Robyn’s Cosmere Christmas: Shadows of Self

‘Shadows of Self’ is the second book in Mistborn Era 2, after The Alloy of Law, and the fifth Mistborn story overall. It continues the fast-paced fantasy Western feel, but things take a darker turn and the ending is ingenious yet heartbreaking with classic Sanderson brilliance.

Wax has returned to being Lord of Ladrian, trading in his bounty hunter ways for a life in law enforcement. He’s busy planning his wedding to Steris – but unrest is building in Elendel, and Wax and Wayne – ably assisted by the brilliant Marasi – may be the only people who can prevent an escalation to outright civil war.

One of the best parts of this book is Wax’s development as a character. In ‘The Alloy of Law’, he’s kept somewhat mysterious – the hereditary Lord who secretly moonlights as a bounty hunter, one half of the dynamic power duo of Wax and Wayne (all puns undoubtedly intended). Here, more is revealed about his past – how he started as a bounty hunter and what shaped him and Wayne into the people they are today. By the end of the book, it’s impossible not to feel heartbroken for Wax and the decisions he has to make to keep both himself and the city safe.

‘Shadows of Self’ also sees the return of the kandra, a race of creatures introduced in the original Mistborn trilogy. The interaction of familiar faces with new players is nostalgic, and seeing some of Vin’s fears from The Final Empire finally come true on page feels like coming full circle.

The books in Mistborn Era 2 are far shorter and pacier than in Era 1, with more abrupt twists. The first twist in ‘Shadows of Self’ is predictable, producing a brief sense of disappointment – but it’s immediately followed by a second, far cleverer twist which entirely removes all disappointment. The ending leaves you immediately needing to know what happens next.

Overall, this is another excellent addition to the Cosmere which takes Mistborn Era 2 in a slightly darker and more substantial direction. Recommended for fans of fantasy Westerns and thrillers, fast-paced adventures, and intriguing fantasy creatures.

Published by Gollancz

Hardback: October 8th 2015
Paperback: October 4th 2016

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