CRUISING THE COSMERE: The Lost Metal (BOOK REVIEW)
“Tonight Waxillium embraced that duty. He became destruction incarnate. For to worship Harmony was not only to worship Preservation—it was also to worship Ruin, with all that implied.”
Here we are folks, my journey through the Cosmere has finally led me to the epic conclusion of Mistborn era two and my gosh does this book end with a Cosmere rippling bang. The Lost Metal is beyond an incredible journey that will lead you through mind-blowing discoveries, thrilling action scenes, humour and heartbreaking heartache.
It goes without saying but it bears repeating, you need to have read Mistborn era one to fully appreciate era two, but now I also need to urge you all to read Mistborn: Secret History because certain parts of The Lost Metal will not make sense unless you have. There are many other connections to Cosmere books too, and whilst it is helpful to have read Stormlight Archives, Elantris and other novellas found within Arcanum Unbounded, it is not vital. Please note this review may contain spoilers for Mistborn era one, the first three books of era two, it will contain spoilers for Mistborn: Secret History and mild spoilers for the other Cosmere books. It is too hard to write this review without mentioning characters or magic systems from other worlds.
The Lost Metal is the book where we finally get some answers. From the kidnappings of Allomancers in The Alloy of Law, the secrets of the Set and their true intentions, Harmony’s indecisiveness, Telsin’s treachery and the wider threat to Scadriel from unknown forces, all is skilfully brought together and revealed. Though as Sanderson repeatedly states, “there’s always another secret.”
Since The Alloy of Law, the city of Elendel has been plagued by the criminal organisation known as, the Set. With the major leaders of this organisation being Wax’s uncle Edwarn and his sister Telsin, Waxillium has spent years trying to bring them down. Yet in the aftermath of finding the Bands of Mourning, Wax has now retired from being a notorious lawman and becomes a senate, swapping reining in criminals to reining in politicians instead, perhaps a job no easier and just as deadly. The Set will not go unchecked though as when Detective Marasi and her partner Wayne uncover suspicious weapons in the City of Bilming, they are once more hot on the tracks of the Set’s whereabouts. However, events escalate when Wax accidentally discovers a new type of bomb, one that could cause an immense amount of death and he fears the Set may already be planning to use it. To make matters even more dire, the God Trell is preparing for an invasion, his strings are pulled by a higher force within the Cosmere and Harmony, the God of Scadriel, is blinded to the events unfolding. He once again calls upon Wax to be his Sword, and our Dawnshot knows he is the last hope left, for if he fails the world will fall to ruin.
“In the Roughs you depended on your gun, your instincts, and your ability to ask the right questions. Here he had to depend on others to do the right thing. And so far there had been no greater test of his faith in humanity-serial killers included–than working with politicians.”
Our narrative picks up six years afterThe Bands of Mourning, and that passage of time is immediately felt. The lives of our characters have greatly progressed both in a professional and personal manner. Marasi is a well respected detective, no longer sidelined or mocked, Steris’ preparation and planning becomes ever more vital especially when dealing with politicians, she finally begins to see her worth, Wax buries the demons from his past and feels contentment in his life, and Wayne… Well Wayne remains himself but with an added layer of depth. Each character now has more responsibility and people they care for, making the stakes of their mission to stop the Set and the invasion ever more higher. It is clear the time for insecurities and second guessing has passed, these characters must now become the heroes Scadriel needs and put their skills into action one last time.
Speaking of action, this is perhaps the most action packed instalment in the Mistborn saga. I found Sanderson did a superb job of exploring the Metallic Arts even further and showing how the advancement of the magic system, particularly in the use of Hemalurgy, was both fascinating and frightful. In fact I loved how balanced this novel was, from characters facing the perils before them head on, to the politics, to laugh-out-loud humour, and to the breathtaking action sequences, this is a novel which never has a dull moment. Sanderson is a master of building powerfully charged characters, ones which fully embrace his intricate magic systems, yet they are never so powerful that they cannot be challenged, or even killed, and this time around Wax and Wayne meet their match in combat, quite literally. This created many exciting and quite amusing scenes throughout which of course I revelled in. We also see returning characters from Mistborn era one, which added an extra slice of delight. However, what this novel really excels at are the connections made throughout the Cosmere.
Here is where my review becomes Cosmere spoilery so be warned.
If you have read Mistborn Secret History then you will know that Kelsier is not quite dead, and if you have read Oathbringer you will know of the organisation called the Ghostbloods, and if you have read Rhythm of War then you will know the leader of the Ghostbloods is revealed as Kelsier himself! With this in mind, Sanderson’s introduction of two key characters, Moonlight and TwinSoul, we finally see agents of the Ghostbloods come into play. Honestly, their introduction was epic, previously we had only seen the Ghostbloods in short glimpses here and there but in this novel they play a significant role. Seeing Moonlight and TwinSoul reveal their powers and knowing they came from other worlds, ones we have seen before and one new, elevated the narrative tenfold, and I feel most readers will agree. The absolute astonishing beauty of The Lost Metal is that Sanderson merges together different magic systems, not just that of Allomancy and Feruchemy. Different powers are used for different tasks in truly inventive and surprising ways, it is simply jaw-dropping. I feel going further Worldhoppers such as the Ghostbloods will no longer be lurking in the background, they are going to be central to events throughout the Cosmere, not just on Scadriel, the planet they are sworn to protect. Though whether they are a force for good remains to be seen, together they hold a vast array of powers and are certainly not to be underestimated.
“You ever feel,” Wayne said, “like you wish life was like the stories?”
“What do you mean?” Hoid asked.
“There’s always a good ending in those stories. The ones my ma used to tell … they meant something. People, they were worth something.”
“I think we live stories every day,” Hoid replied. “Ones that we will remember, and tell, and shape like clay to be what we need them to be.”
The Cosmere is truly a genius concept, it is a labyrinth which I love cruising through and I find so much joy in seeing how the world’s interconnect in a multitude of ways. There is no doubt Sanderson is a master storyteller, his vision reaches far and beyond and each time he leaves his readers mind-blown.
When I finished The Lost Metal a friend asked if I felt it was a satisfying conclusion, and I had to think. I was left with a few questions, more secrets I wanted revealing, but then that’s with all of Sanderson’s novels, I am always left wanting more which is no bad thing. Yet my answer would be, yes, overall this is a satisfying conclusion to Mistborn era two, one that is worthy of the highest of praise. I particularly loved the multiple epilogues, they gave us a glimpse into how the lives of each character fared and brought a sense of closure. This is a conclusion of epic proportions, a worthy farewell to these characters who have meant so much to us all, but we are also left with a slim hope that we will see them again, perhaps somewhere within the Cosmere.
ARC Provided by Jenna at Gollancz in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the copy!
The Lost Metal is out now!