Friday, October 12, 2012

The Hero Of Ages by Brandon Sanderson Book Review- Mistborn, Book 3

It would be almost impossible for me to give a synopsis of this novel without spoilers.  Suffice it to say that The Hero Of Ages is, without a doubt, the most fast-paced of all three Mistborn novels, and full of so many new surprises and revelations that it will make your head spin.

Now, I will do my best to keep this review spoiler-free as far as The Hero Of Ages goes, but I won't even attempt to avoid spoilers for the previous two.  I doubt it would be possible.  So if you're waiting to start this series, do yourself a favor and stop reading now, because this isn't a series you want to be a bad little reader and peek at the ending on.

Vin defeated the Lord Ruler.  She secured her husband Elend's throne.  She saved a lot of lives by ending a lot of others.  There is no argument that this girl has done a lot of good in her life, but she also kind of...released the most malignant force in existence on mankind. Bad luck there, Vin.

Ruin is a force.  Neither he nor she, it just is.  The only objective this thing has is to destroy.  Destroy everything.

The Hero Of Ages's like...gah.  I'm sitting here trying to find the right words for it, but I don't think I'll ever be able to do a novel of this magnitude and scope justice.  I'll try, but know that no review I can give will come close to capturing the awe and depth of Brandon Sanderson's work.

This is, without a doubt, the most original epic fantasy story I have ever read.

In the previous two Mistborn novels, the plot was somewhat slow-moving.  Vin spent a lot of time pretending to be a pampered noblewoman in Mistborn, and we were in an extended political stalemate in The Well Of Ascension.  In comparison, The Hero Of Ages is a whirlwind of shocks, gasps, revelations and twists.  We learn that the Lord Ruler, though a tyrant, wasn't the evil force we'd believed him to be.  In his own way, he really had been trying to do what was best for mankind as a whole.  We're introduced to a new magic system, Hemalurgy, which adds a wonderfully macabre twist to the metal-based magics found in Mistborn.  The creatures we were introduced to in the previous two - Kandra, Koloss, Steel Inquisitors, etc., - are revealed in so much more detail in this last installment, and the secrets of the mists are FINALLY explained.  There is so much happening it can make your head spin at times, but nothing in this novel felt forced or thrown in last-minute.

As an avid reader, I've come to be able to spot a lot of inconsistencies in novels that can give the lie to a writer's plan.  The fact is, not every single writer knows every little detail that's going to happen at the end of a series when they publish the beginning.  Sometimes the additions are jarringly obvious.  But in the Mistborn trilogy, and most especially The Hero Of Ages, everything just came together so smoothly and seamlessly that I'm tempted to believe that Brandon Sanderson really did have every single detail plotted out before he began writing the first page of Mistborn.

Assuredly, that is one of the highest compliments I can give an epic fantasy story.

Now, while I definitely did love The Hero Of Ages, I feel obligated to mention some things I didn't love as much as the rest.  First and foremost, religion plays a hugelyenormousgigantic role in this one, so much more so than in the others where it was mostly Sazed contemplating and describing different religions. Not surprisingly, the religion in Mistborn doesn't actually exist.  But faith itself is such a huge focal point in the plot that I know there are some who fault the story solely for that reason.  I'm not one of those people (why not use religion to enhance a story?  It's just another element to use for fictional awesomeness, I think), but I can only imagine the outcry of some religious fanatics after reading this novel.

There are a lot of trust themes, particularly in the beginning, that came across as just a bit too campy and idealistic.

The ending, while throwing about ten thousand and one curve balls, was a lot to take in.  I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it, though that may be a good thing as it means I am still thinking about it.  And probably will be for a long time to come.

I am almost certain that Mistborn has become a standard that I will now use while judging epic fantasy, and I highly recommend it to any lovers of the genre.  Preferably with an open mind regarding religious overtones.

The Hero Of Ages - 4.5 out of 5 stars

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