Book Review: The Lost Metal (Mistborn: Wax and Wayne, #4) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: The Lost Metal (Mistborn: Wax and Wayne, #4) by Brandon Sanderson

ARC provided by the publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Sam Green

The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Mistborn: Wax and Wayne (Book #4 of 4), Mistborn Saga (Book #7 of 7)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Steampunk

Pages: 528 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 15th November 2022 by Gollancz (UK) & Tor Books (US)

My god… The Lost Metal was an explosive and stunning conclusion to Mistborn: Wax and Wayne series. Sanderson has delivered another tremendous finishing volume in The Mistborn Saga, reinforcing my excitement for future Cosmere books.

“If you truly were interested in the beauty of the art—instead of some tangential sense of control—you’d want everyone to be able to experience it. The more the better.”

I honestly have no idea where to begin here. The Lost Metal was my most anticipated books of 2022. But personally, this book release goes beyond that for me. Many of you most likely know already that the first Mistborn Trilogy was the series that made me fall in love with reading fantasy novels. On top of that, it felt surreal to be finished reading The Lost Metal. For the past six years, the three books sitting the longest on my TBR pile have always been The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch, then Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss, and The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson. Yes, against all odds, one of these books that felt like myths have finally been released and read by me. My expectations were understandably so high. I am fully caught up with every Cosmere novel and title. I even did a full reread of the entire Mistborn Saga, starting from Mistborn: The Final Empire up to The Bands of Mourning, in preparation for The Lost Metal. And Brandon Sanderson, once again and to no surprise, exceeded my expectations in many ways with The Lost Metal. He proved himself, again, why he continues to become one of my favorite authors of all time.

“Harmony wants some of us to strike out, begin exploring, learning about the cosmere. It’s become evident that the cosmere knows about us.”

Writing a spoiler-free review for The Lost Metal is not an easy task, to say the least, for me. Sanderson has mentioned for a while now that The Lost Metal will be THE book in the entire Cosmere (so far) that features the biggest Cosmere crossovers and connections yet. And he’s not joking about this. Even the main plot in The Lost Metal involves characters and beings from other worlds and series beyond Scadrial, the world where Mistborn Saga take place. This review will be as spoiler-free as possible, but I will mention a few terms and organizations from other series here. This is unavoidable. We’re almost halfway through the Cosmere timelines so far. Sanderson and his grand vision can’t wait for readers to catch up to reading his books. And to be fair, it has been sixteen years since Mistborn: The Final Empire was first released. No spoiler for Mistborn Saga in this review, but I sincerely hope you’re familiar with the Cosmere before reading this review or even The Lost Metal. With that in mind, first, let me answer the three most frequently asked questions in this review. I assume these are what most readers are interested in anyway.

  1. Did The Lost Metal spoil other books/series in Cosmere beyond Mistborn Saga? Mostly no. But yes, there is one that I (personally speaking, you might not agree) consider a spoiler for The Stormlight Archive. Ghostbloods is a major organization in The Stormlight Archive. Knowing its existence from reading The Lost Metal is not too much of a big deal. However, reading The Lost Metal will give away the identity of the leader behind Ghostbloods. In The Stormlight Archive, this was not revealed until the end of Rhythm of War. Speaking of spoilers, if you’re reading The Lost Metal in an ebook format like I did, I think it would be wise to skip reading the table of content. It doesn’t take a genius to predict a major event in The Lost Metal from the table of content.
  2. Which books should I read before reading The Lost Metal? This is a trickier question than it sounds. Cosmere is now interconnected so deeply, and sooner or later, you will miss plenty of connections or get spoiled if you decide to skip an installment or two. Some call this a chore; I call it a charm. It goes without saying that you should read every book in Mistborn Saga first, and this includes Mistborn: Secret History. These are a MUST before reading The Lost Metal. But I think you should also read Elantris, The Emperor’s SoulThe Stormlight Archive, and if you have time, The White Sand graphic novels. Once again, these are NOT mandatory. Reading every book in The Mistborn Saga should suffice, but personally, I would have been lost or confused in plenty of sections in The Lost Metal if I didn’t read the books I mentioned before reading The Lost Metal.
  3. Was The Lost Metal worth the six years wait? Absolutely yes.

