“I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages.”
The Hero of Ages is exactly as epic a conclusion as I remembered. I feared that knowing all of the big twists and reveals might lead to it not being as powerful upon rereading as it was when I experienced it the first time, but those concerns were unwarranted. My anticipation of said reveals made for a reading journey that was just as fulfilling as my first read-through. Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy isn’t quite a perfect series, but it’s very, very close. With fantastic world building, high stakes and palpable tension, mysteries to be solved and a whole plethora of wonderful characters to root for, philosophical musings on belief and hope balanced with brilliant action scenes and some of the most cinematic and interesting magic systems I’ve ever encountered, I don’t think it’s at all a stretch to call Mistborn a masterpiece.
“Faith means that it doesn’t matter what happens. You can trust that somebody is watching. Trust that somebody will make it all right.”
In this last installment, the world is quite literally ending, and our motley crew of reluctant heroes are doing everything in their power to save what they can and as many as they can, while also trying to solve clues left by the Lord Ruler in the event of these very catastrophes. Our story and our characters are split over multiple fronts, and it was both fascinating and nerve-racking to watch as everything came together and fell apart simultaneously. Will the Hero of Ages manage to rise up and save the world, or is all hope lost?
“People with passion are people who will destroy—for a man’s passion is not true until he proves how much he’s willing to sacrifice for it. Will he kill? Will he go to war? Will he break and discard that which he has, all in the name of what he needs?”
Vin and Elend have grown almost immeasurably over the course of this trilogy, and I’ve grown to love them even more deeply during my reread. They’re wonderful leads, and I think Sanderson really proved himself to be one of those rare men who write excellent women. However, as much as I love this couple, they aren’t my favorite characters. Those spots are reserved for TenSoon, Spook, and of course, Sazed, who has always been by absolute favorite. And happily, we get a ton of character development from each of them in this final installment, as well.
“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”
My very favorite element of this entire trilogy is Sazed’s struggle with religion in the midst of grief. It feels so incredibly honest to me, and resonates unlike any other internal struggle I’ve come across in fiction. His fervent desire to believe, his rage at his inability to do so, his dogged determination to sort through each and every religion among the hundreds in his metalminds in search of the actual truth, moves me in ways I can’t truly express. His faith journey is one of my favorites I’ve ever read, including those in most Christian fiction and even Christian nonfiction works that I love.
“How could anyone understand the pain of a faith betrayed? He had believed. And yet, when he had needed hope the most, he had found only emptiness… Belief isn’t simply a thing for fair times and bright days, I think. What is belief—what is faith—if you don’t continue in it after failure. . . .”
The last 20% or so of this book is one of the most epic things I’ve ever read, as stated above. It’s the epitome of a Sander-lanche, where everything just builds and builds until it explodes into a mind-meltingly brilliant finale. He does this in all of his books, but it felt especially effective in this one. When everything looks utterly hopeless, hope arises from somewhere. That’s my other favorite element of both this series in particular and Sanderson in general. Hope is such a central feature. It may get beaten down, but it always finds a way to pull itself back up, dust itself off, and keep fighting, no matter what impossible odds it faces. As it turns out, hope is incredibly hard to kill.
“Sometimes, you have to destroy something in order to build something better.”
Rereading this trilogy was such a wonderful experience, and I am very excited to continue on into Era 2, and to see how Sanderson ties everything up in The Lost Metal. I’m in such awe of his Cosmere in general, and going back and seeing how things tie together after having experienced more of it has been gratifying, to say the least. Sanderson is a treasure among authors, and he can seemingly do no wrong. I have such immense respect for this man, and his mind, and his craftsmanship. Mistborn is a marvel, and I truly believe that every fantasy fan should experience it.
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