I have been nervous as heck about starting to write book reviews again, but after much pondering, I’ve decided that I will. I’m going to try really hard not to write any really flaming reviews, because honestly, I don’t think anyone needs more of that, and I don’t usually spend enough time with a terrible book to write a review on it. I also don’t want people to accuse me of pissing in my own pond as a writer. BUT–I am a reader, and I think it’s okay for readers to talk about what they read. I’m going to try to confine my reviews to books that are fairly popular (i.e., ones where my review won’t make much difference in sales either way).
So on that note… Here’s the first one: The Mistborn Trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson
It was good. It was not life-changing, and I don’t think I’d re-read it, but the story in general was pretty good, and Sanderson is a good writer. This is one of his earlier works, which does make the writing more impressive. For me, this series was entirely too detailed and could have been a lot shorter.
The Reading Experience
It took me a long, long time to read this trilogy. I started (or tried to start) the first book back in March of 2021, I think, and I just finished the third book. So… 14-ish months.
Part of the reason it took so long to read was just the busy-ness of my life in 2021. I admit that. But also, omg there were so many words…
For some parts of this series, I struggled mightily to get even just a few pages read. I would start a new chapter, read a bit, count how many pages I had left, peek ahead, read another paragraph, look at my phone, pet the dog…
But there were other parts where I could not put the books down, primarily at the end of the first book and the very end of the second. These are, not coincidentally, where Very Important Things were happening very quickly. Of course, those things were happening at the end of book three as well, and yet I had to force myself to power through out of sheer stubbornness.
So I would say that my reading experience was uneven. It was not unpleasant, but it was definitely more of a struggle than I expected. I read Warbreaker some time before this, and that one I could not put down. The Mistborn Trilogy was definitely put-down-able.
Vin and Elend
I did not buy Vin and Elend as a couple after the first book. I thought their romance and her growth in the first book was pretty good, and I enjoyed their slow discovery and realization of what they meant to each other. But in book two, it got harder to see them as a couple. I know Vin had a rough childhood and early life, but it seemed like a lot of their issues could have been solved by a conversation or two, especially given how much time they spent together. I felt like Sanderson was dragging out their courtship for other purposes–just to give him time to define the magic better, maybe? Sazed and Tindwyl were a better couple in book two than Vin and Elend, which is saying a lot given that Sazed is a eunuch.
In book three, I just honestly felt like Vin and Elend were not a realistic young couple at all. Again, I realize that these are trying times–end of the world and all that–but they talked to each other like people who’ve been married for years and years, not like people who are still discovering each other. Given how little they discussed real issues in book two, I don’t know how they reached the point of Long Marrieds by book three.
Allomancy and its sibling magicks are very cool, but omg soooooo intricately described. After book one, I was ready to just move on to seeing the magic work, and I did not care about more than a cursory explanation for any of the additional information. The books could have been a lot shorter without all of the detail about the metals and alloys and how they all work. To me, these things were all written the way a very nerdy teenage boy would talk to me about his Minecraft worlds or something.
I will confess, however, that I am NOT the demographic for detailed magic systems. I am perfectly happy with a hand wave and a little deus ex machina. My favorite thing about stories is character development, not setting or worldbuilding.
Experts Don’t Know Everything
I don’t know Sanderson’s political views, and I don’t really care, but one theme I picked up on that came back repeatedly is that the “experts” can’t design a perfect world. I don’t know if Sanderson intended this message to come across, but it did to me, especially in book three when the world is falling apart. The Lord Ruler tried to solve all of humanity’s problems, as did Vin later, but their attempts only led to bigger problems and more destruction. The message I got from that exploration was that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and even an omnipotent ruler with good intentions can become a tyrant. For what it’s worth, I did very much appreciate and agree with that message.
Would I Recommend?
I would recommend, but cautiously, and only to people who like the level of detail and intricacy of the worldbuilding here.
Will I Read More of This Author?
Absolutely. I really did thoroughly enjoy Warbreaker; I felt like it was much more character driven than the entire Mistborn trilogy. Someone recently recommended Elantris, so that may be my next foray into the Cosmere.
What’s Next on My List?
My next fiction read is The Martian, by Andy Weir. I absolutely loved the movie, so I’m really looking forward to the book.
Next week, I’ll be back with another character profile and a little more insight into heroines… Have a good week, y’all.