“Those are soldiers, mate. I came down here to the Basin all those years ago ’cuz of a cute little case involvin’ train cars what got robbed in a funny way. How in Ruin’s own name did I end up getting mixed up with dark gods, armies, bombs destroyin’ cities, and… and ghosts, Wax. We still ain’t talked about the ghosts.”

Similar to the publication time gap between The Bands of Mourning and The Lost Metal, the story in The Lost Metal begins six years after the end of The Bands of Mourning. The hunt for the shadowy organization, the Set, continues once more. And after Wax discovers and confirmed a new type of bomb that can unleash an unprecedented level of destruction is in the Set’s possession, he realizes he must once more take on the role of Harmony’s Sword, together with Wayne, Marasi, and Steris. Especially after hearing Harmony’s immortal agent inform that Harmony’s power is somehow blocked in Bilming. As I mentioned earlier in this review, one of the conflicts of The Lost Metal involves offworlders beyond Scadrial, both protagonists and antagonists. And as a Mistborn and Cosmere fan, I will say this: I loved reading the non-stop race against time in The Lost Metal. The Lost Metal is filled with an engaging plot, empathizing characterizations, and ambitious world-building. The themes of politics, justice, responsibility, forgiveness, individualism, science, love, friendship and redemption were written and compounded magnificently. No page in The Lost Metal felt redundant to me, especially if you are caught up with all the books in Cosmere, and everything eventually reached an incredibly satisfying conclusion.

“People are elastic, Wax thought. We can keep reshaping ourselves. And if we’re not quite the same as before, well, that’s good. It means we can grow.”

It was a time of ashfalls and tyrants in The Hero of Ages. Drowned by the cloud of darkness, the power of an evil god, and surrounded by charred bodies, a new myth, legend, and group of heroes were forged. And the characters and story in the first trilogy became the foundational lore for the entire Mistborn: Wax and Wayne. Willingly or not, the events in The Lost Metal will traject the main characters of the second era of Mistborn Saga toward a similar path. They’re guaranteed to become legends in the third era of Mistborn Saga, which, if all goes according to plan, will have its first installment might begin in the year 2025 or 2026.

“Everyone saw the world differently, and the Survivor had made people to complement one another. Metal and alloy. A Push for every Pull.”

I always appreciate when an author succeeds at making every book, including the final installment, in their series imbued with substantial character development. Sanderson’s quality of writing has improved so much since The Bands of Mourning, and I think this is reflected most in the character’s development and world-building. Believe me, this is saying a LOT considering that I have always loved Sanderson’s storytelling style. I just reread the entire Mistborn Saga up to The Lost Metal, and it’s easy to notice the steady increase in storytelling skills. I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Lost Metal aside, in the past six years, Sanderson also wrote Oathbringer, Dawnshard, Rhythm of War, Skyward, Starsight, Cytonic, three Skyward Flight novellas, and four secret novels project. And I’m pretty sure there is more. If someone told me back then, after I finished the first Mistborn Trilogy, that I would love the main characters in Mistborn: Wax and Wayne as much as the main characters in the first Mistborn Trilogy, I would’ve immediately dismissed the notion. But The Lost Metal certainly proved me wrong.

“Some things… cannot be planned for in life. I struggled to learn that, Varlance. But there is one thing I’ve learned that is true: No matter what else happens, Waxillium Ladrian will get wherever he needs to be. Somehow.”

