Allomancy Shmallomancy: A Review of The Mistborn Trilogy

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Introduction

The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson is set in the aforementioned author’s Cosmere, or shared universe. I’m going to avoid spoilers in these reviews as much as I can, though I’m sure the fact that I reference the Cosmere at all will have some people crying out for spoiler warnings. You folks can kindly sit in the back and hush yourselves. This Trilogy is one of a set of books for the Mistborn’s world, each dealing with a different time period. The first three The Final Empire, the Well of Ascension and the Hero of Ages take place in a more medieval setting, or your classical fantasy time period.

The Trilogy follows the story of  Vin, and her companions as they deal with the ever expanding troubles in their world. From a seemingly immortal tyrant in the Lord Ruler, to a destructive deity, bent on ending the world. Each book has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but overall I found the series to be excellent.

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What Worked

The three pronged magic system in the world of Scadriel is fantastic. While I can’t go too far into detail about the third, the first two Allomancy, and Feruchemy are explained fairly early, and don’t expose many plot points. Allomancy gives certain people powers once ingesting one or more of the Allomantic metals. Feruchemy, uses those same metals in a different way, each with detailed rules, something we come to expect and love about Sanderson novels. The consistency on which his magic systems work is a testament to his writing style and ability to plan sometimes years in advance. The magic of Scadriel is one of his most fun, and arguably one of the most powerful.

Another thing Sanderson has become known for is his great characterization, and ability to write from several perspectives. The Mistborn trilogy is rife with great characters, both heroes, and villains. Sanderson does a magnificent job of forging deep characters with rich backgrounds, and mostly believable motivations. Best of all in my opinion, is the lack of cardboard villains, or MacGuffin evil. The various villains of these books have their own purpose, not just to be beaten back by our Heroes.

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What Didn’t

 The first two installments of this trilogy are excellent, maybe a few craft problems, that frankly I’m not an expert on and therefore have no business commenting on them. The third book however, The Hero of Ages seems a bit rushed. We get info dumped quite a bit of a background and rules for the lore, that might have been better served as small tidbits throughout the Trilogy. It made the overall outcomes of the book more predictable, and all in all slightly less satisfying then the other two installments.

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Final Word

My overall impression of the trilogy is extremely positive. I enjoy Sanderson’s style, and character development. Allomancy may be my favorite magic system that I’ve read in a long time. I judge book mostly by how hard they are not to ne tempted to rip off or write ‘fan fiction’ for, and the Mistborn Trilogy has me wishing I could write in the world of Scadriel. All and all I give it 4.5/5 stars, a solid read that was extremely entertaining.

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