The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn series #3
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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
First Published: October 14th, 2008
Read from: Sept. 17, 2015 to Oct. 30, 2015
Awesome Ending… If You Can Make It There
My reaction to The Hero of Ages, the last book in the Mistborn trilogy, is VERY mixed. A LOT of stuff takes place in this novel. Plot-wise what Sanderson did with the entire series is fully revealed in this book, and it is an amazing piece of work. There is some pretty good action, some characters evolve in interesting and ultimately exciting ways, and it has an awesome climax… BUT it just didn’t grab me like the previous books in the series.
I read book 2 and 3 back to back, so maybe I was becoming bored with the “world”. But I don’t think that is it. Possibly because there was so much to be revealed, there was a LOT more exposition in this book than previous ones. Also, while it was ultimately required for the climax, some of the characters (one in particular) spent a TON of time in a very depressing head space that was a bit of a downer to read. I guess with the world ending for most of the book you should kind of expect things to be depressing. However, well written depression-causing prose does not make for a fully enjoyable read for me.
The ending really saved this book though. I won’t spoil anything, and there is a lot of loss in it, but the uplifting feeling at the end is all the more powerful because of the darkness that preceded it. Still, by the time the amazing action at the climax REALLY pulls out all the stops, I found myself pretty exhausted by all that had gone before, and was no longer fully invested in what was occurring. It went from a character-driven action story to an epic myth. The characters Brandon had done such an awesome job building and making you care so much about in the previous novels gradually become mythic heroes and no longer “real”. They become legend, tropes, cardboard cut outs — cool to read about but there is always that wall of unreality between the myth and the man. By the end the characters have emotions but you can no longer really fully feel their emotion or empathize with them.
The first book, The Final Empire, for me was 5 stars. The second book, The Well of Ascension, dropped to 4 stars mostly because of its anti-climatic ending. Ironically, The Hero of Ages, has an AWESOME ending that by itself ALMOST made me want to rate the book 4 stars. But as a whole the book really was not 4 star stuff. It gets 3 stars. It was good, I liked it and would recommend it to those who have read the previous books, but that’s about it.
For the Mistborn trilogy as a whole I would give it 4 stars. I REALLY liked it and as many have said would recommend it for its magic system and story arc alone. But there is so much other good stuff over and above its mechanics that make Mistborn one of the world’s truly great fantasy series. Sadly, for me, I felt this finale fell short of that potential.