Series: Mistborn #3
Published by Gollancz on February 11th 2010
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world. This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson's saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith, and responsibility.
I saw one of my friends on Goodreads compare Brandon Sanderson to Ruin because he’s a God and has ruined her life. I’d rather say, he ruins you for any other epic fantasy sagas because the Mistborn series is simply incomparable, so beware of this when you start these books. If you have already commenced the series, your emotional ruin awaits.
Of all three books – The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages – I liked this one the least. When it comes to plots, I love heists most, so it’s no wonder I adored the first instalment. The sequel differed from the first one, focusing on building a government rather than destroying one, but I loved the tension of an approaching war, political intrigue, and an increasing number of enemies. And the third one? The characters grow, questions are answered, and my heart was ripped out twice within a book, and yet it cannot quite reach the awesomeness of the previous instalments.
As always, be aware that this review contains massive spoilers for the previous books in the Mistborn series.
I’ve said it time and time again: We can all agree that a thorough, convincing, and detailed world-building – including a well-founded magic system – is Sanderson’s strong suit. But his characters… How did he make me love these little shits so much? I feel like I’ve known Vin, Elend, and the crew forever, and I was incredibly sad to depart from them. Their journey from a heist to defence to conquering has changed them a lot, and most of them grew stronger, harder, better.
Vin is an impressive heroine, whose point of view was a pleasure to read from, and she has come a long way from the distrustful street urchin to a respected crewmember to a young queen to an accomplished empress. Elend is among the characters that have changed the most. He has hardened since abandoning his ideals of democratic reign and resigned to a show of force. What further drove his development forward are his newly gained allomantic powers (I love Elend, period). A character which surprised me was Spook who has finally risen in the hierarchy of the crew and has a real purpose in The Hero of Ages. To be fair, I miss his unintelligible slang, but I enjoyed the new Spook – a newfound responsibility on his shoulders – as he wades his way through the politics of a city on the brink of rebellion. View Spoiler »I’m also glad he’s finally found a girl. He deserved it so much. « Hide Spoiler Sazed, hitherto a source of uplifting optimism, is a troubled character after the death of Tindwyl, having abandoned his faith and struggling to find a belief which could give him back his trust in the good. His struggles are a bit painful to watch, at times, but my love for Sazed is endless. TenSoon I looked forward to be reunited with, the witty kandra with torn loyalties. I had grown quite attached to him in The Well of Ascension and eagerly awaited his chapters in The Hero of Ages. Characters from the original crew who are in the background, though present at all the major events, are precious Ham and sassy Breeze.
Political schemes and war dominated the previous instalments. This one, though bloody, focuses more on the patterns of the magic, as Vin and the crew slowly discover the secrets of their history and the key to their future. We learn more about the Kandra and the Koloss species, and the geographical area the plot covers is wider. Overpowering the Lord Ruler was difficult and fighting off multiple enemies at the gates of Luthadel took a toll on the crew, but The Hero of Ages presents the crew with their most challenging antagonist yet. Ruin is one of the most fascinating and out-of-this-world antagonists ever. A God with questionable morals is pretty hard to beat at his own game, if you ask me. The storyline finally comes full circle, the beginnings of the Lord Ruler and Ruin’s desire to see the world in ruins. I’m not sure he can be referred to as a character, since he wasn’t exactly material (which made him all the more fascinating, of course), but he was definitely morally grey, and I find antagonists who actually believe they’re doing the right thing the most intriguing. I’d say what dampened my excitement for the last instalment was the pacing. The previous books had propelled their plots forward with a fast pace, whereas this one seemed a little slower to me and sometimes had me impatiently waiting for the fight scenes or grand discoveries or touching reunions.
And we won’t even discuss how much this book broke me, ok? Nobody touch me.
Though I found The Final Empire’s plot the most enjoyable of the series, as I love a good heist with all the scheming, drawbacks, and victories involved, I’m amazed by the overall storyline Sanderson constructed for the Mistborn series. It may have been slower, yet The Hero of Ages is an incredible final instalment, focusing on the workings at large, securing an empire, and defeating the force that is destroying the world.