Sixth of Dusk by Brandon Sanderson
After finishing Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell I did the only natural thing; immediately started reading another Sanderson Cosmere short story. Sixth of Dusk is just as good.
Sixth of Dusk is the name of the main character, a trapper who explores and gathers resources on the exceptionally hostile and dangerous island known as Patji, an island which is part of the Pantheon, whose spirits are considered to be gods. He is protected by Aviar, birds which grant abilities to humans to protect them, such as warding their minds from telepathic creatures or giving a vision of potential death. Solitary by nature, Sixth meets Vathi, a noblewoman who represents the interests of a powerful mainland organisation, seeking to monetise Patji and curry the favour of the ‘Ones Above’, an alien race who have made contact with the more primitive people of the planet.
Once again, Sanderson conjures an amazing and unique setting with remarkable speed. The basic setting of a hostile environment with magic provided by Invested birds is interesting, but the added wrinkle of an alien race hovering above makes this even more fascinating. I wonder if the Ones Above are people we’ve met before in other Cosmere books? Sixth and Vathi make a good pair and, as with Shadows of Silence in the Forests of Hell I’m left wanting more, which definitely isn’t a bad thing. The star of the novella is Patji itself, which is exceptionally well drawn and relentlessly hostile.
Sixth of Dusk is another great novella from Sanderson. As much as I like Sanderson’s epic series, I hope he carries on writing shorter fiction like this. He’s really good at it.