Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Shadows of Self

Published October 6th 2015 by Tor

A bloody massacre, a hunt for an assassin.

An Invitation to the criminal elite of Elendel from the brother of the city’s governor to an auction for his vote in the senate becomes a death sentences for all involved when an unknown assailant slaughters everyone in attendance.

Waxillium Ladrian investigates and is shocked to discover that the perpetrator may be a kandra calling herself Bleeder. As the servants of Harmony, the god of the religion Wax himself adheres to, the kandra usually operate in secret, and many people think them merely a myth. Now one of the kandra has gone rogue, which shouldn’t be possible.

Wax, Wayne and the brilliant Marasi must track down Bleeder and keep her from assassinating the governor of Elendel and plunging the city into chaos.
*An ARC was provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.*

Shadows of Self is the continuation of the Mistborn Series, the fifth book overall and the second book in the new series that takes place centuries after the original Mistborn Trilogy.  While I definitely enjoyed the first book in the 'new Mistborn series', The Alloy of Law, I never felt like it quite lived up to the first three books in the series.  I loved the new western setting and gunslinging characters, but something was missing.  Honestly though, I should have expected that Sanderson had something up his sleeve - that he'd wait to deliver all his surprises.  And if I had to describe Shadows of Self in one word, it would be: surprising.  This book had one foot solidly in the present setting, but with it's other foot, it revisited the past in an exciting and terrifying fashion.

In Shadows of Self, every single one of the underlying themes go deeper than the first book. Wax's conflict, both inner and external intensifies. The violence and crime in Elendel reach dizzying heights. New foes slip into the folds, connecting the present with the past with chilling, albeit fascinating ways.  Various religious groups come into play, leaving friction and conflict in their midst.  There's political intrigue, there's terrorism, and all of these seemingly unrelated elements come to a head in a seriously mind-blowing way.  Seriously guys: this is far from my first Sanderson read and as much as I'm confident in his ability to surprise me, even I was shocked here.  There are twist strewn into the book from the start but by the time you reach the climax, it's one blow after another and just when you think you've reached the end, a few other EPIC turns are thrown at you for good measure. I'm still not sure what to make of all of it...

All of our favorite characters return in Shadows of Self - there's Wax, the dedicated and tortured lawman and believe me when I tell you Wax gets his fair share of strife in this installment.  Poor Wax... And then of course Wayne, his sarcastic and sassy partner in crime.  Wayne was already brilliantly established in The Alloy of Law but his character was given more depth and layers so if you weren't already a Wayne fangirl (and seriously, who isn't?!) be prepared to love him even more here.  Out of all the main characters though, Marasi grew the most and I was just so proud of the little butterfly.  She's stepped up and made her own way in the world but she remains true to her character, something I really admired here.  Even secondary characters like Steris were given their props and while I didn't really connect with her in The Alloy of Law, I've grown to respect and admire her a lot. Sanderson tends to do that though, introduce characters which he keeps in the background, until the right time...then he whips them to the forefront and blows your mind-hole with their development.

Every other aspect of Shadows of Self  intensified as well: the world-building expanded, by reconnecting with it's roots, but it nonetheless evolved into something wholly fresh. Likewise the pacing was on point throughout. Granted, it took me longer than it should have to get through this one but only because real-life commitments kept getting in the way *shakes fist at real life* Bottom line? This book is EPIC (Fun game: how many times can Micheline use the word 'epic' in a Sanderson review) and it seriously blew everything I thought I knew about this world straight out of the water!  I can't say more more because: spoilers!  but suffice it to say I'm feeling a STRONG need for The Bands of Mourning right now!

16 comments:

  1. So nice to hear there was good action

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  2. Real life has been getting in the way of my reading for MONTHS now Micheline. MONTHS!!! *punches real life in the face* I've heard nothing but good things about Brandon Sanderson, I really need to give him a try:)

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    1. YES! You show real life who's boss Jenny!! Oh I'd love to share thoughts with you on Sanderson - I hope you read him soon!

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  3. Wow, this sounds good. I've never read Sanderson but man does he crank the books out. I wish George RR MArtin could write like that! LOL. Sounds like there's a ton of stuff going on in this one, and the whole series actually.

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    1. I think you'd like his stuff Greg, considering you like GRRM and high fantasy. Yeah, Sanderson basically LIVES to write - he constantly has multiple series on the go and he teaches writing and hosts webinars on writing. I can't believe he's married, his wife must never see him LOL! Yeah, this is one of my favorite series and it's super INTENSE!

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  4. It's like a Sanderson party today, I saw two other reviews for his books in my reader feed! It's so great, because he is such a great storyteller. I'm really glad to see you enjoyed this, because the next book is the continuation and it's just as awesome! If you liked Steris in this one, then you'll love her in Bands of Mourning :D

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    1. That is awesome Mogsy^^ He's a phenomenal storyteller - he blows me away consistently to be honest! Bands of Mourning is on it's way to me so I'll be starting it THE MOMENT it arrives :D I can't wait to chat with you about it!!

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  5. I promise you, Micheline, PROMISE, that I will start reading Mistborn this year (and the Abhorsen series, too)! And seriously, real life needs to stop getting in the way of our binge reading! XD

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    1. LOL! Watch out, I'll hold you to that promise ;D for both of those books HAHA! For real though^^ we need reading vacations mandated by work!

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  6. lmao you can make a drinking game out of the use of the word 'epic' and anything about Brandon Sanderson xD

    I'm glad you enjoyed Shadows of Self! The first Mistborn trilogy is still my very favourite even though I enjoyed The Alloy of Law but Shadows of Self has really solidified my love for this second era too. I totally agree with you on how Sanderson brings characters from the background into the fore when needed and just blowing our minds with how awesome they are; I really liked Steris after this book. And Wayne...oh man, you could make a game out of what crazy thing will come out of his mouth next :P

    Hee, looking forward to your thoughts when you pick up The Bands of Mourning! =D

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    1. LMFAO you totally could Liane, not gonna lie^^

      I agree, the first Mistborn trilogy is the best but I was truly impressed with how Shadows of Self connected with the past, while staying wholly unique! I've heard that Steris is even more awesome in Bands of Mourning and believe me, as soon as that bad boy arrives, I am diving RIGHT in :D

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  7. Sanderson always keeps you on your toes, eh? I love that in an author :) It really is so awesome that even though you've read book after book by him, it's never got old and it always impresses! So what do you think I would experience as a Sanderson noob then?? I'm looking forward to finding out one of these days *shakes fist at own real life*

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    1. He sure does Aylee! He's never predictable and that's what I love about him :) I don't know how he does it but the man must be made of creativity! I'm hoping you'd experience similar FEELINGS as I did - and still do and I can NOT wait to chat all about them with you *curses real life*

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  8. Yay to epic! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. I'm loving the sound of this new series. I understand what you mean about Sanderson's ability to make a background character relevant in a big way and their whole development pop out in surprising ways. Great review!

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    1. I'd be really curious to see how you'd like the new series. The first book was great but it didn't feel as 'Mistborn' as this one did, if that makes sense. And Sanderson ALWAYS surprises with random background characters! NOTHING is ever unimportant in his books and I love that!

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