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[personal profile] corrielle

1. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson


I've been reading the Mistborn series on and off for a few months now, and it was definitely a thought-provoking read. It's one of those series, in fact, that seems to value ideas and theory over world-building and characterization.  This is not to say that the series is completely lacking in these characteristics, but I think that where it shines is in the complexity of the theological/philosophical problems and situations it sets up.  The world is... an interesting one, and is certainly internally consistent, but the society is purposefully pretty monolithic and drab.  This actually makes sense... the Lord Ruler kept the Final Empire from developing too much while Ruin was still trapped in the Well of Ascension.  I can't imagine what would have happened if Ruin had gotten loose and humanity had developed much in the way of modern warfare.

Even though the writing is sometimes a little too... didactic for my tastes (I can appreciate Elend's dilemmas that arise from his idealism and desire for fairness running up against reality and necessity... I don't need to have them explained to me... I can also appreciate Sazed's life-shattering crisis of faith without having it spelled out for me more than once, thank you very much), I still cared very much about the characters and the story.  I liked Elend quite a lot (quiet smart boy who turns out to be a force to be reckoned with... very cool), and Vin was passably interesting.  I didn't think I was too terribly attached to her until she didn't wake up after taking Preservation into herself.  Then... I was upset.  For both her and Elend, though I suppose it's better that they both die than one of them survive the other.  The two characters I really loved, though, were Sazed and TenSoon.  The backstory of the kandra race was fascinating, and TenSoon as a "rebel" trying to shake them out of their complacency was my favorite storyline of the book.  Sazed was just... smart and humble and conflicted and interesting, and in the end, one of those people who may not have been flashy and born to lead, but who did what was necessary when fate demanded it of him. 

The end of the book was... satisfying.  This is one of those stories where all of the pieces fit together very neatly, and I can sit back as a writer and admire the construction like an architect admires plans for a building.  It's definitely more of a "head" book than a "heart" book.  As I said, it did give me a lot to think about, and I appreciate that.  In the end, the key to saving the world is bringing the powers of Ruin and Preservation (chaos and order, destruction and creation) together and putting them under the control of someone who a.) understands that both of them are necessary and b.) has the knowledge to use them without doing big, stupid things like moving the entire planet too close to the sun and burning the world to a crisp.  So... having Sazed absorb the mist from the vessels that had very recently contained Ruin and Preservation and use all of his Keeper-collected knowledge to put the world back to the way it was before the Lord Ruler messed things up made a lot of sense. I also really like it because it was basically a scholar, a life-long believer who questioned the need for faith, becoming the closest thing this world has to a supreme deity.  The irony is... not subtle, but it made me smile. 

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August 2014

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