Review of SHADOWS OF SELF by Brandon Sanderson
A Mistborn Novel
Tor, October 2015
Waxillium Landrian (Wax) and his sidekick Wayne serve as not-much-appreciated cops in Elendel while the main police force is stuck cleaning up their messes. But when things go really wrong, it’s generally up to Wax and Wayne to figure things out and solve the problems, especially since things going wrong often has to do with magic and the two are talented allomancers. When the mayor’s brother is found murdered, along with the criminals he’d invited to bid for for his vote in the governing council, Wax detects more than just a fight among crooks. If his instincts are right, someone (or something) is attempting to undermine the city itself… and perhaps their entire civilization.
The more Wax investigates (along with Wayne and Marasi, his prospective sister-in-law), the deeper the problems seem to be. When he spots someone he knows is dead and then when the high god starts talking to Wax… and lets Wax know that even he isn’t sure what’s going on but he is sure one of the ancient divines is involved and insane… Wax understands he’s in over his head. Over his head or not, that doesn’t mean he won’t fight to solve the problems… and create even more problems for the cops to clean up behind him.
Author Brandon Sanderson (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of fantasy by Sanderson) writes an exciting adventure, combining an intriguing magic system, a developed mythology, and characters that are simultaneously weird, sympathetic and funny to create an enjoyable read. This is not one of those huge epics of SF… it’s a smaller work that focusses on people rather than armies. The final confrontation between Wax and ‘Bleeder’ is powerful because we care about the ‘people’ and I, for one, found myself strangely moved.
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