Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: The Hero of Ages (Mistborn 3) by Brandon Sanderson

Click here to see my review of Mistborn: The Final Empire (book one)
Click here to see my review of The Well of Ascension (book two)

Apparently the covers I've been using for this series are the UK paperback versions.  I'm still DYING to get myself a print set with these covers, as they are seriously growing on me.  Right now we just have them on the Nook, which is fabulous, but I wouldn't mind having them in print.  And like I said, the covers have seriously grown on me.

I'm going to try to break this down for those of you who are unfamiliar, so I can accurately describe this book.  It's the third book in the first Mistborn trilogy.  The world of Vin and Elend et al wraps up with this book.  But Sanderson has planned two more parts to the Mistborn series, each of which will be its own trilogy.  And there are a few standalone books spread throughout.  So you could read the first three books and complete a fully story arc and be done, or you could read his next Mistborn series and catch up on what's happening in the world in a couple hundred years. 

All of that to say, I'm not including any spoilers in this review since it sums up the first part of the Mistborn trilogy (which contains three separate trilogies - confused yet?).  The Hero of Ages contains some major, world-changing revelations that I don't want to talk about because they are SO significant that if someone accidently saw them it would ruin everything.  It's just not worth the risk.  So this will be a very generic review.

Writing
OMG.  Sanderson really pulled it together for me in this book.  As you can see in my first two reviews, I wasn't so sure about Sanderson as an author.  I've been impressed with his skills as a storyteller but I had some serious doubts about his writing ability and with a few specific threads.  This book came together in a way that wrapped up the vast majority of my doubts from the first two books.  It was very "oooooh, THAT'S where you were headed."  He doesn't leave plot threads hanging and I really appreciate that.  I saw a huge improvement in writing style in this book. 

I will say this, and I think it's as much detail as I can go into without spoiling the whole series: I did not love the last 25-35 pages.  I just didn't.  And I really can't explain it without spoiling the end, so what I'll do is post why I hated it white below and if you want to read it, you can highlight.  But it will spoil the entire series for you.

It wraps up too neatly.  From the point where Vin becomes some kind of god force on I was just annoyed.  I think becoming a force rather than having a physical body made the closing fight much less intense.  Vin's battle with Marsh was much more intense for me than Vin's fight with Ruin.  Also, I LOVED that Sazed was the actual Hero of Ages, but I HATED that he just suddenly restored everything to the way it was and everyone wakes up in a field of flowers.  And I really really hated his letter to Spook at the end where he talks about how Vin and Elend are happy and at peace.  Ugh.  Just let them be dead.  They gave their lives for their world, we don't need to know they are peaceful and happy together.  I like that Sanderson wrapped up all the plot threads, I just wish he could have done it without making a neat, trite little bow on top.

Entertainment Value
Couldn't put it down.  I stayed up late several nights reading, I read on my breaks at work, I was even late to a doctor's appointment because I couldn't stop reading.  The action starts on the first page and doesn't stop until the end.  I was obsessed with it the entire time I was reading.  I even had more than one dream in which I was Mistborn.  Waking up and realizing I cannot use metals to fly and fight baddies was really depressing. 

Overall
You must read this series.  Seriously.  I can't think of anyone I wouldn't recommend it to.  It's relatively clean, the violence is not in any way graphic, but the action is still intense.  The things that typically turn me off to fantasy (sexualization of basically anyone without a penis, male-dominated story lines, and graphic gore) are nowhere to be found in this series. 

There's a strong, female main character who does not run around in a leather body suit or loin cloth surprising male characters with her sex appeal and fighting skills.  In fact, her body, clothing, and beauty are rarely mentioned at all.  She has a love interest, but she's just not presented as the bad ass/sex symbol that is way too prevalent in fantasy.  I really appreciate that Sanderson avoided that trope and wrote a strong, beautiful character who is more than just a sexy action hero.  In fact, a huge part of the series-wide story arc revolves around Vin's character development as her own person without relation to a male character.  She's not trying to find love or accept herself so that the male main character can also accept her, she's just figuring out her life, which doesn't revolve around men and relationships.  LOVE that.

Please, please, please give these a try and feel free to call me, email me, text me, whatever as soon as you become obsessed.

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