"There's always another secret."
I used to read a lot of fantasy. And by "used to," I mean before I took on my 250 Project list and started by exploration of the classics. I read fantasy novels all the time, and they made up a good chunk of my literary diet. And while I liked other genres, fantasy has always been a favorite of mine. There is something about the world-building that gets me every darn time.
But in all that fantasy reading, I never stumbled on Brandon Sanderson. So when Amanda was posting about a readalong for the Mistborn trilogy, I read with anticipation. And when she finished and loved it, I decided to join in. I read the first book, appropriately titled Mistborn in just a couple days. That should tell you something since the book was 650 pages.
Mistborn is everything I love about epic high fantasy. The world-building is absolutely fantastic, the characters well-developed, and the plot gripping. There is something to be said about a book that keeps you guessing and turning the pages. I also loved that the fantasy elements were well-developed and explained.
I think that might be why so many are turned off by this kind of high fantasy. I mean, as a reader, you do have to suspend some level of belief when reading a work like this. A bad fantasy author doesn't let you suspend that belief. They don't make you care about their characters, or truly understand their world. A good fantasy writer makes you care. And while you know the world is fake and that the magic isn't a possibility, the reader still sees how the world functions in its own place. I love that.
Mistborn does all of these things. It explains what needs to be explained as it becomes necessary. The magic systems are explained to the reader when necessary. Young Vin, the female protagonist, is a great catalyst for this knowledge. We learn the world through her own training, experiences, and mistakes. We also learn bits of lore, as necessary, from Sazed as we need to learn it.
The characters as a whole are well-developed and likeable. Kelsier was a phenomenal herolike figure throughout the entire novel. He always kept me guessing up until the end. He pushed the others where they needed to be pushed, and held back the information that needed to be kept secret. He always surprised me, which is something I really loved. I also liked that while Kelsier was the hero for most of the book,I never really knew the truth of what he was doing until near the end. That gave me the chance to feel the desperation of the others when the plans didn't work out.
And Vin. Vin might be one of my favorite female fantasy characters of all time. She changed and adapted slowly to becoming a part of the crew. Her reactions fit until she learned otherwise, her opinions and attitudes altered by the positive interactions she had with those around her. I loved that she barely spoke aloud in the beginning, but at the end, she couldn't stop. It was a great and powerful transformation-just plain superb character development.
There are others, of course. Elend. I really enjoyed seeing what he really thought, and his turn around to the realization of how bad things were in his society. I'm curious to see how he changes in the next two books. I also loved the other members of the crew: Sazed, Marsh (!!!!!!!), Ham....all of them so wonderfully developed that even when they disappeared for 50 pages and came back, I still felt like I knew them.
I can't wait to get to the next two books in the trilogy, and join in on all the discussion. Thank you Amanda for making me join in! :)
"I represent that one thing you've never been able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am hope."