I feel like Brandon Sanderson books should have a separate rating system entirely, because I just five-starred the Mistborn trilogy on Goodreads, and yet I don’t love them as equally as all that. For weird ordery purposes, I’d have to say Mistborn: The Final Empire would still remain my favorite of the three books, but come on. That’s where all of this epicness began, so why wouldn’t it be?
The Mistborn Trilogy (Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages) by Brandon Sanderson is a three-book story revolving the conflict between Mistings, humans, and powerful creatures within the doomed world of Scadrial during the time of the Final Empire. Because there’s really only so much I can say about the trilogy without spoiling it, I’m just going to throw in the short blurb on the first book:
MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE
by Brandon Sanderson
Tor Books, 2006
Goodreads: In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?
In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage–Allomancy, a magic of the metals.
Even that doesn’t tell you much. To be honest, I didn’t even read the summaries, so I technically went into Mistborn blind, with not knowing much besides the fact that it was high fantasy and highly recommended.
Then I read the first sentence about ash falling from the sky. It was a simple sentence, but pretty much starting like that made me go: “Wait. WHY?” So, I had to find out why this was important.
And since I practically reviewed each book separately on Goodreads, there isn’t much else to say. Instead, I present you with my general squees (with no spoilers).
Allomancy – By the end of the trilogy, there are three known metal magic systems that encompass Scadrial: Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy. While all three certainly have unique traits, Allomancy was definitely the standout magic, and it was so much fun learning about the metals and reading about how Mistings were able to use their particular Allomantic skill to fight or spy or manipulate. When Vin and Kelsier are introduced as Mistborn, that was even better.
Mistborns – The books involve several Mistborn who are badass and extremely deadly. While normally, Mistings are only capable of burning one type of metal, Mistborn are capable of burning all of them. This makes them formidable foes and extremely valuable assets. Of course, since they’re practically rare and almost non-expendable, only a few of them show up prominently.
Characters – The trilogy has a wonderful cast of characters, a number of them spanning throughout all three books. I love Vin and Kelsier, and eventually, I even found Elend to be much more fun in the sequels than I thought. Breeze was probably one of my personal favorites, though I was always going to gravitate toward Vin for being so frelling badass (it was actually a little sad that she was the lone badass female in the entire thing–not counting Shan, because…yeah, spoilers).
Make note: If you don’t want to start twitching and crying, expect character deaths and don’t get attached. Ah, screw it. Get attached. You know you want to.
Super-Crazy Historical Backdrop – The entire world is developed. The story didn’t just start at the Final Empire, but rather, it’s a continuation of a thousand years of oppression by the Lord Ruler. While Kelsier and his crew of Misting and non-Misting thieves set out to overthrow a tyrannical god-emperor, the reader is also given brief passages describing a journey of a man who fails to save the world. These passages continue on in both The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages and are sometimes a little confusing, but from time to time, they hint at certain plot points (at least, they did for me in The Hero of Ages).
Action FTW – My absolute favorite aspect of the trilogy has got to be the vivid action sequences. There is a lot that happens in the books, to a lot of characters, and when you think things have gradually slowed down, Sanderson throws another curve ball in and once again there’s no choice but to keep reading at the edge of the seat, in anticipatory excitement of what’ll happen next. I do think that the one-on-ones were the best action sequences, especially Mistborn against Mistborn (again, go Vin!).
Inquisitors, Kandra, Koloss – Inquisitors and the Steel Ministry are so frelling creepy. I mean, who wouldn’t get freaked out about people walking around with spikes in their eyes? Seriously, though, nope nope NOPE. Kandra are weird. I picture them as amorphous blobs that take the form of whatever bones they manage to get. TenSoon kind of grew on me, though, so I think they’re cool–to a point. The Koloss not so much creeps me out (which is weird, because, you know, they’re BLUE); rather, they were a little fascinating to read about, especially when it gets revealed how they’re made.
As for the not-so-good stuff…
Actually, screw that. There were too many epically awesome things in this trilogy that the not-so-good stuff can be ignored (like Zane) or set aside (like Elend’s occasional philosophical whinging) or glazed over (like what I did when Sazed’s religious and existential breakdown went overboard in The Hero of Ages).
At some point I might want to make Allomantic cookies. Now that would be pretty cool.
**Note: I understand there is a branch of Sanderson books set 300 years after the events of the original Mistborn trilogy. I’ve yet to peruse those, but it’s good to know that he hasn’t abandoned Scadrial after only three books!