Snapshot is a Science Fiction detective story following Anthony Davis, a cop assigned to Snapshot Duty. In this vivid world that author Brandon Sanderson has built, society can create a snapshot of a specific day in time. The experiences people have, the paths they follow—all of them are real again for a one day in the snapshot. All for the purposes of investigation by the court.
Davis’ job as a cop on Snapshot Duty is straight forward. Sometimes he is tasked with finding where a criminal dumped a weapon. Sometimes he is tasked with documenting domestic disputes. Simple. Mundane. One day, in between two snapshot assignments, Davis decides to investigate the memory of a call that was mysteriously never logged at the precinct, and he makes a horrifying discovery.
As in many stories, Snapshot follows a wonderfully flawed character as he attempts to solve a horrific crime. Sanderson proves that no matter the genre, he is one of the most skilled storytellers in the business.
Can we all just take a second and appreciate how amazing this cover art is, not to mention all of the other white UK covers of Sanderson’s books? Absolutely brilliant.
I want to preface my 3 star rating by saying that I did enjoy Snapshot. The premise was very intriguing and it was an easy world to get into, but I ended up not being able to get invested in the characters too much and that for me personally is a huge part of what makes a story great.
The Snapshot program itself is fascinating. Cops can go into the program, walking through a recreated day in the city they work in to find evidence for present day trials. The feel of the program itself felt like a combination of the Matrix and the surveillance technology of the tv show Person of Interest. It was so cool and definitely scratched my Sci Fi itch. For those of you out there who love the technological advance side of Sci Fi, you will enjoy this part.
The mystery aspect and detective work was interesting, but I think the novella format didn’t do the story the justice that it deserved. I left this novella wanting more because this premise has so much possibility to it, but sadly wasn’t able to deliver what I thought could have been amazing in the only 124 pages that this spans. I would be highly interested in seeing a full length novel set in this world.
Davis and his partner Chaz, the two detectives within the snapshot, fell a little flat for me. I think this is another thing that can be at least partially chalked up to the length of the novel. It was so hard to get attached to characters in the very short length of this book. Unfortunately, right when I was just starting to get more attached as we discover their back story, personalities, and motivations, the book ended.
Ultimately, this novella was definitely worth the short time I put into reading it. It was a fun, at times tense sci fi detective story with a great twist.