Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Continuing the adventures of Wax and Wayne from the previous novel, I was surprised to find that this one was a much stronger novel than the previous one. Perhaps it's because the first one did a fine job of introducing the characters and letting us enjoy one more round of allomancy tastiness, and now we can revel in the established strangeness with more freedom, here.
But probably not. I honestly loved diving a bit more deeply into the history (of which we're all pretty familiar in the first trilogy) and getting involved in the machinations of gods. It's great nostalgia, since, of course, we got to see them BECOME gods. Too cool, right?
Well, it's not so simple as that. This story's end was telegraphed from the very first pages, and the only reason it didn't fall into the blah category was entirely due to the strong writing and the choice of trope. It turned this ostensible fantasy/western into a timeless tragedy.
Which was pretty pleasant.
We all love a great tragedy. Comedies make us sad, and tragedy bring us great joy, after all. Gotta love it.
And no, if you're looking for gigantic battles rather than personalized shootouts, be forewarned. This novel has a comfortable feel, always pretty close to the cuff, and the constant shifting between Ruin and Preservation is creating some pretty precious pearls in the world.
This place, 200 years after the first trilogy, is finally beginning to grow on me. I think I'll also always prefer Sanderson's adult titles better than his YA.
There is plenty of shape-shifty gore, limbs being torn off by coin-shot, corruption, and drunkenness (mostly by Wayne). I really enjoyed this title. It might not be my favorite of Sanderson's works, but the fact is, he's done a fantastic job across the board. His average work, like this one, is still a highly-polished Three-Act-Story with brilliant and creative magic systems, well-crafted plots, and a real feel for the epic implications.
Don't miss out on this if you like his novels!
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