Mistborn is a series of epic fantasy novels written by American author Brandon Sanderson and published by Tor Books. The first series, published between 2006 and 2008, consists of The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages.
The Bookish Bro Says
Aah, Brandon Sanderson, We meet again. My first ever foray into the writing of Sanderson is via his Young Adult novel, Skyward. Needless to say, I devoured that book quite quickly, and that was while I was on vacation in India! (You can read my review of Skyward by clicking HERE.) After a very satisfying trip through Sanderson’s story of Spensa and M-Bot, I decided it was finally time I dip my toes into the waters of epic / high fantasy, and who better to ferry me across these uncharted waters than master writer Brandon Sanderson himself.
To be very honest with you fine people, I have been putting off reading epic or high fantasy books because of my previous experience with a The Lord of the Rings book. I didn’t care much for elves singing about blades of grass dancing in the wind or old english style of writing back then (and I think I still don’t), and because of said experience, I thought ALL high fantasy books were written the same way; using difficult words, purple prose, information overload, etc, etc. But this year I made it a goal to read at least one of the epic/high fantasy books that I have in my shelves, and I have achieved it. (Congratulations are in order, I think?)
The Mistborn Trilogy is a set of books with great renown. Sanderson and his books have a HUGE following of devoted fans and I now know why. The way he writes and the way his stories progress is so very effortless that it’s really easy to get sucked into the story, right from very first page! I remember thinking, while reading the first few pages of the first book The Final Empire, that it was written just like a Young Adult novel. So if you’re like me and you’re intimidated by the idea of reading a high fantasy or epic fantasy, give Mistborn a try. It’s not as daunting as other people make it out to be.
The Actual Review
Sanderson is a great writer, but he’s far from perfect. Because of all the love and the rave that this trilogy has received, I guess I read it with a more critical eye. There are tons of things I loved about this trilogy, let’s get that right, but there are also a couple of elements that I disliked.
First off, let me list some of the things I liked about this trilogy!
- Easy to read writing! Like I said, Sanderson is a wizard when it comes to writing. He makes the characters come to life and he describes details in a way that makes it readable. It is written simple, without need of flowery words.
- The Magic System! If you’re reading a fantasy novel, then there HAS to be some sort of magic system in that world, right? Sanderson toyed around with the idea of using metals in Mistborn (and he calls it allomancy). They use steel, iron, copper, tin, etc. I won’t go into detail about it, but trust and believe that it is a unique system and it was fascinating learning about it as I read through the three books.
- Amazing fight scenes! Did I mention Sanderson is a writing wizard? If I did, then I’ll say it again. He. Is. A. Wizard. He is very descriptive when it comes to action scenes, so much so that it actually plays like a movie or an animé in my mind. There are some parts (specially in book one) where I had to reread some paragraphs during the epic fight scenes because I still haven’t fully grasped the concepts of the magic system, but once I got used to it, everything played out beautifully and flawlessly. I feel like action scenes are Sanderson’s favourite scenes to write!
- The World Building! When it comes to epic or high fantasy books, the world building has to be on point and in depth, and the author delivered. Sanderson filled this world with so much magic, mystery, myths, monsters, and more! And by the end of the trilogy, they all fit together so perfectly that there’s barely any room for you to ask questions!
- No heavy romance! I’m not a fan of “love at first sight” and I’m definitely not a fan of overly flirtatious characters (but act as if they’re not). Sanderson wrote his characters to be well-rounded and flawed, and they don’t rely on their relationships to get through life and their problems. It just feels so good to read about characters who are strong and independent, and who can trust their partners enough to let them do what they need to do. It’s a breath of fresh air!
And now, for the things I didn’t like about the books.
- Words, words, and more words. Sanderson is a good writer, but I think he word vomited in these three books. The dialogues the characters have are one or two sentences too long! It’s like they’re not really conversing with each other. It all felt like it was just Sanderson using the characters to “say” what he wants to write. (I don’t know if that makes sense…) It also made the book a bit too dragging for me. I found myself skipping through some paragraphs and just reading the “conversations” because they basically serve the same purpose…
- Underwhelming reveals. I don’t know if it’s because the books drag so much in the middle that the supposedly awesome reveals at the end of the book just felt flat for me. Book one’s ending sorely disappointed me, book two draaaagged so much, and book three felt like it could have been trimmed down a bit just so the finale didn’t feel like it was just mashed into a few pages.
- Repetition. Sometimes I appreciate information being repeated or mentioned again in sequel books because not everyone will be able to remember them from the first book, but I don’t know what it is with how Sanderson does it that it makes me grind my teeth. He repeatedly explains the laws and descriptions of allomancy in books 2 and 3 and I found it very annoying. It made me think he did it on purpose just to make the book longer.
Overall, Mistborn had way more ups than downs! With that said, I rate it a 4.5 out of 5. It was an amazing dive into the world of The Final Empire and to be witness to the triumphs and defeats of the characters. And thanks to Sanderson, I can’t wait to start reading some more epic and high fantasies!
Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested to him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This changed when an eighth grade teacher gave him Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly.