I'd love to rate this higher. On a pure technical level this may be the best thing Brandon Sanderson has written, which makes me question whether the shorter format forces him to better express himself. However, on an emotional level I didn't sense the potency of this work as I did with longer works. I felt that I needed a little longer to get into the characters and really appreciate them. With only 175 pages it was over before I knew who the main protagonist was and why I should care. You see, I judge works of literature on a combination of the technical intellectual and emotional impact as I read. I feel that the strongest works of literature should have both a combination of an emotional and intellectual drive.
So, as for this novella? Well it has some of the usual strong Brandon Sanderson traits we've come to know and love. There's ideas: a firm discussion about the nature of art and moral ethics in regards to copying features prominently throughout. There's magic: essentially this is about a magical work of forgery, using magic stamps to change the history of objects. There's characters, who spend a lot of time debating things like religion and morality. And of course the story is centred around a conflict crucial to the entire story.
The only problem is I didn't care like I did with other Sanderson stories. I didn't care for the whole dilemma of how our female protagonist was going to escape her cell and about whether anything she was doing was morally right. Sure there were moments - such as the ending - that were beautiful. But I did not care enough to feel the emotion of the story as with other Sanderson books. I definitely feel that though [b:Elantris|68427|Elantris|Brandon Sanderson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316637512s/68427.jpg|2908871] was a weaker novel technically by far I cared more about the characters in that to believe in the story. I cared far, far more about [b:The Rithmatist|10137823|The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1)|Brandon Sanderson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348506712s/10137823.jpg|15035866] and [b:The Way of Kings|7235533|The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)|Brandon Sanderson|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316131688s/7235533.jpg|8134945] (my favourite Sanderson stories to date).
Do I recommend this though? Certainly. I will always recommend any Brandon Sanderson novel I get my hands on. Well, assuming he didn't go fully of the rails and write some mystical mumbo jumbo that made no sense. But if he keeps writing according to his current standards I will always recommend his work. And that in itself is wonderful.