Saturday, 23 July 2016

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Bands of Mourning
Series: Mistborn (#6) - Alloy Era
Author: Brandon Sanderson
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 28th January 2016
Challenges: 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 New Release Challenge, Summer COYER 2016, 2016 Blogger Shame, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America. Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.  

This book can't be read as a standalone. Preferably you need to have read all the previous books in the series but you *could* skip the original trilogy altogether (though I'm not too sure why you would!) but you would still need to have read The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. As such there may be some minor spoilers to the previous books in this review.

I had that feeling at the end of The Bands of Mourning that I often get at the end of Sanderson's books, and that was that I just didn't want it to be over. Well that and "Did that really just happen???". There was a twist revealed at the end that I in no way saw coming but actually makes a little bit more sense than the explanation given earlier in The Bands of Mourning. Basically it's a twist that makes me want to read Secret History right now.

This second set of books (which are set in an altogether different era) are doing a great job at following up the original trilogy, the original three books still stand there as one of my all time favourite fantasy series (and let's face it that's a pretty high bar to set). However these characters and the storyline grows on me with each chapter and there is no doubt that they are great books.

I think Steris is the character that has grown on me the most. She's done a lot of growing as a character in The Bands of Mourning and it even caused me to do a little bit of an about turn on my opinion of her relationship with Wax. The two of them work well together, even if they are that little bit different. I think my favourite moment was after the political party and what she'd been carrying around!

I love the way that Sanderson gives each character an inner voice even though he uses the third person narrative. If a section is following Wayne around then the writing is subtly different to if the narrative is following Marasi around, and it works well.

It was really interesting to see new technology being adopted in The Bands of Mourning and even more interesting to see how that works alongside the Metal arts. But nothing seems to escape Sanderson's notice, there were mentions of changing fashions as well as other touches. There was also a bit of world expansion which has me really interested now!

This was a great read, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next book takes the characters!