[REVIEW] Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Characters – 4/5
Plot – 5/5
Style – 4/5
World building – 4/5
Overall – 4/5

“To the eyes of a man burning steel, Elendel was alight and full of motion, even while shadowed by darkness and mist. Metal. In some ways, that was the true mark of mankind. Man tamed the stones, the bones of the earth below. Man tamed the fire, that ephemeral, consuming soul of life. And combining the two, he drew forth the marrow of the rocks themselves, then made molten tools.”

SHADOWS OF SELF sees the return of Waxillium Ladrian, trying to balance his responsibilities as a lord and a lawman. When the Governor’s brother is murdered whilst hosting the cities corrupt noblemen and women, Wax is quickly drawn into the investigation. With the city falling apart and the killer always preternaturally one step ahead, Wax is forced to come uncomfortably close to accepting the possibility that this is one case he simply can’t handle.

In the same style as ALLOY OF LAW, Wax ends up once again drawn into a tangled mess of crimes, mysteries and thrilling experiences. There is a distinctly Wild West feel to these Era 2 novels that widens the genre and brings a completely new aspect to the fantasy landscape. I really enjoyed this crossover and as a reader who usually avoids crime and thrillers, this sideways introduction might encourage me to give some of the more traditional novels in this genre a try.

My absolute favourite features of the Wax and Wayne novels are the subtle nods to the original trilogy. While ALLOW OF LAW and SHADOWS OF SELF can both be appreciated without having read the Mistborn books, Wax’s thrill being at one with the mists is so beautifully aligned with my memories of the first novels. It’s incredibly nostalgic to read about the religions dedicated to serving Kelsier, Vin and Sazed as well as revisiting old places with new characters.

As what is essentially the fifth book of a series, at first SHADOWS OF SELF doesn’t seem to have much scope for building on an already well established world. But, of course, this is Brandon Sanderson we’re talking about. Taking on the industrial boom of Scadrial, where Kelsier and Vin once raced through Elendel’s streets in darkness, Wax now flies above motorcars and electric lights. It’s amazing to see such a familiar world through fresh eyes and I loved getting to know this newly developed Scadrial 300 years after the main events. Even since ALLOY OF LAW there has been rapid development in weapons and transport; this world is vibrant and free from the ashes that plagued Vin’s era.

The new characters continue to develop and I’ve really grown to like the determined Marasi more and more throughout these novels. She has just the right amount of impatience and tempestuousness thrown in with her intelligent and determined demeanour. Wax continues to be brilliant and terrible in equal measure, making reckless decisions that both serve his pride and protect his people.

We see the return of some huge characters and creatures from the Mistborn trilogy to shake the plot up and I’m very excited to see where Brandon takes the future books. The twists were just that little bit more sophisticated, complete with a truly unpredictable and devious villain, and the pace is pitched perfectly, keeping the narrative steaming ahead straight into a shattering conclusion. Dropping some serious bombshells towards the end, it’s clear that Wax, Wayne and Marasi definitely have a lot of story left to tell.

I received SHADOWS OF SELF from Orion in exchange for an honest review. My reviews always represent my own opinion.


[BOUT OF BOOKS 14] Challenge 3: MASH

“The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team”

I LOVE THIS CHALLENGE! A total throwback, Day 3 brings a classic game of MASH.

I themed my game on the typical dystopian story, using options from various scifi, fantasy and YA novels. I took a few liberties with the meanings of MASH too, forgive me. My categories were:

DYSTOPIAN CITY – The place I will spend my youth, until my awakening as the only one with the power to change the world

MAGIC – Which lovingly crafted magical system I’ll discover and use to break free from the chains of oppression

LOVE INTEREST – Which handsome rebel is going to steal my heart and distract me from liberating my people

PET – The loyal companion that will accompany me on my quest and probably die at the end trying to save me (still not over Hedwig, Jo)

I drew a swirl with six gaps and off I went to find my destiny!

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 19.42.03

So, in my very own dystopian story it looks like I’m taking down the patriarchy with Darrow, a bumblebee and some sweet sweet allomancy from the comfort of a magical forest. Yes. Actually does someone want to write that up for me? It sounds like something I’d very much like to read!

Charlotte x

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Worlds I wouldn’t want to live in


This week’s TTT, hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish, is one that definitely appealed to me! I read a lot of dystopian and apocalypse fiction so the answers came to mind pretty easily for me, so I decided to mix it up and make my post a little different. I’ve included the top six worlds I definitely would not like to live in, and the top four that I would!

