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Shadows of Self: A Mistborn Novel Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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“The action never lets up, and the characters never lose their endearing humanity.... A fast-paced fantasy adventure set in a fascinating world and populated with lovable, memorable characters.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Fast, smart dialog and an abundance of exciting action keep the pages turning.” ―Library Journal, starred review
“Sanderson’s fantasy world partakes equally of steampunk, early industry, and the Wild West, and he cleverly incorporates the metal-shaping magic of feruchemists and allomancers. Fantasy fans will savor this exciting escapade.” ―Publishers Weekly
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.
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Shadows of Self changes that. I am now ready to follow Wax on the journey I don't think any of us saw coming. Socioeconomic trouble is brewing in Elendel, because apparently even a god designed paradise can't last forever. Wax and Wayne at hot the trail, and Marasi is definitely in the mix, now serving as part of the constabulary.
At the heart, I feel this is a story about characters, they're coping with fantastic situations, but I really care and question these folks. Wax I on the hunt, and will do anything it takes to end this conflict. Wayne continues to delight with his wit and unique perspective on the world. Marasi must navigate what is lawful versus what is right, because once a pattern is seen, it cannot be unseen. Despite the world shattering situations, this book feels very personal – because it is.
Every single soul has a chance to make a difference, for Preservation or Ruin.
Readers of previous Mistborn will delight as this book continues to tie into the history and mythos of the world, expanding without retreading the same themes. Sanderson continues to deliver extra, this story including some excerpts from the broadsheets giving more flavor to this new era Scadrial. Sanderson is a master storyteller, laying the ground work for the most poignant and dark reveals, while still making the read a fun ride you do not want to put down.
First things first Do you need to have read the original Mistborn series to read this book? - Technically no you don’t BUT…there are many more references to what happened in The Final Empire and while I would say that you could totally read Alloy of Law without reading Mistborn 1-3 I believe wholeheartedly that the enjoyment of this book in particular would be decreased if you hadn’t read them. I actually had just finished a re-read of the first three of the series and was really glad, because I picked out so many small details added in.
The thing that I really love about Brandon Sanderson (BS) novels is that I have no trouble picturing myself in the story. He tells the story in a way that I’m shown the buildings and the surroundings, I’m given insight into the culture, religion and magic system and it is done in such a way that it is in the story and almost never feels like an info dump. This is amazing especially if you look at the size and complexity of the world he is building.
Shadows of Self like Alloy of Law is sort of a mash up of Mistborn World + Steampunk + Industrial Revolution + Wild Wild West. It has a lot more humor in it than The Final Empire and it feels generally lighter. The banter and humor of Wax, Wayne and Marasi is fantastic and sets the tone of the entire story. Honestly the Bromance between Wax and Wayne is my favorite in fantasy slightly beating out Tyrion and Brom they are hilarious on page together and actually Wayne is hilarious and scene stealer all on his own too. But don’t let that fool you there are still a few gut punching moments that really knocked me in the feelings.
Favorite Character in this book – Wayne
Looking through my quotes he has the most highlights. He says deep insightful things one minute and then is ridiculous the next. But I smile every time he is on page, there are Wayne quotes below in the semi-spoilery review but we also get to see into a deeper side of Wayne and I loved the depth it gave his character.
Favorite New Character – MeLaan
Although it can be argued she is an old character….but semantics. She added some insight into the days just after The Final Empire ended and what became of her people. Also I really loved the way she played with the team, I hope she is a player in the next book as well.
Most Improved Character -Steris
Don’t get me wrong I’m still completely on the Wax/Marasi ship and it might take a Chasmfiend or Koloss Warlord to sink that but Steris really grew on me this book. I have always liked her and her stiff overthinking overplanning ways, hey I can relate, but she really shined in this. She isn’t like a lot of female characters in fantasy and I like the non-emotional relationship that she and Wax have and how she deals with him. She has no illusions about who or what he is and just plans around it. Honestly her last scene in this book….GAH no words really. Because I loved her in that moment and I could even see how she and Wax might become really good friends or perhaps more BUT I’m sailing on the good ship MaraWax or Waxasi and there isn’t a Chasmfiend in sight yet so…..sorry Steris.
The new danger is a serial killer that seems to be trying to destabilize the city and throw it into a chaos similar to the events that led up to the last big shift of power in recent history *cough* Mistborn *cough*. Wax, Marasi, Wayne and others are searching trying to figure out who is next on the hit list and prevent the city from undergoing another revolution. The perpetrator of the events is messing with Wax specifically trying to throw him off and he will need to outthink someone trickier and smarter than himself or another revolution will happen.
