“The End of The World… And a Great Series” (Mistborn: The Hero of Ages)

Do you remember when I finished reading Mistborn: The Well of Ascension? (my review here) Well, I finally finished the third and final book in the trilogy, Mistborn: The Hero of Ages. Review time!

The Hero of Ages (Cover)
The cover for The Hero of Ages, from 2008

It has been one year since Vin found and took the power at the Well of Ascension. There, she saved Elend’s life by turning him into a Mistborn, but she also released the world ending God known as Ruin. Ruin wants to bring the world to an end, and Preservation, his brother God is dying. A powerful Obligator rules Fadrex City. Kollos run rampant across the kingdom. The Ashmounts are erupting. The Mists are staying throughout the day, and seem to be killing without reason. Friends and allies seem to be gaining strange new strength. The dead seem to be returning from the grave. The Lord Ruler leads the empire on a wild chase to save the kingdom, and his Atium stash remains to be found. It’s a good time for the end of world…

The first two books in this series blew me away. The second one actually managed to be better than the first, which isn’t as much of a problem for books as it is for movies, but it was still pretty impressive, because the first was so good. Seriously. I was wondering how Brandon Sanderson (the author) would turn up the stakes for the final book. It turns out, he decided to bring the world to an end. Seriously. Ruin was the best villain that Sanderson had ever churned out in the series. He had some of the best quotes, too.

“Do not mourn because the day of this world’s end has arrived, that end was ordained the very day of the world’s conception. There is a beauty in death—the beauty of finality, the beauty of completion.
For nothing is truly complete until the day it is finally destroyed.

– Ruin

A lot of books today, especially the popular ones, start out with potential. Then, human greed comes in, and makes that one book a trilogy, or an arc, or a five part series. By the end of their respective series, all of the good things that made the first cool are all gone. The author attempts to raise the stakes by killing people, and then the big finale turns into more of a big bust.

See, that’s not how stakes work, though I am a fan of both high stakes and delicious steaks. Brandon Sanderson knows how to build up a story. Much more that that one time YA author who you’ll never hear of again. Mr. Sanderson knows that the way to build stakes (and eat steaks) is not to kill them off. The way to do this is to keep them alive. This book was so vivid that it really felt that I was there while the world that I had come to know as my own over the past year was coming to a destructive end. It really felt like the characters I had grown to love were up against impossible odds.

“Each moment you fight is a gift to those in this cavern. Each second we fight is a second longer that thousands of people can draw breath. Each stroke of a sword, each koloss felled, each breath earned is another victory! It is a person protected for a moment longer, a life extended, an enemy frustrated! In the end they shall kill us. But first they shall fear us!”

– Elend Venture, speaking to the troops before their stand against Ruin’s army

Even Your Cat Loves Mistborn
Everyone loves Mistborn! Even your cat!

There were so many new things to learn, too. You think that you know the whole picture, but you really don’t. I was blown away by all of the amazing reveals that I didn’t figure out. The only word to describe this book is epic. The finale was absolute, blow-your-mind, holy-sh@t-this-series-is-ending-now genius. I mean, I don’t want to degrade the epicness of books in general, but movies tend to hit me a little harder when it comes to epic things in them, because it’s easier to see what’s going on.

Moving on, the Hero of Ages was so amazing and vivid that I could see Vin fighting Marsh and 13 other Inquisitors in a Matrix-like spectacle. I could hear the music beating as the Koloss rushed into the Kandra’s caverns, and as Elend stood against them. I could feel the desperation of the rebellion of Urteau, helmed by Spook, who got a major increase in coolness. Ultimately, Ruin’s quest to bring an end to the world almost seemed a metaphor for Brandon Sanderson’s writing of the final book, and Vin’s quest to stop him became almost my own futile denial that this was actually all ending.

In the end, everything made sense, and Sanderson killed of a few major characters. The funny thing was, I was fine with it. And it wasn’t because I didn’t like the characters, I really did. I was fine with it because it made sense that they would die in that way. When Spook rose out of the Kandra’s homeland, and out into the deep blue and green world that I know, I just knew that everything was going to be alright. 10 out of 10.

An absolutely epic end to an absolutely epic series, Mistborn: The Hero of Ages is one of the best fantasy book I’ve ever read, and arguably the best high fantasy. (Sorry Eragon). I expected the end of the series to be good, but this just blew me away. With both Sanderson’s world and his series coming to an end, The Hero of Ages was almost a metaphor for itself.

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