Review: Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson

The second Mistborn trilogy continued with Shadows of Self, which brought some intrigue back into the world of Scadrial.

This review has no spoilers.



Waxillium Ladrian has accepted his role as a major Lord in Elendel, but continues to work as a constable with his partner Wayne. Marasi occasionally joins them on their adventures. The three of them find themselves in the midst of what has the potential to be the largest revolution since The Final Empire as the people of the city clash over a huge social and religious divide.

My Thoughts:

As a reminder, here’s the personal Mistborn ranking that I shared in my review for The Alloy of Law:

  1. The Hero of Ages (#3)
  2. The Final Empire (#1)
  3. The Well of Ascension & The Bands of Mourning (#2 & #6, tied for 3rd place)
  4. Shadows of Self (#5)
  5. The Alloy of Law (#4)

While this was my second least favorite of the six novels, I still enjoyed it. (Saying “second least favorite” sounds more negative than it actually is, because this is Sanderson.) Shadows of Self was a huge step up from the rather basic plot of The Alloy of Law, and I felt like I was truly back in the Mistborn world.

My absolute favorite parts of this novel were all the Steris and Wax moments. She was barely in the first one so I didn’t care much about her then, but all of her weird, quirky lines made me happy. The moment between the two at the very end of the novel, where she was the only person Wax reacted to honestly, hurt my heart and gave me a brand new shiny ship to obsess over! I support this arranged marriage all day long.

Wayne was also greatly improved. In The Alloy of Law, he could be obnoxious at times. Here, his back story made him more believable as a character and he had some genuinely funny moments. 

A few things kept this book from being perfect to me: 

I was happy to have the kandra back, because TenSoon was my FAVORITE in the previous books. However, I wasn't the biggest fan of MeLaan. It felt strange to have an ancient kandra acting so casual, though I guess this was to emphasize how they'd changed over the centuries, too. 

While I enjoyed the novel's buildup and the twist at the end, I wasn't super moved by the revelation. It made me sad and all, but not overly so since I never really saw the previous relationship (I'm being vague to avoid spoiling it) except through flashbacks. The night of revolution wasn't quite as intense as Kelsier's revolution but it still had me quickly turning the page.

Also - this is completely irrelevant to my actual review - why is this the only one of the Mistborn books without a “the” in the title?!


Shadow of Self got 3.5 of 5 stars. It brought the Mistborn world back in a breathtaking way while leaving me with plenty of questions, as Sanderson is wont to do.