Saturday, March 12, 2016

Book review: "Mistborn" (original trilogy) by Brandon Sanderson

This is actually a general review of the entire Mistborn original trilogy, as I've read them over the past several months with the boys and on my own.  We started reading them together in the car via Audible, but Garrett couldn't wait for Gabriel and I and finished listening to the entire series on his own before we'd even finished the first book as a group.  Eventually, Gabriel said he was going to pause listening to them, leaving me to finish them on my own.

I also have the paperback collection, shown here.  I finished the series by both reading and listening to them on Audible.

This review contains minor spoilers at the very least.  Read on at your own peril!

Encapsulate the plot of this book in one sentence.

A group of thieves plot to overthrow the rule of an immortal emperor/god, deal with the repercussions of all actions to that end, and discover the full history, responsibilities, and sources of the mystical powers that both hold the world together and rip it asunder.

When and where did you get this book?

I originally got the first Mistborn book in November, 2014.  I subsequently bought the paperback trilogy set from Barnes and Noble in the summer of 2015.

What year or edition?

First editions, from and in paperback.

Did you finish it?

Yes, although it took me longer than expected... :-)

What's your verdict?

Fantastic series all around.  Brandon Sanderson is a really interesting world builder, and his magic systems are really well thought ought.  His characters are relatable, and this series features a really strong female lead.

The paperback versions have held up well under normal usage, although the paper and cover are a bit thin.  Considering the books are ~700 pages each, it doesn't seem like there's a lot that can be done about that.

The Audible series is narrated by Michael Kramer, who has become one of my favorite readers.  He found unique voices for the characters, and there are lots of them.  The only knock on him was that his voice for Elend (one of the main male characters) seemed to change between books 2 and 3.  There's quite a bit of character development between those two books, so it's certainly possible.  However, reading the words on the pages, I didn't make that change in my head.

Overall, both content and performance, 4.5 out of 5 stars!

What surprises did it hold, if any?

Without giving too much away, the first book had a really interesting and somewhat unexpected plot twist near the end.  That kind of thing continues to happen throughout the series, although never as dramatically as in the first book.

The other surprise has to do with the magic system.  You figure everything out about the races, the settings, etc, but a surprise about the magic system is revealed near the end of book 3 and is never resolved.  Apparently, Brandon Sanderson decided to play that one REALLY close to the vest... ;-)

Which scenes will stay with you?

There are lots of pretty memorable scenes.  The first time we see a mistwraith, the first ball, seeing the Lord Ruler (book 1), the assault on Cett and the attack on Luthadel (book 2), the rush to the end (book 3).  Describing these in any more detail would give more away than I want to.

Which characters will stay with you?

Vin, Vin, Vin, and Vin.  She's astounding.  Powerful, tough, vulnerable, delicate, complex, blunt -- like I said earlier, a fantastic lead.

Elend and Sazed to lesser extents, and Kelsier (of course).  Spook and Breeze as well.  And I suspect I'll think of TenSoon every time I see a big black wolf-ish canine for the near future at least.

What genre would you say it is?

Fantasy all the way.

Have you read anything else by this author?

Yes!  The first two of The Stormlight Archive and The Rithmatist. I've also got Elantris and Warbreaker on the shelf.  (and maybe Steelheart?  I'll have to check...)

Is it available today?

Yes, and you should go get it and read it, especially if you like fantasy.

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