Backlist Burndown is a monthly meme hosted by Lisa from Tenacious Reader where you put aside at least one book from your blacklist every month to read, and then post a review of it on the last Friday of that month.
The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: October 17, 2014 (first published October, 2007)
Edition: Paperback, 768 pages
Genre: Epic Fantasy
That ending… Wow… Simply WOW…
Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world.This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson’s saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith and responsibility.
What is there to say besides another outstanding novel from Sanderson. I did have bit of a problem with the pacing at times – which is where the -0.5 comes from – but aside from that… The characters, the magic-system, the plot – all were impressive. What left me in the most awe was complexity and scope of the story.
Elend is now a Mistborn and proclaimed emperor of the First Empire. Himself and Vin have discovered these hidden underground store-reserves in select cities of the First Empire that were created by the Lord Emperor himself. There are two more remaining they must now secure before the end of days. Vin, Elend, Ham, and Cett, all travel West to try to conquer Urteau, Cett’s former city, from the obligator that now rules there. While Sazed – who is now appointed ambassador by Elend – Breeze, and Alrianne, head north to Fadrex City to try diplomacy to work out a treaty with new leader. The new leader of the Fadrex City is a skaa and has taken it upon himself to follow the words of The Survivor and is executing all nobels, and anyone who has nobel blood that he can find in the city.
Already in Fadrex City is Spook who has been spying, and has been witness to the murders being conducted. Spook decides that he must try to do something; he cannot sit and wait and be useless – like he always is – until the other members arrive.
The reason that everyone is running around is because of Ruin, the mysterious force that Vin released from The Well of Ascension. They believe Ruin is controlling the mists that are killing people, the earthquakes that are destroying the land, causing the ashmounts to erupt, and the ash to fall from the sky. It appears that The Lord Ruler knew of Ruin and all this time was trying to keep Ruin contained in The Well. They seek out these hidden reserves, because in them, Vin and Elend believe, lie the secret to destroying Ruin, and preventing the End of World.
It’s crazy to think how far this story has come since the first book. In Mistborn, the story was solely focused around Kelsier and Vin, with them being the only two POVs. Then, in Well of Ascension, we began to gets hints of how complex this plot was and gained POVs for Elend, Sazed, Breeze, and Zane. Finally, with The Hero of Ages, we have POVs from Vin, Elend, Sazed, Breeze, OreSeer, Spook, and Marsh, and we truly the see the scope and magnitude of the story that Sanderson is telling. The revelation that the series isn’t solely focused on Vin and her story, as I had expected when I first began, but that Vin’s story is only a piece of the picture, left me is awe. Just as important were Sazed, Elend, and Spook; OreSeer and the kandra; The Lord Ruler, obligators, and Inquisitors; the prophecy and the mists and the magic system. Everything I had thought were side plots, or extra pieces of informations, or were relevant to only one character, ended up all being just as valuable.
As I have just been saying we have multiple, multiple plot lines going on. Some I did not mention were OreSeer is facing trial back at the Homeland on charges accusing him of breaking the first contract; Sazed is battling over his wavering beliefs in any type of religion; Spook has become addicted to Tin and feels like he is a useless piece of the crew; Elend is realizing in order to be the type of King he wants to be, he must first act like a tyrant; Vin is trying deal with fact that she is the Hero of Ages predicted in the prophecy and she has released Ruin; and there are many more to list.
This being the final book, it means that it’s time to start wrapping up all those plot lines together, and answers all those questions – and Sanderson brought it all back together and tied it up nicely. Any question I had about the plot or characters were answers (kolos, kandra, mistwraiths, inquisitors, and the phrophecy were some at the top of my lists) and even answered some questions I didn’t realize I had until a couple of those plot twists happened.
I was almost speechless by the turn of events at the end of The Well of Ascension, and when I told Sanderson that at a signing, he only laughed in reply, telling me to wait until Hero of Ages… well, I now know why.
I should also mention how much I loved how Sanderson told the magic systems. In first book, we had Allomancy of the Mistborns, then in the next book, we learned of Feruchemistry of the Terris, and now we learn of Hemalurgy of the Inquisitors. In each book, we learned not only new magic system in the world, but also more about the previous one – it’s finer workings and deeper complexity.
The only problem I had was the pacing. Last book, at times the amount of character self-reflection did slow things down too much and drag on a bit for, but it was just at the beginning. Here though, I couldn’t let it go. I loved having so many POVs but, with all that, it meant less time for Vin, and I wasn’t always in the mood for Spook’s story. And to go with that, all the jumping around killed that momentum at times – particularly when thinks picked up at the end of the story. A chapter would end on a high, tense moment, only to go somewhere else on the map, and start off slow with the character reflections. I think all the reflections we see in the characters was excellent for the development, but at times it felt bad for the pacing, and I didn’t always want it as much for certain characters.
I read up to what I’ve written to so far, and realized that I haven’t each scratched the surface of what happens in the book, and how I felt about the series as a whole. I’ll say this: the series as a whole, I don’t think I can say any negatives. I am still baffled by how complex everything was, and the scope of the story that Sanderson had planned out the whole time from the beginning… WOW
As I said in my tag line at the top of the this review: that ending… Wow… Simply WOW. Sanderson has a trilogy of trilogies all set in the mistborn world, and then, somehow, all his books are going to be tied together in the Comsere universe? I can’t even begin to fathom how everything will work out. If ending of the Mistborn trilogy with The Hero of Ages is any indication of what’s to come… man, am I excited
Mistborn Trilogy: 5/5 Rating
Date Read: 10/28/15 - 11/06/15 Review Written: 11/09/15
I’m doing quite abysmally with my backlist books at the moment – I need to be more organised!
Another Sanderson you’ve loved!
Have you read The Emperor’s Soul?
No, I haven’t yet! And I loved Elantris too! I know it won the Hugo for novella; did you read it?
I’ve not read Elantris but I absolutely recommend the Emperor’s Soul. I thought it was excellent.
Hmm… that may be a good backlist burndown for next month then 😉
Glad to hear you enjoyed the trilogy! I probably didn’t embrace the ending as fully as you did, after I finished I just felt like punching something. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts once you get started on the Wax and Wayne series, I probably liked Alloy of Law more than the entire original Mistborn trilogy put together (but to be fair, Sanderson also grew by leaps and bounds as a writer by then) 🙂
I can completely understand not liking the ending; it led to a lot more questions that answers, and I would say, not very satisfactory. But knowing that this is part of a larger book series and universe, not have a solid answer to the ending, and creating more mystery instead, is okay with me.
I did notice a difference with Sanderson’s writing. The first I read of Sanderson was Steelheart, and that is YA style, but before this series, I did read Elantris, and I remember thinking many times throughout the series, that he wrote these books in the same style and prose as that novel.
I’m glad you liked this. I actually was not a fan of the ending. It took a good bit of convincing for me to try another Sanderson book.
I can understand that, but, as I said in my reply to Mogsy above, I know this is part of a bigger series and whole book universe, so I’m okay with nothing solid and an ending that was a little out there. But I’m glad you went back to Sanderson! If memory recalls, you were quite a fan of his Reckoners trilogy? 😉