Wax, Wayne, Marasi, and Steris (starting from The Bands of Mourning) are the core characters of Mistborn: Wax and Wayne. But even then, it is easy to say that Wax has received the most spotlight and development throughout the series up to The Lost Metal. Steris did not become one of my favorite heroines of all time until The Bands of Mourning. There isn’t much more room for Wax and Steris to develop as characters and a couple, but I’m gratified to read about their relationship development. The slow-burn romance building and realization of how much they grew to care about each other were well-written throughout the series. And I think it is safe to say I’ve come to love Wax and Steris as much as I love the relationship between Vin and Elend, even if it’s for different reasons. Wax and Steris have the most mature relationship out of all of Sanderson’s couples in the Cosmere. The way they complement and support each other while acknowledging each other’s strengths and weaknesses were inspiring. And even if there weren’t too many scenes in The Lost Metal to showcase this, every interaction and fond thought they had effectively displayed it.

“Each time he decided on an investigation, it terrified her. She did not let that control how she treated him. She would not be an obstacle. She loved him too much for that. Instead she did her best to be part of his world. It was far less frightening to be shot at than to sit at home wondering if he was being shot at. It was to her eternal gratification that he, in turn, tried to be part of her world. Taking more interest in politics. Spending time with her doing the finances. They fit together, better than she’d ever dreamed they would. And she still felt warm every time they touched.”

But of course, the series wouldn’t be titled Mistborn: Wax and Wayne without the duo and bromance of… well, Wax and Wayne. Wax and Wayne have often been one of my favorite duos of all time in fantasy, and The Lost Metal has highly cemented their position in my rank. The sense of trust and understanding Wax and Wayne have toward one another and how they constantly lift each other up when their partner is down were palpable, heartwarming, and entertaining in equal measure. I’m confident readers will be satisfied with the end of their journey, like I did. And speaking of Wayne… Wayne is one of the two characters that developed the most in The Lost Metal. It was unbelievable. Look, I liked Wayne. As I said, I’ve continuously loved the Wax and Wayne duo. But Wayne has always been… Wayne. Yes, we saw him hide his pain and regret behind his jokes and happy-go-lucky attitude in the previous books. However, we finally really see the maximum depth and complexity of his character and personality in The Lost Metal. Now that we’re at the end of the series, I have to say that if I have to choose, I will have to say I love Wayne more than Wax as an individual.

“You are whatever you want to be, Wayne. You’re the wind. You’re the stars. You are all endless things.”

There is one more main character that developed the most in The Lost Metal other than Wayne: Marasi Colms. Marasi, to me, felt like an integral character overshadowed by the presence of the other characters in the previous books. Sure she has some moments in the spotlight, but relatively, they were repeatedly too short to remember. When I reread Mistborn: Wax and Wayne, I forgot most of her actions and roles in the series. Fortunately, this situation has been fixed thoroughly in The Lost Metal. The new duo of Marasi and Wayne was so good, and I can’t go into details on this. But Marasi, together with other characters from other worlds and series, played an irreplaceable role in the plot of The Lost Metal. And I had a blast every moment of reading her POV chapters here. I have no doubt Cosmere fans will feel the same as I did.

“I’m glad you walked out of the stories and into my life. I’d rather have a friend than a legend.”

Alright, let’s talk a bit about Worldhopper characters. If you’re a Cosmere fan like me, it’s hard to imagine the possibility of the Worldhopper characters and their magic’s existence in this book not becoming one of the highlights for you. It unquestionably was for me. Again, no spoilers on their identity, but there were at least eight Worldhopper characters from other worlds (mostly Sel) and series in this book. Most of these appearances and scenes are texts you should RAFO for yourself. I will, however, mention I am in awe of every scene involving two dominant Worldhoppers in The Lost Metal: Moonlight and TwinSoul. Moonlight (No, I will not tell you her identity) is one of my favorite characters in the entire Cosmere. Assuming that I’m not wrong, though. To see her appearing in The Lost Metal, exhibiting her magic system and playing a role in the story, made my heart soar with glee and excitement. I did not expect it at all, and it was a truly welcome surprise. And then there is TwinSoul, who I believe to be a completely new character in the Cosmere. Sanderson mentioned in the author’s note at the beginning of the book:

“I would like to extend a special thanks to my good friends Kalyani and Rahul, longtime beta readers, who have been encouraging me for years to look into Indian mythology and lore for inspiration for fantasy storytelling. They provided excellent consultation in this book on a certain character who the three of us worked on together to try to expand the Cosmere a little bit in this direction.”

