Possibilities in “The Bands of Mourning”

Congratulations, Brandon Sanderson.  You’ve impressed me.  Again.  I know I didn’t have a lot to say about “Alloy of Law” or “Shadows of Self,” but “Bands of Mourning” returns to the epic chaos and discovery of the “Mistborn” series.

For most of the book, you’re balancing between two main plot ideas, including 1. trying to find a Kandra Spike (a magical component of character), and 2. trying to find the Bands of Mourning (the Lord Ruler’s bracers of power). Sanderson smoothly transitions between them, since they both entail finding Wax’s uncle, Edwarn (Suit) Ladrian.

“The Bands of Mourning” is the middle of a trilogy, in the middle of a bigger trilogy.  If you haven’t read any of the Mistborn books, sorry, but good luck trying to understand a lick of what’s going on.  If you haven’t read the previous books of the 2nd Era (Wax and Wayne), you’ll still be confused.  Even if you’ve read all the previous books, and you think you know what’s going on… don’t even try guessing what’ll happen next.

“The Bands of Mourning” will take you for twists and turns and open new worlds.  Even the characters surprise you – not that they act out of character, but they develop and grow like real people.

It’s weird.  As great as it was, I don’t feel right giving it 5 stars.  Maybe because it alludes to a sexual scene with a hermaphrodite.  Maybe because it takes some liberties with new technologies to break the limitations of the Mistborn magic system.  Or maybe it’s because I was able to predict some of the big surprises at the end.  I’m not sure, but somehow I don’t have that deep desire to read through it again right away, granting it that precious and rare 5 star rating.

But since my excuses are weak, and it really is a great story with fascinating settings:  *****4.5 stars****.

Post Script: this one was not easy to read out loud. More often than usual, I stumbled over words with my husband or pulled out a dictionary to validate the legitimacy of words.

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