New Release Book Review: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

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Title: The Bands of Mourning
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published: January 28th 2016
Publisher: Gollancz
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 448 pages
Source: NetGalley eARC

Book Blurb (via Goodreads):

The Mistborn trilogy has become a firm favourite with fantasy fans the world over. The imagination that Sanderson brought to the series and his skill at marshalling epic storylines and dramatic action, his ability to create vivid characters made him a natural choice to complete Robert Jordan’s epic wheel of time sequence. But with Mistborn, Sanderson has shown his bountiful talents in his own fiction. Now he returns to the series that made his name with a new story, building on the incredible success of THE ALLOY OF LAW.
The new Mistborn books move the series into a richly imagined 19th century analogue world with elements of the wild west mixed with magic and science. It’s a wonderful concoction from a master storyteller.
Sanderson has the knack of giving the epic fantasy reader exactly what they want. This ability has thrown him to the forefront of the genre and this novel will take him to the next level.

My Thoughts

You can see my reviews of previous books in this series here: Alloy of Law | Shadows of Self

Sanderson is back with another Mistborn book and I was so excited that we didn’t have to wait as long this time around. The Mistborn trilogy is currently the only series of Sanderson’s that I’ve read, but his writing is so rich and full of imagery that I’m excited to see where he goes with this series and it’s also got me eager to pick up some of his other books (I own a few already).

The Bands of Mourning begins several months after Shadows of Self and Waxillium is set to marry Steris, as per their agreement. However, when things start going wrong for the pair, there’s barely time to pick up the pieces because they’re approached by the Faceless Immortals, who need their help. Wax, Wayne, Marasi, and Steris set out to uncover more about the Set and Wax’s Uncle. Disaster seems to follow them around as things go from bad to worse, and the Set’s secrets seem to go deeper and deeper.

There’s not a lot that you can really say about the plot without spoiling it for other people – especially if they haven’t even started the series. I’ll try to be as in-depth as I can be without spoilers.

The relationship between Wax and Steris flourishes in unexpected ways during this book, which I really enjoyed. I’ve always loved Steris as a character, she’s been on the sidelines a lot but I could see the potential within her to be a larger part of the story. I was glad that she played more of a major role this time around. Wayne’s love life takes a new turn in this book as well, which was great because Wayne really needed a new focus.

Wayne also got a slightly bigger role this time around as well, I would say, and I really enjoyed the sections that were from his perspective. Wayne has to be my favourite character from this part of the Mistborn series and any chance he gets to act goofy is always a plus for me.

With the Set making moves into unknown territory and Wax’s crew making new and unexpected alliances, the hunt is on for the most reknowned relic in the world – the Bands of Mourning, also known as the Lord Ruler’s own bracers.

There was barely a moment to breathe with non-stop action pushing Wax closer and closer to reaching his Uncle and finding out exactly what the Set is planning. Sanderson uses his masterful weaving of many plots to create an exciting story that has you cheering and gasping and longing for more.

The Mistborn series as a whole is full of interesting characters, world building to lose yourself in, and a complex collection of plots and twists to keep you guessing. At the end of every book so far, I’ve found myself closing the last page and just thinking for a moment about the journey I’ve just taken and then I have to look up the release date of the next book because this is a series that you need to keep reading!

Another excellent story from Sanderson that will delight and excite readers, old and new.

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Buy Links!

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Amazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Waterstones

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About the Author

Brandon Sanderson was born in December 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested for him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This all changed in eighth grade when an astute teacher, Mrs. Reader, gave Brandon Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. Brandon thoroughly enjoyed this book, and went in search of anything similar. He discovered such authors as Robert Jordan, Melanie Rawn, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, and Orson Scott Card. Brandon continued to be an avid reader through junior high and high school. He liked epic fantasy so much that he even tried his hand at writing some. His first attempts, he says, were dreadful.

