I just finished Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy on Sunday and I wanted to write a short impression of it. I’m new and not very good at book reviews, but I’m working to improve that.
As always, I welcome comments and suggestions.
Read on for my thoughts on The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.
I’d been wanting to read Mr Sanderson’s work for a long time. As I’ve written about him before. I’m a fan of his podcast “Writing Excuses” (I also read Schlock Mercenary by Howard Tayler who also participates in that podcast). Listening to Sanderson’s advice always made me a little curious about his own writing. I’m really not a fan of “The Wheel of Time” series so I had no desire to read his continuation of Robert Jordan’s work, so I finally bit the bullet and got into The Mistborn.
The Mistborn series is fantasy, some would say epic fantasy maybe. I don’t know that it felt “epic” but it was definitely gripping, original and good. The plot is engaging, the twists and surprises are very satisfying. The story revolves around a world ruled by an immortal and powerful dictator, a world separated by two castes where noblemen and slaves alike are oppressed. The plot begins with a gang of unlikely revolutionaries who plot to overthrow the dictator and the noblemen to create a society where everyone is equal.
I loved the magic system(s) that the author brought into play. The first two we see are Allomancy and Feromancy. The first works by ingesting and “burning” different kinds of metals to achieve different effects (such as strength, speed, telekinesis and so on) and the later works by storing and using metals worn to create the same kinds of effects (for example, spending a day sickly to “store” health in a trinket or spending time weaker to store strength to use at a later time). I’d speak about the third magic system, also metal based, but I don’t want to give away anything.
Sanderson does a great job at describing a very different kind of fantasy world, there’s excellent world building skills at work there. The world is original and everything fits, which is something I try and pay attention to when I read a good fantasy story (heck ANY fiction story really). Sanderson’s attention to detail is excellent while not overwhelming the reader too much. There’s just enough information to keep you moving along without being confused or lost. Details added later on make sense and flow with everything else from the beginning. Even at the end, when there’s a lot of big revealing moments, the reader gets a sense of “Ahhh! Wow. That really makes a lot of sense!” which is very satisfying.
The main characters of Vin and Kelsier are quite well fleshed out as the story progresses and some of the secondary characters come to the fore in the later installments to great effect. My only quibble here is that I’d love to find out more about some of the more important secondary characters that were not given this treatment. I hear that a short stand alone novel in this world is due this november, so there’s hope that eventually Sanderson might revisit these characters.
The writing style is quite engaging. Not too flowery, not too terse. One thing I noticed, and this may be just me, but I find his battles (especially the once featuring Allomancers) read like an anime fight. There’s lots of jumping around and things getting flung, pushed or pulled. I can almost imagine the over the top movement lines and woooshes and sound effects. I’ve never read anything like this before and I was amused and pleased at the effect.
All in all, it’s a VERY good read. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s definitely a good addition to the library and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy but is bored with elves and dwarves.