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The Bands of Mourning: A Mistborn Novel Paperback – January 5, 2017
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"Sanderson is an evil genius. There is simply no other way to describe what he's managed to pull off in this transcendent final volume of his Mistborn trilogy." ―RT Book Reviews (Gold Medal, Top Pick!) on The Hero of Ages
"It's rare for a fiction writer to have much understanding of how leadership works and how love really takes root in the human heart. Sanderson is astonishingly wise." ―Orson Scott Card
"Sanderson is crafting an extremely well-thought out saga with Mistborn, one that looks to stand above the pack of his literary peers. The magic system is perfectly detailed, the world, though not completely revealed, has a great sense of natural logic to it, and the characters are a reflection of both." ―SFF World
"Intrigue, politics, and conspiracies mesh complexly in a world Sanderson realizes in satisfying depth and peoples with impressive characters." ―Booklist on Mistborn
"Highly recommended to anyone hungry for a good read." ―Robin Hobb on Mistborn
"Enjoyable, adventurous read." ―Locus on Mistborn--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
Brandon Sanderson grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He lives in Utah with his wife and children and teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. He is the author of such bestsellers as the Mistborn® trilogy and its sequels, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, and The Bands of Mourning; the Stormlight Archive novels The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance; and other novels, including The Rithmatist and Steelheart. In 2013, he won a Hugo Award for Best Novella for The Emperor's Soul, set in the world of his acclaimed first novel, Elantris. Additionally, he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time® sequence. For behind-the-scenes information on all of Brandon Sanderson's books, visit brandonsanderson.com. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
THIS is, however, what I was expecting when I first read the first Wax & Wayne novel, Alloy of Law. Although I enjoyed it, I asked, why would Scadrial, a world with powerful, remarkable magic, develop the exact same technologies that Earth did? Trains, steam power, electricity... Shouldn't the magic have some impact on industrialization? Finally, we see not only a continuation and further development of Wax's quest that was introduced in the first book, along with the humor and plot twists you expect from Brandon's novels, but also unique technological advances that specifically relate to the magic powers of the world - with fascinating implications for the future.
The book is a satisfying and enjoyable continuation of the adventures of Wax and Wayne, along with several secondary characters they've picked up along the way. As with all of Brandon's books, it's a character-centric story, and you really get pulled into their plights and struggles. I laughed, I cried, I worried, I celebrated, and I didn't put the book down until I had finished. And now the long wait for the finale.
For those new to the series, I’ll say that to get the most bang for your buck reading Bands of Mourning, you must have at least read the previous two works in the new trilogy, Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. Likewise, whereas Alloy of Law could be read as a standalone, I would highly recommend that you read through the first Mistborn trilogy before jumping into either Shadows of Self or Bands of Mourning. For one, those original works are masterpieces, and second of all the latest two books in this series heavily reference the events of the first trilogy to the point that one will be lost if they haven’t read the first trilogy.
Anyhow, Bands of Mourning takes place roughly six months after the tragic events of Shadows of Self, Wax our main protagonist is about to get married to his fiancé, the cold yet endearing Steris Harms, a union which throughout the series has been built more on political and financial necessity rather than love. Moments before his wedding, Wax, still getting over the events of the last novel is approached by two emissaries from Harmony, the god of Scadrial, with news that the legendary bands of Mourning, the metal minds worn by the Lord Ruler from the previous Mistborn Trilogy, have been found. These legendary items have always been more myth than reality, rumored to grant anyone who wore them all of the power that the Lord Ruler had at his command, and the two kandra emissaries have evidence that these items do indeed exist. Wax still ticked at Harmony from the events in Shadows of Self, declines the quest until he receives evidence that his Uncle, the leader of the criminal organization known as the Set is involved and is actively seeking the items as well. Sensing an opportunity to rescue his sister from his Uncle as well keep the bands out of criminal hands, Wax agrees and our heroes are off in a race to find the mythical bands of mourning.
In typical Sanderson fashion, Bands of Mourning features crisp dialogue, dynamic action scenes and amazing world building. In Shadows of Self and now Bands of Mourning, Sanderson in my opinion does a great job referencing his previous trilogy while also allowing his new characters to operate in a new world with new challenges while not suffocating them with a been there done that storyline. The parallels between these trilogies are of course there, whereas in the previous trilogy Vin, Kelsier and Co where the revolutionaries fighting for freedom and the disruption of the status quo, in the latest trilogy Sanderson has flipped the script on its head, with our heroes serving as the forces of stability and the villains the source of change. It is implied in these new works that while society may not be as overly oppressive as the world under the Lord Ruler, the advent of progress, capitalism and a rigid class system are oppressing the common man as much as Lord Ruler and his minions in subtle and different ways. Our heroes in this trilogy are fighting for the reformed status quo whereas Vin, Elend and company where fighting to tear it all down, in a manner similar to Wax’s uncle in the new trilogy.
Bands of Mourning was a good book and a worthy addition to the Mistborn saga. However, it fell down for me in a couple areas. Most notably I felt that a few of the action sequences, normally a strong suit of Sanderson’s, rang hollow and artificial in the book, devoid of tension, only serving as gee whiz ideas of Sanderson’s, almost as if he had in his mind certain ‘cool’ scenes and worked hard to include them in the novel. Without spoiling them, the scenes were all well written but they all dragged for me as nothing seemed really at stake in any of them. While most of the action scenes where amazing, I almost skipped the few that didn’t work as I already surmised there would be no real consequences from any of those scenes.
