Book Review: Sanderson’s ‘Mistborn’ Mystifies

Image-1Brandon Sanderson is known as the man responsible for finishing the sprawling and critically acclaimed fantasy epic “Wheel of Time” after the original author Robert Jordan passed away.

Jordan’s widow hand-picked Sanderson out of a huge pool of potential authors to continue Jordan’s legacy and complete one of the most compelling and popular fantasy epics written to date. She was wise to do so.

Brandon Sanderson is not only one of the best writers in the business, but also one of the most prolific, pumping out quality best sellers at such a rate that it would make Stephen King blush. The final chapters of the “Wheel of Time” saga are some of the highlights of the entire fantasy genre.

However, it’s his original work that Sanderson be most remembered for.

Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn” is never quite content to be the cliché and insignificant book that everyone expects in the current abysmal state of the fantasy genre. Many of the book’s major themes and elements seem truly unique and very fleshed out. Mistborn’s magic system is perhaps its most striking quality.

The mystical theme of this book revolves around Allomancy, a magic system based on ingesting and then “burning” metals that give Allomancers, as they’re known, special powers. These powers vary by the type of metal ingested, and not every Allomancer has the ability to burn every metal—that skill is reserved for the Mistborn themselves. Allomancy isn’t something learned, either, but rather inherited genetically.

Of course, Allomancy isn’t the only type of magic in the book, but since this review is “spoiler-free” the other magical elements will not be discussed.

The story itself revolves around a pseudo-post-apocalyptic world blackened by ash during the day and haunted by thick ominous mists throughout the night. The society of this world is deeply divided between the Skaa (peasants, who may as well be slaves) and the nobility. This feudal society is known as the Final Empire, and at its head is the Lord Ruler, and immortal “Living God.”

Without saying much, this fantasy is full of twists and turns that never feel forced. Every surprise has been planned from the beginning, and as each twist is revealed, you realize that it had been foreshadowed chapters earlier. Each “aha” moment is deeply satisfying because it shows how well Sanderson crafted his book building up to this moment and how he is one or two steps ahead of the reader the entire time.

The narrative is so well-crafted that it is almost impossible to put the book down, even for a small break. It really is that excellent.

While the stories themselves are quite dark, Sanderson avoids a trend in gritty fantasy by refusing to pen all his characters as morally nebulous or ambiguous. There are some elements of the anti-hero, but the book’s characters are largely likable while remaining fully fleshed out. Every character has their flaws (with some, there are many), but their good intentions are rarely questioned.

In fact, there is a surprising amount of depth and personality to Sanderson’s characters that few authors can match. Take Vin, for example. The main character, Vin is a mistrustful and reluctant person with a horrific past, but you can’t help but like and admire her as a character because of her honesty and brash demeanor.   These kinds of deeply-flawed, but lovable, characters are sprinkled all through the novel to great effect.

With an entire trilogy of books written and a new spin-off series on the horizon, there has never been a better time to jump in this fantasy world and see all it has to offer.

If you’re a fan of fantasy and haven’t read Mistborn yet, you have no excuses. Go buy a copy now. It’s available as an eBook and audiobook. If you’re not a fan of fantasy or only swing by for the occasional Harry Potter book, this is still a book you don’t want to miss.

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