Monday, 21 March 2016

Review - The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

What can I say about The Bands of Mourning that will even come close to describing just how good it is? 

A must read? Another brilliant example of why the Sanderson phenomena continues to explode? Perfect speculative fiction?

All of the above are true. The Bands of Mourning simply continues Sanderson along that upward trend he has been on since the beginning of his career. 

So what did I love about the sixth instalment of Sanderson's Mistborn series? Everything. 

The Bands of Mourning tells the story of Wax, Wayne, and their associates. Following a foiled assassination attempt on Wax and Steris at their wedding, the group are drawn into a mystery and conspiracy involving a pair of mythical metalminds created by the Lord Ruler (the Bands of Mourning). From this frantic beginning all hell subsequently breaks lose. The shadowy organisation known as the Set reappears, and Wax and Wayne set off on a journey to the roughs where they are confronted by a mystery that will change the face of the world. 

The Bands of Mourning is a perfect example of great storytelling. It combines brilliant and fascinating protagonists and antagonists in a world filled with originality and wonder. The plot itself starts at a blistering (yet controlled) pace and never relents until the final page. Sanderson layers mysteries within mysteries in this latest book, yet also answers some of the key questions that fans have been debating since the Shadows of Self was released. 

Wax and Wayne are as loveable as they have always been in this instalment. I adored their continued development, with Sanderson going a long way to flesh out the emotional journey that Wax has undertaken since the Shadows of Self. The humorous wit and banter from these two characters has also improved (Sanderson in general has improved a lot in this regard), with both providing many laugh out loud moments for me. I also adored the growth of Steris in this book. She has gone from being an annoying side character to an integral part of the team, providing many amazing moments throughout the book. 

The world building is, as you'd expect, top notch. Most of the action takes place on the fringes of the Basin in a place called New Seran, which Sanderson brings to life almost easily. Filled with gushing waterfalls, rock formations, and panoramic views, New Seran provides a fascinating expansion to the world of the Mistborn books (there is more, but I won't go into it due to spoilers). The action is also brilliant, with magical battles, gun fights, explosions and... FLYING MACHINES. Throw in a train robbery, and a secret base infiltration, and you have barely scratched the surface of the action. Sanderson has always been a master of writing off the hook action scenes, but in the Bands of Mourning he has levelled up yet again! 

Finally, Sanderson delves further into the Cosmere mythos in this book. Hoid makes an appearance, and mysteries that been looming about the Shards and Odium are further explored. Sanderson continues to stun me with his ambition and scope in regards to the Cosmere, and sleuths looking for clues will find plenty throughout this tale. 

All in all The Bands of Mourning is a brilliant adventure fantasy told within an original and breathtaking world. I loved everything about it, and can't wait until the next book in the series comes out. 

Highly recommend for all speculative fiction fans. 

5 out of 5 stars. 

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