Review: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Spoiler Free)

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Read: May 30 – June 20, 2012
Other Information: Owned book, paperback, 657 pages, book club selection

Book Blurb: Once a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.

He failed.

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and even the Lord Ruler himself. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one built around the ultimate caper, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine, a street urchin who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn.

My Opinion: Right away this story sucked me in. What would happen if the hero failed? It is a question often left unanswered in fantasy books. But not this one.

The book is superb. The worldbuilding, especially is sublime. Allomancy (the magic system) and the world of the Lord Ruler’s reign get a lot of attention. The setting is a rich tapestry of despair and ash.

The characters fell a little short for me. The two main characters (Kelsier and Vin) fell into a bit of a cookie cutter mold, even with the unlikely story and setting, and I never really got attached to either of them. Also, Kelsier had a bit of a Superman thing going on, where he seems like he always knows just what to do. I found myself more drawn to some of the secondary characters.

The writing. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will see that in my “Currently Reading” post for the book, I was discussing the language of the book with a commenter. The language does have some flaws. (I totally didn’t know that “addicting” wasn’t a real word!) You can find the full post here. That said, I didn’t find that it bothered me too much, though if you are a stickler for language over the story itself, you may be bothered.

The story itself. With such lush worldbuilding, the story felt a little stagnant to me. When the action picked up, it really picked up, and I read the last few hundred pages in one sitting. But a good chunk of the book is worldbuilding, and setting up the story. It can be slow-moving at times. But alas, that is somewhat the nature of the creature that is high fantasy, is it not?

I did tag this as spoiler free, but there are twists. Many of them. Especially near the end. I loved the roller coaster of the last few chapters.

Bottom Line: This book, while not perfect, has earned a place on my favorites shelf. The story is unique and refreshing, and the worldbuilding and magic system are amazingly handled. The writing and character building are lacking, but very rarely can you have it all. I highly recommend this book to fans of high fantasy.


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