Sunday, April 30, 2023

Book Review: The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson

The Lost Metal is a long overdue conclusion to the Wax and Wayne series of Mistborn novels, the second era for the Misborn series. 

For years, frontier lawman turned big-city senator Waxillium Ladrian has hunted the shadowy organization the Set-with his late uncle and his sister among their leaders-since they started kidnapping people with the power of Allomancy in their bloodlines. When Detective Marasi Colms and her partner Wayne find stockpiled weapons bound for the Outer City of Bilming, this opens a new lead. Conflict between Elendel and the Outer Cities only favors the Set, and their tendrils now reach to the Elendel Senate-whose corruption Wax and Steris have sought to expose-and Bilming is even more entangled. After Wax discovers a new type of explosive that can unleash unprecedented destruction and realizes that the Set must already have it, an immortal kandra serving Scadrial's god, Harmony, reveals that Bilming has fallen under the influence of another god: Trell, worshipped by the Set. And Trell isn't the only factor at play from the larger Cosmere-Marasi is recruited by offworlders with strange abilities who claim their goal is to protect any cost. Wax must choose whether to set aside his rocky relationship with God and once again become the Sword that Harmony has groomed him to be. If no one steps forward to be the hero Scadrial needs, the planet and its millions of people will come to a sudden and calamitous ruin.

Read on for my spoiler-free review, though bear in mind prior novels to this one are fair game when it comes to spoilers.

Overall Impression

This is probably one of the most Cosmere novels in the Cosmere that Sanderson has written. The Cosmere is the grander universe where most of his universe connects and this one relies heavily on it. Introducing some new, exotic characters and some deeper evolution this breathes new life into the Wax and Wayne series. Combined with the fascinating setting of Scadrial, the world of Mistborn, with all it's unique magic and some of the mysteries opened by the last book, this is one incredible ride.


This book takes place about 6 years after the events of the Bands of Mourning, which opened up the world with some heavy revelations towards the end. We follow the various characters in their quest to find answers to what the evil Set is planning, but also explicitly helping Harmony to defeat the growing threat of another god. We hop back and forth between several characters, which is not unique, but Marasi gets some really neat moments to shine. At part it feels more like a Marasi book than a Wax book, which is a good thing since Wax has had his spotlight and is now in his 50s. Overall, the plot is fast and very engaging. Interestingly enough, events from the very first novel in this set, The Alloy of Law, are relevant and see their payoffs now.


Many of the classic characters from the Wax and Wayne novels are here, including Wax, Wayne, Marasi, and Steris. We also have some interesting off-worlder characters, who play a pretty big role and serve to bridge the gap between normal events on the planet Scadrial with the grander events playing out in the Cosmere. Overall, though, one of the interesting aspects of this one compared to some of the prior ones is how much several of the characters develop. Wax is semi-retired and it really feels like it with his hesitation to join the scene, Wayne is having a bit of an identity crisis as he struggles with inner demons, and Marasi is coming to herself with a path that opens up to some exciting possibilities.

Setting / World Building

As with many Sanderson novels, the setting is a key part of the story and some of my favorite parts. This is still the world of Scadrial, but much larger now that the Malwish people have been introduced and there is trade (and growing tensions) between the continents. Technology has grown dramatically with automobiles now far more present than horses and even airships, though these are primarily used by the Malwish. In addition, there is more experimentation with metals, particular the "god metals," as some characters aim to recover the lost arts of full misborns.

Beyond Scadrial are rumblings in the Cosmere. We've seen a little bit of that in the past Mistborn books, with characters referring to a god "Trell" and Harmony revealing an outside threat in the prior novel. This is far more relevant in this book and we get visits from characters who are clearly not of this world. They have magic that comes from Elantris or Tress of the Emerald Sea or who knows where. There are mentions of Roshar, Adonalsium, Odium, and you get the sense that while most people live normal lives there are a few who take to Shadesmar and fight for their worlds and others. It is absolutely great to read about this and see a novel that doesn't hold back.

Final Thoughts

Overall this was a great novel. I do think it is best with a lot of experience in other Cosmere novels, so I recommend reading some of The Stormlight ArchiveElantris, and some of the shorter stories and novels set in the Cosmere. The characters are much better than the initial Wax and Wayne books, Sanderson really lets them grow in some interesting directions this time around. The setting is, as always, fascinating and it looks like it officially ends the second era in Mistborn. I imagine that means that future Mistborn books may open up a new chapter in the story with all the interesting things hinted at in this book. I look forward to reading those!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.