When I got into Robert Jordan last year, and read all 15 books of the Wheel of Time in a few short months, I told myself I wouldn’t allow myself to get sucked in again. Binge reading is bad. It leads to Vitamin D deficiencies, and a bad case of oh-shit-what-now-itis when you finish the set. I thought the pale skin ala the pre-religion Anne Rice books was behind me, and my foundation would no longer be a shade too dark.
I was wrong. Since then, having also taken to twitter for book recs, I have found out that there are many more long epic series for me to read, across various genres, and I should just toss all my expensive, wrong-shade-for-my-lifestyle foundations and concealers.
When I finished Wheel of Time, I noted that the last three or four books had a second author, but didn’t make much of it, as I wasn’t really clued in to the whole fantasy sub-culture, and didn’t know what a big deal it was that Robert Jordan had passed away in the middle of the series, and Brandon Sanderson wrote the last few book based on his notes (I have since learned my lesson, thanks Twitterverse).
After a couple (of dozen) recommendations to check out Sanderson’s books, I started reading the Mistborn trilogy.
((If I knew how to gif, you’d see GOB clinging to the bars of his cell saying, “I’ve made a huge mistake” here. But I don’t.))
Unlike Wheel of Time, this wasn’t the only thing I was reading at the time, so I did manage to space it out over December and the first half of January. And I loved the books, so I downloaded the next one (Alloy of Law) and read that too. Shadows of Self is in my reading list.
I am a recent convert to fantasy – I have of course, drunk from the wells of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but have always considered myself drawn more to Asimov and Dick than to the likes of George R R Martin. (I have also been drawn to dicks, but my romantic history has already been reviewed by my shrink, thanks.) However, converts make the best zealots. I love fantasy now, the literal escape from reality, the wars, the consequences and the overwhelming sense of hope that permeates these stories. And Brandon Sanderson does all of this well, along with the very intricate world building that makes good fiction great.
It isn’t just the world building though – it isn’t just that he shows you the world you will live in for a few hours a day; it is that he explains that world’s science to you. His magic has a strong structure to keep it real, and rules to make it difficult for the maverick protagonists.
The Mistborn world has mists. They cover the landscape at night, making it hard for people to go out at night, and instilling a sense of fear in them. The world is ruled by a Lord Ruler, a god-like figure who rules with an iron fist, and there is no velvet glove to cover it. Peasants are literal slaves, owned by the Lord Ruler, and loaned out to his Nobles. Nobles and their offspring also have powers, which they gain by digesting metals. The most powerful are Mistborn, vested with all the powers that the world holds.
And into every generation, a Slayer is born.
Almost, but not quite. There are prophecies that speak of the Warrior who will destroy the deepness and save the world. And while some believe the Warrior is a myth, others know that he is the Survivor of Hathsin, a common man tortured by the Lord Ruler in the metal mines of Hathsin, who escapes and returns to the world as Mistborn.
Or is he?