Brandon Sanderson: The Hero of Ages

This is the third and final book of the Mistborn trilogy, the first two books of which I talked about earlier.  It mostly delivers; there are lots of interesting and surprising revelations (both regular plot ones and ones about how the world works) and things come to a suitable climax.  One thing Sanderson does really well is to bring his characters up from level 1 to level 30 effectively, in D&D-speak; as the books go on, their powers increase dramatically, and so do the challenges they face, but Sanderson manages to control it all pretty well – you don’t find yourself saying “Why doesn’t she just use her superpowers to vanquish this trivial problem?”

The main thing that prevented me from enjoying this book fully is that much of it is very bleak.  Of course epic fantasy is largely about overcoming impossible odds, and it’s natural to feel pessimistic when faced with those impossible odds, but still, the fact that for the first half of the book all the main characters are basically suffering from clinical depression about the oncoming end of the world and their inability to do anything about it is a real downer for the reader.  It’s almost made worse by one bright spot of a scene that explicitly calls back to situations from the first book back when they had a brighter outlook on life.  Once they actually get their act together, things do pick up, and I enjoyed the second half of the book a lot more.

I liked the series overall, but I liked the first book the best, and it’s pretty standalone; there is obviously more to come, but it doesn’t end in a cliffhanger or anything. My recommendation is to read that first and then decide whether you want 1500 more pages in the same vein.

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One Response to “Brandon Sanderson: The Hero of Ages

  1. Brandon Zarzyczny says:

    I pretty much agree with what you said, I loved the whole series but the first book was the best. I loved how the world’s “Magic” was so clearly defined in its own set of rules throughout the trilogy. I think I might have liked his debut book Elantris a little better though, it was just so original, and it’s very rare to have a standalone fantasy book. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with the finale of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (his books were what got me into the fantasy genre).

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