****************Semi-Spoiler Review Section READ AT YOUR OWN RISK **************************
Where to begin??? I’m still processing my feelings about this book because that ending left me so….so….well you will know when you get there. Everyone just give Wax a virtual hug he needs it.
The Humor is one of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about series of Mistborn books. There are so many funny instances and dialogue that I laughed so many times throughout the story.
***“I heard voices in my head once too, you know.”
“Sure. Gave me a fright. I banged my head against the wall until I went unconscious. Never heard them again! Ha. Showed ’em good, I did. If rats move in, best thing to do is to burn the nest and send ’em packing.”
“And the nest … was your head.”
Steris stopped on a page in her notebook, then turned it around. There, in her neat handwriting, was a detailed agenda for their evening at the party. The third entry read, 8:17. Way into the building likely blocked by traffic. Lord Waxillium carries us up to the top floor by Allomancy, which is completely inappropriate and at the same time breathtaking.
He raised an eyebrow, checking his pocket watch, which he carried in his gunbelt—not his vest—to be easily dropped with his other metals. “It’s 8:13. You’re slipping.”
Regular folk, they called something after what it was. You’d say, “What’s that, Kell?” And they’d say, “That? That there’s the crapper.” And you’d reply, “What do you do with it?” And they’d say, “Well, Wayne, that’s where you put your crap.”
It made sense. But rich folk, they had a different word for the crapper. They’d call it a “commode” or a “washroom.” That way, when someone asked for the crapper, they knew it was a person they needed to oppress.****
The Characters are three dimensional. Wax has a complicated past with his history in the roughs and trying to be both a Lord to his house and a Lawman. It’s a difficult place to be and maybe he is being pulled in too many directions one day he will have to decide who he is… An Allowmancer or Terrisman/Lord or Lawman/Pawn or Sword no wonder he is a little surly.
****“What’s wrong with you lately?” Marasi demanded. “You complain about the motorcar, about me being here, about your tea being too hot in the morning. One would almost think you’d made some horrible life decision that you regret deep down. Wonder what it could be.”
Wax kept his eyes forward. In the mirror, he saw Wayne lean back in and raise his eyebrows. “She might have a point, mate.”
“You’re not helping.”
“Wasn’t intending to,” Wayne said. “Fortunately, I know which horrible life decision she’s talkin’ about. You really should have bought that hat we looked at last week. It was lucky. I’ve got a fifth sense for these things.”***
Wayne while usually the fun loving sort has a demon in his past that he is still trying in his own way to atone for. I liked seeing what he puts himself through in an effort to make some sort of recompense for his greatest sin. Wayne has a peculiar way of looking at the world and some of it make amazing sense while other parts of it are ridiculous. But that just makes him all the more lovable.
****“I coulda delivered that, you know.…”
“You, she would shoot,” Wax said.
“Only ’cuz she likes me,” Wayne said, smiling. He’d have welcomed an excuse to go see Ranette. This night was getting darker and darker, it seemed.
“Wayne…” Wax said. “You know she doesn’t actually like you.”
“You always say that, but you’re just not seein’ the truth, Wax.”
“She tries to kill you.”
“To keep me alive,” Wayne said. “She knows I live a dangerous life. So, keepin’ me on my toes is the best way to make sure I stick around…”***
I’m almost hoping that he wins her heart one of these days.
Marasi didn’t get a lot of development. She is now working with the constables and Wax has tried his hardest to put some distance between them after the initial attraction that was sparked in Alloy of Law. She seems to be over her semi-hero worship of his time in the roughs though and has become more secure in herself overall. Her alomancy even came in handy a time or two in this story and I was glad to see how it could be useful in certain situations. She is extremely competent and I believe that she and Wax are a good team hence my being on the MaraWax ship. My only disappointment is that those sparks from book 1 are totally missing here as Wax is committed to the arranged marriage with Steris and Marasi is trying to have a professional relationship with him since he is supposed to marry her half-sister. I missed the sparks. : (
The Tie In’s To the Original Mistborn Series
BEWARE: lots of little spoilers in this section
I’m going to *squee* a little here because there are still Kandra!!! I wasn’t sure what happened after the events of The Final Empire and I was pretty sure I caught one or two in Alloy of Law but now there is conformation that the Kandra are still around…*happy dance*
MeLaan coming onto the scene was fantastic and I loved learning how the Kandra now live within society instead of hidden away. She was such a great addition to the story and the team. I liked how she is so different from the Kandra that we met in The Final Empire…
***MeLaan finished her beer, then dramatically held up her hand. The palm split, forming lips, which then let out a soft belch.
“Cheating,” Wayne said.
