“My behavior is nonetheless, deplorable. Unfortunately, I’m quite prone to such bouts of deplorability–take for instance, my fondness for reading books at the dinner table.” (Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson)
Mistborn is one of those fast-paced, can’t-put-down, it’ll-get-you-to-love-reading-again books. They are few and far between. I had the will power to listen to the epic in small chunks during my daily hour-long commute to work for a few weeks, but eventually I couldn’t live with the suspense anymore and ended up spending the better part of a day staring at a wall, listening to one CD after another. Never mind that it would have taken me far less than 10 hours to read it in print – there wasn’t time to go find the book. I had the audiobook, and it was necessary that I finish it then and there.
Sanderson combines excellent, precise fighting scenes, unique world building, and a fully explored magical system to create this marvelous work. The magic of alomancy, the power to burn metals, is one of the most flushed-out systems I’ve seen in fantasy. So often magic just serves as a backdrop to the main story, like any other accessory or decoration, but Sanderson weaves magic into the fundamental structure of the plot and continuously explores the system, making it fully comprehensible and tangible to the reader. The only thing he’s not strong on is female characters – but in a genre that is not great at femininity in general, this isn’t a deal breaker. The female lead is strong and powerful, but her thoughts have a one-dimensional lack of self-confidence that some might find grating.
Recommended Action: Buy –
Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Length: 672 pgs (25 hrs. Audiobook quality: good)
Ending: This work is almost completely self-contained and satisfying. Several questions at the end will drive the reader’s curiosity for the rest of the series, but there isn’t a cliffhanger.
Further Reading: Besides the whole modern boarding-school setting, this book reminds me of Harry Potter in many ways. The pacing and strong moral backing are similar, and the books are equally epic in scope. I would recommend this series to an older HP fan; one who might be looking to move into the high-fantasy genre (and visa versa; if you liked this and have somehow missed HP, you might want to try it out).