Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Notes: "Shadows of Self", by Brandon Sanderson

"Shadows of Self", by Brandon Sanderson, continues the adventures of Lord Waxillium, begun in "Alloy of Law" (which I reviewed here).

The first book, "Alloy of Law", could be described as "old-fashioned (magical) Western lawman hits back at big-city crime".  It's largely focused on Our Hero, Lord Wax, the lawman-become-aristocrat. This sequel, on the other hand, is fun precisely because the sidekicks get a lot more play in the story - without the hero himself ever losing the determined purpose that keeps the plot ticking along.

My favorite character of this story was one of the sidekicks in particular: Wayne.  (And yes, Sanderson admitted that "Wax and Wayne" was meant as a pun.  In addition to that groaner, I invite you to look for the - TOTALLY JUSTIFIED BY THE PLOT - tinfoil hats worn by some of the townsfolk to protect their brains from interference. Sanderson really commits to his puns and jokes; it's great.)

Wayne, the sticky-fingered sidekick, has such a fun, sideways view of the world. He makes strange-yet-sensible observations all throughout the book. He's that guy whose comments always make you say, "What?!? . . . oh, um, yeah. I guess that's true." It was always fun to come across another scene about him.

All of the sidekick plots eventually take a back seat to the main story, which finds Lord Wax trying to discover who is causing all the riots and upheaval all over the city, and why. And the answer is one of Sanderson's signature surprises: he's so good at giving you that of course moment - the surprising-yet-inevitable conclusion that makes his books so satisfying at the end.

So, I'm not going to spoil that part. But I will recommend the book: it's an enjoyable read that doesn't disappoint. Looking forward to the next installment!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

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