Will finally write the review for this book! I didn’t want to for so long–I didn’t want to let this one go. Narfna, you were right so many times over.
Someone asked if this book resolved everything, or if it was frustrating and unresolved at the end like The Well of Ascension. I mean, of course a second book in a trilogy will be unresolved! One thing a friend told me, though, makes perfect sense–Sanderson is a reader’s writer, in that he loves reading and knows what readers want.
It’s a weird sort of thing to accuse writers of not being (i.e., the implication here is that not all authors are readers). That’s not the point, though. A great example is in the back of the novels, Sanderson gives you a short guide to allomancy, a glossary, and (at least in my copy of The Well of Ascension) a summary of what happened in the prior book. The average author wants to believe you’re so enamored of their work that you have a photographic memory for the details that go into their world. And, honestly, for some properties like Harry Potter that wasn’t half untrue. But books are long, and if you read them as they come out the wait between is long as well. Having a summary that lets you get into the next novel without having to read the prior is acknowledging that even lovers of books can’t keep everything straight.
But boy, did I pour myself into figuring out what was going on in this novel. I didn’t want to let a single strand fall, because they all pay off, from the smallest [spike! OMG the point about Vin’s earring being an feruchemical spike, I just DIED (hide spoiler)] to the largest. You’re watching a master author at work, pulling together details that seemed random into a cohesive whole that just clicks in an endlessly satisfying way. I’m never going to read the Wheel of Time series, obviously, but I understand now why people say that Sanderson was the right man for the job to finish it.
A small sidebar to point out something I learn midway, which is that Sanderson was a homophobe, up until somewhat recently? He went from statements like this in 2007:
“I do believe, however, that impulses of attraction between people of the same gender are something that can and should be resisted…you probably believe differently. I’m okay with that.”
To this, in December 2016:
“My philosophy is to be extra careful that I counter any bias I might have that I might not be noticing. To make sure that LGBT characters are well represented I ask gay people that I know: “Is this working? Am I approaching this right?”. I have to trust in them. It’s important to me, because a lot of religious people seem to want to ignore that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people exist, which I think is inherently evil.”
Personally, I respect his ability to change and adapt and listen to those he’s hurt.
Moving back to this book (this review is getting a bit disjointed in my attempts to channel my love for it into a neat, structured format): do I wish there were more female characters and not just Vin “I’m Not Like Other Girls Okay Maybe I Am Sometimes But Also I’m the Special-est”? Yes, of course, almost always.
Was I very much into the relationship between Vin “You Have to Trust Me” and Elend “I Do Trust You, Implicitly, And How Can I Help” Venture? YES, all the way, 100%, please more men who don’t have self esteem issues and are open about their insecurities and ask for help.
I love how the various characters all have distinct, separate roles to play in the grand battle that ends the book (no spoiler there, what else do you expect?)
As a last note–the arc of the Lord Ruler. THAT, my friends, is how you take a villain and give them nuance. Take note, JJ Abrams.