This will be all I post tonight. I trust that will be acceptable. I have many flowering thoughts on the community blog idea - I will be getting them down on paper and emailing them to a small handful of you that replied. Once I can get a framework down, I will present it here, to see what the rest of you think of the idea in general. If it seems a waste of time, I'll jettison it without looking back, but if y'all think it would be worth pursuing, I'll commit.
Until tomorrow, then, here's my review of Mistorn Book 3, such as it is...
The Hero of Ages, by Brandon Sanderson
Once again, I wrestle with how to proceed reviewing a book (and a series) that is, in many ways, difficult to get my brain and heart around. I don't want to spoil anything, but I may inadvertently do just that, so if you plan on reading this series, consider yourself forewarned.
As I finished the final pages of The Hero of Ages, which is, in turn, the final book in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series, I could do little but marvel at the scope of the accomplishment. This may seem like a statement of well-intentioned hyperbole; a product of attempting to write a book review in the immediate aftermath of finishing the book, rather than waiting an adequate cool-down period to gain some perspective, but truly, I believe what Sanderson has accomplished in the writing of this series transcends great story-telling. It works as an amazingly well-thought-out tale, full of terrific characters and action, but it also works much, much deeper. It is also a study of religion and faith in general. It is a study on the nature of deception. It is a study of the problems facing deity. It is a study of dealing with power and strength and frustration. It is a study of the pitfalls of assumption. It is a study of understanding and appreciating strengths and weaknesses in both specific individuals, and in groups of peoples in general. It is not just high fantasy, brilliantly told - it can certainly be enjoyed and appreciated on that level. But it also opens a door into a room your mind may never have gone before, and lets you nose around a bit, with that strange mix of discovery and fascination and trepidation.
Again, well-intentioned afterglow hyperbole? Hard to say. Perhaps a night's rest would temper such words - who knows, I may one day read my sentiments here and feel a bit embarrassed. But for the moment - for right now - I'm fairly-well bowled over by the experience, by the mutli-faceted journey, by the stretching of myself. It's one thing to subtly present philosophical questions that a reader may, perhaps, have never pondered before. It's another thing to hide those subtle questions within incredible action and tension. It is still another thing to resolve both the questions and the action in such a wonderfully fulfilling way, satisfying revelations falling one upon the other, most of them unpredicted, until the long-hoped-for conclusion arrives, both satisfying and bittersweet, for by its very definition, a conclusion concludes.
Book One (The Final Empire) presents an awesome David vs. Goliath tale of epic proportions. Book Two (The Well of Ascension) deals with the aftermath, while showing that things in Book One might not have been exactly what they seemed. Book Three (The Hero of Ages) sets its sights upon the heavens themselves, and upon the weighty issues that plague anyone with a mind in this, our world. Questions that many people of faith may have uncomfortably wrestled with within themselves, in the quiet nights, never quite coming to a satisfying conclusion over... like the Rubic's Cube taken from the shelf now and then, given a few twists and turns, and then set back down again, unsolved.
Will this book (and series) impact you the same way it has me? Unknown. Perhaps it is merely great writing triggering my own issues, and combining in a way that leaves me with a wonderful mental aftertaste, both entertaining me and enlightening me at the same time. I don't know if you will receive them the same way, but I'm certainly glad I have read them. Honestly, Book Two was a bit of a letdown to me at the time, but having finished the series, I can see better now how that second section fit into the grand scheme. Throughout the series, the writing itself (as far as wordcraft) is solid and unobtrusive, the author content to stand back and let the story tell itself. This book is no exception; the dialog serves its purpose, the straight-forward action economical and clean and completely effective. The depth and magic here is what is said, more than how. It is not flawlessly written, beautifully polished or classic literature, by any stretch, but The Hero of Ages completes the series better than I'd ever hoped it would, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
This is why I read.
Summary: Excellent on many levels. 5/5 Thought-provoking, and a terrific ride at the same time.