Title: Shadows of Self
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Source: NetGalley eBook for Review
Shadows of Self is the sequel to The Alloy of Law and as a result this review will contain spoilers for the first book in this series.
It takes place a year after the events of the first book and in no way falls victim to the disappointing second book syndrome. If anything, this book is better. We get to explore more of the mythology that was set up in the original Mistborn series as well as in The Alloy of Law and follow Wax and his team as they find themselves facing an invincible enemy.
While it took me a little while to get into the book, I was soon pulled right into the story and by the time of the final confrontation, it was near impossible to put the book down. The pacing was excellent and the writing made for a really enjoyable read.
The main plot was well contained within this one book and, as a result, I think this book could easily be read as a standalone, although you would gain more from reading the first book beforehand. The subplots aren’t forced either, adding to the depth of the novel and keeping you interested in the over-arching storyline as well. The political tones of the plot harked back to the Mistborn series and there were a number of times were I had no idea where the book was headed, not to mention there were a couple of twists which really made you think.
The characters in this book continue to be brilliant additions to the novel. While Wax is still the main character and so receives the most focus and development, Wayne and Marasi are equally as entertaining to read. Wayne maintains his position as my favourite character and we get a lot more backstory for him which I really enjoyed. Marasi also gets a bit more attention and becomes a lot more independent. Her infatuation with Wax is more endearing than annoying and I found her increasing self-confidence and role as constable to be a delight.
The villain of this piece was thrilling and chilling. I won’t reveal too much here but their skillset really gets your skin crawling and they are unpredictable and dangerous. There is a twist at the end involving this particular Big Bad that I certainly did not see coming. Everything about this character was very well-done and their actions will have many consequences for the next book.
Shadows of Self explores more of Scadrial in terms of location as well as the mythology of the series. We get to go to places we never saw in the previous book and there are numerous links back to the original Mistborn series which, for readers of that series, will make this book that bit more rewarding.
I found myself fully immersed in the world and story that Sanderson has created. Each of the characters added something to the novel and the plot, while self-contained, has overriding consequences for the rest of the series. It draws you in and then keeps you hooked right until the climactic finale. This is a series that is worth the read.