Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Book Review: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

THE HERO OF AGES is a gratifying conclusion to one of the most (if not THE most) epic fantasy trilogies in the last 30 years. In truth, I would have given this particular installment three stars up until around chapter 51 (page 456), but then, it seems, the author realized he didn't have much time left to screw around. From that point on, THE HERO OF AGES mimics the previous two installments of the MISTBORN trilogy in style and flair.

I'm not going to talk about the storyline or the characters, as you can look up the cover copy and even read snippets on Amazon, Goodreads, Borders, or But I will say that with the MISTBORN novels, you'll find that godhood does not make one omnipotent or infallible in Sanderson's universe, and that it's through sacrifice and failure that we can sometimes achieve our greatest successes.

Although many folks will have been turned on to Sanderson for being the heir to Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME series by being personally chosen to write the final installments of that monstrous epic concluding with A MEMORY OF LIGHT, it's actually the MISTBORN trilogy you should be reading. Pick it up right away (do not delay) if you enjoy a highly structured, well-conceived, flawlessly written, and refreshingly original, fantasy series. It rambles from time to time (who doesn’t?), but pays off in the end. And, sure, there are no original ideas anymore (says James Cameron), but Sanderson comes about as damn-nigh close as one can get these days.

To me—because I’m hungry as I write this—the MISTBORN trilogy is like a fine sandwich with magical fantasy and military fiction as the bread and stacked layers of religious philosophy (sometimes, in fact, Sanderson tends to overdo it in this realm, like too much mayo that needs a little scraping off, but not to the point that the sandwich isn't tasty) and inventive places, histories, personalities, races, and other delectable toppings and condiments. (The only dangling subplot I can find, like a pickle slice that fell to the floor, is what happened to Cett? Perhaps I need to read Sanderson's annotations for Book 3* at his site.)

To finish off this delicious wrap, I'll say that with the MISTBORN trilogy, Brandon Sanderson has officially etched his name in steel (yes, that's an in-book reference), joining forces with the other premier fantasy authors of modern times such as George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, and Terry Goodkind.

Now I need to decide what to read next, Sanderson's award-winning 2005 authorial debut, ELANTRIS, or his most recent best-seller, WARBREAKER. What do you think?


THE HERO OF AGES receives four stars; however, the MISTBORN trilogy as a whole is must-read five-star entertainment.


* Ne’er ye mind, Sanderson has yet to post annotations for Book 3.