Fifty Books, 365 Days. Book Three – Mistborn: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Date started: January 11th.

Date finished: January 18th

Coming to the end of a story is often a bittersweet experience for me. It hasn’t happened in a while; I think the last time was late 2011 when I first read The Scar by China Mieville (hands down my favourite book). Until, that is, now. Yes, the end of the Mistborn trilogy was one of those happysad affairs. I was only at page 300 when I started yesterday, but I figured I’d take advantage of the snowy day off work and get through at least another 200 or so. Of course, in true bookish fashion, I read all the remaining 420 pages before the day’s end. As I hit the last stretch of 100 or so, I had that feeling where I wanted to speed up to see how it all ended, but slow down to make the story last just a little longer. Like all things, the Mistborn trilogy had to end, and what an ending it was.

As I have mentioned in my previous reviews, there was a surprising shift in genre from The Final Empire to The Well of Ascension. The Final Empire was a high fantasy adventure, pitting a band of rebels against an evil dictator. The Well of Ascension was a more political war story, centring mostly around the siege of the capital city of Luthadel. The Hero of Ages changes again, pitting our former revolutionaries (now leaders and warriors) against, essentially, god.

Whereas, to me, The Well of Ascension felt like a smaller story than The Final Empire, this third entry blew the doors off and more. The stakes have never been higher for the heroes, and the tension is ratcheted throughout. Whereas before, all the action was centred in one place, this novel goes far and wide. The gang is split up, the threat too large to be fought on one front. Luckily, Sanderson knows his characters, and it’s never difficult to keep track of where any of them are or what their specific goals are. Every character’s arc culminates in a way that is satisfying, and each one is given a chance to shine, while never coming across as overdone. It’s to Sanderson’s credit that he focused on quality of characters rather than quantity.

I would like to take a moment to credit Sanderson on his magic systems as well. While they are much too in depth to go into any real detail in a relatively short blog post, the three different systems of magic at work all make sense, and all complement each other cleverly. I was nervous in the first book because of all the questions surrounding the different rules that applied to each strain, but they were mostly answered by the end of book three, with one or two left open for tantalising future possibilities.

I’m going to wrap up by saying that I got a lot from the Mistborn trilogy. It’s the first series I’ve read in full since finishing Stephen King’s Dark Tower a couple of years back, and reading all three books in one shot was the best decision here. While each book contains a separate story, reading them as one gave me an opportunity to grow attached to the characters and the world in a way that otherwise may not have happened. And while I am sad the story’s over, I’m happy to have experienced it in the way I did.

Next up, I take a break from fantasy and dive into some science fiction with Embassytown by China Mieville.

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