This is the fourth installment of a Mistborn series that takes place between the first and second trilogies (of three trilogies) that Sanderson says he has planned for the Mistborn world (Scadrial). You can read the GoodReads summary if you want details, but essentially this is a side-series that is essentially a fantasy western, complete with gun-toting constables and the days of early electric technology.
Before I address this particular book, I need to say this: I loved the original Mistborn trilogy. They’re the first books I read by Sanderson, the books that eased me into his world (both his writing world and into the Cosmere). I chose them originally because they seemed the most approachable for someone who had never read “high fantasy” before. They’re still my go-to recommendation for people who want to start reading Sanderson. Back then, I knew that there were a trio of trilogies planned and roughly their time periods, so I was surprised when these Wax & Wayne books began releasing. They were a side project, I heard, that turned into something more. People loved them.
I…didn’t. Actually, I couldn’t stand them. I’m not a fan of westerns and I really despised Wayne in particular. The first book, The Alloy of Law, was my first disliked Sanderson book. It took me years to come around to reading the second book, which I ended up liking a bit more. I thought maybe it was just the first book, just a dud, but then I read the third and disliked it almost as much. All that to say that I was not excited going into this book. Most Sanderson books, I began reading the instant they’re available, even going so far as to read pre-released chapters that Tor often puts out in the weeks leading up to release. This book released in November, and it took me weeks to finally download the audio and get going.
So why read it at all? It’s important. Not just to the Mistborn world, but the Cosmere as a whole. There is a lot of crossover between these novels, and while each series can be read standalone and you don’t have to pay attention to the Cosmere to read them, I’m definitely a huge Cosmere fan and want to know everything there is about it. I love learning all the secrets. I want to know everything. So yes, after debating for weeks if I should reread the three previous books (which I barely remembered), I decided to just try to read The Lost Metal cold, just to get through it, just to get to the secrets.
In the end, I put it on par with the second book of the series, Shadows of Self. I enjoyed it more than the first or third, but it’s not likely a book I’ll reread. I’m glad I read it, I’m glad I got the secrets…but that’s about it. I’ll be happy to move to a different Mistborn era with different characters and (hopefully) a less cowboy feel.
Performance: The audiobook is read by Michael Kramer, who performs a lot of Sanderson’s books, including the entire Mistborn series so far. He’s one of those middle-of-the-road performers for me, not a fave but not bad either. The weirdest thing about this book was that he uses a lot of the same accents as he uses in the Stormlight Archive audios, so there were characters who sounded nearly identical to ones from an entirely different planet. That’s only an issue when you’re dealing with a series where certain people can literally hop from planet to planet, heh.