Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Shadows of Self, by Brandon Sanderson

I finished reading a book! Shadows of Self, by Brandon Sanderson, is the sequel to The Alloy of Law and part of the new Mistborn series. I should read summaries of the earlier Mistborn books, because I only half-remember a lot of stuff. Having the characters from the original trilogy be mythological figures that occasionally show up in the current trilogy is fun, though. I read too slowly to re-read the actual books.

I did not love Shadows of Self; it actually took me something like two months to finish it, and I ended up reading most of it on the plane to and from Seattle. There is nothing especially wrong with the book, but the only character I love is Steris, who (a) has a tiny part and (b) nobody else loves. I've mentioned this before, but Alloy of Law was the book at inspired A Rational Arrangement, and in particular Steris inspired Wisteria. I wrote ARA specifically because I was like "Steris is great! Why can no one around her see how great she is? Okay, fine, I'm writing my own book and I'm gonna have a neurodiverse woman in it and she will have people who understand how wonderful she is." All the other characters were just kind of there. They have personalities but not ones that I care about.

Anyway, I stuck it out on the strength of "the plot will be cool even if it is wasted on me" and "maybe there will be more Steris." I just want someone to appreciate Steris as much as I do. 

I thought I was okay with the resolution but the more I think about it, the more I am annoyed by it. Like some of the antagonist's actions make sense in retrospect but I am seriously side-eyeing other aspects and BLAH. Also, I don't love the way everything in this setting revolves around the one male protagonist. Like there are other viewpoint characters but you feel like they only exist in relation to the protagonist. This is particularly irritating with the female characters whose most important emotion is "how do they feel about male protagonist?" This is not usually a problem that I have in Sanderson's work; it's specific to these two books.

To be clear: I don't think Shadows of Self was objectively bad; it's mostly just ... not for me. Sanderson's choice to make Steris both great and underappreciated is perfectly valid. He's allowed. I'm allowed to whinge about it. That's how these things go. n_n

Anyway, I didn't enjoy it very much. A 7, I guess, mostly rescued from a 6 by the small bits of Steris here and there.
This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: book review, reviews
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.