Fangirl Friday: Book Review, “The Hero of Ages”

“This isn’t about good or evil. Morality doesn’t even enter into it. Good men will kill as quickly for what they want as evil men — only the things they want are different.”

So says the mystical being who appears to be the ultimate antagonist of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. And, along with the first two books, the final installment in the trilogy brilliantly weaves a dark, fantastical world with painfully realistic characters who make us question the core of good and bad. If you handed me a book and told me it was ultimately about a mystical force hellbent on ending the world as we know it, I would naturally assume that that force was the antagonist. The big bad guy. The evildoer who gets a high off of power, or somehow otherwise profits from the apocalypse.

If you then asked me why destruction is inherently evil, I’d have to pause to think.

That, my friends, is exactly what Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy does. It constantly makes us question doctrines we may otherwise take for granted.

What really is good versus evil?

Are aristocratic nobles inherently bigoted? Are oppressed peoples inherently innocent?

Is logical reasoning always sound? What about raw gut instinct?

Is faith naivete? Or an open-minded necessity?

The fantasy trilogy brilliantly tackles these hard-hitting questions, and more. As I discussed in my book reviews for book one and book two, Sanderson does a grade-A job of crafting an elaborate fantasy universe, fleshing out three-dimensional characters, and on top of that, making the reader question his or her moral compass.

Let’s all stand up and slow clap Mr Sanderson, shall we?

*slow clap*

Now, back to the book review for the third book in the trilogy, The Hero of Ages. Taken by itself, I must admit that the book begins rather sluggishly. Once it picks up its pace, after about 100 pages, though, boy is it a page-turner!

In this book we see the world as we know it dying. Suffocating beneath piles of ash spewed from volcanoes, shaken by earthquakes, deprived of sunlight by a cloak of mist. Oh, not to mention political upheaval and war across the world.

I obviously can’t discuss the climax too much without revealing the plot arc of the entire trilogy, but I will say that the final book brilliantly showcases Sanderson’s masterfully crafted fantasy universe. A universe which, if you read it described in bullet points, might seem a bit contrived and whimsical, but which, in execution is deep, thoughtful, logical.

In fact, more than the vivid descriptions, more than the fleshed out characters, more than the suspenseful plot — one of the grandest accomplishments of this series is how Sanderson keeps the esoteric magic system from being hand-wavy. It all fits logically together, from the magic to the godlike beings to the fantastical creatures.

Add to that the series’ subtle way of making one question morality itself, I cannot stress enough how amazing this trilogy is. Go. Get thee to a bookstore now. Read the Mistborn trilogy.

Until next time,

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4 comments

  1. I really like the questions you have identified that this trilogy raises. They really interests me.
    Following your positive reviews, I’ve just been looking at the first book on Audible. It has very positive reviews on there too. I think I will add it to my wish list. The book covers for the audio versions are very different.
    I do have one question – does the book feel all bleak and miserbale? Is there any hope or positivity? I listen to audio books to get to sleep. I’m currently reading a book that feels all bleak and miserable. Lots of death, suffering, hate. It’s not always what you want to listen to before sleep! I want a book with a degree of balance. Does that make sense? Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely know what you mean. Out of curiosity, which book are you currently reading that is bleak and miserable? Whatever it is I may avoid it. I totally agree with you, as I am in the habit of always reading before bed.

      About the Mistborn trilogy I would say that, overall, there is tons of hope and light. Ultimately it is about perseverance and overcoming what seems like inevitable destruction. That being said, the first book does begin quite bleakly. To be honest, I actually first started reading it years ago. Once I got through the prologue and the first chapter, and I put it down (for about 3 years lol). The prologue and the first chapter depicted a lot of dark, bleak things that I didn’t care to read. However, once I gave it a chance again and got past the beginning, it really began to lighten up a lot and not feel all doom and gloom.

      I will put it this way: Ultimately the series leaves me feeling excited, grateful, and energized. It really is a fast paced action packed book, particularly for an epic fantasy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. I don’t mind some bleak if it’s in context. I’ve saved the first book on my Audible wish list. I will know now just to stick it out past the beginning.
        I’m listening to Days of Blood and Starlight by Lani Taylor. I really enjoyed the first book in the trilogy – Daughter of Smoke and Bone but this one less so. I’m about half way through.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the head’s up! I will keep that in mind if I pick it up. I don’t like *too* much grim and death. I haven’t even attempted to start reading the Game of Thrones series for that very reason.

        Like

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