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3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,105 Ratings  ·  325 Reviews
Of the son of a High Duke of the interstellar Empire, much glory is expected.- And expected.- And still expected, despite endless proof that young Dennison Crestmar has no talent whatsoever for war. But the life Dennison is forced to live will have its surprising lessons to impart-
ebook, 32 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by Tor Books (first published December 17th 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mr. is with a heavy heart that I must report that this story contains a fair to moderate amount of... [image error]

2.0 stars. The fail is by no means EPIC or UBER, but given how much I loved the Mistborn series, it was, in the end, a disappointment. Now, I don't mean to imply that this SF short story is horrible or poorly written because that is not the case. I just found it to be very UNDERWHELMING and seasoned with a healthy sprinkling of is the very de
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
So look what I stumbled across this morning: a Brandon Sanderson novelette, free on, thus combining two of my favorite things, a Tor freebie and Sanderson. It's a space opera tale, full of spaceship battles and imperial galactic empires. Dennison, the younger son of a nobleman, feels completely overshadowed by his older brother, High Admiral Varion, the greatest military genius the empire has ever known. Dennison, unlike his older brother, is a complete failure at military command.
He mov
Oct 21, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this short story, acclaimed fantasy author Brandon Sanderson writes science fiction! It was incredibly interesting to read something of Sanderson's that wasn't fantasy, and though the story was lacking his amazing magic systems that I love so much, it was a really entertaining read. There were several twists to the story that really surprised me, and it was both fast paced and easy to jump into. I would definitely recommend this story to any Sanderson fans, or any sci-fi lovers looking for a ...more
Duffy Pratt
The story felt quaint and derivative. It's science fiction, but very light on the science, so SF in the same sense that Star Wars is SF. The closest Sanderson comes to explaining a scientific principle is to say that heavier objects move slower in space than lighter ones. Thus, a fleet of starships gets slowed down by the largest ship in the fleet.

Also, in the tradition of Star Wars, we have a highly advanced technological society whose political structure seems bound up with ideas of Empire an
Jul 02, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent mini space opera with a good premise. Good writing especially considering it came quite early in Sandersons career before he perfected his short form. Its definitely a concept that could have stretched to a novel .
Nope, a battle between some spaceships doesn't mean sci-fi. Nope.
My last try in reading BS' sci-fi experiments. I'll just stick to Stormlight.
Jan 21, 2015 Kaleb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd love to see Sanderson write more sci-fi! Is there anything he can't write?
El fallo que le veo es que es muy corta y condensa muchas cosas en poco espacio. Si hubiera escrito una novela sería una de sus mejores obras porque la historia da bastante juego. Muy al estilo El juego de Ender.
Apr 10, 2016 Alina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The science isn't really present, only the fiction, but it pleasantly killed an hour or so. Reminded me heavily of Ender's Game, plus some psychological hints on how expectations - our own mostly, but also others' - can shape us and our actions.
Eh...didn't hate it. I did have trouble staying focused and probably drifted away too many times to really get what happened. But that's ok.

I didn't expect much, as it was a short science-fiction story. I mean, it's a short story and it's sci-fi. Two things that are suspect before I begin.

But it was worth killing an hour or so.
4 stars. For some reason, the fact that Firstborn is only 47 pages in length gave me the ridiculous idea that I shouldn't expect too much out of it? Which is completely insane because Brandon. Sanderson. *cries* how could I have doubted.

47 pages long, but the plot? Crazy intense and altogether, surprising. The characters? They packed just enough emotional baggage to make the reading journey personal and honestly, relatable. I loved "the disappointment" vs. "Father's pride and joy" dynami
I've got mixed feelings about Brandon Sanderson -- I liked his Mistborn series, and I've gotten invested in his new doorstopper epic fantasy series The Stormlight Archive, but he's kind of a dork and sometimes he writes dorky stuff. He talks on his blog about being a big Magic: The Gathering player, the magic systems in his novels are very clearly based on spending his teen years as an RPGer, and while reading this short story, I pictured him pushing little cardboard chits around on a Starfleet ...more
This was OK... It just didn't really grab me. On a scale of 1 to 10, my interest in military battle theory is a -2, so I wasn't exactly engrossed here.

There were some interesting concepts though, such as the expectations that others put on us, and those we put on ourselves, and how we don't always live up to them, no matter what the potential is. Sometimes those very expectations backfire.

This wasn't terrible, but definitely not my favorite of Sanderson's stories.

I'd still give him a good leg
Rhett Bruno
Dec 30, 2015 Rhett Bruno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For what is only a novelette, this story certainly packed a punch. I’m not too familiar with Sanderson, but it seems that one of his few forays into science fiction was a success. Everything here worked, from the characters to the universe which is given just enough description to make it seem real.

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
Mar 26, 2014 Miki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dzemo Sh
Jun 25, 2014 Dzemo Sh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, and I love everything he writes. After reading so many of his longer works, I decided to read some of his shorter stories and see what I think about them, but also to catch up a little on my reading schedule.

This story was by no means perfect, but still it was better than I thought it would be and I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the main character a lot, and I liked how everything unfolded.

However it's better when Sanderson writes longer stories, becaus
Aug 30, 2015 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the first Sanderson that I have read that was science fiction and that made me skeptical.

But it's Brandon f'ing Sanderson people!

A novella about a seemingly failure of an officer who just happens to be the brother of the greatest military officer in history - someone who has never lost a battle - but what do you do when you have to fight yourself?

