After taking a few weeks away, I am diving back into Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere. This novella, published in January 2016 only a few days after the release of Bands of Mourning, purports to fill in some of the gaps in the Mistborn storyline, tie it into the larger universe, and give the reader some more time with a particular character they may have not gotten enough of in the original trilogy.
Before I continue on with this post I want to share a brief except from the author’s preface:
This story contains enormous spoilers for the first three Mistborn novels. Seriously, please don’t read this unless you’ve read those books. I’d actually prefer you wait until you’ve finished book six, The Bands of Mourning, because some of the reveals in this story will spoil that book as well.
He’s not kidding, although I don’t think this book would make much sense to someone who has not read the first trilogy anyway. Regardless, I’m putting the rest of this post after a break so as to not inadvertently ruin things for anyone new to the series. I won’t give away all the details, but I do have some specifics I want to discuss. You have been warned.
This story overlaps the events of the original trilogy and looks at what happened to Kelsier after he was killed by the Lord Ruler. Not content to pass on into death and whatever lies in the Beyond, Kelsier’s spirit lingers on in the Cognitive Realm, where he attempts to cajole and/or con a weakened Preservation into restoring his life. Unable to persuade the deity and too stubborn to die, Kelsier instead remains trapped in the realm watching the events of the original trilogy unfold from behind the scenes. In the process he wages his own private battle with Ruin, along the way visiting some unexplored regions of Scadrial and meeting a few interesting travelers from elsewhere is the Cosmere.
I am really happy I read this. While perhaps not as satisfying a story as some the others in this series, what I liked about this work was that it offered a good primer for entering into the Cosmere. Although it probably raised more questions than it answered, I now have some sense of the rules and mythology of this universe and have perhaps met some key players as well. At the very least I now have a better idea of what questions to have in the first place. As an unexpected bonus, I also got a partial answer to my questions about Spook after finishing Bands of Mourning.
Speaking of the Wax and Wayne series, there also seem to be some pretty big implications here for the seventh Mistborn novel. With Kelsier pretty much confirmed as the savior of the people from the southern continent, I can’t help but wonder what kind of influence he’s been. Although his closest friends, Vin and Sazed/Harmony, greet him fondly when they finally cross paths again, they also harbor certain reservations about him. Kelsier’s answer to Vin’s parting question, How much of what you’ve done was about love, and how much was about proving something?, feels like it may weigh heavily on the outcome of the next book and perhaps reveal something about Harmony’s decisions as well. Again I can’t help but wonder what Harmony knows about the universe and what he thinks he’s protected the section of Scadrial we are familiar with from.
With this book behind me, I now feel ready to wander into some of Sanderson’s other works. My next stop will be the Stormlight Archives, starting with book one titled The Way of Kings.