When I’m writing this down, I have read four books by Brandon Sanderson. The first might have been a fluke, the second sheer luck, but when four books in a row turn out to be extremely good to downright amazing, you know the man can write. The second book in the trilogy, The Well Of Ascension, wasn’t as amazing as The Final Empire, the first one, was because of the slow middle part with lots of political intrigue. This concluding volume, however, turned out to be everything I wanted and more.
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.
The thing that is so great about this book, is how it is able to tell a story while providing answers for all the questions that had been heaping up ever since the very first page of the first book. Never ever have I felt like the info was dumped upon me, rather certain events and twists in the plot revealed things and it wasn’t until the end that the whole picture became clear. When I say the whole picture, I do mean the whole picture. I don’t believe I can think of any single question concerning this trilogy that hasn’t been answered and that is a great feat to pull off. Even more so, this was done without forcing the story into certain directions. Rather, everything just fell into place, revelation after revelation, and it’s so logic that I felt like I should have seen it coming. Of course, that would never have happened in a million years, but that was how it felt.
“revelation after revelation
As such, the ending was something I hadn’t foreseen and I loved every single bit of it. Hero Of Ages was high fantasy at its best and there is no better use for the term ‘Epic’ than what I read between the covers of this book. Also, the revelation about who The Hero Of Ages was, was… well, a revelation for sure. I never thought it would take a turn so dramatic and I admit: Yes, I cried. But wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you? It reminded me of Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Quest in that I didn’t only cry to mourn beloved characters – for that was certainly accounted for by my tears – but I also shed tears for the sheer beauty of it all.
As far as the story goes, I believe this is the hardest and most vicious of the three books. As the world is nearing its end, people are become even more desperate, the mists are killing and the Inquisitors are becoming a powerful force. This allows the story to delve into the art of Hemalurgy, the third and final art performed with metal, and it makes for a fascinating read for sure. Some parts of it may be a bit hard to stomach for sensitive readers, but all in all I believe that Sanderson handled a cruel art as Hemalurgy with absolute grace.
“for the sheer beauty of it all
Another powerful asset of this book, and the trilogy as a whole, is its characters. A story this big needs strong characters to carry it along and they do it so well. It’s amazing how Kelsier’s little band of thugs evolved along with their goals. From overthrowing the Final Empire to saving the world, they have grown, cut their losses and became such a rich group I couldn’t do anything but love every single one of them. It’s great to see how this book takes one of the weaker and slightly more unimportant characters from the previous novels, being Spook, and elevating him, pushing him to be something great. They all have their flaws, but that is what makes this such a beautiful read. Just because of their flaws they become vulnerably human and not just a name on a piece of paper. With the trilogy behind me, I can safely say that a part of my heart will always be dedicated to Vin and her group. I also would like to pay my respect to the Kandra and in particular to TenSoon, not in the least for being amazing, but also for being brave when it’s easy to give in to cowardice and providing one of the many heart wrenching moments.
It goes without saying that the writing as well was a stellar piece of beauty. It’s a huge book, but where the second one dragged in the middle, this one flows smoothly from one high to another. When it comes to Fantasy authors – and perhaps authors in general – Brandon Sanderson is really deserving of a place in the hall of fame. He’s in mine, at least.
I always find it harder to write reviews about books I liked a lot than for those where I can apply some critique. However, now and again you come across this book and author you just can’t stop gushing about. So I’ll stop gushing and just conclude with this: Go read this book/trilogy if you haven’t already, cause even though you’ll spend many hours reading it, it’s worth every single second of your time. This is one for the ages.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Let yourself be amazed. Over and over and over again.