5 stars out of 5
I really consider the Mistborn books as two separate sets of trilogies, instead of a single six-book series. The books may be in the same world but the story not only involves different characters but the society itself changes drastically. Even the genre seems to change a bit. It also makes it easier to critique each set of books separately for I like different things about them.
So the first set of Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson include The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. These were actually my first Sanderson books that I read and they quickly became a favorite of mine.
A World of Ash
The Mistborn world is a place where some past catastrophe left the environment in a desperate situation. Volcanoes known as ashmounts are perpetually filling the air with ash. A strange fog that seems to be attracted to the magic of this world arrives every night. The plants are scraggly and only come in shades of brown. Somewhere around ninety percent of the population lives as either a slave or barely gets by.
It is all really dreary overall and that atmosphere is part of the conflict which the heroes battle against. I did not enjoy most of Kelsier’s character but I enjoyed the fact that he always smiled and that smile was his way of fighting every day’s gloom.
I also find it really interesting how people who grew up in this dark and restrictive world respond to comments about mythical flowers and dead religions. A land full of green plants really would be bizarre to them, alien even, and yet it is their past. And once the only practiced religion falls apart, everyone creates religious figures from normal people they admire. It is all just fascinating.
Ingesting Metals as a Magic
I won’t go into too many details about the magic, because that is part of what you learn more about at the storyline progresses. But the main magic of ingesting metals seems really bizarre. When reading the story it makes complete sense, but outside the book, that concept is a crazy “what if”.
And if that isn’t enough, there are subsets of that magic which involve morphing creatures, immortal tyrants, and secret intellectuals. Sanderson’s magic in this world is really diverse but originates from one idea. It allows for a lot of different fight scenes and mystery but all comes together in the end. It is all so realistic and crazy at the same time. Oh, and then add in a few gods as well. That could never hurt.
Many Different Aspects
There is a lot that Sanderson did well in these books. The world is dark, the magic is odd, and the conflict is so human. I really like the main character Vin, but the side characters become increasingly more important as the story goes on. They become their own main characters in importance and character growth. They aren’t just arm-candy.
These books actually contain a lot of politics, which I don’t really care for normally. Part of that reasoning is I don’t connect with it, it can get boring, and it is unpleasant and confusing. But I didn’t even notice how much politics were a part of the story my first read. Sanderson keeps the plot moving quickly enough that you don’t get bored. Assassins are good for that. The bulk of politics doesn’t start until the second book, and by that time I am very attached to the characters. And by starting from the beginning of a government, I can understand better why officials end up making difficult decisions. Politics are still unpleasant, but I don’t think there is any way of getting around that.
The first book is still my favorite of the three, however. I love the introductory conflict when everyone is still trying to figure things out before things get really complicated. But I would still say it is worth the read to finish the series. There are too many things left unsaid if you only read the first book. So, read them all!
Ther are three books in the initial trilogy and three in the second series. You can find them all on Amazon.
(The crew works on overthrowing the empire.)
(The crew must now hold together their new government.)
(The Deepness has returned and will destroy the world if not stopped.)