Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Sanderson and I have a rocky relationship. At times I think his writing is incredible, but then there have been times I have found it terribly tedious and boring. I know I'm in the minority when it comes to that opinion, but that's just my personal experience. I loved what he did with WoT, I enjoyed Steelheart but didn't love it, I liked Elantris tremendously even though it had some flaws, and so far I love the Wax and Wayne books, but the original Mistborn trilogy was hit and miss with me and I almost didn't finish it. I think he really shines with this story.
Snapshot is a novella seemingly set in the same world as the Steelheart trilogy. While that trilogy was written for young adults, snapshot is more for adults. The only real tie here between the two is that the snapshot that is generated in this story is generated by a person with super powers.
If you could re-create a day, what dark secrets would you uncover?
Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz are sent into a snapshot, which is a recreation of a certain day that looks and seems very real, to investigate a crime that happened on that day. They can interact with this fake world and cause deviations so they are supposed to be careful to preserve things as they really happened. While in the snapshot they decide to investigate a case that they have not been asked to investigate. From there on things get more and more interesting, resulting in a story that is utterly brilliant. I loved the whole concept of the snapshot.
In the postscript that Sanderson wrote at the end of this novella, he seems to think that most readers will automatically come to certain conclusions in a certain order while reading this story. I have to say that I was not one of those people. I'm not sure what that says about me as a reader, or if it says anything about me at all, but there were some twists that I didn't see coming. Should I have seen the twists coming? I don't know, maybe. I usually find it pretty easy to solve the mysteries in detective stories, but as I was trying to figure this one out my mind actually went in a completely different direction. A completely wrong one, but to me, that just made the reading experience even better.
I'll leave it at that, because I don't want to spoil this read for anyone. If you like detective novels, if you like The Twlight Zone, if you like stories by Phillip K. Dick, then you might like this novella. I've heard that film rights have been optioned by MGM. Personally I think that's a good move on their part, because I think this would make a great movie.
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