So when I wrote up Shadows of Self, the book to which Brandon Sanderson’s Bands of Mourning is the sequel, I said a bunch of positive things, but was wary that the series might devolve into “Cosmere” meta-story bullshit, so the obvious question is: Has it?
And the answer is: No, not yet, but… it’s getting closer. There was one moment in the book when I thought it was going to jump the rails, focusing entirely on meta-cosmic nonsense, but it pulled back from that brink, and went back to being about the actual world the characters live in, and the things they should care about. But if this book wasn’t irredeemably contaminated with Cosmere silliness, it points the way clearly to a next book that is. Given a couple of plot elements here, I actually don’t know how this series can wrap up without being all about Cosmere stuff, which displeases me greatly.
And that’s a particular shame, because—just as I said about the previous book—this is some of the best work Sanderson has done. It has the best characters, maybe the most absorbing plots, and certainly the sharpest writing stylistically. Having that ruined by Foundation and Robot-style meta-fictional awfulness is just a huge waste.
Maybe I’ll be wrong, and things will wrap up without crossing over the bullshit event horizon; that’d be wonderful, and if it happens, I can recognize these books unreservedly. But for the moment, I’ve got reservations.