In 1994 Brandon enrolled at Brigham Young University as a biochemistry major. From 1995 to 1997 he took time away from his studies to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brandon often says that it was during this time in Seoul, Korea that he realized that he didn’t miss chemistry one bit, but he did miss writing. Upon his return to BYU, Brandon became an English major, much to the dismay of his mother, who had always hoped he would become a doctor.

Brandon began writing in earnest, taking a job as the night desk clerk at a hotel because they allowed him to write while at work. During this era he went to school full time during the day, worked nights to pay for his schooling, and wrote as much as he could. He says it made for a rather dismal social life, but he finished seven novels during his undergraduate years. Brandon submitted many manuscripts for publication . . . and accumulated quite a pile of rejection letters. In spite of this he continued to be a dedicated writer.

Volunteering for The Leading Edge, BYU’s science fiction/fantasy magazine, was a wonderful experience for Brandon. He read many submissions, formed some lifelong friendships, and served as Editor in Chief during his senior year.

Brandon learned much about the business side of being a writer by taking a class from David Farland, author of the popular Runelords series. One piece of advice Dave gave Brandon was to attend conventions, such as WorldCon and World Fantasy, in order to connect with industry professionals. Brandon and a small group of friends who were also aspiring writers began to do so. He eventually met both his current agent and one of his editors at conventions.

It was in 2003, while Brandon was in the middle of a graduate program at BYU, that he got a call from editor Moshe Feder at Tor, who wanted to buy one of Brandon’s books. Brandon had submitted the manuscript a year and a half earlier, and had almost given up on hearing anything, so he was surprised and delighted to receive the offer. In May 2005 Brandon held his first published novel,Elantris, in his hands. Over the next few years, Tor also published Brandon’s Mistborn trilogy, its followup The Alloy of LawWarbreaker, and The Way of Kings, the first in a projected ten-volume series called The Stormlight Archive. The second book in the series, Words of Radiance, was released on March 4th, 2014. Other projects continue to be in the works.

In 2004 after graduating with his Master’s degree in creative writing from Brigham Young University, Brandon was asked to teach the class he had taken as an undergraduate student from Dave Farland. In spite of his busy schedule, Brandon continues to teach this one section of creative writing focused on science fiction and fantasy because he enjoys helping aspiring writers. It also gets him out of the house, he says. Additionally, along with Howard Tayler, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Dan Wells, he hosts the doubly Hugo-nominated writing advice podcast Writing Excuses, which has twice won a Parsec Award.

In July 2006 Brandon married Emily Bushman. Emily and Brandon ran in many of the same circles at BYU during their student days, since Emily majored in English as well. They never met, however, until a mutual friend set them up on a date in 2005. Emily had spent seven years as a teacher, but chose to quit with the birth of their first child in October 2007. Emily now works from home part time as Brandon’s business manager.

Brandon’s repertoire expanded into the children’s market when Scholastic published Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, a middle-grade novel, in October 2007. Nancy Pearl gave this book a very favorable review on National Public Radio, which pleased Sanderson fans. Three more volumes of the series have been released so far. Additionally, Brandon’s novella Infinity Blade: Awakening was an ebook bestseller for Epic Games accompanying their acclaimed Infinity Blade iOS video game series.

In December 2007 Brandon was chosen by Harriet McDougal Rigney to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after his untimely passing. 2009’s The Gathering Storm and 2010’s Towers of Midnight was followed by the final volume in the series, A Memory of Light, in January 2013.

The only author to make the short list for the David Gemmell Legend Award six times in four years, Brandon won that award in 2011 for The Way of Kings and is on the short list again in 2012 for The Alloy of Law. He has also won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice award for Best Epic Fantasy twice and has been nominated three other years. He was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He has hit the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Best-Seller List six times, with his first Wheel of Time book knocking Dan Brown out of the #1 spot and his second dethroning John Grisham. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians was optioned for film by DreamWorks Animation, Mistborn was optioned by Paloppa Pictures, and a Mistborn video game will be released by Little Orbit in 2013 for all platforms. Brandon’s books have been published in over twenty languages.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

*Picture from Goodreads, biography from website.

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