My Review of. . .
Shadows of Self
Shadows of Self
Waxillium Ladrian, a high-ranking member of society and former frontier lawman, finds life in the city of Elendel to be far from the sedate affair people would have him believe. All that chic and elegance is merely a front for an avalanche of crooked shenanigans that keeps both him and his team – Wayne and Marasi – on their toes.
What do I mean? Here’s a little clue from the book blurb.
hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the
verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting
in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed
skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
When family obligations forced Waxillium Ladrian to forsake the frontier lands and return to the metropolis of his birth to take his place as head of a noble House, he little imagined that the crime-fighting skills acquired during twenty years in the dusty plains would be just as applicable in the big city. He soon learned that there too, just being a talented Twinborn ― one who can use both Allomancy and Feruchemy, the dominant magical modes on Scadrial ― would not suffice.
This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society will now face its first test by terrorism and assassination, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax, his eccentric sidekick Wayne, and brilliant, beautiful young Marasi, now officially part of the constabulary, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife can stop Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.
I enjoyed this sequel to The Alloy of Law, as Sanderson advances Scadrial’s history by allowing its citizens to dictate the pace and direction the story arc takes.
Yes, the world itself is much more settled now. Things are as they should be and nature is slowly adapting to find its place. But society? Though Vin, Elend and Sazed worked hard to free the people of oppression at the hands of a dictator and an unfair class system, we find human nature has a nasty habit of sliding back into old, long-adopted habits. Habits that can spell disaster if they’re not tempered in some way.
Socioeconomic instability. Political intrigue. Empire building. Out and out scoundrels. Poignant blast’s from the past. They’re all there, in a superbly crafted tale that bundles you along at a cracking pace. As always, the characters themselves help the story along, as they each struggle with their own hurdles while contending with the ever shifting foundations that makes you wonder just how bad things are going to get. And the drama doesn’t leave Wax’s family untouched, either.
In what way?
Let’s just say, there are two sides to every coin. And as a coinshot hunter of the lawless, Wax finds his loyalties tested by the evidence he uncovers. Evidence that points to an escalation of unrest and violence that could very well bring ruin to all that the last 300 years has achieved. And his own family is involved in it. Yes, the threads of Harmony and Ruin run deep, and only Wax and his friends stand a chance of steering things in the right direction.
With superb interplay between the characters, and a clever marriage of steampunk, wild west and otherworld – yet oh so familiar – fantasy magic as you’ll ever see, it’s riveting stuff.