Friday, May 20, 2016

‘Review’: Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

What feels like a long time ago and practically a different life, I wrote this review of The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. In that review I was excited – I was reading a new Mistborn book by Sanderson, one that basically came out of nowhere and pleasantly surprised fans, and one that I was reading months before Sanderson’s rabid fan base was going to see it. It seems to have surprised Sanderson nearly as much, because a small side project, one that wasn’t planned to have sequels has grown into a fully-fledged trilogy (EDIT: I have been informed that The Alloy of Law is a stand-alone, and technically Shadows of Self is the start of the trilogy).

I’m now a few years older and a lot more overwhelmed in life. My reading tastes have evolved and grown a bit. I’ve become a bit more bitter and jaded at a time when I’ve also become more hopeful as I often intentionally pull on the blinders to the world around me and simply enjoy fatherhood.

Anyway…I’m getting a bit too self-indulgent.

After a having a copy of the sequel to The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, for over a year, I finally got around to reading it, in spite of just how much I wanted to immediately see a sequel 5 years ago. Anyway, for whatever reason (perhaps all the reasons?), I can’t say that I’m equally as excited after reading Shadows of Self as I was back then – I literally stayed up half the night to immediately write my review of The Allow of Law, immediately requested an interview with Sanderson (and was granted that request in short-order). Now…well, I finished reading the book a month ago and am just now reviewing it, I haven’t done an interview in years and don’t plan on doing one now. So… is this lack of enthusiasm me or the book? (It’s me, but really, that’s not what I want to dwell any more on).

Shadows of Self is an excellent follow-up to The Alloy of Law – it does everything a sequel in a fantasy trilogy setting should do. The scope grows, the stakes are larger, more is explained, characters grow and history is revealed, things get dark, and for fans of Sanderson’s Cosmere, goodies abound. And Sanderson revels in his strengths – the magic is right in the reader’s face, there are adventures and battles, and the world of Mistborn is further revealed. Which of course only leaves more questions to be answered. As I said, this is a very solid second act for a trilogy not-trilogy. 

This is the second book, of a second trilogy set in a secondary fantasy world (surely, this unlocks some super-secret epic fantasy magical power?) (EDIT: Note, I'm keeping this line because it's cool, even if it doesn't work since technically Shadows of Self is the first book in the trilogy). It’s pretty safe to say that if you are considering reading this book, you are already a fan of Brandon Sanderson. You are a fan of Mistborn. You probably know more about Mistborn and the Cosmere than I do. So, let’s face it, this review doesn’t matter. The only people reading it have either read the book already or will read it regardless of the words here at my little blog.

Which brings me full circle to the indulgence of self. Hell, this review jumped the shark, went off the rails, tipped back the bottle a while back. Hell, I’m just excited that for the first time in years I won’t have a backlog of reviews to write and I can’t believe that anyone is still actually reading this. Bless you for that, but really, I’m sure there’s something better that you can be doing with the time.

Anyway…read Shadows of Self – it’s a fun book that fans of Sanderson will love. And I suppose I should read the final next book in the trilogy: The Bands of Mourning. I should probably even ‘review’ it, though will I be able top this piece of …


Mistborn: Amazon
The Well of Ascension: Amazon
The Hero of Ages: Amazon

The Alloy of Law: Amazon

Shadows of Self: Amazon
The Bands of Mourning: Amazon


Joe said...

Alloy of Law is a standalone, technically.

Shadows of Self is the first book of the trilogy, Bands of Mourning is second, and the forthcoming (and unwritten) Lost Metal actually closes it out.

It's weird.

Neth said...

Thanks for the clarification Joe. I guess I haven't kept up with the details around this. Anyway, one more Was and Wayne book than I expected, so that's a good thing.

Joe said...

Yeah, Alloy of Law was supposed to be a novella to refresh Sanderson between larger books. It turned into a regular sized novel for anyone else.

Then, it worked well enough that he decided to throw a full trilogy into that time frame instead of jumping right up to the 1980's era technology trilogy

All that in between volumes of the Stormlight novels - though there will be a gap between Bands of Mourning and Sanderson writing The Lost Metal.

More Mistborn is always a good thing.


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