Book Review: The Hero of Ages

This review will contain spoilers for the previous books in the series – The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension. You have been warned!

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As the third and concluding book in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, I was excited to read this book up, but I also went in with sense of trepidation. Sanderson has an amazing reputation in fantasy, and I’d loved the first book in the series, The Final Empire, but been not been blown away by The Well of Ascension. As such, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book, but, thankfully, Brandon Sanderson pulled everything out if the hat. I loved this book, and by the end I was pretty sure that it was my favourite book in the whole trilogy.

The Hero of Ages kicks of a year after the end of The Well of Ascension. Luthadel, and our gang of heroes, have survived so much over the course of the last two books. They have brought down the seemingly immortal Lord Ruler and freed the Skaa people, survived siege by three armies and defeated the mad Mistborn, Zane. Unfortunately, they have also inadvertently unleashed the malevolent and dark force of Ruin upon the world. With the Mists growing thicker, increasingly fatal and unpredictable; ash falling incessantly from the sky and smothering the land; earthquakes shaking the cities of men and armies of bloodthirsty Koloss rampaging across the lands of the Final Empire, Vin and Elend must find a way to defeat what they have unleashed, lest it ruins everything they have worked to build and destroy all life.

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So, let’s start on a positive foot, shall we? There are gonna be a fair few of these as I loved this book and thought it was an amazing end to the Mistborn trilogy. Here’s why:

  • Characters: Brandon Sanderson has smashed the characters out of the parkin this book, and this series as a whole. My personal favourite is, and has been throughout the whole series, Sazed. The poor guy really is put through the ringer in this book. The end of the last book landed some heavy body blows on him with the death of Tindwyl and the Inquisitors near genocide of his people, and in this book, we see him struggling with the almost existential crisis that these events have forced upon him.
  • The Lord Ruler: I’ll hold my hands up here – after the first book, I wasn’t sold on the Lord Ruler as a character. He initially seemed a little too generic baddy; plus, he was dead! But boy was I wrong! From the grave, this guy stomps his way through to realistically challenge for the title of Most Interesting Character. His last lines in The Final Empire were a bit of an obvious foreshadowing of this, but he really does come into his own in this book. He is, in many ways, a tragic hero and nobody knew! Talk about a thankless task. 
  • Varied POVs: This point really counts for the whole series. Throughout all three books, Sanderson has varied whose eyes we see the story through. Sure, we always have Vin – she is our central character – but we do get to see the world through a plethora of different eyes. In this book, we get a lot of Elend and Sazed, but also Spook. Getting into Spook’s mind was really interesting for me because of his unique position in the story. Having sat on the edge of Kelsier’s crew, he was close enough to him to not believe in his ascension to divinity and to be sceptical of The Church of the Survivor, but he was never central to any plots as he was very young and was only there because of Ham, not because of his skills. The implications of this on how he views the events of the trilogy, and how he views his own place in them, made for a great character.
  • Pacing: This one was a biggie for me. The Well of Ascension was a slow read, and at over 800 pages, this book could have easily fallen into this trap. Thankfully, it didn’t. The story jumps through several events, switching from POV to POV, as Vin and Elend constantly find themselves reacting to Ruin’s actions, while piecing the Lord Ruler’s plans for the survival of humanity together.
  • How it interweaves with the rest of the trilogy: I was seriously impressed with this. This book was not only great on its own, it also retrospectively made the two previous books in the series better. The Well of Ascension may not have been my favourite book at the time of reading (it got a middling rating) but I 100% have a better appreciate for its part in the story having read this book. Hats off to Mr Sanderson for this!

 

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Honestly, this bit is going to be short as this book is in full contention for best book of year so far. I had to scratch my head for this bit, but I did manage to get something! Got to ensure my reviews are balanced after all…

  • The length of Spook’s story: This one will seem strange considering that earlier, I said that I really enjoyed the way that Sanderson has varied the way we see the story through in this trilogy. This includes telling part of the story through Spook’s eyes in this story. I did enjoy Spook’s chapters, and reading his thoughts was a fresh perspective on the story, BUT, this part of the story could have easily been quite a bit shorter and got to the same point. Yes, Spook’s discovery is really quite important, but I’m not sure it merited quite the amount of age time it got. Also, The Citizen’s obsession with red is the least subtle communism reference going.

 

My Likes

Overall, I would 100% recommend this book. Though, quite obviously, you need to have read the previous books beforehand. I can’t imagine how confused you would be if you hadn’t!  In the Hero of Ages, Sanderson has created an epic, exciting and wonderfully intricate ending to his Mistborn trilogy. Definitely go read!

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Also, you may have noticed I tried something new with this review. What do you think of the format? Do you prefer to the old, more essay style? Let me know in the comments, please!

 

Jack

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