The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Rating 8.5/10
A master of fantasy storytelling

Book of the Month

Suffice it to say, I forgot that The Bands of Mourning was actually the second book in a trilogy, and not the third. Despite appearances, The Alloy of Law is actually a standalone novel, followed by a trilogy, and so I was quietly surprised when I turned the page to the Postscript in The Bands of Mourning and found myself reading of not only a third and final book in this series, but a digital novella available online to fill in a few of the gaps created by this latest Mistborn book.

It took me a little while to pick up The Bands of Mourning due to there being other books and no time. I genuinely love Brandon Sanderson’s writing – especially his Mistborn books, but for some reason I just took my time and waited.

I’m sort of glad I did, because I was able to dedicate two separate reading sessions to this book (rather than the alternate 87) and really enjoy this book. And it doesn’t take long to find yourself pulled back into the Mistborn world, and literally watch as a civilization with a type of magic finds itself developing technology independent from, and dependent on that magic. It’s a fantastic bit of worldbuilding which makes Brandon Sanderson’s novels somewhat unique, in that we are really watching two stories – one a micro-story, focusing on the lives of individual characters trying to eke out answers, the other, a macro-story, of an entire civilization on the move, that has so far been spread out over six different books (and likely to be many more).

Of course, the micro-story is the focus of this review, as it is the focus of the book – the macro-story is something Sanderson just throws in because he’s that good of a writer.

The work of the Set continues, and more and more are being dragged into harm’s way as a result. The world is growing, and we get to travel to the outer cities for the first time and expand our horizons beyond Elendel. Again, there is much more to first impressions, and the world is unsurprisingly soon turned on its head as everything hits the fan, but that starts us on a journey that takes us, literally, nowhere the reader could possibly predict.

I spend most of my time reading these new Mistborn books hoping for more time with Marasi, though Sanderson continues to tease me. Obviously the focal point of the book is Wax, but the immediate supporting cast is so important to these books that I’m not surprised when I find I’ve gone a chapter or so without entering into his POV – in fact, I think the way that the story is going allows for this possibility even more as we progress.  

In the end, there is not a lot more you can say about the author’s writing ability that has not already been said in the dozen and more books that I have already reviewed by Sanderson – except to say that he hasn’t let us down. There isn’t a lot of growth in his writing, but you can easily make the argument that there’s nowhere else for him to grow to. The Bands of Mourning represents exactly how you write the middle book in a trilogy, without it simply being seen as the stepping stone between book one and three. The character growth for everyone is vital, and beautifully fleshed out, leaving you absolutely enthralled.

The Bands of Mourning serves as testament to Brandon Sanderson’s status as a master of fantasy storytelling.

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