Shadows of Self (Mistborn: The Alloy Era #2) by Brandon Sanderson: Book Review

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Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more. A bloody massacre, a hunt for an assassin.

An Invitation to the criminal elite of Elendel from the brother of the city’s governor to an auction for his vote in the senate becomes a death sentences for all involved when an unknown assailant slaughters everyone in attendance.

Waxillium Ladrian investigates and is shocked to discover that the perpetrator may be a kandra calling herself Bleeder. As the servants of Harmony, the god of the religion Wax himself adheres to, the kandra usually operate in secret, and many people think them merely a myth. Now one of the kandra has gone rogue, which shouldn’t be possible.

Wax, Wayne and the brilliant Marasi must track down Bleeder and keep her from assassinating the governor of Elendel and plunging the city into chaos.  Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.(Goodreads)

My Review

My Rating: 5/5

I’ll be honest. I thought that I would never rate the Era 2 books nearly as highly as the Era 1 books.

I was wrong. VERY wrong.

These books hold their own against the tidal wave that was their predecessors. They are different, being more mystery/thriller books than epic fantasy, which certainly adds to them being independently brilliant.

I almost didn’t pick up this book, however, because I think I read Alloy of Law too soon after finishing Era 1 and the novella Secret History. My mind was still 300 years in the past when I was introduced to Wax and Wayne. That is why, I believe, my review of the first book is not great. I will reread it one day and rectify that.

Wayne is my favourite character, and I think many who read these books agree with me. He’s fun, cheeky, and just seems to glide through life whilst also dealing with a past that haunts him. It makes for a fascinating character.


I don’t know why, but Sanderson has a trope of his own – a man killing his wife in the past is haunted by it and wants to make up for it in some way. That said, he does the trope well and it doesn’t feel like a copy-and-paste job. Sanderson puts a lot of work into making it feel real.


I liked Waxillium much more in this book. He felt more rounded and fully realised. Maybe that was my issue with all of the character in the first book? I often find that in crime novels, it takes a couple of books to get to know the characters well because the book is focusing more on the mystery!

Overall, this was a great read. Definitely one of my favourites.

See more reviews for Brandon Sanderson’s books HERE

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