Rated Reads

Shadows of Self

by Brandon Sanderson

Rated: Moderate

Shadows of Self is a new Mistborn novel and book 2 in the second series (or book 5 overall) about that world by Brandon Sanderson. I was introduced to this author’s writing with the first Mistborn trilogy and I’ve been hooked ever since. I am an unabashed Sanderson fan and have read all of the books he’s published so far.

With that said, compared to his other writing, Shadows of Self is a little slower than usual and I had a harder time getting into it. I wasn’t as engrossed in the story, as is the usual case, until two-thirds of the way through. The familiar magic and characters are there, but the mystery and plot takes a while to unfold.

As with book 1 in this second series, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self brings all the fun of the Mistborn magic system, but in a style of Wild West meets the progress of an industrial revolution age. Motorcars and microphones are recently invented and the world is changing. This brings great opportunities for conflicts between those with allomantic, hemalurgic and other powers with a technologically progressing time and those without powers.

But at the heart of the story is the Wild West cowboy lawman, Waxillium. He’s a guns-a-blazing tough fighter with dual powers and a smart detective head on his shoulders. Shadows of Self brings his past to the forefront and forces him to rethink his future as the two collide in a twist I was not expecting.

The ending of Shadows of Self made the slow-moving detective mystery and hunt worth it and I’m excited for the release of book 3, The Bands of Mourning, on Jan. 26.

One note. If you have not read the original Mistborn trilogy, I highly suggest doing so before you read this one. You can start the second trilogy by itself (it’s a different feel, tone and storyline than the original trilogy), but there are some characters and Easter eggs you will miss from not reading the original trilogy.

You can learn more about author Brandon Sanderson and his writing at www.brandonsanderson.com.

Rated: Moderate. There are some swearing (“cowboy language”) and crass jokes in the book that fit with the characters telling them, along with plenty of action and some vivid scenes of violence and death. If this were a movie, I would give it a solid PG-13 rating, just like the other Mistborn books. Although some might consider this book “mild,” when combining the language, jokes, violence, and overall dark tone, I felt it needed a “moderate” rating.

— Reviewed by John Burger

Besides being an avid reader and reviewer, John Burger is also an author of YA Scifi and Fantasy under the pen name Johan Twiss. He enjoys writing and reading clean fiction that's suitable for tweens, teens and adults alike.

3 Responses to Shadows of Self

  1. Matt says:

    Was hoping you’d give me a review for the sequel ‘bands of mourning’ at some point. I’m more specifically concerned about making sure there’s no sex scenes etc in the book. Thanks so much, this site and reviews are much appreciated.

    • John Burger says:

      Hi Matt,
      Thanks for the comment. I did read Bands of Mourning, but I havn’et had time to write a review yet. I have like 6 books I need to write reviews for and I keep falling behind.

      I was a little disappointed with the content in Bands of Mourning and would give it a strong PG-13 rating. There is a sex scene where Melan has her shirt off on top of Wayne and they are making out. It’s not overly descriptive, but I was a little surprised by it. It was used for a purpose in the story, but could have been done another way.

      Wayne’s character also seemed to become more crass with even more dirty jokes and there were more swear words throughout the book. I think the author tried to keep it PG-13 since none of the swear words were F-Bombs or other of what some consider the worst cuss words out there, but there were more swear words altogether, or at least that’s how I felt reading it.

      So yeah, that bugged me and I skipped parts. The second half and the first half of the book felt like different stories with the second half feeling more like a mistborn novel and the first half like a sluggish western/crime novel.

      So there’s a brief review. Although I really like Brandon Sanderson’s writing and stories, I will probably never read Shadows of Self or Bands of Mourning again.

      But if you read Mistborn: Secret History, it will make a lot more sense if you read Bands of Mourning as the stories are all tied together.

      And Mistborn: Secret History felt like I was reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It had a lot of humor, some morbidity to it with death, and just kind of weird and fun.

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks so much John.

  • Shadows of Self
  • by Brandon Sanderson
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: