Last year, I began my love affair with Brandon Sanderson. I wrote about it here a fortnight ago, which for me, might as well be six months in book terms. Since then, I’ve read 11 books, some good, some bad and some reviewed (or will be) on this site.
Happily for this review, my polyamorous relationship with Mr Sanderson continues.
Shadows of Self, book 5 of the Mistborn series, or Book 2 of the Wax and Wayne series, is not consistently brilliant. The original trilogy of the Mistborn did a much better job at building up characters and creating motives, and the fourth book, Alloy of Law, sets up a great deal of the background for this one. It is not a stand alone novel, and really, you should not read it as one.
It is meant to be consumed as the salad, if you will, of a six course meal. It cleanses the palate, sets the stage for the dessert, but is by itself no more substantial than an amuse bouche.
In Alloy of Law, you met Waxillium and Wayne, renegade lawmen from the Mistborn world’s version of the Wild West, and you met Marasi and Steris, half-sisters and daughters of a rich nobleman. Marasi, the illegitimate one, is now a constable in Elendel’s policeforce, having given up a career in law. Steris is still engaged to be married to Wax, an engagement of convenience. The book treats both of their stories as asides, incidental to Wax’s struggle to work with the god Harmony (our old friend Sazed, who holds the forces of Ruin and Preservation in balance), and his battle with the old kandra Paalm, who was the Lord Ruler’s servant, and is still on a mission to serve him, though he is 300 years dead.
The book treats Marasi and Steris as incidental, but theirs are the stories I am now most interested in. How does Marasi learn to deal with the notoriety of working with Wax and Wayne, and balance that with her own ambitions in the Elendel constabulary? What hidden depths to Steris are we yet to uncover, and why does she still want Wax? She deserves so much more. And Wayne: Wayne is such compelling character, why is Sanderson giving him such short shrift?
I am hooked. This book was a solid 3.5 stars as a standalone novel, but as the continuing story of Wayne, Marasi and Steris – it was a 4. I need more. Maybe Wax needs to die so we can really get to learn more about these three.I have pre-ordered the Bands of Mourning, so I can learn more, and see if the author does slake my thirst.