Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Hero of Ages (Brandon Sanderson)

The Hero of Ages
(The Mistborn trilogy, Book 3)
Brandon Sanderson
Fiction, Fantasy
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Betrayed by her own instincts, Vin unintentionally released a powerful, malevolent force from the Well of Ascension. Ruin was one of the primordial entities that, along with its counterpart Preservation, created the world - a world that it was promised it would one day destroy. Freed, it seeks to make good on the promise that Preservation tried to prevent coming to fruition. There may be hope, left by the Lord Ruler in hidden caches throughout the Final Empire. Vin and her husband, Emperor Elend Venture, race to solve the final riddles left by the enigmatic tyrant, even as their new-fledged empire dissolves into rebellion and chaos. Even those of the inner circle, who helped Vin and Kelsier overthrow the Lord Ruler, seem to be losing faith. With ash burying the land, hordes of bloodthirsty koloss on the move, and the Steel Inquisitors under malevolent control, the whole earth seems to be in its death throes... and this time, not even Vin and her companions may be able to prevent a catastrophe that's been in the making since the world itself was born.

REVIEW: I think that, at its heart, the Mistborn trilogy was really only two books... possibly even just one and a half. The rest of it boils down to brooding. Every character spends an inordinate amount of time brooding, lodged in their own dark thoughts and picking at the same inner scabs while the plot sits quietly by the wayside gathering ash. Oh, that's not to say nothing happens. There are several intense fight sequences, pitting Mistborn Allomantic powers against various foes - enough to trigger the occasional eye glazing, as even the fighting doesn't often move the story forward. (At least one character even manages to brood during an intense fight sequence.) Betrayals and setbacks galore await Vin and her allies in their quest to save humanity from Ruin's grasp. Along the way, the many hints and puzzles of the Mistborn world slowly resolve, clicking together to form a very detailed framework behind the brooding and battles. At the end, Sanderson pulls off some startling revelations... including at least one that almost made me groan out loud. There's even a strong hint of sequel potential. While I didn't hate the trilogy, it ultimately turned into more of a plot-slogger than a page-turner.

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