Brandon Sanderson’s The Lost Metal finishes up his Cowboy Mistborn trilogy, seven years after the last installment. If you’re like me, that means you have absolutely no idea what was going on in this series, and you’re going to need to know, so I will do you the favor of linking to the wiki with extremely detailed recaps—but do be careful about clicking around outside the recaps, the spoiler warnings are real.

So, now that your memory is refreshed, you might also remember that in my write-up of the previous book, I was worried about whether this series was getting too Cosmere-y. For the last book, the answer was “not yet” but for this book the answer is, “oh, absolutely yes.”

On that BranSan wiki, the Cosmere page says: “Despite the connections, Brandon has remained clear that one does not need any knowledge of the broader cosmere to read, understand, or enjoy books that take place in the cosmere.” That’s a neat theory, and I’m sure it was true once, but it is absolutely 1,000% no longer true. This entire book is about the broader cosmere. It’s chock full of characters and places that appear in his other books, and that will appear in future series. The core plot couldn’t exist without the cosmere.

And, I hate it. I thought that tying together all his books into one big meta-story was going to be a bad idea, and now that it’s happened, I’m even more certain that it is. It turns fiction into meta-fiction, it turns magic systems into meta-magic systems, and it turns story into meta-story. Mistborn is a setting that should have all kinds of possibility, but now that it’s just one train stop on the cosmere line, all those stories have been burnt up, and all that matters is how Mistlandia fits into the cosmere. So I guess get used to seeing these characters in BranSan’s other books, before he finally returns for the third age of Mistborn series, which I guess are going to be all about exploring the cosmere or some such nonsense.

If you’ve been reading this series, you’ll probably need to read this one just to get the end of it—and I mean, on a page-by-page level, it’s not bad; BranSan is still a writer who knows how to make things compellingly readable—but ugh, what a mess.


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