And this is where TwinSoul comes in. You heard that right. Indian lore and mythology now have a place in the Cosmere, and the results of this inclusion that I witnessed here were bloody outstanding and memorable. Seriously, Moonlight and TwinSoul, for lack of better words, were so damn cool and awesome. Simple as that.

I don’t think it is far-fetched to call The Lost Metal the Cosmere volume equivalent of MCU Avengers: Infinity War. Remember, this is the final book in the second era Mistborn Saga. That fact, plus the high quantity of Cosmere crossovers and magic systems in The Lost Metal, summoned one of the best Sanderlanche so far. From my perspective, almost the entirety of the second half of The Lost Metal counts as the Sanderlanche portion. It was more or less 200 pages of action scenes with brief respites. Terrible forces are moving in the Cosmere, and the stakes of the imminent devastation the characters need to prevent were the most dangerous and epic in scope out of all the books in Mistborn: Wax and Wayne. It has been two years since I read Rhythm of War, and I have missed my time of reading a new pulse-pounding Sanderlanche sequence full of carnage, peril, explosions, and emotions. As scenes dissolve into crystal-clear vivid imagery, I was once again reminded why I never fail to think of Sanderson as one of the best authors in crafting memorably superlative climax sequences in epic fantasy.

“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. There were times for careful caution and empathy. And there were times when people pointed a weapon capable of killing millions straight at his home, his family, his constituents.”

Magic systems from other series and massive Cosmere implications aside, The Lost Metal successfully made me more eager for the future of Mistborn Saga. Scadrial continues to be one of my favorite worlds in fantasy. I may not love it as much as Roshar, but it is still one of my cherished worlds in the genre, and it is undoubtedly one of the most special ones for me. With the arrival of new metals, the evolution and combination of allomancy, feruchemy, and hemalurgy ceaselessly keep the magic system, actions, and world-building in Scardrial mesmerizing. Also, one of my favorite factors of reading Sanderson’s book is the function of advancing technologies and science in his world. But this was never done at the expense of forgetting the core history of each respective world in Cosmere. In Mistborn: Wax and Wayne, Sanderson constantly relates to the events of the first Mistborn trilogy while at the same time showing how technologies and science believably transform the world of Scadrial. Based on what I’ve read here, it is more possible than not that the next era of Mistborn Saga will be more superb, intricate, and mind-blowing.

‘”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.”‘

Let’s end this review, shall we? The Lost Metal is a spectacular and explosive ending to Mistborn: Wax and Wayne series. It is a half Mistborn half Cosmere crossovers novel. Though a finale is relatively rare in his career, with The Hero of Ages and The Lost Metal, Sanderson proved how great he is at writing a concluding volume in the Cosmere. And this quantity won’t stay this way for long. We will have the conclusion to Skyward series next year and then the conclusion to The Stormlight Archive Part 1 the year after. I feel blessed to partake in this decades-long Cosmere adventure. And without a doubt, The Lost Metal is my second favorite Mistborn installment in the entire Mistborn Saga, just right after The Hero of Ages, which I’m completely biased on. Thank you so much, Brandon Sanderson, for producing another exceptional novel and concluding book in The Mistborn Saga and The Cosmere. I am equally rewarded and brimming with questions and theories. I am looking forward to reading the third era of the saga whenever it’s ready. Until then, to all of you reading this review. If there is one message from the book and series we should remember, I think it is this: be kind.

“You’re meant to be helping people.”

Series Review:

The Alloy of Law: 4.5/5 stars
Shadows of Self: 4.5/5 stars
The Bands of Mourning: 5/5 stars
The Lost Metal: 5/5 stars

Mistborn: Wax and Wayne: 19/20 stars

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