Review: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #5)


Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson // VBC ReviewShadows of Self (Mistborn #5)
Brandon Sanderson
Published: Oct. 6, 2015 (Tor)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Krista

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will make reference to previous books in the series.

Brandon Sanderson is arguably one of the biggest names in modern fantasy. You have to give a guy props who has the guts and talent to take over and finish a beloved epic like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I devoured his original Mistborn Trilogy back in 2009 and the follow up, The Alloy of Law, in 2011. So it is safe to say that it has been a while since I have delved into the world he created in the aforementioned, other than pawning the books on any modern fantasy fans I came across.

Wax Ladrian has returned to Elendel from the Roughs to take up his family’s lordship after many years spent as Lawman in a Wild West type of area. You can’t say he was exactly pleased with the changes, as he would much rather solve differences with his gun rather than a bit of diplomacy or writ. He quickly discovers that the city he has returned to is in need of his unique set of skills and, with the aid of a few trusted friends, he aims to root out some of the corruption which permeates the city. Or at least protect those who look to him for protection.

Before diving into Shadows of Self, I briefly refreshed the events of The Alloy of Law thinking that I would be able to dive right back in without too much difficulty, even with a four-year lapse. I was wrong. You cannot fully comprehend, much less enjoy, without being fully aware of the characters and events in the original Mistborn trilogy. Within a few chapters I had to put the book down and pull out my computer to look up the synopsis and character lists for the original books. This is my main reasoning behind my rating of the book on a whole. I would have enjoyed Shadows of Self considerably more if my memory of the prior books was just a little fresher.

What I enjoyed about Shadows of Self is what I love about Sanderson’s writing: No one does the depth and detail like him. They may be extremely complex but I happily follow along with every tangent. His greatest strength is an ability to pull off outcomes that leave the reader questioning in retrospect how they didn’t see it coming. As an avid reader it is rare for me to be taken off guard but somehow Sanderson, more often than not, pulls it off.

So even with the detractors, I would still recommend Shadows of Self. Sanderson is master of modern high fantasy. His world creation is always flawless. The rules and physics of the world are succinctly and efficiently laid out. I loved the combination of steampunk and western feel. But I strongly recommend pulling out copies of the previous books in the series. Otherwise you may find yourself lost within a few chapters.

Sexual content: none

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