Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
Publication date: 26 July 2018
Genre: Science fiction
Page count: 128 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.
I love a Brandon Sanderson novella. Whether his stories are long or short, he always manages to deliver a solid book with his classic style of ending. I have really only read fantasy from him and was very interested to see what his science fiction stories are like.
Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz are the only real people in a city of 20 million, sent there by court order to find out what happened in the real world 10 days ago so that hidden evidence can be brought to light and located in the real city today.
Within the re-created Snapshot of May 1st, Davis and Chaz are the ultimate authorities. Flashing their badges will get them past any obstruction and overrule any civil right of the dupes around them. But the crimes the detectives are sent to investigate seem like drudgery – until they stumble upon the grisly results of a mass killing that the precinct headquarters orders them not to investigate. That’s one order they have to refuse.
The hunt is on. And though the dupes in the replica city have no future once the Snapshot is turned off, that doesn’t mean that both Davis and Chaz will walk out of it alive tonight.
As Snapshot was such a short book, this will be a short review — I don’t want to give too much away! The concept of Snapshot is very cool, and I really loved the way Davis and Chaz can navigate through the reconstructed cities. As someone who enjoys crime fiction, I loved this twist on the classic detective story. Although I found it a little slow to start, the way the story twists and turns is excellent and the pages fly past the closer you get to the ending.
Davis is a really fascinating character. I can’t say much about him without spoilers, but I liked the way his story unfolded and the way he reacts to their encounters in the Snapshot. Sanderson is the master of characterisation in novellas, and Snapshot is no different. Davis is a complex and complicated man and watching his back story unravel is one of the joys of reading this book.
I liked Snapshot a lot — it’s not my favourite of his shorter works but it is well plotted and well written. Any new Sanderson book is a treat and Snapshot is no exception. If you’re a long-time fan of his or you’re new to his work, I’d recommend picking this one up.
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