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Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson – Series Overview

Why, Mr. Sanderson, why?

I loved the first two Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson. I recommended them even. Book one, Final Empire, was an excellent tale of orphan –> saviour, with a nice death scene, some good struggle and an apparent stand-alone. The sequel, The Well of Ascension, seemed difficult, but pulled off well the struggles one gains when one destroys an empire. It did, however, confuse things with a struggle between gods. Book three, The Hero of Ages…well, it got complex, perhaps, nay certainly, too much so.

I enjoy Sanderson’s writing style. It’s simple, to the point. The POV characters feel different. The people have lucid, realistic thoughts. The story is good, well thought out, well plotted. Some side-characters became a little 2D (Goradel and Demoux, Beldre and Quellion, I’m looking at you!), but that’s by-the-by. The real selling point of Sanderson’s work is his worldbuilding, and his magic systems.

Simply put, Allomany, the magic system of the Mistborn Trilogy, is the coolest magic system I’ve ever read. Metals are ingested in small quantities, and ‘burnt’ – each produces a different effect. There are, originally, ten of them. More are discovered as the books go on, and one of my major gripes is not getting to know of two of the eventual sixteen. It feels like Sanderson left it a great design half finished – like the Louvre without the funky pyramid things. Anyway, the metals affect the world in various ways: Iron can pull on metals, steel push them, affecting the user as much as the used in an equal/opposite manner. Magic users are rare in the common world, and are mostly ‘mistings’, people who can burn just one metal. Even rarer are ‘Mistborn’, those who can use all metals.

Alongside this, there are two other forms of more complex magic, though they are revealed well in the book. Suffice to say, they too are metal based, and excellent. Worldbuilding is wonderful as well, but like the plot and the magic system, somewhat unfinished. You see a few cities really well, like Luthadel, the capital and Fadrex City in the third book. However, each has particularities to it making them unique, but not very plausible. The land in between is never well described. Distance is covered with distinct ease, and no description. Half the world is covered by a catch all ‘What lay in the Southern Hemisphere was unknown’. When serious ramifications occur to the world’s ecosystem later in the trilogy, no mention is given to people outside of the ‘main fellowship’. It is, again, half finished. It smacks of rushing to me, of editor deadlines and the like.

Finally, the story. As I said before, the first is excellent. The story evolves well, but loses its main appeal at the end. It recovers well in two, looking at a completely different, more wide scale element of plot. However, it ends mystically, and the third continues this vein. There is much godly plotting, and it ends in a rather perfunctory Deus-ex-Machina. God comes, and all is okay. Meh.

In conclusion, its well written, well designed and well structured, but feels like its cut off in every element, that it’s not fully realised, that it’s not done to the best of Sanderson’s undoubted ability. I’d recommend the first and second, and if you itch to know more, the third. But I think it says something that I was able to drop the third halfway through, leaving it for a month before picking it up again, with no desire to read read read.

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Rating: 8.7/10 (7 votes cast)
Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson - Series Overview, 8.7 out of 10 based on 7 ratings
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4 Comments

  1. Mutobe says:

    I will have to disagree a bit here. All in all the trilogy was great and best read to the end by anyone. Clever observation about its er ‘unfinished’ elements but with the world undoubtedly about to meet its end I did not mind most of them like the distance thing (esp. with Vin’s novel mode of travel in most cases)
    The god fixes all ending is acceptable when you look at the story/plot structure and must not even be a complaint. To venture further on this point would take me in to the nether region called spoiler-ville.
    The third book unlike the first two was full of doom & gloom probably why it was more challenging to read, considering you spent half the time worrying which of your beloved characters was going to die next.
    I distinctly remember passing the event horizon in the third book where escape to sleep is out of the question when chapters were waiting, so it must have been a good book as well. Not the best of Brandon’s abilities, yes, but the best of his abilities are so amazing it almost seems unfair to demand it all the time. Not that I would mind ;p

  2. Khaldun says:

    I loved the first Mistborn book, but didn’t read past that as I heard complaints about the third one. Probably not a valid reason for not reading further, as I love his work, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Still have to read the WoK anyways…

  3. Johnson says:

    I heard this trilogy within a trilogy. Read some rumor long ago that this would evolve into some steampunk fantasy: color me excited

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