Mistborn Trilogy (and The Alloy of Law) – Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn TrilogyIt seems like all I’m doing these days is talking about Brandon Sanderson. Reading The Wheel of Time and Elantris started me on a journey through Sanderson’s work, and I’m finding it hard to catch up. The man writes so much it’s unbelievable. He’s a machine. Since my last post about Brandon Sanderson, I’ve read 2 novellas by him (Legion and The Emperor’s Soul, both of which were excellent) and 4 books (the trilogy-plus-one herein reviewed). I’m currently reading yet another novel of his and have (not joking here) 4 more, just of Sanderson’s, in my “next reads” list.

Anyway, I’m here to talk about Mistborn. The first book of the trilogy, The Final Empire, was his second published novel and is, in my opinion, truly unique approach to fantasy literature. To begin, this story takes place in a world consumed by darkness, overruled by a tyrannical god-king, where ash rains upon the backs of the beaten-down people. It is a world where the villain has won. The protagonists are part of a thieving crew who are planning a heist on the god of their world. Quite the setup, no? The lady pictured in the image above is Vin, the main character of the trilogy (though Brandon Sanderson typically writes multiple points-of-view.) She gets tangled up with the thieving crew and learns that she is unique: she is Mistborn.

Brandon Sanderson is known for building dynamic and unique magic systems, and Mistborn is a true example of his inventive prowess. Without spoiling too much, I’ll say that the magic systems are based on human interaction with metals. It’s a really fascinating thing to learn about as you read, and even more interesting as the trilogy develops. The magic system ends up being a vital part of the overall plot of the trilogy, and becomes integral to the major turning points of the trilogy as a whole.

I find that as I write this review, I’m at a loss for how to specifically praise these books. They are, in general, fantastic. They’re very well written, the pacing is outstanding, the action is enthralling, and the story is compelling. The characters feel real and the world is vivid. I was glued to these books. I simply couldn’t put them down.

I finished The Alloy of Law in between starting this review and where I am now (sitting in a cafe in Seattle which is, since you asked, quite lovely) and it once again showcases Brandon Sanderson’s incredible talent. It is a novel set in the same world but at a different time. It takes place hundreds of years after the events of the main trilogy, in a world on the brink of major industrial revolution. It’s a western, gunslinging tale, augmented by the magical powers that dominate the first trilogy. It, like its predecessors, has great pacing, action, and characters. He has altered some of the magic system, adding new powers and changing the way they are used, making them feel familiar, yet new and exciting at the same time. As I try to write a novel of my own, my respect for writing at the level of Brandon Sanderson has only increased.

It’s odd, to be at a loss for words to describe exactly why I loved these books. I just did. They’re just really, really fun to read. I guess that’s what it is.

I’m going to go read some more.

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5 Responses

  1. So you’re saying things actually happen in these books in a reasonable amount of time? You see, the last books I read didn’t exactly fit that criteria.

    1. In Brandon Sanderson’s defense, those books were written and planned by someone else–he was just doing Robert Jordan’s work. Sanderson’s books that are his own are much, much faster paced.

  2. Sanderson’s ‘The Way of Kings’ gave me a similar reaction. i tore through his books about a year ago. Have you read ‘The Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss? i think you would like it. Also the anthology ‘Unchained’ will give you a taste of a few sick fantasy authors with which to w(h)et your whistle.

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