“More science happens through lucky accidents than you’d believe.”
Dawnshard is an excellent Stormlight Archive novella by Brandon Sanderson meant to be read between the third (Oathbringer) and fourth (Rhythm of War) volumes of the series. There are several important revelations here concerning the Cosmere as a whole, as well as a lot of great character development. Hence, I would consider Dawnshard as required reading for Stormlight Archive fans.
Dawnshard centers on Rysn, one of the side characters from the Stormlight Archive. Rysn shines in her role as lead protagonist of this novella. She is a paraplegic, having lost the use of her legs during an early interlude chapter in the Stormlight Archive. Brandon Sanderson obviously did a lot of careful research regarding life with physical disabilities, including the social aspects of how people with disabilities are treated by others. Rysn is such an amazing character to present these issues and show that, even without the use of her legs, she can still accomplish anything she wants:
“Sometimes you need to accept what you’ve lost, then move forward. Then you can instead realize what you’ve gained.”
The story itself focuses on an expedition that Rysn leads to the legendary city of Akinah. Her pet larkin, Chiri-Chiri, is sick and needs to return to his homeland of Akinah for healing. A larkin is a small dragon-like crustacean with the ability to fly. Chiri-Chiri seems to be growing over time where he might, perhaps, become more of a full-sized dragon in the future. We will need to wait and see.
But the expedition has much broader importance beyond just Rysn’s personal mission of helping Chiri-Chiri. Rysn discovers secrets related to the creation of the Cosmere itself and becomes the recipient of an ancient gift that had been hidden away for thousands of years.
Dawnshard is a superb novella, and I definitely recommend reading this as a key part of the Stormlight Archive. Dawnshard is also, perhaps, the greatest fantasy novella I’ve read in terms of disability representation. I hope we see much more of Rysn in future volumes of the Stormlight Archive.
Review originally published at Grimdark Magazine.