‘“What do you want?” she whispered.
You know what I want. You’ve always known.
And she did. She had sensed it in the moment when she had touched the thing. Ruin, she called it. It had very simple desires. To see the world come to its end.’
So, I finally did it: I completed Brandon Sanderson’s epic Mistborn trilogy. Before reading this series I had been meaning to read some of Sanderson’s books for ages, and I wasn’t disappointed, as I absolutely loved this! I am now super excited to read some of his other books (I particularly have my eye on The Way of Kings!), especially after reading this final book which was undoubtedly my favourite of the series.
Picking up months after The Well of Ascension left off, and the Final Empire is in a dire situation. The destructive force that Vin released from the Well of Ascension (aptly named ‘Ruin’) is reeking havoc on the world, with the ash mounts spewing ash and lava and blocking out the light so plants don’t grow, and the mists becoming more and more deadly, striking people down at random. Meanwhile war rages as Emperor Elend Venture, now a powerful Allomancer, and his Mistborn wife Vin struggle to save the world, entering hostile cities in search of the Lord Ruler’s secret caches, in hopes of finding a way to stop Ruin.
My main complaint with the first two books was the pacing, as they both seemed to be fairly slow starting. The Hero of Ages however dove straight into the action, and never really let up until the end. The stakes were higher than ever, which is largely why I liked it so much. Whereas in the two earlier books the worst that could happen was the deaths of the main characters (which would be pretty bad to be fair!), in this book the worst that could happen was the end of the world…so no pressure at all for Vin and Elend!
And speaking of Elend…he has been another of my minor complaints throughout the first two books. In my review of The Well of Ascension I described him as ‘moral to the point of absurdity’ and said that he ‘just seems like too much of a good guy, to the point where he’s not really believable as a character and seems more like a cardboard cut-out’. So let’s just say, I’m really not an Elend fan in general.
However, he didn’t seem quite as intolerable in this book. Perhaps it was the fact that his new powers as a Mistborn allowed him to participate more in the action, or simply that he seemed to have gotten used to his role as a leader and was more assertive, but I found myself almost liking him in this book. Almost. He was still in some ways an insufferable goody-goody, but not quite as much. He could make hard decisions anyway, which was definitely an improvement on his endless dithering in The Well of Ascension.
Vin, as always, was my favourite character, and she continued to be as tough and astute as always, even when faced with even tougher odds and higher stakes. Kelsier’s old crew continued to make interesting secondary characters, and it was nice to see them all split up and go on their own missions for a change. Spook in particular suddenly became a pretty major character, after previously existing only in the crew’s peripheral, and I really enjoyed the chapters that covered his adventures in Urteau. I also loved reading Sazed’s sections in this book, as he battles with his loss of faith following Tindwyl’s death and struggles to help Vin and Elend save the world, and I loved learning more about the mysterious kandra and their origins through TenSoon’s parts.
However, the thing I loved most about this final Mistborn book was the many revelations throughout. So much more was revealed about the world of the series, with a third form of weird metal magic ‘Hermalurgy’ being introduced (which actually ended up explaining a lot!), the origins of the Inquisitors, kandra and koloss being explained, more being revealed about the Lord Ruler (who actually didn’t seem like such a bad guy after all…you know, for a tyrant!) and the truth about the mystic force that Vin released at the well coming to light…and it was more shocking than I could ever have imagined! I loved how even the tiniest little details planted early on in the series turned out to be significant, and all the loose ends were tied up.
And that ending…it was INSANE! All three books had been building up to it so I had hoped it would be spectacular, but I could never have foreseen how it all played out. It was almost biblical in scope, with Gods, monsters and Allomancers all clashing against an apocalyptic background in an incredible finale.
This was without a doubt my favourite book of what was an incredible series, and I would seriously recommend the Mistborn books to fans of fantasy. The world of the series was very unique with its dystopian feel and unusual metal-centric magic system, and the characters, particularly Vin, were vivid and likeable (except Elend, unfortunately!). Whilst The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension were at times a little slow-going, I feel The Hero of Ages really picked up the pace and raised the stakes, resulting in a truly thrilling and suitably epic finale that nicely tied up the series. An amazing book!