‘Mistborn’ Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: Series Review

“For every Push, there is a Pull. A consequence.”

– The Hero of Ages, Mistborn Book 3

I recently finished Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, and I just had to write a full series review. This was a series which changed so much over the course of just three books (albeit, some quite weighty ones), that I had a lot of thoughts upon completing it. I’ll keep this spoiler-free, which is going to be tricky, considering how much the story changed over the course of the trilogy, but I’ll do my best.

The Mistborn trilogy is part of a larger series of books which exist in the same universe. It’s considered a separate trilogy, since these are the only three books which directly centre around these protagonists -at least as far as I know- and from my experience, these books function perfectly as a trilogy all on their own. I can safely say that I wouldn’t feel any dissatisfaction to end my experience of the Mistborn series here, although I’ll admit I’m curious to find out where the books go from here.

“It’s easy to believe in something when you win all the time… the losses are what define a man’s faith.” 

– The Well of Ascension, Mistborn Book 2

The series takes place in a world where ash falls from the sky, and mists envelope the streets at night. On the throne sits the Lord Ruler, a God served by sinister and powerful men with metal spikes for eyes. The oppressed Skaa people are broken, starving, and live in fear of the Lord Ruler, while the nobles enjoy balls and court intrigue. Living amongst the ordinary, some in hiding within the Skaa community, others nobles, protecting their houses and skewing politics, there are allomancers. These are people with the ability to draw powers from metal, and maybe the only people who might have a chance of bringing down the Lord Ruler and lifting the oppression from the Skaa. In the first book in the series, The Final Empire, one man with such powers assembles a criminal crew to do exactly this.

“Marsh: Our best efforts were never even a mild annoyance to the Lord Ruler.
Kelsier: Ah, but being an annoyance is something that I am very good at. In fact, I’m far more than just a ‘mild’ annoyance–people tell me I can be downright frustrating. Might as well use this talent for the cause of good, eh?”

– The Final Empire, Mistborn Book 1

The thing which first attracted me to this series was the unique  powers system of using metals to gain (sometimes physics-based) superhuman abilities. What kept me reading the series were the rapidly-changing scenarios the protagonists found themselves in, as I saw the effects of their actions ripple and escalate as the story progressed.

The writing in this series feels a lot more straight-forward than a lot of fantasy books, making it refreshingly easy to read. My only complaint about this is that occasionally things are over-explained (the opposite problem to that of a lot of fantasy books), but this happens less as the series goes on.

“There’s always another secret”

– The Final Empire, Mistborn Book 1

The trilogy is filled with plenty of mystery, but also plenty of solutions, which makes for a very satisfying ending, as there’s a real pay-off from plans which are laid very early on in the series. In my opinion, the books improve as the series goes on, with the final installment, The Hero of Ages, being one of my favourite series conclusions ever.

I thought this series had a good balance of action, character-development, politics, mystery, and even some romance (of which I’ll admit I was skeptical at first). I would definitely recommend this for anyone who likes fantasy, and would urge any readers to stick with it until the end, because the pay-off makes even the more awkward sections of the first book worthwhile. Since Mistborn has a completely different feel to books by authors like George R. R. Martin and Robin Hobb, this series felt like a really unique read.

“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.” 

– The Hero of Ages, Mistborn Book 3

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