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!
So, that was totally not what I expected. In a good way! In a really good way! I read a lot, so I frequently feel like I have seen the same plot points again and again. This series, however, has done an excellent job of always pulling the rug out from under my feet, and this is, in my opinion, the strongest installment.
Brandon Sanderson is playing with a lot of tropes here. There’s a chosen one. There’s a fight between good and evil. Or is there? Throughout this entire book, it’s hard for the characters to be certain of anything. The same certainly applies to the reader. There were so many moments when I thought I knew what was going on just for everything to suddenly swerve and I realized shit, I have no idea where this is going. It was great.
Another thing that impressed me was how philosophical this book could be. There’s a lot of talk of religion in this book – both because of Vin and Kelsier’s roles in the Church of the Survivor and because of Sazed’s knowledge of all the religions. I thought it was really impressive how Sanderson both deconstructed how religion can be blown out of proportion and used to justify terrible things while still showing the importance of faith. It felt a lot more… mature than I’d expect from a novel about magic people eating metals and shapeshifting blobs of goo.
If this isn’t a five star read, it’s just because I’m still not connecting with the characters as much as I want to. Vin and Elend can seem a little distant at times (my favourite character was Spook, in case you’re wondering) and Ruin, as a villain, fell more towards the Sauron-esque ultimate eeeevil type than a nuanced, human character. (And I know he’s not supposed to be that, but it still prevented me from being fully invested in certain aspects of the book.)
But, honestly, there was enough action and HOLY SHIT WHAT DID I JUST READ moments to more than make up for that. I spent something like three hours this morning without putting this book down because I just needed to know what happened. My mind exploded several times.
I am so glad I came back to this series to give it a second chance. It’s so unique and inventive and the ending of every book has smacked me in the face with a giant wait, what? I cannot wait to go and pick up The Alloy of Law. (I think that’s the first book in the sequel series? I mean the sequel series. I can’t wait to read the sequel series.)