“It sounds to me, young one,” Haddek said, “that you are searching for something that cannot be found.”
“The truth?” Sazed said.
“No,” Haddek replied. “A religion that requires no faith of its believers.”
(The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson)
Unfortunately, the third book in the Mistborn trilogy did not live up to the implied promises of excellence the first books made. While the conclusion is worth reading if you are invested in the characters and story, I almost wish that Sanderson would have made it a two-part series, and ended it with Vin at the Well of Ascension. It would have meant sacrificing a lot of the world’s complexity, but then at least Sanderson wouldn’t have fallen into the mistakes he ended up making.
In my mind, these mistakes are:
- The characters simply react to events right through the end. The other books in the series crafted strong characters able to take control of their lives, but in this one they are so in over their heads that the book is almost devoid of hope.
- Too much information is given away in the excerpts before each chapter. A whole new branch of magic is uncovered, but the characters do almost none of it, instead the author tells us the details in small overviews. This both enables the reader to guess the trick ending early on, and makes it frustrating when the cast doesn’t have the same information we have.
- The religious element becomes over-stated. While there is a religious thread connecting all of the books, it becomes overtly inspirational here. This may work for some fantasy readers, but it wasn’t what I was looking for.
Though I am disappointed in the ending, I feel no desire to give up on Sanderson. I still put The Way of Kings audiobook on hold at my library and am looking forward to when the videogames, set in the Mistborn world, come out. When I weigh the mistakes I see Sanderson making against all he did with this world and set of characters, I see the positive far outweighing the negative.
Buy – Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Length: 760 pgs.
Ending: Abrupt, and slightly deus ex machina; but surprising none-the-less.
Further Reading: Personally, I am looking forward to finishing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and seeing what Brandon Sanderson made of the end.