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.