Hero of ages read online
The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3) by Brandon SandersonAs I finish this trilogy, I feel like addressing this book on two levels: first, on its own strengths and weaknesses as a novel; and second, as the capstone of the series and as an exposition of the Mistborn world and mythology. I’ll start with the latter of the two.
The overwhelming impression I get from the Mistborn books is that they have been written by someone who is a fantasy fan first, a fantasy author second. A pedantic geek, if you will. And I mean all of this as the highest praise – Sanderson clearly has a fanboy’s love of internal consistency, and distaste for discontinuity, and is writing the kind of books that he would like to read. In essence, he is both the author, and the slightly Aspergian fan at the fantasy convention asking that author some annoyingly penetrating questions. This is a man with a proper appreciation for words like canon and retcon.
Because of these qualities, Sanderson is without a doubt the most consistent, airtight world-builder I have ever read. As the series builds, slowly revealing more and more of the world, the various types of magic, and the overarching mythology, everything snaps into place perfectly. And what’s more, it becomes obvious that everything has been perfectly laid out behind the scenes from the very start. Completely absent is any feeling that the author was making things up as he went along; I never once found myself having that “Sure Luke and Leia were always supposed to be siblings, George” feeling, nor even that “You know, Jo, when Hagrid got out of Azkaban prison at the end of your second book, he acted as though it was no big deal” feeling.
And this is great for me, because I’m a pedantic geek myself when I read fantasy and sci-fi; it’s naturally difficult for me to suspend disbelief, and I’m constantly mentally peeking around corners and poking at curtains. And here, in the place of that nagging skepticism was an actual sense of wonder, as every big reveal sent me scrambling back mentally, trying to figure out how I didn’t see that coming. This is definitely a series that would reward a second reading. (That Sanderson was the one tapped to finish the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series now makes all kinds of sense, as he is pretty much an iron-clad guarantee that fans of that famously deep and involved fantasy universe will not be disappointed.)
What’s better is that this magnificent world is paired with an excellent story. There’s little of the slow (though, in retrospect, necessary) build that made up much of the first part of the first book. Instead, The Hero of Ages comes out guns blazing (not literally, though firearms are mentioned in passing). The plot is fast-moving, yet everything builds towards a monstrous climax that ends up taking up the last full quarter of the book. The resolution of the plot is mind-blowing, moving, satisfying, and it ties the entire three-book story up elegantly. It’s impressive that Brandon Sanderson can put this neat a bow on such an epic tale, when far more experienced writers like Neal Stephenson and Stephen King still occasionally hit-or-miss.
It seems to me that Sanderson improved as a writer over the course of this series – unsurprising, given how young, prolific, and obviously dedicated to the craft he is. That is not to imply he’s a great writer just yet, as his chops continue to catch up to his impressive imagination. There are still some jarring lexical choices: words like guy and tsunami, and terms like “hat trick,” feel out of place even in the context of Sanderson’s straightforward modern American English. And dialogue is still not a strong point; group conversations in particular still come off kind of stilted and awkward. But there is obvious, measurable improvement in the writing from the first book to the third in this series, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of Sanderson’s work.
Postscript: Wow, Im surprised by the number of likes on this review. If you enjoyed it, please feel free to check out my reviews of the first and second books in the trilogy. Cheers!
The Hero of Ages SPOILER-FREE Review -- January 2019
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September 20, Blog. A few weeks ago, a Redditor reached out to me in a direct message to ask a question. I hope my response will be useful to my fellow writers. You can read my last FAQ Friday post here. I apologies if you have covered this in some form, I may not have listened to that yet. My question is about flashback scenes. My question is — what method do you use instead of a flashback?
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