wonderful introduction to the worlds of Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere, and his talent as a writer, and are all individually very satisfying.
This Arcanum Unbounded book review was written by Joshua S Hill
Have you read Arcanum Unbounded?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Arcanum Unbounded reader reviews
8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Half a King
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it al...
The Faithful and The Fallen
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will...
The Farseer Trilogy
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets,...
The World Tree rises up out of the seething clouds like a green mountain, lifting its children up to the light. All creation nestles in its gigantic branches: all take shel...
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly tr...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
The Ember Blade
A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man’s journey to find his destiny.Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He’s never questione...
In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall...
The Black God's War
Moses Siregar III
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One. Her father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wa...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: