The Magic and Mystery of Shadows of Self: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson
If you are a fan of fantasy novels, you have probably heard of Brandon Sanderson, one of the most prolific and popular authors in the genre. And if you have heard of Brandon Sanderson, you have probably heard of his Mistborn series, one of his most acclaimed and beloved works. And if you have heard of his Mistborn series, you have probably heard of Shadows of Self, the fifth book in the series and the second book in the Wax and Wayne sub-series. But if you haven't heard of any of these things, don't worry. This article will introduce you to Shadows of Self and explain why you should read it as soon as possible.
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Introduction: What is Shadows of Self and why should you read it?
Shadows of Self is a fantasy novel that was published in 2015 by Tor Books. It is part of the Mistborn series, which is set in a world where some people have the ability to ingest metal flakes and use them to enhance their physical or mental abilities. These people are called Allomancers, and they are divided into different types depending on which metal they can burn. For example, a Coinshot can burn steel to push metal objects away from themselves, while a Soother can burn brass to calm or manipulate the emotions of others.
The Mistborn series consists of two sub-series that take place in different eras of the same world. The first sub-series is called the Original Trilogy, and it takes place in a medieval-like setting where a tyrannical god-king rules over a oppressed society. The second sub-series is called the Wax and Wayne Series, and it takes place in a industrial-like setting where technology and magic coexist in a rapidly changing society. Shadows of Self belongs to the second sub-series, and it follows the adventures of Waxillium Ladrian, a lawman-turned-nobleman who can use both Allomancy and Feruchemy (another form of magic that involves storing attributes in metal objects), and his partner Wayne, a witty and eccentric shapeshifter who can use both Feruchemy and Hemalurgy (a third form of magic that involves stealing attributes from other people by using metal spikes).
You should read Shadows of Self because it is a thrilling and captivating story that combines mystery, action, humor, romance, politics, religion, and philosophy. It explores themes such as identity, justice, morality, loyalty, and freedom. It features complex and likable characters, a rich and immersive world, a clever and unpredictable plot, and a stunning and satisfying ending. It is also a standalone novel that can be enjoyed without reading the previous books in the series, although it is recommended to do so for a better understanding of the context and the references.
Summary: A brief overview of the plot and characters of Shadows of Self
The plot of Shadows of Self revolves around a series of murders that threaten to destabilize the city of Elendel, the capital of the Elendel Basin, a region that was created by the events of the Original Trilogy. The victims are all prominent figures in the city, such as politicians, businessmen, and religious leaders. The culprit is a mysterious and elusive assassin who seems to have supernatural abilities and a personal vendetta against Waxillium Ladrian, who is now a respected lord and a member of the city's elite. Waxillium, along with Wayne and their friend Marasi, a brilliant and ambitious constable who can use Allomancy, must find and stop the assassin before he causes more chaos and violence.
The characters of Shadows of Self are diverse and dynamic, each with their own personality, background, motivation, and development. Some of the main characters are:
Waxillium Ladrian: The protagonist of the story, a nobleman who used to be a lawman in the Roughs, a wild and lawless region outside the Elendel Basin. He is a Twinborn, meaning he can use both Allomancy and Feruchemy. He can burn steel to push metal objects away from himself, and he can store his weight in metal bands to make himself lighter or heavier. He is also a skilled marksman and fighter. He is loyal, honorable, courageous, and compassionate, but he also struggles with guilt, doubt, grief, and anger.
Wayne: The deuteragonist of the story, a former thief who became Waxillium's partner and friend after Waxillium saved his life in the Roughs. He is also a Twinborn, meaning he can use both Feruchemy and Hemalurgy. He can store health in gold bracelets to heal himself or others, and he can use a metal spike to steal the ability to change his appearance. He is also adept at disguises, accents, languages, and improvisation. He is humorous, eccentric, loyal, and clever, but he also has a twisted sense of morality, a disregard for authority, and a penchant for trouble.
Marasi Colms: The tritagonist of the story, a constable in the Elendel Police Department who works under Waxillium's uncle, Constable-General Claude Aradel. She is an Allomancer who can burn cadmium to slow down time around herself. She is also a scholar who has studied law, history, sociology, and investiture (the term for magic in the Mistborn world). She is intelligent, ambitious, curious, and brave, but she also faces discrimination, insecurity, pressure, and expectations.
Steris Harms: A minor character in the story, but an important one for Waxillium's personal life. She is Waxillium's fiancee by an arranged marriage that was initially motivated by political and financial reasons. She is a noblewoman who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety. She is also meticulous, organized, pragmatic, and loyal. She has a complex and evolving relationship with Waxillium that goes from awkwardness to respect to affection.
Review: A critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Shadows of Self
Shadows of Self is widely regarded as one of the best books in the Mistborn series and one of Brandon Sanderson's finest works. It has received many positive reviews from critics and readers alike, who have praised its writing quality, storytelling skill, worldbuilding depth, character development, and thematic richness. Some of the strengths of Shadows of Self are:
It balances multiple genres and tones seamlessly. It is a fantasy novel that incorporates elements of mystery, action, humor, romance, politics, religion, and philosophy. It shifts from light-hearted banter to dark humor to intense drama to emotional catharsis without losing coherence or impact.
It expands and enriches the Mistborn world with new details, history, culture, technology, and magic. It shows how the world has changed since the Original Trilogy, and how it still faces challenges and conflicts. It introduces new concepts such as kandra (shapeshifting creatures that can mimic any living being), Faceless Immortals (agents of Harmony, the god of the Mistborn world), and Trellism (a mysterious religion that opposes Harmony).
the characters with new challenges, growth, and relationships. It explores the inner conflicts and motivations of Waxillium, Wayne, Marasi, and Steris, and how they cope with their past, present, and future. It also shows how they interact with each other and with other characters, such as MeLaan (a friendly kandra who helps them), Harmony (the god who communicates with Waxillium), and Bleeder (the antagonist who is also a kandra with a twisted agenda).
It delivers a compelling and surprising plot with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged and invested. It builds up suspense and mystery as Waxillium and his allies try to unravel the identity and the plan of Bleeder, who is always one step ahead of them. It also incorporates action and humor as Waxillium and Wayne use their magic and skills to fight and escape from various enemies and situations. It also provides emotional and satisfying resolutions for the main and subplots, while leaving some questions and possibilities for the next book.
It conveys meaningful and relevant themes that resonate with the reader and reflect on the real world. It examines issues such as justice, morality, loyalty, freedom, identity, and faith. It questions the role and responsibility of a god in a world of free will and chaos. It challenges the notions of good and evil, right and wrong, hero and villain. It explores the consequences of actions and choices, both personal and collective. It also celebrates the values of friendship, love, courage, and hope.
Shadows of Self is not without its flaws, however. Some of the weaknesses of Shadows of Self are:
It relies on prior knowledge of the Mistborn series to fully appreciate its context and references. While it can be read as a standalone novel, it is better to read the previous books in the series to understand the background and history of the world, the magic system, the characters, and the events that led to Shadows of Self. Some of the terms, concepts, names, and scenes may be confusing or unfamiliar to new readers who have not read the Original Trilogy or Alloy of Law (the first book in the Wax and Wayne Series).
It suffers from some pacing issues and information dumps that may slow down or disrupt the flow of the story. While it is generally well-written and well-structured, there are some parts that drag on or feel unnecessary. For example, some of the scenes that involve politics or religion may be boring or tedious to some readers who are more interested in the action or mystery aspects of the story. Some of the exposition or dialogue may also be too long or too detailed, especially when explaining the history or mechanics of the world or the magic.
