“The Hero of Ages: Mistborn Book 3” by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, 2008)

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In Sanderson’s thrilling and resounding conclusion to his Mistborn trilogy, he doesn’t hold back, skillfully bringing all the different pieces, sub-plots, and characters together in a fitting end to the series.  While Sanderson has admitted that he may return to the mistborn world one day, it will be set hundreds of years in the future or past.  Nevertheless The Hero of Ages weighs in at almost six hundred pages and offers a very satisfying finish for its complex and powerful characters.

The Well of Ascension has been found by the supposed Hero of Ages, Vin, and the power has been released, except it is an evil spirit, Ruin, who seeks to end the world with the help of its deadly inquisitors.  The ash from the ashmount is falling thicker and stronger, choking the lands, preventing life from growing or surviving, while the great volcanoes are beginning to thunder to life, and the mists continue to terrify everyone, leaving some dead, others deathly ill, perpetuating the mystery.

Elend Venture, now emperor of the realm has two kingdoms to ally with in preparation for the end and the oncoming battle.  Leaving with Vin, he heads to Fadrex City which was formerly Cett’s kingdom, but is now under the control of the obligator Lord Yomen, along with his army of koloss.  Spook, Ham, Breeze and others head for Urteau under the control of the maniacal Quellion.  But Ruin is somehow able to control both Yomen and Quellion, as well as stealing control over the koloss, outweighing the odds against Emperor Venture and his people.

Then there are the mysterious kandra race who are in a crisis of faith, for their sole existence is based upon the Contract which was written by the Lord Ruler, who is no longer: does the Contract therefore no longer apply?  There is the trial of TenSoon who has slain one of their own.  The First Generation of kandra sit silent and undecided, while the later generations are anxious and impatient, unsure whether to adhere to the Contract or rebel.

Finally there is the great Sazed, the scholar who has lost his faith, having researched every religion but one and finding nothing but lies and obfuscation.  It is with this last religion, the religion of his Terris people that is somehow tied to that of the kandra, that he holds on with a sliver of hope, seeking some final answers to the meaning behind the world, its gods, its peoples.

In The Hero of Ages, Sanderson ratchets everything up to its highest point, with the end times approaching and all hope dwindling.  The reader is hooked to the very last page, unsure of what will happen, who will survive, and wondering if this might really be the end of everything?

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Originally written on November 28th 2008 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Brandon Sanderson check out BookBanter Episode 2.