Just two or three days ago I posted about how down on sci-fi I have been this year and then I read Scalzi and now Sanderson and they have rede
Nov 20, 2012 J.A. rated it liked it
I rounded out my reading of his short fiction with the e-book Firstborn. Originally released as a Kindle edition in 2008, it was later re-released by Tor in a DRM-free format. I purchased it on my nook color and read it on an iPad. I’m not accustomed to reading on digital devices yet, but it was the simplest way of acquiring this particular story. Firstborn is a different venture for Sanderson as well, as it is short form science fiction. It’s a story about a second son who lives in the shadow o ...more
Adam Collings
What starts as an inoccuous little character drama about a space commander who can't live up to the unreasonable expectations put on him because of his bloodline, twists into a desperate struggle to save an empire. The second half of the story keeps you biting your nails until the satisfying and clever ending.

This is the first science fiction I have read from Brandon Sanderson (other than his YA Superhero). It makes me all the more eager for his Mistborn Space Opera series.
Jan 30, 2016 Tejas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reads-2016
A story in sci-fi genre, not upto par with other epic works but it's good. A son of High Duke , raised in shadow of his living legend brother. How battles fought here reminds me of Ender's Game. Certainly a good read.

Better to be the failure who nobly strived than the success who never really had to.
I'm not generally a huge fan of short stories--I'm all about character-driven stories, and it's so hard to really make a character feel real in such a short period of time. But this is Brandon Sanderson we're talking about here, and you know? He manages! I liked Dennison a lot, as well as Kern, and even the emperor. Still, I feel like the short story is just not where Sanderson's real strength lies. There are a couple of twists in this one, but neither of them really came as much of a surprise t ...more
Jan 26, 2014 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sci-fi themed and fast-paced story told from the fantastic words of Sanderson. Considering that this cost next to nothing and it's pretty short in length the story does well and has good development and intrigue for its size. I love Sanderson's skill at forming a new world and believable characters every time I read his work. For a short snap of sci-fi or Sanderson pick this up. Recommended :-)
Robin Ambrose
Jan 01, 2011 Robin Ambrose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 09, 2015 Sana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This was decent and fun to read!
This isn't a bad science fiction story, but ultimately disappointing. It unfolds very much like an old fashion science fiction short story, something from the 50s or early 60s, using a space opera setting (fleets of spaceships in combat, and interstellar empire fighting a revolution.) It's not adding anything new to the military science fiction interstellar travel sub-sub-genre. What it has is a small, clever ending, emphasis on small, in a novelette-length tale without enough meat on the bone. ...more
Bennison Smith
Strong 3.5 stars. I couldn't quite get my rating to 4 though. This was written before Sanderson improved his short story writing abilities (see Legion or Sixth of the Dusk for better Sanderson shorts), so I cut him some slack here.

He checks off standard Sci-fi tropes, uses his signature style of dialogue (snappy back and forth exchanges, etc.) and there is, of course, a big twist in the story that I thought was well-done (though a little bit overused in science ficition stories). Most of the c
Jennifer Gish
This book review will offer insight into three specific themes: ecology, theology, and social commentary. The setting for this short story is outer space in a future where people of an empire are battling against rebels in a Reunification war throughout the vast universe. The main character, Dennison, is a high commander leading fighter ships unsuccessfully against rebel ships. His brother, Varion, twenty years older and a complete opposite, is the most successful high commander in the empire’s ...more
Nov 02, 2015 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overview:This review is more than a statement of approval or disapproval of this short story. It will offer insight into the view of Ecology, Theology, and Social Commentary as described by the author. Firstborn is set in the future where humans live, or at least travel in space. Dennison is a man born into a high level family. His older brother is a legendary military leader. Despite the high expectations placed on him and his training in the most elite school of battle, Dennison’s attempts at ...more
Veronica Hincapie
Jul 11, 2015 Veronica Hincapie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Dennison and Varion Crestmar are the children of High Duke Sennion Crestmar. The brothers are twenty years apart; they know about the existence of each other, but they have not meet in person. Dennison is a clone; he is genetically modified to be the opposite of his brother Varion. Varion is a strong leader, he never fails, and he has outstanding military skills. Varion has been fighting battles his entire life; he likes to take other worlds technology to fight future battles. He has bee
Book Review 2
First Born by Brandon Sanderson; Is a science fiction story about two brothers raised in military family 20 years apart. Denison, the younger of the two, is always following behind the footsteps of his older brother Varion. Denison wants to be a good leader and conqueror like his brother Varion but continues to fall short. Denison begins studying Varion’s every move, all of his previous victories and everything about him to try to be as good as Varion. The two brothers do
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Brandon’s major books for the beginning of 2016 are The Bands of Mourning , the sixth Mistborn novel, and Calamity , the finale of the Reckoners trilogy.

He also released his longest novella yet, Mistborn: Secret History , which explores behind the scenes of the original Mistborn Trilogy and thus is filled with spoilers for those three books; it also has some spoilers for The Bands of Mourning.

More about Brandon Sanderson...

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“Better to be the failure who nobly strived than the success who never really had to.” 127 likes
“He moved like some ancient god of lore, presiding over a battlefield of miniature mortals who couldn’t see him, but certainly felt his almighty hand. Except, if Dennison was a god, his specialty certainly wasn’t war.” 1 likes
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