Worlds I Would Hate to Live in:

1. The Hunger Games Trilogy (Panem)
Does this one really need an explanation? Not only are the citizens working to death and still starving, but they’re also being forced by an oppressive government to send their children into an arena to murder each other. Umm… I’ll pass, thanks.

2. Slated Trilogy
Kyla lives in a world where children can be taken away and have their memories ‘slated’ overnight. Accused of terrorism, they’re given a second chance under close observation with a new family, a new personality and a new mind. Sounds scary enough without even factoring in all the shady business, suspicion and lies the people responsible for slating are involved with. Nope, no thank you!

3. Penryn and the End of Days
I have no burning desire to witness the end of days, with angels of the apocalypse being sent down from Heaven to destroy everyone and everything in their path. Not my idea of a good day.

4. Blood of Eden (The Fringe)
If I were a vampire, this would definitely make it onto my list of worlds I would like to live in. Life seems pretty grand as a vampire. Sadly, being the feeble human I am, I can’t say a life of extreme poverty quaking under the constant shadow of a hoarde of predators really does it for me.

5. Mindjack Trilogy 
Living in a world filled with the constant noise of other peoples’ thoughts would drive me insane. I wouldn’t be able to deal with knowing everything someone was thinking, and knowing that they could hear exactly what I was thinking too! The privacy of your own mind is a blessing I don’t think many people would like to sacrifice.

6. Mistborn Series (Scadrial) 
This has a lot to do with the extreme poverty and dictatorship again, as found in more than a few fantasy novels. While having the powers of Allomancy would definitely be a plus, I don’t think I’d be happy to trade off for a life of scavenging and oppression.

Worlds I Would Love to Live in:

1. Harry Potter Series
I don’t believe that anyone in my generation who grew up with Harry Potter hasn’t felt the bitter pinch of disappointment when birthday after birthday their letter didn’t arrive from Hogwarts. The Harry Potter universe is a wonderful, magical place hidden within the everyday, urban, boring world of Muggles. Yeah, Voldemort might be trying to destroy everything and kill everyone in his path, but you get to be a wizard! With magic!

2. Draykon (Seven Realms)
Draykon’s world is absolutely gorgeous, filled with mysterious plants and creatures and its own unique pattern of night and day. The whole world is magical and I would just love to dive in and experience it first hand.

3. Wheel of Time 
This world is so expansive with a history so rich that it already feels like it could really exist in some kind of alternate reality. I love High Fantasy and the old-fashioned historical feel to it, so I could definitely imagine myself jumping straight into Two Rivers and joining Rand’s adventure. I think I’d like this place even if I wasn’t an Aes Sedai (but I do want to be, please oh please!).

4. Black Jewels Trilogy
A matriarchal society where nearly everyone is gifted with varying strengths of magic? Yes please! I’d take even a White jewel to live in that world! I see a pattern emerging, I clearly have a thing for the promise of magical powers. Oh dear.

I really enjoyed this weeks Top Ten Tuesday! Let me know in the comments which fictional worlds you would love or hate to live in!

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Books I would love to see as a movie/TV show

ImageThis weeks Top Ten Tuesday (click the image for the wonderful hosts!) was super easy for me. A lot of books I love have already been made into films or tv shows (for better or for worse) but there’s always going to be a long list of favourites I still want to see on the big screen! This list only stands under the condition that they’re done PERFECTLY (of course)!

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time Series)  – Robert Jordan
I would love to see this incredible series turned into a Game of Thrones style TV show. Epic adventure, magic, characters that just scream to be brought to life and a classic fantasy tale spanning 14 novels. Please, I am so ready for this.

The Final Empire (Mistborn Series) – Brandon Sanderson
In the same vein as the Wheel of Time Series, with GoT and True Blood paving the way for fantasy TV I think the public would eat this up.

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle) – Christopher Paolini
I know, I know, but it wasn’t very good. I want to see Eragon in the same glorious, magical light I read it in all those years ago and the 2006 film just did not satisfy.

Wicked (The Wicked Years) – Gregory Maguire
The musical inspired by Maguire’s truly amazing work is light, fun and definitely doesn’t reflect the deeper, sinister tone he weaves into the story. I’d love to see a film which follows the novel more closely and really plays up the darkness. (Side note: I absolutely adore the musical!)

If You Could See Me Now – Cecelia Ahern
I went through a major chicklit phase about 5 years ago and while I don’t read it anymore, If You Could See Me Now has really stuck with me. It would make for a great easy-going, soppy film to rival The Notebook.

