Book Review: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Format: Hardcover, First Edition, 2008
Reading Time: about 14 hours
As the third book in the Mistborn Trilogy, The Hero of Ages both delights and frustrates at the same time. Is the payoff worth it? Continue reading to find out…
We’ve reached the conclusion of the Mistborn trilogy only to find that the world is coming to end. The pace of the story starts off rather slow, despite a few combat scenes, as the world starts to collapse. Ash is piling up waist-high, and no one can figure out how to fix things. Much of the early story focuses on Vin and Eland as they follow the clues left behind by the former Lord Ruler. The march armies around the land, looking for the Lord Ruler’s secret caches and fighting off the brutal Koloss.
My favorite new plot thread, however, had to do with the emergence of Spook. As a boy in the former books, he played an inconsequential role, but here he begins to gain powers and becomes a leader. His story is compelling and enjoyable, a welcome relief to not only Vin and Eland spinning their wheels, but also to Sazed continuing his monotonous quest to question the purpose of life, as he sifts through the last of the religious beliefs contained within his metalminds while looking for answers.
As the story progresses, Sanderson begins to drop pieces of the puzzle in place. As reveal after reveal occurs, increasing in frequency right up to the amazing end, I had to sit back in amazement as the story ended. Only then can you truly appreciate the intricacy and detail of the story, how much everything was planned out in advance, and the scope of imagination that Sanderson possesses. Sazed’s quest to find the perfect religion, the use of metalminds (immune to Ruin’s influence), the origins of the Koloss and Kandra, the Lord Ruler’s creations and his preparations, the atium cache, the force known as Preservation – the puzzle pieces all fit together and leave you with a completed image that is astounding. Never before have I read something like this, and it took some time to absorb it all and truly appreciate it.
Another aspect I appreciate is how the major plot point, the end of the world, is resolved. From the start of the book you can see that the world is going to end. I was apprehensive about how Sanderson would handle it: would he allow the world to end, killing all his characters and leaving a bad taste in my mouth; or would he save the world using a Deus Ex Machina? Happily, neither is the case, which is why I was so satisfied with ending, despite the deaths of some of my favorite characters.
The story is not without a few flaws, the main one being that the evil entity from the previous book, now known as Ruin, is supposed to be able to change the writing of text, and even words that people speak. However, it rarely does so, allowing people to plan and plot against it. It seems to me that it would be far easier to influence words, rather than trying to get metal spikes into people so that they could be manipulated. However, this is a minor quibble and doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.
In conclusion, Mistborn has to be one of the most imaginative, innovative series I’ve read in a long time. In a world of Tolkien derivatives, Sanderson takes a risk and reaches for something different, and in my opinion succeeds. Despite chapters that mire the pace of the story, I highly recommend this book and the series as a whole…it is well worth following to the epic conclusion.
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