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The Mistborn Trilogy
Brandon Sanderson
Tor, 646, 781 and 748 pages
Volume 1 Mistborn
Volume 2 The Well of Ascension
Volume 3 The Hero of Ages

Mistborn
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson was born in 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1994, he enrolled at Brigham Young University as a Biochemistry major. From 1995-1997 he took time away from his studies to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Upon his return, he became an English major. It was in 2003, while Brandon was in the middle of a graduate program at BYU, that he got a call from an editor at Tor who wanted to buy one of his books. In December of 2007, Harriet Rigney chose him to complete A Memory of Light, book twelve in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

Brandon Sanderson Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Dominic Cilli

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When Robin Hobb talks, people listen. Recently, while reading an interview with Hobb she recommended an author named Brandon Sanderson. I was not familiar with the name, so I thought "OK, Robin, I'm game." I am always looking for something good to read or a new author to explore, so I decided to pick up The Mistborn Trilogy. The first thing I noticed was the series had already been completed. I really love when you can go and buy an entire series without months of waiting for the next book. Fast forward the clock one week and I had finished the entire series, at times devouring 300 or 400 pages at a sitting. It's that good. The Mistborn Trilogy is an amazing piece of fantasy literature. Whether it ends up being considered a 21st century masterpiece only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, it deserves to be read by fans of the genre everywhere.

It's very difficult to write a capsule synopsis of three books especially when they are as detailed and involved as The Mistborn Trilogy. There are plenty of places online you can go and read a recap of each book, but I wouldn't recommend it. Sanderson's story unfolds very slowly and deliberately over the course of three fat books, some twenty-one hundred pages, so it's nearly impossible not to include spoiler after spoiler. We don't like spoilers here at SF Site and we like to keep these things short, so I will attempt to give you a general outline and try to pique your interest enough to go out and buy this series.

The first book, Mistborn, introduces us to the Final Empire, a dark, seemingly post-apocalyptic world that features raining ash and a mysterious mist that comes at night. The final empire is governed by the oppressive and god-like Lord Ruler and has been around for a thousand years. Society is divided into the nobility and the skaa or slaves.

There are several very intriguing protagonists throughout The Mistborn Trilogy, but the primary character through all three novels is a seventeen-year-old half-skaa girl named Vin who is a member of a small-time gang of street thieves. She is their lucky charm. Vin has no idea that the ability to create that luck is something much more. She is a mistborn, making her capable of ingesting and "burning" metals to produce magical effects, like increased strength or being able to exert mental influence over another. Vin's ability is soon recognized for what it is and she is discovered by Kelsier, a legend among the skaa and the most infamous crew leader in the final empire. Known as the Survivor, he is the only person in the entire empire that managed to escape from the pits of the Lord Ruler and he has vengeance on his mind. Kelsier, after discovering Vin and mentoring in her newfound allomantic abilities, befriends and indoctrinates her into his gang whose latest scheme just happens to be a plot to overthrow the empire!

The Mistborn Trilogy has a lot going for it. The world building is wonderfully done. The setting might not be anything unique, but the books drip with atmosphere and Sanderson develops his characters patiently amidst a universe that has a richly developed history. Sanderson has also created some very original creatures. From his steel inquisitors with metallic spikes driven through their eyes to the koloss, brainless hulking beasts, which never stop growing even though their skin does. Most significantly however, The Mistborn Trilogy's world building features one of the most original magic systems I have ever come across. It is deep and complex and serves as an integral part of the plotline. As Vin's character develops, we simultaneously unravel the mysteries of Sanderson's brilliantly devised magic system. It has very specific rules giving it a scientific quality that makes it all the more believable. I found that some of the physics didn't always work, but it was a very minor flaw and easily forgivable considering the depth to which it's developed.

The Mistborn Trilogy is also expertly plotted and paced. Each book asks and answers many questions and each volume comes to a satisfying resolution, but more importantly each book gets grander in scope as Vin's destiny is slowly revealed. Once readers have made it to The Hero of Ages and all has been revealed with the fate of their entire world at stake, Sanderson gives us a crescendo to remember like a great symphony composer. It is the kind of ending that makes you want to go sit on the porch with your favorite libation and watch the sunset, totally satisfied.

To put it bluntly, The Mistborn Trilogy is brilliant. It was an amazing unforgettable experience for me. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who considers themselves a fan of the genre. If The Mistborn Trilogy is any indication of the kind of creativity and writing we can expect from Brandon Sanderson in the future, we are all in for a treat. It's obvious that he is an author we are going to have to keep a close eye on. If you don't believe me, ask Robin Hobb.

Copyright © 2009 Dominic Cilli

When asked to write a third-person tag line for his reviews, Dominic Cilli farmed the work out to an actual 3rd person, his friend Neal, who in turn turned it over to a second person who then asked his third cousin to help out and this person whom Dom doesn't even know then wrote in 8th person Omniscient mode "Dom's breadth of knowledge in literature runs the gamut and is certainly not bounded by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. One thing I can say with certainty is that of all the people I don't know who've ever recommended books to read, Dom's recommendations are the best.


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