It took me a little while to fully gather my thoughts on this book, but I can happily say I found doing so an immensely rewarding experience. Returning to the Cosmere had been one of my unofficial reading goals for the year and with this I certainly did so in style. Now that I am pretty well versed in the lore of its major worlds, I was looking for a deeper dive and that is exactly what I got.
This book is a collection of novellas and short stories divided up into six sections, each according to a different planetary system within the Cosmere. Some were familiar while others were at the very least new to me. Each system was introduced by Khriss, a worldhopper based out of Silverlight, a city in the Cognitive Realm, whom careful readers of Mistborn and the Stormlight Archive (and presumably other works) might recognize. She is also the “author” of the Ars Arcana entries at the end of each Cosmere book and takes on a similar role here, providing a brief overview on items of celestial, historical, or magical significance for each planet covered. As an added bonus, every story also came with an outro from Sanderson describing his thoughts and motivations for writing it.
For my post today, I am going to be a bit more detailed than I usually am when reviewing compilations. In an effort to solidify my own understanding of the Cosmere’s workings, I am going to not only do a quick review for each story in the collection, but also include some of my own notes. These are by no means intended to be definitive (indeed there are way more thorough and authoritative options out there), but rather something I am doing for me. These other sources certainly provide a wealth of information, but they can also be a bit overwhelming (and occasionally frustrating) since they incorporate a lot of things Sanderson says has made canon but are not officially in print yet. And now the warnings. Spoilers abound for various books and the Cosmere in general, so tread carefully, especially in the Selish, Scadrian, and Rosharan systems if you aren’t up to date on the corresponding books. You have been warned. My reviews begin after the break and assume the reader has a slightly more than passing familiarity with the Cosmere and its terminology.