The End Specialist – Drew Magary
Also known as The Postmortal in some countries, I can’t get the idea of The End Specialist filmed as an edgy, hand-camera style movie out of my head. It’s written like a documentary and would translate so well to cinema, someone make it happen!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy) – Laini Taylor
Another fantasy novel I think would make a great film, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is quickly gaining popularity and I’m sure it won’t be long until someone smart snaps up the rights! With such a versatile vision, the series would make a fantastic 80s Jim Henson’s Labyrinth style film, a dark Tim Burton interpretation or a more serious offering from a fantasy loving director.

Animal Farm – George Orwell
While I’m pretty sure this has already been made into a film at some point, I’d love to see a modern update with some fun special effects.

The Vampire Lestat (Vampire Chronicles) – Anne Rice
Interview with the Vampire was so perfect and it’s such a shame that The Vampire Lestat fell through this April. Tom Cruise needs to reprise his role and bring Lestat back to life/death.

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)- Veronica Roth
I don’t think I can wait any longer. PLEASE HURRY!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on books that would make great films or TV shows, make sure you comment below!

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Most memorable secondary characters

BlogMy first ever Top Ten Tuesday, hosted weekly by The Broke and Bookish, was a tough one. I spent a lot of time thinking about my choices and remembering why I absolutely adore, or despise, these secondary characters! I hope you like my choices and I look forward to reading everyone else’s picks!


10. Caleb Prior – Divergent Series (Veronica Roth)

Tris spends so much time thinking of herself (forgivable, she is the narrator after all) we never get a chance to pick her brother’s brain. Even though he regularly pops up throughout the series his motivations remain a mystery, and it would be interesting to hear the thoughts behind his, often surprising, choices.


9. Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger – Harry Potter Series (JK Rowling)

No list about secondary characters would be complete without a nod to JK Rowling. Harry Potter is rife with minor characters as friends, enemies and creatures, arguably the most influential and important of which being Ron and Hermione. They’re the brains and heart behind Harry’s quest, always pushing him onwards and keeping him alive until the next challenge is thrown at him.


8. Moiraine Damodred – The Wheel of Time Series (Robert Jordan)

This slot could have been filled by a number of similar characters, the classic mysterious and wise mentor to the protagonist. I chose Moiraine as she’s a complete badass, an incredibly powerful Aes Sedai who made it her mission to find and train the Dragon Reborn, fending off Trollocs and Forsaken with barely a bat of an eyelid and trailing all over The Westlands to keep Rand in check.

7. Dorothea SaDiablo – Black Jewels Trilogy (Anne Bishop)

Evil in the way only a woman can be, Dorothea is cut throat and devious, taking pleasure from her power and the ways she can wield it. The main antagonist in The Black Jewels Trilogy and The Invisible Ring prequel, she is memorable for her cruel and unusual ways of controlling men.

6. Kelsier – Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson)

Vin’s mentor in Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy is a rebellion hero. Powerful and dangerously charismatic he inspires a full scale revolution, giving us the most unforgettable scene in The Final Empire which encompasses everything he stands for.


5. The Tralfamadorians – Slaughterhouse 5 (Kurt Vonnegut)

Without these little green men Slaughterhouse 5 is a completely different novel. It is the philosophies and beliefs of these aliens that shape the novel, whether Billy is hallucinating or not. Billy used the Tralfamadorians to cope with the horrors he’d seen in Dresden, without them he would never have ‘travelled’ through the fourth dimension or learnt about the illusion of free will. Perhaps an unusual choice but the science fiction slant on what would otherwise be a literary anti-war novel is definitely unforgettable.


4. Rue – The Hunger Games (Susanne Collins)

Easily the most heartbreaking moment in The Hunger Games, Rue’s death symbolises everything Katniss hates about the Capitol. Innocent Rue was not only a memorable character but created, for me, the most memorable scene of the entire series.

3. Zuzana – Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series (Laini Taylor)

Zuzana is the perfect sidekick. She’s fierce, loyal and most importantly, hilarious. She offers the comic relief to an otherwise heavy series with her animated ways and is the reason Karou has such an affection for the human world.


2. Joffrey – A Song of Ice and Fire (George RR Martin)

No one who has read or seen Game of Thrones could forget Joffrey. The truly abhorrent eldest child of Cersei Lannister, he is cruel, spoilt and hated by his kingdom. Joffrey is without even one redeeming, humanising feature. Perhaps the most through-and-through evil character I’ve ever encountered and definitely memorable for it.

1. Tiny Cooper – Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Levithan)

There is no other place than first for Tiny Cooper. He is loud, fabulous and completely steals the show. He stages the biggest school musical to ever grace Chicago, falls in love four times a week and eventually becomes the glue which holds the entire story together. Tiny is the embodiment of a memorable secondary character as he struts his giant way through life.

Make sure you comment below with your suggestions and most memorable secondary characters!