Reply: Wax and Wayne Series – Book 3: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Hey Jared,

It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper Reply post. I suppose I’ll should get used to it especial when it comes to Sanderson. (I know you’ve been working on Way of Kings, the tome that it is.)

bandsofmourningTitle: The Bands of Mourning
Series: Wax and Wayne Series; Book 3
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy
Audience:  Adult
ROTS Setting: Cosmere, Magic, Industrial Tech
Synopsis: The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
Recommendation: This book (& series) is highly recommended!

– – Major Spoilers – –

“Wax is a simple character,” you say……..No duh! His primary character trait is, “I’m all brokeded inside. Woe is me.” I’m left in an unusual situation for me. I finally have a character I dislike who I don’t think is annoying. “Hard and unreadable,” A hard exterior, sure, but his unreadability is more a lack of things to read. A book with nothing but pictures is unreadable too. All of Wax’s depth comes from emotional trauma and not just from hard living. That only goes so far and I reach my limit last book. Lastly, he gave about 5 sermons too many to Steris about how broken he is and that’s just the way he is.

My feelings about Wax are only made worse since he’s been surrounded by some of the most interesting and engaging characters, ever.

Wayne is a perfect mix of genius and crazy. He adds levity and spontaneity in all the right places but also profoundly disturbing moments too. I agree with you, his thinking and justification for his actions is fascinating. The consistency with his character speaks of some real depth even if it can’t be seen directly. I also really liked the MeLaan /Wayne relationship and I hope that it continues to develop. Their the right kind of crazy for each other.

Steris is my new second favorite character (behind Wayne, of course). You said she’d do anything to become useful to Wax, but I think there is more there. Part of her motivations is that she’s starting to realize that just being herself is ok. In fact, Wax likes and even loves the part of her that she’s tried to hid from everyone. Her deficit is her strength and she starts to lean into that by the end. I do think that Wax and Steris are perfect for each other because they accept each other for who they are. Neither is trying to change the other but they also support the other in their attempts to better themselves. It’s a very functional relationship for dysfunctional people.

I’m also going to disagree when it comes to Marasi. She isn’t in Wax’s shadow, at least not in this book. For me she’s finally not in his shadow and doesn’t really know what to do next. So she mostly coasts in this book. I do believe that in the end she realized that she really is no longer defined by Wax and that not being Wax and being herself is ok too.  Steris and Marasi come to much the same place just through opposite means.

Sure it’s been interesting to see them get electricity and cars but this book changes all that and jumps it decades into the future. We’ve got another group of humans on the planet who have existed for thousands of years, their culture, their history, their technology! The implications for the technology is astounding enough but then we get that epilogue!

The plot wasn’t as good as the previous two. Again, I think Wax was the weakest aspect of the book and if he’s the MC then the plot is weakened too. Thankfully this book was less Wax-centric than those previous books or things could have been much worse. That being said it’s a middle book when it comes to plot so there is some allowance for not being absolutely amazing.

So we’ve got at least a year before the next one comes out. Ugh. I can guarantee that we’ll be left with even more question then too…….But that’s what’s so good about Cosmere.

Robert


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Reply: Wax and Wayne Series – Book 3: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

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