The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6)
By: Brandon Sanderson
Format/Source: Hardback; my copy
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.
I’m so glad that I read Shadows of Self (review) closer to the release date of The Bands of Mourning; it made the wait so much less torturous. Though granted waiting the day-of was rather tedious, lol. Contains spoilers if you haven’t read this book or any of the books leading up to this book!
Well, if I was noting in Shadows of Self that the book had a slow start, this book just hits the ground running, which was excellent as I heard so many good things about the book leading up to the release (avoiding spoilers like the plague, of course). It was also pretty exciting to read this book because everything just expands: the scope of the story and the mysteries that are set before the characters, the worldbuilding (we get to travel somewhere that isn’t Elendel or the Roughs), the nature of their abilities and the gradual advancements of technology. We get some early explanations on the way abilities work, on Allomancy and Feruchemy and their manipulations. I looooooooooove how the mystery in this novel also brings a lot of elements from the first trilogy here in a big way that just makes everything A+; all the references to characters from the first trilogy made me ;_; and all “Yes, that happened! That character really did that!” or “Haha, that character would sooooo do that!” Feels, man, feels.
The characters continue to develop and expand in depth and just surprise and delight at every turn. Wayne continues to be a gift to humanity with everything he says and does, but there’s also a moment towards the end that could’ve thrown his character way into the deep end with regards to Wax and I wished the story had followed him a bit more there as I thought it was interesting. Marasi continues to develop, trying to find her own identity and strengths as a lawman that are separate from Wax; I also love how she looks up to Vin as a role model, because Vin’s made of awesomeness and kickass. Oh, and I also love how everyone turns to her as the level-headed one of the group, the one open to researching strange events and pushing investigations. She’s also clearly moved on from Wax, which is a relief because omg Steris. Steris continues to amaze me and really comes to her own in this novel, from accepting Wax’s lifestyle and helping him out in her own way to her endless lists and preparing for the worst. I felt so bad for her that she ranks herself rather poorly in her own contributions to the adventure, but she really proved herself in her own way and has everyone’s back–especially Wax’s, of course–so yeah, I was rooting for her and for her and Wax; I’m solidly in their camp now and thinking that they compliment each other nicely. And I’m really glad that he’s come to see that too about Steris.
The four characters together were hilarious; I never thought zany-ness would come out of them travelling and investigating together but it did! That scene when they showedup at Aunt Gin to book a room was priceless (my favourite scene in the whole book, I think). And separate they were also pretty kick-ass (when Wax and Steris attended the party while Wayne and Marasi went to investigate at the cemetery). I’m also very glad that we got some sisterly time too; I wish there was more but I’m happy to see that Marasi and Steris came to an understanding of one another and know each other pretty well despite not having as much page time as Wax and Wayne.
I agree with the Tor.com review talking about how a major theme in this novel is about moving on: Marasi moving on from Wax (romantically and his status as a well-known, talented lawman), Wayne from Ranette (I never thought it was really serious, but okay; plus, the way he went about it was pretty hilarious), Steris from her old life (or the more comfortable aspects, embracing the insanity that comes with Wax’s life), and most importantly Wax from the past. Because as I suspected, Wax was pretty mopey at the start of this novel (though not as bad as I thought it would be–though he made a few poor calls at the start of the novel) and needed to really come to terms with everything that’s happened in his past. There’s also family drama punctured along the way as well as coming to terms with Harmony but suffice to say I think Wax is in a good place at the end of the novel.
So where does it lose points? Ehh, maybe the time from the end of the party that Steris and Wax attends to when they finally reach the excavation point in search of the Bands of Mourning was a touch too slow. I mean, it was necessary to see them move from point A to point B but I guess the anticipation got the better of me and I was feeling it lag just a wee bit there. But otherwise, the book was pretty relentless from start to finish.
Overall The Bands of Mourning was another great novel from Brandon Sanderson and a fantastic follow-up to Shadows of Self that nicely addressed the ongoing nuisance of the Set, revisiting Wax’s nefarious uncle, and pushing along with epic mysteries whilst introducing new settings and peoples outside of Elendel. There are still plenty of questions that need answering and I admit, some of the cosmic implications were so big that it’ll take some time for me to process it through my head (because let’s just say I’m beginning to pick up elements from Sanderson’s other fantasy series, all tying in to the Cosmere). So yeah, it was fantastic, well worth pre-ordering and reading it in about a day and a half. So now what?
I guess in the meantime there’s this (I’m allowed to talk about it now, right?):
Oops that came out too big :3 Anyway, not my gif
Gah that I’m on a book-buying ban right now x_x Edit: But then I celebrated finishing my diploma programme and passing my board exam so I bought this soooo fast in celebration, lol 🙂