“Just using what Father gave me,” MeLaan said. “Don’t tell me you wouldn’t belch out of other body parts if you could.”
“Well,” Wayne said, “now that you mention it, I can make a real interestin’ sound wif—”***
AND we get to see TenSoon. Can I just say that I was so excited that he was still around even if he isn’t glad that his name is known.
***“I’ve read about you,” Wax said.
“Thrilling,” the kandra growled. “I’m so happy Sazed included me in his little book so that drunk people can curse by my name.”
“They … do that?”
“Yes.” The wolfhound growled quietly in the back of his throat. “There are … stuffed toys too.”
“Oh yeah,” Wax said. “Soonie cubs. I’ve seen those around.”***
But the remembrances of Vin mostly and Elend sometimes choked me up a bit. This was my favorite quote in the entire book and it is about Vin herself. I thought it was completely fitting of who she was.
***“When she fought, she was the blade. When she loved, she was the kiss.***
There is also a little section where Wax thinks he sees her outline in the mist…dare I hope that she is still somehow around???
****The Historica, a section of the Words of Founding, said she had melded with the mists. She had taken them upon herself, becoming their guardian as they became her essence. As the Survivor watched over all who struggled, Vin watched over those in the night. Sometimes he felt he could see her form in their patterns: slight of frame, short hair splayed out as she moved, mistcloak fluttering behind her. It was a fancy, wasn’t it?***
Please don’t just be fancy…I would love it is Vin somehow will play a part in this. Because [who better to help slay a god than dare I say it another god…who might be Vinesk *Hoping*
Conversations with Sazed/Harmony. I’m really excited about this. It seems that he might be pushing and pulling a bit in this world as Harmony. Damn his job is hard, MeLaan explains it so well toward the end of the story when Marasi is so upset for Wax…Hell I was upset for Wax. But I’m hoping to get both sides of the story because it seems like [Harmony might have played a really big part in Lessie’s death and how could you not have a crisis of faith after the end of SoS.
Also in the broad Sheets I caught a glimpse of the Shardpool and Hoid showed up to drive the carriage those were some cool additions.
SANDERSON ENDINGS KILL ME - Seriously I know that I need a quiet place to finish out the last 20% of any of his books because there is no way that I can think of anything else until it is over. That holds true here as well and while it didn’t gut punch me as hard as some of his other books *cries again about the ending of The Final Empire* it still hit me pretty hard and squeezed all my emotions. At the end I wasn’t sure what I felt except sorry for Wax.
***Harmony does the best He can—the best possible, by the very definition. Yes, He hurt Wax. He hurt him badly. But He put the pain where He knew it could be borne.”***
GAH…..this is one of those times that I’m so sad the next book isn’t already out because I just want to know all the things so badly.
Overall - Sanderson is a master storyteller and that still holds true here. My one and only complaint is that there wasn’t a lot to do with The Set his Uncle or the Women that went missing in Alloy of Law, but I assume that he will get to all of that eventually. We all know that I’m not super objective when it comes to Sanderson or Ilona Andrews so let’s just say if he writes it I’ll read it…multiple times usually.
We get an interesting look at how society on Scadriel has evolved in the centuries since Ruin and Preservation were fused into Harmony, and it is interesting to note how lords and noble-born people still rule the world, with the working class resenting their wealth and frequent corruption.
Brandon Sanderson has two great strengths as a writer, which are developing complex and nuanced magic systems, and developing complex and nuanced characters, and both of those talents shine here.
As I said before, the addition of guns adds a whole new dimension to how the Metallic Arts are used, such as deflecting or accelerating bullets, and it makes a nice change having the combat move to mostly ranged as opposed melee fighting.
For the characters, Sanderson makes them flawed, believable and emotionally resonant, and he doesn't limit this to just the heroes. As with his other works, the villains are as much the heroes of their own stories as are the heroes of this one, and it's great to see how a lot of people don't actually regard the heroes of this story as such, for example, a newspaper clipping pointing out just how much damage Wax tends to cause while hunting for criminals.
The newspaper clippings were a great way to develop the world without bogging down the story with tedious exposition, but I admit it was very hard to read them on the kindle.
Sanderson has stated that the Mistborn books coming out over the next couple of years will be shorter and faster-paced than the Stormlight Archives (which remain my Gold Standard for fantasy), and I have to admit that I would prefer more Stormlight Archives books than Mistborn books, but I still loved this book, and saying that this is inferior to some of his other works means very little when it is still vastly superior to most fantasy books. Although I really want another big, thick Brandon Sanderson book to sink my teeth into, when you compare this to most fantasy books that come out, it is easily a five-star read.
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As much as I love the characters in this series, I'm probably done with it at this point.Read more