Likewise, whereas I was literally laughing out loud at certain points in the previous Wax and Wayne novels, the humor in this new novel at times felt forced, a little too self-aware and dare I say it tiresome. In short, I would argue that the humor at times felt as if it were written more for the reader rather than the characters in the story. Wayne, arguably my favorite character from the first two novels, had his humor fall flat or feel forced throughout most of the novel which was disappointing. Maybe I am tired of the character so that is more a reflection of me rather than the author, I dunno. Likewise, there were certain parts of the novel, where it felt like Sanderson was playing too hard with the fourth wall, entire sections that were supposed to come across as jokes or comical where to ham fisted and in the context of the story for me just didn’t work. Without spoiling it, there was scene in a hotel lobby, that while painfully self-aware and funny in the context of the story didn’t do much for the plot or advance the story all that much. I realize I’m being picky, but that scene in particular almost took me out of the story which is something I’m not sure you want while reading a novel.
Another gripe I had with the story centered on characterization. For those who have trudged through my reviews in the past, you know that I place a huge premium on characterization, and while the characterization for the majority of the characters was strong, it was also very weak with others. Steris for instance, has had one of the best arcs throughout the entire series. The reader has seen her grow from a cold, detached, very shallow individual to a very rich character that simply hides her insecurities and fear with routine and organization. Sanderson gives her some of the best scenes in the novel and he found a fantastic way to mold her quirks into adorable attributes. Like many of the other characters in the book, she also longs for adventure and excitement, but she hides it behind the curtain of decency and the expectations of the noble class. It’s been building over the last two books, but Steris really comes into her own in this last work, developing into a full three dimensional character and not simply a plot point. Whereas I commented on the forced humor in the work with some of the other characters, with Steris the humor feels genuine as they are all true to her character and who she is as a person. Well done.
Marasi on the other hand for reasons, I am still trying to grasp felt flat for me throughout the entire novel. She was a great character in previous novels but I found her borderline boring in this novel which is a shame. She is now more accepted by Wax and Wayne as an able and competent partner, with Wax even going so far as to not second guess every suggestion she makes. Likewise she has a powerful scene near the end of the novel where she realizes how her hero worship of Wax has stunted her growth as a person, and that while she can never be Wax, she still can be as good if not better than him if she only accepts her strengths as opposed to trying to match the competencies with her hero. However, for some reason she didn’t ring for me in this novel and I am having a hard time figuring it out. She is still extremely smart and capable, and possesses a sharp mind and a strong will to do what is right. Sanderson gives her the opportunity to shine with some key scenes and gives her some key insights, however, these insights are almost always undercut by Wax who either has already figured out what Marasai just learned, or has a better understanding of the information that she was given. That being said, whereas before Marasi was only grudgingly accepted by Wax and those in the Constable service, she is now basically accepted by both, which takes away some of the inner and outer conflict present with the character. In many scenes she almost functions as simply another Wax stand in, losing a lot of her personality and character that endeared me to her in the first place.
All in all, Bands of Mourning despite the small gripes I had with it is a good book. A constant theme throughout the book and the series as a whole is motion. The world is moving forward and many of the characters are changing with the times in accordance with this underlying theme. The novel does a great job of expanding the larger world of Scadrial, introducing new cities, locations, characters, technology and even continents. Also, it ends on one hell of a cliff hanger. Despite my nitpicks, I would still highly recommend Bands of Mourning, it’s a worthy addition to the Mistborn Saga.
I just finished the book and I have so many mixed emotions. Throughout reading this book I thought it would be one of, if not, the best books he's ever written. It's great seeing Sandersons writing grow, and it really showed in this book with the characters. I liked The Alloy of Law, but some of the characters personalities (especially Wayne) felt a bit forced. I have felt this way about some of the characters in his other books as well, but they were never TOO bad. In Shadows of Self they got better, but the plot and twists was more of the highlight of that book, and not so much the side characters like Wayne, Marasi, and Steris. In this book however I found all the characters wonderful, but the plot......not so much. All the characters (especially Steris) were delightful to read and I must have laughed out loud at least 10 times while reading this. Their chemistry just worked so well together and I think this is the best Sanderson book to date character-wise.
The plot itself though just never captured me. It was ultimately the characters and their interactions with each other than made me read this book so fast and not want to put it down. The plot was just.....boring and compared to Sandersons other books, which have spoiled me with their twists and explosive endings, it fell flat. -- SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT --
It's probably my fault a little bit that it fell flat for me, because seeing some of the early reviews got me REALLY excited. People talked about the cosmere getting tied together, about alien forces invading Scadrial, and all around just made it's scope seem big and epic. Well....none of that really happened. The plot was just a basic treasure hunt with a few obvious and meh twists (Wax's sister and the Spear) and a weak ending. Shadows of Self teased us with Trell and this book just teased more and never really answered much. I was also super excited to figure out what the void eyed demons were and then they just turned out to be people with masks from far away on Scadrial. I mean come on, I'm sure everyone who's read Stormlight got all excited like me and thought they would be some sort of minion of Odium, it turned out to be SUCH a let down.
All in all i give this book 5 stars for the characters, and 3 stars for the plot. Another terrific book by Sanderson, but ultimately a little bit disappointing
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Keep them coming. I'm patiently waiting for this to make it to film.
Brandon Sanderson continues to amaze me with his ability to cross from tale to tale, world to world, and still deliver a deep tale with...Read more
Well worth the read, and not giving detail, as the potential for spoilers is great. Well worth the read.