It leaves some loose ends and unanswered questions that may frustrate or disappoint some readers who expect a more complete or conclusive ending. While it wraps up most of the main and subplots satisfactorily, it also sets up some mysteries and cliffhangers for the next book. For example, it does not reveal who or what Trell is, what his motives are, or how he is connected to Bleeder. It also does not explain how Bleeder obtained her metal spikes or why she chose her targets. It also ends with a shocking revelation that changes everything for Waxillium and his allies.
The Mistborn Series: A Fantasy Epic by Brandon Sanderson
Shadows of Self is part of the Mistborn series, a fantasy epic by Brandon Sanderson that spans multiple books, eras, and genres. The Mistborn series is one of Brandon Sanderson's most popular and acclaimed works, and it has sold millions of copies worldwide. It has also been adapted into graphic novels, video games, and board games, and it is planned to be adapted into a live-action movie or TV series in the future.
Background: How the Mistborn series started and what it is about
The Mistborn series started in 2006 with the publication of The Final Empire, the first book in the Original Trilogy. Brandon Sanderson had the idea for the Mistborn series when he was working on another fantasy series called Elantris, which was his first published novel. He wanted to write a story that was different from the typical fantasy tropes and clichés, such as the chosen one, the dark lord, the quest for the magical artifact, and so on. He also wanted to write a story that was inspired by his own interests and passions, such as the heist genre, the kung fu genre, the magic system, and the worldbuilding.
The Mistborn series is about a world where some people have the ability to ingest metal flakes and use them to enhance their physical or mental abilities. These people are called Allomancers, and they are divided into different types depending on which metal they can burn. For example, a Coinshot can burn steel to push metal objects away from themselves, while a Soother can burn brass to calm or manipulate the emotions of others. There are also other forms of magic in the world, such as Feruchemy and Hemalurgy, which involve storing and stealing attributes in metal objects. The Mistborn series is also about a world where a tyrannical god-king rules over a oppressed society that is plagued by poverty, corruption, injustice, and mist. The Mistborn series is also about a group of rebels who plan to overthrow the god-king and free the society from his tyranny. The Mistborn series is also about a lot of other things that are too spoiler-y to mention here.
The Original Trilogy: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages
The Original Trilogy is the first sub-series in the Mistborn series, and it takes place in a medieval-like setting where the god-king, known as the Lord Ruler, has ruled for a thousand years. The Original Trilogy follows the story of Vin, a young street urchin who discovers that she is a Mistborn, meaning she can burn all metals and use all Allomantic abilities. She joins a crew of thieves and rebels led by Kelsier, a charismatic and charismatic leader who is also a Mistborn. Together, they plan to pull off the ultimate heist: to steal the Lord Ruler's treasury and use it to fund a revolution. Along the way, they face many dangers and challenges, such as the Inquisitors (the Lord Ruler's elite enforcers who have metal spikes in their eyes), the koloss (brutal and mindless creatures that serve as the Lord Ruler's army), and the kandra (shapeshifting creatures that can mimic any living being). They also discover many secrets and mysteries about the world, the magic, and the Lord Ruler himself.
The Original Trilogy consists of three books: The Final Empire (2006), The Well of Ascension (2007), and The Hero of Ages (2008). Each book has its own plot and climax, but they are also connected by an overarching story arc that spans the entire trilogy. The Original Trilogy is widely praised for its originality, complexity, creativity, and epicness. It has been compared to other fantasy classics such as The Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, and A Song of Ice and Fire. It has also been recognized as one of the best examples of Brandon Sanderson's writing style, which includes detailed and logical magic systems, intricate and immersive worldbuilding, complex and diverse characters, clever and unpredictable plots, and satisfying and surprising endings.
