Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Book: The Hero of Ages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #3
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Pages: 784
Release: October 14th, 2008

Who is the Hero of Ages?

To end the Final Empire and restore freedom, Vin killed the Lord Ruler. But as a result, the Deepness---the lethal form of the ubiquitous mists---is back, along with increasingly heavy ashfalls and ever more powerful earthquakes. Humanity appears to be doomed.

Having escaped death at the climax of The Well of Ascension only by becoming a Mistborn himself, Emperor Elend Venture hopes to find clues left behind by the Lord Ruler that will allow him to save the world. Vin is consumed with guilt at having been tricked into releasing the mystic force known as Ruin from the Well. Ruin wants to end the world, and its near omniscience and ability to warp reality make stopping it seem impossible. She can't even discuss it with Elend lest Ruin learn their plans!

The conclusion of the Mistborn trilogy fulfills all the promise of the first two books. Revelations abound, connections rooted in early chapters of the series click into place, and surprises, as satisfying as they are stunning, blossom like fireworks to dazzle and delight. It all leads up to a finale unmatched for originality and audacity that will leave readers rubbing their eyes in wonder, as if awaking from an amazing dream.

BY THE LORD RULER (kudos if you get the reference, by the way). Did what I think just happened, just actually happen? Mind. BLOWN. The last 20% was just jam-packed with crazy revelations, and once you get through the "it said WHAT???" part, everything. Makes. Sense.

After Vin was misled to release a god-like force called Ruin into the world, the world has begun to end. Heavy ashfalls continuously fall, sunlight is scarce for food and crops, and the mists are killing people everyday. And on the desperate frontlines are Vin and Elend. But how do you fight an omniscience force with no physical body?

There are two main tasks Elend and Vin have to accomplish: save as many people as possible, and to find a way to stop Ruin. Essentially, Elend saw to the first (he is emperor after all, so the people are his responsibility), and Vin was on the second. Together, they made a perfect blend of logistical and physical struggles. Often, it was a combination of both action and thinking that yielded the solution; when diplomacy failed, physical force was utilized, or when action failed, clever schemes succeeded. No punches were spared; Elend and Vin threw everything they had in this book, every trick and weapon in their arsenal.

I really loved all the characters' internal struggles. It was all just so easy to become invested in all of them! Spook, with trying to prove he's just as indispensable as the others, Elend, trying to justify attacking--and thus killing innocents--cities in order to conquer and save the people within, Sazed, with his existential crisis after Tindwyl's death, and Vin, trying to find a way to solve the problem with Ruin, but being unable to discuss it or get help, lest Ruin figures out her plan.

This book hit so many great complex issues: how to protect a city whose leader does not fully grasp the direness of the situation and only sees accepting "protection" as a political ploy, the search of a religion that has proof in its trueness, how to grapple with physical forces destroying the world, and understanding the balance between two fundamental forces, Preservation and Ruin, forever clashing. It definitely opens up the eyes of the reader and invites intellectual debates!

Let's talk about Hemalurgy! We finally got to understand the third and final magic system, in all it's horrible glory. It's not pretty by a long shot, and we got to see the terrible things accomplished by it. Even worse is that it can be granted to people completely unsuspectingly, with or without their will or knowledge. And the side effects...well, let's just say it takes a person with extreme mental fortitude to resist. It all begs the question: how far would the power-hungry be willing to go to gain Allomantic abilities? How susceptible are we all to acquiring unexplained power?

The true brilliance of this book was how everything finally tied together. So many things were revealed! Small things that I had originally just accepted as being "part of the book's world" like the ashfalls, the red sun, and the brown plants, were all explained. The Lord Ruler's original plans were made clear, including the reasoning behind his creation of the kandra, koloss, and Inquisitors. The mists are explained, as well as the seemingly random deaths. There are reasons--mind blowing reasons--for everything. Even the role the Hero of Ages plays was not what I thought it was! The small blurbs at the beginning of the chapters were written extremely well, unveiling a bit of information relevant to the chapter, like a prequel information tidbits. But again, the author was a master at completely taking what I thought was true or never thought to question and turning it on its head at the end. brilliant! Sanderson literally deserves the title "Mastermind" because if you realize just how brilliant the Lord Ruler must have been, you realize just how brilliant the Lord Ruler's own creator (see: author) is!

Though the ending was devastating for my heart, I am extremely satisfied with the conclusion. These past three books have been a complete whirlwind of political intrigue, warfare strategies, a study in metals and alloys, and crazy, crazy revelations and plot twists. A truly epic fantasy series in all ways. There's a sequel series, and even though it's set 300 years later, I'm still very much looking forward to reading it. If you're into fantasy and want to take a plunge into something deep and complex on a fundamental level, definitely give this series a go!


  1. YAY YAY YAY I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU EXPERIENCED THE WHOLE MIND BLOWINGNESS OF THIS SERIES! My heart was breaking for Sazed this whole book. :( I loved how the Lord Ruler's thinking process was explained. It was perfect. I feel like we should have figured out most if it because those epigraphs at the beginning of the chapters were quite revealing, now that I've reread it. I felt so dumb. I guess the first time you read it you're just so caught up in everything and caught off guard by everything. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the second era books!

    1. I KNOW RIGHT??? Like, my mind was just not ready for those sudden revelations. Everything. Made. Sense!!! AHHHHH. I'm hoping to read the second era books soon. I've heard great things about them, except for the long wait times between book ^.^"