Friday, March 17, 2017
Book Review: "Snapshot" by Brandon Sanderson
Davis and his partner Chaz are police detectives, but their beat is different from any other: they're employed by a controversial program called Snapshot, which recreates a specific day down to the tiniest detail. In a Snapshot, they're the only real people; everyone else is a "dupe."
Snapshots are based on days when an unsolved crime was first committed. Davis and Chaz are sent back to a particular day, before the crime is committed, so they can determine who the perpetrator is, or find crucial evidence that they transmit to the police in the real city at the current time. While they need to be careful that they don't cause problems, as any deviations from the original day have the potential to cause ripples, like the butterfly effect, and potentially harm the prosecution of the criminals. But still, they have complete power, which causes them to overrule the civil rights of the dupes they encounter.
They are sent back to the Snapshot for May 1, and their instructions are clear. They are to first track down the weapon a criminal hides, and then they are to respond to a domestic disturbance later that day. But just following orders is starting to wear on both men, plus there's something about the domestic disturbance that is worrying Davis, so he convinces Chaz that they should look into a mysterious crime allegedly committed that day, but it never appeared on police reports.
What they discover is a grisly scene, with larger implications than they can imagine, and it entangles them in something much bigger than they are. But more than that, as the day unfolds, you realize that there are secrets both men are hiding. Who are these policemen? Do they know what they're in the middle of? Who can they trust?
I read Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart a few years ago (see my original review), and I was really impressed with not only his storytelling ability, but the detail he put into the world he created. Honestly, I never read other books in that series more because I have far too many books to read, but I've always intended to get back to them.
The world he created in Snapshot is equally dazzling, perhaps even more so because he does it in so few pages. Sure, there have been books and movies in which characters travel back in time to try and solve crimes (or even perpetrate them), this is such a cool concept, because the characters are going to a replica of a day in the past. Some of the details were a little confusing, but I was hooked from start to finish, and I only wish that this was novel-length instead.
These are fantastic, flawed characters in a world unlike any I've seen, and I only hope that Sanderson takes us back there sometime soon. I'll be waiting.