The Wax and Wayne Series: Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning, and The Lost Metal
The Wax and Wayne Series is the second sub-series in the Mistborn series, and it takes place in an industrial-like setting where technology and magic coexist in a rapidly changing society. The Wax and Wayne Series follows the story of Waxillium Ladrian, a lawman-turned-nobleman who can use both Allomancy and Feruchemy, and his partner Wayne, a witty and eccentric shapeshifter who can use both Feruchemy and Hemalurgy. Together, they solve crimes and mysteries in the city of Elendel, the capital of the Elendel Basin, a region that was created by the events of the Original Trilogy. Along the way, they encounter many friends and foes, such as Marasi (a brilliant and ambitious constable who can use Allomancy), Steris (Waxillium's fiancee by an arranged marriage who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder), MeLaan (a friendly kandra who helps them), Harmony (the god who communicates with Waxillium), Bleeder (the antagonist who is also a kandra with a twisted agenda), and Trell (a mysterious entity who opposes Harmony).
The Wax and Wayne Series consists of four books: Alloy of Law (2011), Shadows of Self (2015), The Bands of Mourning (2016), and The Lost Metal (expected in 2022). Each book has its own plot and climax, but they are also connected by an overarching story arc that spans the entire sub-series. The Wax and Wayne Series is widely praised for its balance of multiple genres and tones, such as mystery, action, humor, ance, politics, religion, and philosophy. It also expands and enriches the Mistborn world with new details, history, culture, technology, and magic. It also develops and deepens the characters with new challenges, growth, and relationships. It also delivers a compelling and surprising plot with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged and invested. It also conveys meaningful and relevant themes that resonate with the reader and reflect on the real world.
The Future Books: The Second Mistborn Trilogy and Beyond
The Future Books are the planned books in the Mistborn series that will take place in different eras of the same world. Brandon Sanderson has stated that he intends to write a total of four sub-series in the Mistborn series, each with a different setting, genre, and tone. The first sub-series is the Original Trilogy, which is a medieval fantasy. The second sub-series is the Wax and Wayne Series, which is an industrial fantasy. The third sub-series will be a modern fantasy, which will take place in a contemporary-like setting where technology and magic are more advanced and widespread. The fourth sub-series will be a science fiction fantasy, which will take place in a futuristic-like setting where technology and magic are intergalactic and cosmic.
The Future Books will consist of at least six books: three books for the Third Mistborn Trilogy and three books for the Fourth Mistborn Trilogy. The Third Mistborn Trilogy will follow the story of a new group of characters who will deal with new threats and mysteries in the modern era of the Mistborn world. The Fourth Mistborn Trilogy will follow the story of another new group of characters who will face new challenges and adventures in the science fiction era of the Mistborn world. The Future Books will also explore new aspects and possibilities of the Mistborn world, such as new forms of magic, new types of metal, new races and cultures, new planets and realms, and new gods and forces.
The Future Books are expected to be written and published after Brandon Sanderson finishes his other ongoing projects, such as The Stormlight Archive (another fantasy series that is set in the same universe as the Mistborn series), Skyward (a science fiction series that is set in a different universe from the Mistborn series), and other standalone novels and novellas. The Future Books are eagerly anticipated by fans of the Mistborn series who are curious and excited to see how Brandon Sanderson will continue and conclude his epic fantasy saga.
Brandon Sanderson: A Master of Fantasy Writing
Brandon Sanderson is the author of the Mistborn series, as well as many other books and series that have made him one of the most prolific and popular writers in the fantasy genre. He is also a master of fantasy writing, who has demonstrated his skill and talent in creating original and complex worlds, magic systems, characters, plots, and themes. He is also a generous and engaging writer, who has shared his knowledge and passion for writing with his fans and aspiring writers through his lectures, podcasts, blogs, newsletters, and social media.
Biography: Who is Brandon Sanderson and how did he become a writer?
Brandon Sanderson was born on December 19, 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He grew up in Idaho, where he developed his love for reading and writing. He was especially fond of fantasy novels, such as The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Dragonlance Series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. He also enjoyed role-playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering.
Brandon Sanderson attended Brigham Young University, where he studied English literature and creative writing. He also joined a writing group called The Leading Edge, where he met other aspiring writers and received feedback on his stories. He also worked as an