The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Published: Tor Books (Jan 26, 2016)
Posted: Goodreads (Jun 28, 2016)
(5 / 5)
The Bands of Mourning raises the bar for Wax & Wayne, taking everything Shadows of Self got right and expands upon it. It is by far the best of Wax & Wayne and well worth your time.
Whereas past Wax & Wayne novels may have lacked the “epic” feel prior to the last half of Shadows of Self, Bands truly elevates Mistborn’s latest Era into the realm of epic fantasy. It contains so many different types of scenes – from political intrigue to fast paced, life or death action – that tackling all of the positive qualities of the novel would take forever.
First off the socio-political and geographical issues during this era are critical to the storyline. Specifically, the adventures of our heroes actually effect the political climate of Elendel and neighboring areas. If you enjoyed Mistborn #3 Hero of Ages, you’ll immediately think of Fadrex City and Elend’s relationship with Yomen. Everything rides on it, creating a tense, living and breathing world (top it off with stellar descriptions of New Seran and the Basin and you’ve got some sublime imagery).
Gone are the sword fights of Scadrial’s classical era. Instead the world is caught up in an industrial boom: new types of weapons and vehicular crafts are on the rise. Hell, the novel also explores weird technologies based on Allomancy and Furochemy such as the magical Skype cube and more. But the storyline is chiefly about one specific technology: The Bands of Mourning.
A relic from Ancient Scadrial, the Bands of Mourning have the ability to… yeah right, this review is spoiler free. Just know it’s OP and worth hunting down. The plot involves Wax’s cousin and dealing with the mysterious secret society known as The Set. Plus MeLaan returns in a tour de force (she’s one of the greatest characters in the novel), and leads our heroes on a parallel mission to save a kandra scholar’s mind. Sounds crazy and sprawling in scope? You don’t know the half of it but it’s all well written and really engaging.
The character development is exceptional.
Wayne’s wild personality is explored even further than in Shadows of Self. If you liked him in the past, you’ll of his range of depth here. There are changes in his personality and his reactions to the world around him are informed and intelligent (even if he visibility displays the opposite most of the time).
Wax’s introspection continues, starting the novel off during a formative moment in his life, his childhood in the Terris Village at the heart of Elendel.
But the best characters? The sisters. Marasi is nearly redefined and made stronger. She continues her quest to be her own woman, separate from Wax’s shadow. While Steris is forced to show her true colors. If you didn’t like Steris before, give Bands a read and see if that changes.
With all that character development you’d think Bands becomes bogged down in particulars, but the story continues at a speed Mistborn fans have come to expect.
Some of the best scenes are both funny and insightful in understanding some of the characters. One such is Marasi’s feeling like an appendage to which Wayne thinks she’s talking about Appendixes in metaphors (yeah, I kinda butchered the humor there). I’d go so far as to say that the humor – and Wayne’s personality as a whole – is much deeper in Bands than it was in Alloy and Shadows of Self.
In everything I’ve said so far I still haven’t even touched on the main storyline regarding the Bands, The Set, the discovery of new technologies, or new powers (such as Feru’s Connection, Investiture and Identity). But giving away too much would be a shame because the novel handles all of those details and plot intricacies in a fast moving and fun way.
I’ll sum it up simply: if you loved the Mistborn books prior to Bands, you’ll really love this one. It’s definitely one of the strongest books in the series and I enjoyed it immensely. The character depth, descriptions, plot twists and storytelling are all A+. Solid 5/5.