The Lost Metal: Brings this series to a solid, if not wholly inspired, close

The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson

The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Lost Metal brings to an end Brandon Sanderson’s MISTBORN ERA TWO series, and does so I’d say in semi-satisfying fashion, bringing some plots lines and character stories to a close and opening up the world of the Sanderson’s expanded universe (the Cosmere) more fully.

Waxillium returns here in his Senator role, along with his partner Wayne, Wayne’s new partner constable Marasi, and Wax’s wife Steris as they continue to battle against the secret society (The Set), which has amongst its high-ranking members Wax’s own sister, Telsin. As they try to trace a smuggling operation, Wax and cohorts discover that the Set are on the verge of employing a devastating new weapon and that there are darker, more powerful forces lying behind them whose interest may be as much in annihilating the planet’s population as in dominating it.

Book One, The Alloy of Law, remains my favorite of this series, and it’s not so much that the books went steadily downhill from there (though I did enjoy them less) so much as I’m not sure they added much more and some elements which worked fine in that first book eventually grew a bit less engaging or entertaining.

Wayne is one such example, a character who I felt despite some elements of forced humor in the first book was still relatively enjoyable. I confess, however, that by the time we’ve arrived here at The Lost Metal, I was far less enamored, or even tolerant, of his schtick (honestly, I’d go so far as to say it mostly grated). He absolutely has his moments, some of which are moving, but for me they were greatly outweighed by the annoyances, though this is one element I’m sure holds to a Your Mileage May Vary response; it wouldn’t surprise me if some readers consider Wayne their favorite part. Just not my cup of tea.

MISTBORN by Brandon SandersonSomewhat similarly, while I originally found the whole magic system (and there’s no way I’ll even attempt to detail it here — if you’re reading this fourth book in a second series, you’re well aware of it) fascinating, the more it gets into the nuts and bolts and details and variations and expansions the less fascinating it becomes to me. Again, YMMV.

In a bit of the same vein, I’d say this book more than others, both because of the details within this world and the multiple references to other worlds, is more geared toward the sort of Sanderson fans who read everything (or close to it) by him. If you’ve just read this series only, you’ll be OK, but you’ll also have the sense you’re missing some things (because, well, you are). While I can appreciate the work Sanderson does in meshing all these worlds, as a reader, it’s starting the push the edge for me on pro-con pendulum.

The pace is brisk at the start then becomes pretty pell-mell toward the latter third. As is always the case with Sanderson, he speeds you along smoothly, though unusually for a Sanderson book I felt this one’s length despite the fast pace. As for the plot itself, it’s solid but not particularly stimulating, though I won’t go into spoilers, and a pair of villains felt a bit too cartoonish for me. It wraps up some things but leaves a number of questions unanswered (or answered vaguely), which makes sense as we haven’t seen the last of this world, let alone this Cosmere-verse. Finally, the prose, as I’ve often said of Sanderson, is serviceable but nothing you’ll linger over.

In the end, as noted, The Lost Metal brings this series to a solid if, for me, not wholly inspired close. It’s a fun series for sure, a neat setting, and I love how the time jumps show us a fantasy world actually progressing in terms of society, governance, and industry. I’m not sure I needed all the words of the series; part of me wonders if that first novel followed by a series of short stories might have been a stronger path, and as noted above, all the magic system details combined with all the Cosmere-meshing details can prove a bit wearying (at least to this reader). But it’s certainly kept my interest enough to pick up the next stage.

Published in November 2022. 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 Scadrial… at 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.

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BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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4 comments

  1. Hey, it’s my guys!

    I have completely forgotten what’s going on in this series, and I’d have to reread before I started this one. Not sure I’m ready to make that commitment.

  2. Susan Whitehead /

    I actually found this book to be somewhat tedious. I agree with Marion about being reluctant to reread this series in order to better remember the details of what it going on. It feels like Sanderson is more interested in integrating this series with Stormlight than telling a good story.

  3. My experience was like Bill’s. I really enjoyed the first one, and felt like the others, while good enough, didn’t live up to the expectation set by Book One.

    • Yes, that’s what I was aiming at with the upside-downside balance on the integration with other works and how that was tipping to the wrong side of the ledger for me

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