Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

The Hero of Ages
Mistborn – Book 3
Publisher: Tor Books (2008)
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 748
Price: $7.99

Killing the Lord Ruler to end the Final Empire was obviously the right thing to do, wasn't it? With the return of the lethal form of the ubiquitous mists, increasingly heavy ashfalls, and ever more powerful earthquakes, Vin and Elend are no longer so sure. Long ago, Ruin – one of the primal beings who created the world – was promised the eventual right to destroy all things. Now that Vin has been tricked into releasing him from the Well of Ascension, Ruin apparently intends to collect.

The conclusion of the Mistborn trilogy fulfills all the promise of the first two books. Revelations abound, connections rooted in early chapters of the series click into place, and surprises, as satisfying as they are stunning, blossom like fireworks to dazzle and delight. It all leads up to a finale unmatched for originality and audacity that will leave you rubbing your eyes in wonder, as if awaking from an amazing dream.

The first thing I want to say about this book really pertains to the trilogy as a whole. I'm always happy to read a story that so obviously had a clear plan in the way it was going to be told. Brandon Sanderson doesn't drag this story out over several more books, as it seems so many authors are tempted to do. Instead the reader is treated to a well structured story, told in it's originally conceived way, without a lot of fluff and side stories to artificially create more content. It is refreshing to read something with such a clear-cut design behind it.

The Hero of Ages rejoins the story of Vin and Elend approximately a year after the events of The Well of Ascension. Although they are winning military victories in their attempts to bring more of the population under the umbrella of their protection, they are unable to do anything about the fact that the very land seems to be turning against them. The mists stay longer into the day, and the ash that previously had fallen at manageable rates is now overwhelming them, threatening crops and therefore lives. Their only hope lies in storage caches that the Lord Ruler had left behind, to be used in the event of his demise, and the secrets that those caches contain.

I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, the reveals and twists in this book should really be experienced without adulteration. Let me just say that I really enjoy the idea that the Lord Ruler wasn't quite the horrible tyrant that the reader was first led to believe he was by Kelsier and the rest of his crew. The more the reader learns about him, the more you can sympathize with the position he was in; allowing the character to transcend being the villain, he becomes much more three-dimensional, and much more human.

Much of the story revolves around Ruin, and his manipulations of various people in the story. Once it's revealed that Ruin is capable of interfering in a direct way with some people's thoughts and actions I thought I had several aspects of the story figured out. Some of the manipulations are so blatant that it's impossible not to think to oneself, “Oh, that guy is definitely Ruin's puppet now!” What Sanderson does so well is distract the reader with those instances that lack subtlety. He wants you to be focused on those things, so that the moment when he reveals Ruin's true design is all the more surprising because of it.

The misdirection doesn't stop there. The heroes the reader has come to accept throughout the course of the story aren't the only ones present. The climax featured a huge surprise that had me grinning while I read it, that doesn't happen very often for me. I did feel that the ending wrapped things up a little too nicely. That's not to be a complaint about so many different clues and threads being connected by the end, but rather that things end almost too well. Mr. Sanderson did make one concession to the idea that there had to be some kind of consequences for the actions taken by all the characters, but overall the majority of the world's ills are set right by the end, just a little too neatly for my tastes. It's not much of a complaint, but it's one of the thoughts that ran through my mind upon finishing the book.

Conclusion: The Hero of Ages is an amazingly satisfying ending to a wonderful story. The references to minor details in the previous books make the narrative feel well executed and expertly planned out, and the misdirection keeps the reader from guessing what is going to happen before it's time for the big reveal. This was a great way to wrap up the trilogy.

Rating: 8.75/10

No comments:

Post a Comment