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Book Review: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Shadows of Self - Brandon Sanderson

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

 

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.



Thanks to Hachette Australia for my rather overloved copy of Shadows of Self. Honest review yadda yadda. Is this even needed in Australia since we aren’t under FTC jurisdiction? Somebody let me know..

 

Welcome, once again, to the Cosmere! One of my favourite places to visit, and simply bask in the joy of it all!  We’ve arrived at the sequel of the Mistborn sequel, Shadows of Self! And, if you’ve gotten this far in the series, you already generally know what you are in for: daggy humour (more so in this part of the series), fast action, fantastic magic, massive world building and dramatic emotional moments.

 

Sanderson is like my fantasy-candy author; he writes books that don’t necessarily make me go into philosophical meltdowns**, but I still love them from the first page to the last. Sometimes you just need to read for pure enjoyment, rather than sitting down and rendering your soul down, like whale fat for candles. Shadows of Self is no different to the other Sandypants (yep, I’ve given the poor guy a nickname) books to come before it; it truly is a delectable piece of fantasy-candy. Make no mistake though, it never lacks in complexity, or profundity, even when it tastes sweet on the tongue.

 

Shadows of Self has much more depth, world and character building wise, than Alloy of War. It starts to explore this new, wild wild west version of Scadrial in greater detail, and begins to squirrel into the lives of Wax, Wayne, Marasai, and even Steris to some extent. We are given more information on how Twinborns can interact with the various magics, the political state of turmoil that's causing citizens to riot, and quite a bit more detail on some of the many religions that are beginning to cause havoc.

 

“No, freedom was not lack of responsibilities—it was being able to do what was right, without having to worry if it was also wrong.”

 

The most memorable moments in this book are during Wayne’s POV. He has become a fully realised character, rather than the simple jokester sidekick he played in Alloy. Some of the more emotionally involved moments are during his scenes as well, which I can’t say I expected, though was so incredibly pleased to see. I present some classic Wayne, that I may actually have to try and pull off one day:I ain’t drunk,” Wayne said, sniffling. “I’m investigatin’ alternative states of sobriety.”

 

Marasai is a wonderfully portrayed character: strong, individualistic, intelligent, and has her own subtle brand of humour. Following her own ideals, she decides the best way to take action to help in Scadrial, is to be where the action is! I actually really enjoyed her mildly subverted kick-arse chick trope. She’s happy to take down the baddies, but damn it, she’s going to do it looking like a proper lady, and being part of polite society. I quite liked that she doesn’t like wearing pants, cause neither do I (though I can’t kick arse, I’d probably pop a kneecap)..

 

And of course, Wax. His journey throughout is definitely the most pronounced, but in some ways his character develops less in this novel than the other two main POVs. It’s possible that it’s been styled that way to make way for a rather cracking moment right at the end, that will possibly create one of the largest developments imaginable, leading into book three.

 

The other truly fantastic moments are with, and about a character, I don’t think I can really mention in fear of ruining the surprise. What I will say is, prepare to say hello to an old favourite (tears! I had tears damnit!)

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The plot is thick and twisty, the pacing is spot on during most of the book, and honestly I just couldn’t put it down. Even after so many bookish meetings, Sanderson can still grab my attention and keep it hooked like a big ole fish on one of them.. Ok I have no idea about fishing, but you can surely catch my drift.

 

And that ending. Oh, you must read it, even if it is just for that bloody ending! Talk about a soul ripper! I had some suspicions earlier on about what was simmering under the surface, as the book slowly bit feeds information like a mystery novel; but I had no idea to what extent! It is going to make for one heck of a third book.

 

Verdict:

 



I obviously loved it, I can’t deny it. I cannot wait for Bands of Mourning to grace my front doorstep! It's out February 2016, through Hachette in Australia. (I really love love Hachette.. love x infinity.. I wonder exactly how much pandering needs to be done to receive an advanced copy? ;) ).

 


**mostly. Stormlight Archives gives me over 1000 pages of it in each installment. I’m currently in withdrawals. I don’t like to hurry authors, it’s not my thing to harangue..  but I’m close to begging. I need more Jasnah, Szeth-son-son-Vallano and The Wit before I expire..