Shadows of Self

I honestly was about halfway through this book before I even got around to reviewing the first. And I’m happy to report it hits about the same notes as the second book in the original mistborn trilogy.

Having vanquished the vanishers, Wax has gotten himself deputized by the city of Elendel. Which just means the coppers have to put up with him and Wayne shooting up bad guys all around the city. Marasi has also joined the police force and Wax is still engaged to Steris, albeit mostly because of convenience.

But the city is about to burst. Jobs are scarce, wages are low, and the elite are corrupt. And someone, or something, is stirring the flames. A new threat, one who can be both a feruchemist and an allomancer at the same time, is ready to light the powder keg.

Firstly, Wax and Wayne are the best. Sanderson is perfecting the art of witty dialogue and back and forth. It gets even better when he includes Marasi, Steris, or even MeLaan in the fun. Or when Wayne dips into a disguise and outsmarts everyone. Secondly, the action, as always is a beautiful thing. You’re basically watching this book while reading it. And again I’m happy about the limited power base, and how Wax and Wayne counter other x-men like powers.

But, this book kind of feels like the filler episode, monster of the week, detective story. One of Sherlock’s interesting mysteries, but not a genre defining one. We do get to learn how woefully out of touch Wax is with the city’s working class. A class he used to protect out in the roughs, now ready to riot in the city. Which all feels like a major distraction from the set-up of the first novel. Where is Mr. Suit and his nefarious plans?! Why are we not pursuing his clearly world ending goals? This feels like a minor distraction. A theological discussion during a war.

UNTIL THE TWIST AT THE END. GODDAMN YOU BRANDON SANDERSON. What a doozy. Did not see that coming. Clearly a character defining moment for Wax, but it’s hard to read nonetheless. And it elevates the book out of merely good to pretty good.

Also, I really like Steris. Sanderson made the bold choice to throw away the clear romantic ideal in Marasi and have Wax take the high road by staying with Steris. And we finally get a much more fleshed out character in her, however brief. And she is just lovely. Not that Marasi isn’t also great. They just finally both have characterizations that are vastly different. Bravo, well written female characters, bravo.

3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

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