Recommended: The Mistborn Trilogy
Why Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy is Worth A Read
Recommended as the name suggests is where I typically recommend TV shows but will now also include books as well starting off with the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. If you have any book recommendations feel free to share them with me!
A tyrannical emperor, a hero who rises from nothing and more magical abilities than you can shake a stick at. They all sound like pretty standard fantasy elements however American author Brandon Sanderson injects something unique and intriguing into the Mistborn trilogy that makes the reader keep turning the page. The first book in the trilogy, The Final Empire was released in 2005 and the main series was finished in 2008 although there have been spin-off books in the series since then. The trilogy follows Vin, a girl who seems to have what she calls Luck, a power that allows her to influence the emotions of others to a small degree, this comes in useful as she is part of a thieving crew and also helps remain under the radar.
Vin later discovers this power is called Allomancy, magical abilities that can only be used after ingesting and utilising various metals in a process called ‘burning’. This is one of the most interesting parts of the series and is quite a complex power that has considerable influence over the events of the books. The process is almost scientific as burning different metals produces different results such as increased agility or the ability to push and pull on metal objects. As a Mistborn, Vin is part of a group of near mythical proportions that can use any of these abilities by ingesting the specific Allomantic metal. The intricacies of how ‘magic’ works in this specific world is fascinating and really draws you into the conflict. Sanderson on the whole does a good job of explaining the laws and rules of this magic gradually so as not to overwhelm the reader.
The main protagonist has a strong arc not just through the first book but the entire trilogy which moves from street level heists to overthrowing an empire to world altering events over the course of the series. Vin is vulnerable at times but never helpless as her powers give her great strength but also her personality driven by a strong sense of individuality her survivalist nature. Her story is tried and true, it’s about a girl growing up and taking on more responsibility unravelling mysteries and saving lives as she goes but Sanderson has crafted an engaging and thoughtful character who isn’t afraid to speak her mind or take action even when it puts her in danger.
Other key figures in the books are Kelsier, an older Mistborn with a tragic past who serves as a mentor to Vin and Sazed, a Terrisman Keeper (think magical historian) who also guides Vin and teaches her a lot about the world in which she inhabits. Vin becomes part of a new crew pretty quickly and is introduced to a host of different characters who all gravitate towards the charismatic Kelsier. They all have their quirks and own distinct personalities and the dynamic between the crew and Vin is another really cool element that Sanderson places emphasis on. The actions of individual members and the crew as a whole have an impact that goes beyond wealth and fame though as the series progresses.
The author’s style keeps the Mistborn books flowing nicely. Sanderson favours dialogue and descriptions of action in this series rather than flowing prose about the environment or what’s around the characters. This makes the books easy to get into but couldn’t be described as shallow since the lore and history of the world of Scadrial is so detailed. The books are pretty contained too, characters are generally confined to a handful of places and if there’s any criticism to be had, it’s that it would be nice to see more of the larger world. However, this approach does suit how the plot unfolds and what direction it takes particularly in the third book, The Hero of Ages which heads in a very apocalyptic and biblical direction in terms of the state of the world.
Overall, I highly recommend the Mistborn trilogy if you’re a fan of fantasy books, it’s easy to delve into, has plenty of intricate and fascinating lore with strong, distinct characters particularly Vin. I really like that this is a self-contained trilogy with an end point. Nevertheless, there are spin-off books that take place well into the future that are connected but not completely necessary to read.
Have you read the Mistborn trilogy? What did you think of the series?
If you have any books for someone who likes a good read, fantasy or otherwise let me know in the comments!