The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
I feel like I’ve come to an end of an era and have come to realise how terribly anti-climactic it was. An awful sentence to start a review for a book I know I’m going to give 4 stars but finishing this and knowing I have to wait for the next one just feels exasperating. How dare Sanderson not have everything written up already!?
‘“Go,” Marasi said. “Do what you do best, Waxillium Ladrian.”
“Which is what? Break things?”
“Break things,” Marasi said, “with style.”’
Let’s talk about Wayne
I will be blunt, I did not like the beginning (I swear I do overall like this book). To talk about the beginning, we need to talk about Wayne. Wayne is Wax’s sidekick…comic sidekick. He has been weirdly harmless for the last two books if slightly on the annoying side. But in Bands of Mourning he actually tries to derail the story. I nearly stopped reading three chapters in because of him!
He’s mad but mad characters require some understandability. You need to empathise with them on some level and I just can’t with Wayne. You have no idea how many times I kept screaming at the book: STOP STEALING THINGS! He’s just mad, MAD! And I’ve had enough of him and just wanted to shake his shoulders for ruining the book.
And all the rest of it!
However as the book continued I definitely started to like it more. In this book, unlike the previous, things move forward, rather than backwards. Steris joins our merry band, which I love given she is absolutely my favourite character and I’m glad for all the time we get to spend with her.
‘“What the hell is in this?”
“Other than steel?” Steris asked. “Cod-liver oil.”
He looked at her, gaping.
“Whiskey is bad for you, Lord Waxillium. A wife must look out for her husband’s health.”’
I did, towards the end, genuinely worry it was going to just be a repeat of Hero of Ages and I was ready for a screaming, ranting review but in the end, Sanderson can still surprise me. The last book, Shadow of Self and for good chunk of this book I felt angry and disappointed because I felt like it was just repeating what had come before it. However the ending was smackgobbingly good. I still believe there are too many twists, now more than ever because we’re in a more down-to-earth world, but the ending had me hooked. I’m so irritated I now have to wait like a peasant for the final book: The Lost Metal.