The Bands of Mourning

March 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

mourningThe Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson


As much as I like Sanderson’s writing, he’s terrible at naming his Mistborn books. I can’t figure out if he’s being willfully obtuse by coming up with these titles, or if he started down that path with The Well of Ascension and now feels like he’s stuck with it. Either way, the titles of these books are hardly evocative, and only make sense once you’ve read the books.

In this case, the Bands of Mourning are the bracers that the Lord Ruler wore way back in the first book, which enabled him to access all the metallurgical powers. The chief antagonist identified in the previous book, Mr. Suit, is on a quest to retrieve the legendary bracers in an attempt to help him create Allomancers and Feruchemists from scratch, regardless of their lineage. That kind of power would make him the next Lord Ruler, and as has been told in the series already, this is a Very Bad Idea™.

Like the previous books, though, Sanderson isn’t content with telling a traditional high-fantasy novel. This was the case with the first three books in the series, though with the last two, he’s shied away from the epic scale of the original novels, preferring to tell adventure tales instead. I can’t complain — I actually like the adventures better than the epic stuff — but with The Bands of Mourning, he starts to return to the epic storytelling that began with The Final Empire. He doesn’t shy away from mixing it up into an adventure story, so he’s written a book that can appeal to both crowds here. Anyway, The Bands of Mourning could have been a very standard fantasy novel, save for how Sanderson chose to conclude it. I won’t give anything away (give me some credit here), but readers who have stuck with the series this far shouldn’t be disappointed.

Myself, I would have preferred it if the story had been a bit more The Alloy of Law and less The Hero of Ages, but it still entertained. It reminds me again of how genre fiction used to be more about the ideas than the execution, but has since evolved into good stories with intriguing ideas behind them. Nevertheless, I’m eager to see what Sanderson has planned for the end of this second part of his Mistborn series.


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