Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Review of Sorts for The Hero of Ages: Book Three of Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

This is going to be more a “how I felt about the book,” than a real review, not because there isn't much to talk about or I didn't like it much (I thought it was great and want to buy the trilogy) but because I just don't think I can write much, if anything, about the plot without giving away major spoilers for the first two books.

If you've read my review of the first two books or read the books themselves, you know a major theme is trust. In the third book this theme continues, with Vin and Elend having to learn to trust each other even further in their relationship and how they respond to situations around them. It also deals with the flip-side, how some can develop a sense of trust only to use it for their own goals benefit.

In my last review I'm not sure how much I discussed that there is also a theme of self-sacrifice, especially putting the needs of your followers/people ahead of your own.

The third book develops the theme of sacrifice tenfold. Elend continually questions whether he is being too ruthless, that he is requiring his citizens to give up too much for “the greater good” but he gives up just as much in his own life. He is compelled to use force to relocate citizens to where they will be safer, asks his soldiers to expose themselves to a potentially deadly enemy they cannot fight (but allows those who wish to go the freedom to do so), and fears he is becoming like his ruthless father or even the emperor he helped to overthrow.

There is also a strong theme of servant leadership, with Vin, Elend, and Sazed (and other characters as well) putting aside the selves they are most comfortable being, what perhaps they even view as their “true selves,” to be instead the people those they serve need them to be because of their potential and the abilities they possess. This theme hit somewhat close to home with me, there are some jobs/volunteer opportunities I know I would excel at, in which I know I could do great good, but I shy away from those things because I know they would hurt me (emotionally) and they scare me (I'm scared I may break). The three individuals previously mentioned give their all for others, for those they know and those they don't. They know themselves well enough to know recognize their talents and, though it costs them tremendously to use those talents, they do so for the sake of others. And perhaps, as Christians or even simply human beings who feel called to give the best of ourselves for the benefit of humanity, the way we can most deeply fulfill our purpose is to seek opportunities in which we can most fully use our gifts...even if it will eventually use us up. I suppose the comfort in being a Christian is that, if or when we break, God can put us back together and, even if this world uses us up, we will be restored and made new in another realm.

Yet another theme is hope. How people can come to depend on you when you are the hopeful one when their own hope is lacking. How it is easier to face trials when there is a hope to hold onto and how it can give you strength.

As you can tell, though these books are fantasy, they are deep enough to cause one to think and wonder. The characters continue to grow throughout the trilogy, in themselves and in relation to each other. I highly recommend them and venture to say that those normally not particularly fond of the fantasy genre may find enough depth and character development to reconcile you to this fantastical realm.

A word of caution to all readers: Sanderson isn't scared to kill off important characters, so if that is a deal-breaker, consider yourself warned. Some authors kill characters off in such a way that you feel cheated and empty but Sanderson does it in a way as to leave you somber and thoughtful.  

For those interested, here is my review of the first two books in the trilogy...also, it's a little more of an actual review. :) http://almostignoramus.blogspot.com/2013/10/book-review-for-mistborn-and-well-of.html