- File Size: 1794 KB
- Print Length: 49 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books (July 14, 2010)
- Publication Date: July 20, 2010
- Sold by: Macmillan
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003V4B4GQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,156 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Firstborn: A Tor.Com Original Kindle Edition
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Dennison is the protagonist, and he’s a failing military officer living in the shadow of his brother Varion. Where he can’t even win a simulated battle, Varion has all but defeated every enemy of the High Empire in route to becoming the most successful general in history. In order to learn how to lead, Dennison is tasked with studying every one of his brother’s victories.
That’s the main premise, and from there the story really takes off. It’s hard to say much more in detail without spoiling an excellent twist, but Dennison’s growth as a character was a joy to experience. I love a great flawed character. Other than being unskilled in strategy, he’s cynical, jealous, and often pessimistic.
My only complaint with Firstborn is that I wish it were longer. There’s no doubt that it could work as a novel and build up Dennison’s relationship with his father and Admiral Kern, the man he’s ordered to serve under. In the story Sanderson is trying to tell, however, it’s perfect. A general who’s never lost, versus a younger brother who’s never won.
Firstborn is a tale of hubris versus humility, and it’s a fantastic one. Tor once again proves to be masterful at putting out science fiction shorts.
One brother, except for one brief scene, is only known by what others say about him. We are reading from the viewpoint of the "other" brother, the one who has always failed to live up to potential. Near the end there is a twist which fits perfectly and takes us to an ending that includes the expected final fight where the brothers face off against each other. But this ending is not at all what you might be thinking. And that is part of what makes this such an interesting and enjoyable book.
However it's still a fun read and I feel would be a great introduction for anyone looking to read Sanderson for the first time since it's not such a large commitment as Sanderson's regular 600 to 2000 page books and series. Also if you already like Sanderson and haven't read this story then buy it as Dennison is just as much fun to read in his own way as Kesler, Wax, and Vasher.
I like Sanderson's writing, and though this is more SF than his other novels, it gives the reader a taste of his ability to craft an engaging story, with lively characters and a vibrant world.
Sanderson... ,ever since I read the Mistborn novels, has always been able to grab my attention. I started this and was immediacy understanding of the plight this younger son was having in his field as well as with his father. It may be because it was reminiscence of the relationship of two brothers and a king in "The Way of Kings" but even so the story gripped me. I did not expect big things to happen in this 'new' world, but they did - and after getting there it was not a huge surprise - it is Sanderson's way.
I liked how he showed the errors of Ego and Pride without humility - as well as showed the mirrored version of Humility and defeat without Pride. There are problems with each extreme. He fleshed his characters well, although I think I would have enjoyed some more on each of them as well just some more body of book, but alas ... it is a short story.
This is one of the first Sci Fi stories I have read by Sanderson and I have to say I enjoyed the way he told it.. I really could envision the battles and the way they go about them. Certainly a good turn from fantasy for a moment - and I was glad Sanderson took me there for that short while.
It was certainly refreshing to read about a character who is just less skilled than pretty much everyone else, as normally most science-fiction or fantasy books have a uber-prodigy as the protagonist who masters whatever it is they're learning about in a matter of days (cough cough *Peter V Brett* cough cough), and in months have outstripped those who have been practising something for decades.
A great concept for the story, I only wish it was a lot longer.