The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

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Mistborn #6

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The penultimate book of Mistborn Era 2 solved many of the complaints I had from The Alloy of Law (AL). Shadows of Self (SOS) started to address my concerns, but Bands of Mourning really pulled everything together. That being said, despite its 500-page length, I found myself yearning for more context and worldly background. I’m hoping we’ll get exactly that in the final book as Wax and Wayne dive deeper into other cultures and the world’s history.

Character development was key in Bands of Mourning. While AL and SOS focused largely on Wax and Wayne’s character development, Bands of Mourning gave us more insight into Marasi and especially Steris through Wax and Wayne’s perspectives (and a few chapters from Marasi’s). BOM definitely focused more on Steris, while SOS saw more growth from Marasi. In BOM, Marasi is shown settling into her role as lieutenant in the local constabulary and struggling against sexism and ageism from her fellow constables. I’m guessing we’ll get more scenes with her in the next installment – BOM was rather sparse with Marasi’s development. I do appreciate Sanderson’s honesty in her plight. While the other constables in her jurisdiction clearly don’t take her seriously because of her age and gender, I never got the feeling that Marasi was a throwaway background character. The ageism and sexism of her colleagues is clearly shown as unacceptable and Marasi does her best to stand up to it. I’m looking forward to seeing her growth as a constable in the next book.

Despite my earlier grumblings about the perplexing Steris, she really grew on me in BOM. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still plenty perplexing – she’s just also more well-rounded now. During a few heart-to-hearts with her and Wax, we see more of who Steris actually is and honestly? A lot of the things I like about Wax can also be found in her. Steris basically represents what most of us would be like in the noble world – nervous, anxious, and overcompensating way too much. Now that I’ve read about her methods of handling those social situations, I have to admit: I’d probably do the exact same thing. There are few things I relate more to than being born into a world where you don’t feel you fit in. The nobility in Elendel is a mysterious, ever-changing enigma and navigating it as an outsider would be terrifying. Steris’ cold, emotionless approach is her reaction to an unhealthy, judgmental, and unwelcoming environment; Sanderson’s handling of her character development has been masterful, especially in taking her from unlikable/unrelatable to a valid, well-rounded character with her own individual thoughts and goals. Steris does the best she can with the tools and resources she has and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she came out on top when all is said and done.

BOM finally started to explore the outside world that was hinted at in SOS. Up to this point, virtually all of the present-day action has occurred within the city confines. Since Elendel is a huge city, this served the purpose of the other books, but I’ve been itching to know more about the surrounding areas. Not to mention, inn the original Mistborn trilogy, we (again) stayed mostly in the city – I’m looking forward to seeing what Sanderson can do with a larger Mistborn world. The glimpses we’ve had of other civilizations and their technological advancements has been promising already. Though the series has had some steampunk-inspired themes already, the introduction of flying ships was still very surprising to me, especially with their futuristic construction and function. The waterfall city was also intriguing in its design and seemed wholly different from other fantasy cities I’ve read about. Honestly, I’d love to read books set in both the futuristic civilization and the waterfall city (despite its resemblance to Elendel’s noble society). The possibilities are endless with both of these and I’m a little sad the next book will be the last.

All in all, Bands of Mourning gets a 5/5 from me and a 10/5 for anticipation of the next installment. Another Sanderson novel well done!

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