Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn Cover

Mistborn - Series Review


I became familiar with Sanderson after he was chosen to finish Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, so I decided to give his most popular trilogy a try. Mistborn is set in something like a post-apocalyptic Middle Earth—it’s a fantasy world where the evil god/wizard/warrior has won the battle against the chosen hero and remade the world in his own image. This is a magnificent idea, and Sanderson has a lot of fun with it in the first book of the trilogy. The resistance fighters are something like real-world revolutionaries, and are very much the underdogs. The group of heroes in here isn’t even the first to have attempted a revolution. This isn’t the kind of setup that would work apart from the larger body of genre fiction to play off of, but I expect it will be especially appreciated by those who have read fantasy for years.

Still, this isn’t a great series. Sanderson is a good writer, but I think he has a weakness when it comes to plotting. The first novel works as a whole, but the latter two are comparatively formless and sprawling. The trilogy ends in a very strange way, with an unfortunately literal deus ex machina. However, the alchemically-based system of magic is actually very detailed and precise in its functioning, something rare in fantasy literature, and much appreciated.

The first novel is decent, but it will make you want to read the follow-ups that fail to live up to the original.