‘Children of the Nameless’ by Brandon Sanderson

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Website (Free Adobe Link)

Voice of All Production

Genres: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Mystery, Magic the Gathering, Gothic Horror, Franchise Fiction, Novella

Similar books:

Previous books in the series I’ve reviewed (Magic the Gathering):

Previous books by the author I’ve reviewed:

Rating: Highly Recommended.  (Interpreting this Rating)

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

  • Pros
    • This is some of Sanderson’s best writing, on par with ‘Emperor’s Soul.’ All of the book neatly falls into place, with not a hair out of place. Every plot point mentioned by the author is re-used later on.
    • The author fleshes out the setting of Innistrad and ‘Magic the Gathering’, but this story isn’t hopelessly enthralled to it. We witness the horror of Innistrad from a ground-eye level. We see the innate tragedy and prevalence of death of the plane from the eyes of a local.
    • Davriel is a lazy protagonist who aspires to nothing more than mediocrity, while simultaneously he trashes anyone who aspires to improve themselves or the world around them. Dav could have easily come off as an unlikable character, but Sanderson does a good job of making him charismatic.
    • This is a novella, making it an excellent length to dig your teeth into but not overstay it’s welcome.
    • I listened to the ‘Voice of All’ podcast production of this, and without a doubt they made this excellent. With a full cast, music and sound effects they really added a TON of value.
  • Mixed
    • Sanderson tried to make the audience feel sorry for some demons at various points, and it didn’t work. They were literal, soul-stealing demons, which made it hard for me to feel bad for their deaths.
      • I liked some of the demons (for example I hope Miss Highwater the succubus makes a re-appearance in future stories/in card form in the future), but I don’t think the author should have tried to make me feel bad about their deaths.
    • I liked Tacenda, the main protagonist, but I didn’t love her. She needed more characterization.
  • Cons
    • At times Davriel seemed to OP. There never seemed a situation in which he was truly threatened. Davriel really carried this novella on his back, so his neigh-invulnerability really spoiled things for me.
    • I wish we met Willia sooner, and got to know her better before the climax of the book.

 

This story takes place on the plane of Innistrad: think gothic horror come to horrible life. On Innistrad there are werewolves, vampires, ghosts, eldritch horrors, and soul-eating demons crawling out of the wazoo. The average human’s life expectancy is low… that is if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky you’ll become the werewolf/vampire/cosmic horror.

The only thing preventing complete human extinction is the Church and several flights of angels, who are fighting a war against the darkness. And they’re losing, for in recent years the Church and three quarters of the planet’s angel population has been culled by eldritch horrors and multiple zombie apocalypses. It’s only a matter of time before every last human on Innistrad is consumed.

Tacenda is a simple village witch, who possesses the magic to scare away the things which go bump in the night. But over time her song-spells stop working, and strange ghosts enter her village and start reaping the souls of the living as they sleep, killing all her family and friends- including her parents and twin sister.

A witness spots the man controlling the ghosts: the nefarious Man of the Manor, aka Davriel Cane the diabolist. Davriel is a dapper and lazy planeswalker (aka a wizard who can magically travel from one planet to another) who specializes in demon magic. When her entire village is slain, the teenaged Tacenda must do the only thing she can: assassinate him.

But she quickly discovers the problem with her plan: thanks to his numerous demonic contracts, Davriel’s invulnerable.

With the darkness of Innistrad closing in around her, Tacenda must do her best to hold onto what remains of the flickering light.

 

This  book was really really good. I suggest you check out the ‘Voice of All’ production of it, because they really knocked it out of the park. I think all Brandon Sanderson fans should check this out even if you’re not a Magic the Gathering fan. Read a few pages/listen to a few minutes of the full-cast-audio and see if you like it. The book doesn’t use much game-specific jargon, so relative newcomers shouldn’t have much trouble with it.

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