After a year of friends telling me that I “just have to read Brandon Sanderson books”, I buckled down and decided to read Mistborn. I told myself that it would just be a side project, something to read on the side while waiting for the bus or otherwise ‘doing nothing’.
The book, however, refused to let me casually read. I was sucked into the story and the world and enjoyed the ride. Here are a couple of my thoughts about the book. (I promise to avoid spoilers.)
The Heist-ness – The typical fantastical novel follows a journey plot. Think The Hobbit, or There and Back Again; The Wizard of Oz; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Alice in Wonderland. Not so with Mistborn. The book instead falls into the category of a heist, complete with insane plots, impossible odds, highly skilled crew members, and plenty of manipulation. And just a pinch of revenge, too.
The Magic – There are two main ways I see magic used in fantasy books. On one hand is the unknowable magic—the awe-inspiring, inexplicable, force-of-nature type magic, where the mechanics of the magic are not as important as the awesomeness factor. We don’t really know how Gandalf does it, but it’s awesome when he battles armies or whispers to moths. On the other hand is rule-bound magic—this is like the ring in Lord of the Rings. The ring makes the user invisible to everyone except the bad guys while slowly corrupting its wearer. Take the ring off, the magic turns off. Put the ring on, the magic turns on. Mistborn utilizes a highly rule-based magic system. I found myself racing the story to see if I could figure out the rules before the characters in the story and piecing together clues. If you like puzzles, Mistborn is a fun one to try your hand at.
Downside – Mistborn‘s only major downside for me was violence. I would not recommend the book to readers middle school aged and younger. The book has minimal foul language and minimal adult themes, but does tend to get gory in fight scenes. If the book was a movie, I would give it a PG-13 rating for violence. The gory moments are not too frequent, but when I did come across them while reading, they turned my stomach.
On my 5-star scale I give Mistborn a 4.5 stars rating. It was one of the best fantasy books I have read in the last decade, and I highly recommend it to high school + aged readers of fantasy. I plan on reading the next two books in the trilogy, and I have high hopes that they will be as exciting and satisfying as Mistborn.