Ah, Brandon Sanderson. How I love what you write… and what it could have been.
I have mixed feelings going into this rant, partially because I don’t now whether to be ecstatic or angry or just a wee bit disappointed. Because really, of the Sanderson books I read, Mistborn was not a favorite. I just finished the second book last night and am still recovering–Sanderson books tend to blow me away. I’m definitely in the series for the long run, but I don’t know that I’ll read the first trilogy again once I finish. Let’s start with what I loved, though.
The philosophy. You know me, I don’t watch or read anything to just turn my brain off and coast. Psh. Entertainment is about so much more than a few occupied hours, and Mistborn has some wonderful themes going for it. Good leadership vs. effective leadership, religion, belief and hope in general are all placed under scrutiny. Each character has their own opinion on each matter, each position is given a chance to defend itself before ultimately falling or succeeding, and each lesson learned adds another layer to the story. Characters use their past experiences to bring the life philosophies to the surface, like Kelsier and Mare.
And, oh, my goodness, Kelsier!! How perfect can one character be? So perfect. Perfectly perfect. Perfect in how flawed he is, perfect in his goals and strengths, perfect in his weaknesses and downfalls. If there’s one thing Sanderson excels at, it’s making sure every single character of the story has a life. There are no 2D characters or relationships in a Sanderson novel, and I thank the heavens for that–I judge media by the depth of its people, not the number of punches pulled.
Not to say there weren’t plenty of punches, though! I always look forward to the Sanderson magic systems, and Mistborn delivered in a fantastic way. Ingesting bits of metal to gain specific powers? Awesome! Yes, it did remind me of a grown up Candy Shop War, but I think Sanderson’s came first. The allomancy in the Mistborn novels never ceases to amaze me, each nook and cranny and possible repercussion of the magic explored. The rules, the cost-benefit, the sense of wonder–Sanderson is a master at pulling the most out of a magic system. The fights are fast and furious, with mounting casualties as the series goes on. But they’re not without thought–everything has a reason in Mistborn.
I love that every action, every event in the book has a purpose. There’s never a wasted moment, never a scene that leaves you wondering what you meant to learn from it. Every sentence is crafted to build characters, further plot and deepen mystery. The best part is, you almost don’t realize it’s happening. It takes a truly masterful writer to move a character from point A to B without attracting the attention of an experienced reader. After a while, all plots start to look the same and the moments of change get easier and easier to recognize. But for the most part, the Final Empire (Mistborn book 1) managed the shift perfectly, calling attention to changes as needed and slipping development into the very cracks of the story. Vin’s development felt natural and heartbreaking and real and I loved it. I loved that nothing could be taken for granted, that people had multiple dimensions and that nothing was ever quite what it seemed to be (that ending, though!)
… But all this love also leads me to what isn’t so great about Mistborn. Tomorrow. :)
Thanks for reading and God bless,
The Featured image is Tor Books Mistborn Trilogy covers, from iDigitalTimes