The Lost Metal Review – The Mists, The Metal, and The Cosmere

By JoshuaMacDougall on

About JoshuaMacDougall

Joshua (He/Him) is a contributor and writer for the Reading section of Geekly.
He is an enthusiast for fantasy novels, tabletop games, and wrestling.
Follow him @FourofFiveWits on Twitter.


The days of The Lord Ruler and his Final Empire are long behind the Wax and Wayne gang and us as readers. Yet, the rippling effect of Brandon Sanderson’s original Mistborn trilogy echoes all the way to the final book in Mistborn’s second era, The Lost Metal. Before now, the series stood alone in the greater Cosmere. That is the case no longer as Scadrial takes its first significant step to mixing it up with the other worlds of Sanderson’s creation. Yet, the author doesn’t forget where the characters have come from, who they were, who they are, and who they want to be.

It’ll be interesting to see how Mistborn-only readers will take the incorporation of the Cosmere in this book. Concepts familiar to those who’ve read The Stormlight Archive and other stories by Sanderson are introduced to Scadrial. Will readers find it jarring or welcome characters of different magic systems, worlds, and cultures? Those presented in this book play a significant role in Marasi Colm’s part of the story with concepts those who read The Stormlight Archive will be familiar with but haven’t seen this side of before. Whether the concepts introduced will hit home with readers or not, the part they have to play in Marasi’s portion of events will resonate with readers who have followed her throughout these books.

The end of the original trilogy had the world completely remade by Sazed/Harmony. Still, this era ends with each character growing into who they’re meant to be, which is equally as satisfying. The characters keep living their lives even as we no longer see their adventures. Still, the long period of time between the release of The Bands of Mourning and this one slightly hurt the pacing of this book. The first three books felt much more stand-alone, with an overarching thread that connected them. The Lost Metal feels like the other half of The Bands of Mourning, like when a show splits its final season into two shorter seasons separated years apart. It hurt the pacing slightly, but it’s the difference between four and a half stars instead of five. However, due to some of the reveals in this book, it cannot be helped, nor does it ultimately affect how well Sanderson nailed the ending, which he did.

If this is the last time we see these characters, it is quite a send-off. Setting six years after The Bands of Mourning allowed these characters to grow off-screen without holding back the often fast-paced, frantic action expected from the second era of Mistborn. When the book opens up, Wax and Steris have had time to start a family and grow into the politicians Elendel needs without changing who they are. Marasi has grown in reputation and become a respected member of the constabulary alongside her new partner, Wayne, who has also become a constable in an official capacity. While the consequences should our heroes fail wouldn’t have been nearly as catastrophic as if Vin and Elend had failed in The Hero of Ages, the emotional weight of their journey felt heavier than the plot. Sanderson showcases how the characters have grown since The Alloy of Law without any heavy-handed exposition. Instead, it is woven into the story with ease. The one who shines brightest in this regard is none other than Wayne.

For a writer known for producing so many books at a pace faster than most fantasy authors, his character work continues to improve in my eyes. Books three and four of The Stormlight Archive and now The Last Metal are prime examples of that. If there is any portion of his writing I am critical of, it is the writing of certain characters, the comic reliefs with quirky personalities that don’t entirely act like everyone else with these quippy lines. So often, rather than being funny, they tend to be annoying and make the characters appear one-dimensional. This was the case with Shallan in The Way of Kings, Lightsong in Warbreaker, and Wayne up until the end of The Bands of Mourning. However, when Sanderson shows who they are, the real person underneath their quirks, quips, and behavior, these characters flourish.

In books one through three, Wayne felt all surface, no depth, only small glimpses of that hurt underneath. Not so in The Lost Metal. When making predictions for the events of this book, I felt sure someone would make a similar sacrifice to Vin and Elend in the previous trilogy. Wayne seemed like the best candidate for it, a character people generally love and get joy from while also capable of having that big heroic moment. Brandon Sanderson sure did make me regret that prediction. From the first page, we learn of Wayne’s inner turmoil. Wayne feels unworthy of being happy, a useless, terrible person because of his past, and each time it comes up, it is a knife to the heart. The Lost Metal isn’t a redemption arc for Wayne, as he was already redeemed years ago when he first decided to help Wax do the right thing. Though heavily telegraphed from the beginning, his sacrifice was so well done without changing who Wayne is that it completely changed my opinion of the character.

Initially starting as a one-off between two different Mistborn trilogies, the Wax and Wayne era of Mistborn has grown to stand tall both as a continuation of the original Mistborn trilogy and a story all its own. Throughout, you can see the growth of characters loved by readers and the growth in Brandon Sanderson’s writing of them. If The Lost Metal is a taste of Mistborn’s future, the next trilogy can’t come soon enough.

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Joshua was provided an advance copy of the book by Tor books.

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One comment

  1. I’m not a mistborn-only reader. I’ve read Stormlight, Elantris, and Warbreaker as well, but at the same time I’m not up on every single novella and reddit post, so I don’t know everything.

    WIth that out of the way, I’ll say I thought there was way too much cosmere. I don’t hate connected universes, but mostly as a back-drop, not as an actual plotline thing that takes away from the integrity of the individual stories. This book not only spends a fair chunk of page space in the ‘final’ book of the series on new characters that have nothing to do with this world, it actually doesn’t resolve all of its plotlines because some are now part of the larger ‘cosmere’ narrative.

    That’s a massive turnoff to me. When the book let itself be “mistborn book 4/7” I thought it was fantastic, when it became cosmere book 24 I just wanted to put it down, stop caring, and maybe come back in a decade and see if I feel like reading all 40 cosmere novels.

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