So, yesterday I ranted about what I loved in Mistborn, and believe me when I say I loved the ride. But there were also things I really didn’t like–fairly large things on the Sanderson scale. Let’s dive right in.
On any regular standard, this book blows it out of the park. 10/10, giant smiley faces and a big fat prize. But I read this after reading Way of Kings, and it’s hard to live up to high fantasy perfection. But that’s what Way of Kings was for me, and I naively assumed Mistborn would be the same. It’s not. The story feels less fresh, the characters less real than Way of Kings. The movement of characters and plot, while deliberate and purposeful (something I absolutely adored), began to feel wanton after a time. The same fights that I loved for their epic feel and adrenaline rush began to bore me, simply because they. never. stopped. By the end of the second book, I felt apathetic even about our leads Vin and Elend, so much death had occurred. And that’s the last thing you want a reader to feel.
It wasn’t just the violence, either. In a world of 4D characters there exists a line–on one side lies fulfillment and humanity, on the other a convoluted mess. The Final Empire did a marvelous job of toeing that line, breaking you just enough to make you stronger. The Well of Ascension, however, spent the latter half of the book on the wrong side of the divide, trying so hard to make take it that one step further that it stopped itself from greatness.
No character was safe from the axe of death or betrayal. There truly was no simple, kindhearted person to ground yourself against–and in a book all about learning to trust despite the odds, you need to actually feel that it is possible, more than simply watch it happen and understand it intellectually.
There was only one other complaint I had about Mistborn, and I’ve seen it so often in books it really just disappointed me to find it here. The love arc between Vin and Elend–while extreme in its events–was utterly simple in concept. She loves him, she doesn’t feel worthy, has a bout of noble idiocy. He loves her, he doesn’t feel worthy, there’s a misunderstanding due to lack of communication. So, um… yes, I got the epic feel but none of the innovation I would have expected from Sanderson. Oh well, if I want to watch the same old done well I’ll go see Marriage Contract again.
In the end, Mistborn was a beautifully written book with a heartbreaking case of what could have been. But that’s just me–what do you think?