The Hero of Ages
By: Brandon Sanderson
I can't. I cannot articulate. But I'll try dang hard to get this across. This series is rightfully lauded as a brilliant and groundbreaking work of fantasy. It deserves every bit of that praise. The world gets better with every book, expanding further and further until the very last pages of this book. I loved that there was never a moment when you knew absolutely everything about what was going on, yet it was never confusing either.
One of my favorite things about this series is the deconstruction of the world followed by the reconstruction. Not often do books show the build up of what it just spent a whole book tearing down, because I think people tend to believe that reconstruction doesn't make an interesting story. BUT IT CAN BE. And this series makes it incredibly interesting, through all of the slow political build-up and all of the slow reconstruction. It's brilliant!
Sanderson is a genius. He's shown himself to be very good at characters who contrast each other, and he uses his foils extremely well. But this time he took it up a notch, and in this book he has whole cities that foil one another. Fadrex with its leader who worships the Lord Ruler and Urteau with its leader who worships Kelsier. And both places are awful to live in and the leaders are not all that different. IT'S BRILLIANT.
Okay, now on to characters. I don't want to talk about characters individually or extensively in the non-spoiler section (particularly because I don't want to spoil previous books in the series either), but I'll say something about their journeys as a whole. These characters are so realistic and believable because even after all these pages they all have struggles that they are still dealing with and growing through. Sazed has a beautiful arc in this book, full of loads of falling action and self-doubt. Vin and Elend face the challenges of a world falling apart. Spook grows out of his own cowardice. It's all so brilliant and touching and important to the story. I loved every page of it.
The plot was crazy, too. There were so many twists and so much action. I love that the feel was so different from both of the other books. The Final Empire is a revolution story, The Well of Ascension is a political story, and The Hero of Ages is basically an apocalypse story. It takes crazy talent as a writer to make all three of those work in the same world and on the same story arc, and even thinking about this blows my mind.
I cannot say this enough times: READ THIS FREAKING SERIES. You will not regret it even the tiniest bit ever. There is no regret only your mind blown to pieces and a piercing sadness that it's over. But it's still much more than worth it. This has made it onto my top series of all time list, as well as containing some of my favorite characters of all time.
"The nature of the world is that when we create something, we often have to destroy something else in the process."
"What kind of monsters are we?" Fatren asked in a hushed voice. "The kind we have to be," Elend said."
"She could love Elend for his desire to do the right thing, even when she thought he'd done the opposite."
"Somehow we'll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be...But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are."
"I don't have much time for stories," Vin said.
"Seems that fewer and fewer do, these days...It makes me wonder what is so alluring about the real world that gives them all such a fetish for it. It's not a very nice place these days."
"Actually...I said that a story itself shouldn't be a cost. That is a very different from the story itself costing something. And, while some will argue, I believe that a story without cost is one considered worthless."
"I had to realize that I could be both people... I had to acknowledge that the new person I'm becoming is a valid extension of who I am. But for you, it's opposite! You have to realize that who you were is still a valid part of you. That person makes silly comments, and does things just to provoke a reaction. But, he's also lovable and kindhearted."
"A man is what he has passion about," Breeze said. "I've found that if you give up what you want most for what you think you should want more, you'll just end up miserable."
"This isn't about good or evil. Morality doesn't even enter into it. Good men will kill as quickly for what they want as evil men - only the things they want are different."
"People with passion are people who will destroy - for a man's passion is not true until he proves how much he's willing to sacrifice for it. Will he kill? Will he go to war? Will he break and discard that which he has, all in the name of what he needs?"
"We create things to watch them grow, Ruin, she said. To take pleasure in seeing that which we love become more than it was before....The life of a person is more than the chaos of its passing. Emotion, Ruin. This is your defeat."
I'm serious, proceed at your own risk and don't say I didn't warn you. Everything will be spoiled because it's so MIND-BLOWING and I need to talk about it.
Mrs. Vin Venture.
What can I say? She's a freaking beast. And there were so many moments when I was felt like a proud mother or something (despite being younger than her in this last book). Just seeing her grow from the scared girl into this confident warrior warmed my heart. [Then crushed it, of course].
I mean, look at these moments of growth. LOOK AT THEM!
"Somehow, she had grown into a woman between the fall of kings and collapse of worlds. Once she had been terrified of change."
"That's it, she thought, smiling at another curtsying young girl. That's why I always felt that this was wrong. I didn't have to work for it, so I couldn't believe that I deserved it."
"She didn't worry if she'd find acceptance or belief. She'd slain the Lord Ruler. She'd married Elend Venture. And - more remarkable than either accomplishment - somehow in the chaos and mess she'd discovered who she was. Not a girl of the streets, though that was where she'd been raised. Not a woman of the court, though she appreciated the beauty and grace of the balls. Someone else. Someone she liked."
Her character arc is ultimately one of my favorites of all time. I have so much love for her and all that she's done. And I think she got the end she deserved, saving the world with Elend and then getting a rest in the afterlife with Elend and Kelsier. *still cries forever*
It's no secret that I am utterly in love with Elend Venture. Scholar, Mistborn, Emperor, and Kindhearted man. He's flawed, but realistically so, correctly so. He struggles in this book, just like he did in the last one, but he makes so much progress. He helps Vin save the world as nothing more than a mortal force. I loved how he learned to identify with all the pieces he is in this book, and how his arc matched up so well with Vin's in this book.
I also loved the return of what I like to call Sassy Elend. I mean, just look at the sass:
"How did a man like you ever end up a table of negotiation?"
"I was trained by a surly Mistborn, a sarcastic Terrisman, and a group of disrespectful thieves," Elend said, sighing. "Plus, on top of that, I was a fairly insufferable person to begin with."
"I'm a bastard," Elend said. "In composition, not in temperament or by birth...I'm an amalgamation of what I've needed to be. Part scholar, part rebel, part nobleman, part Mistborn, and part soldier."
I will never get over Elend Venture. Not in a hundred, million years. Elend Venture is everything. Okay.
Emperor and Empress Venture.
These two. These two are the cutest and mot kickbutt couple to ever exist in the history of all the world. Look at all this adorableness. Juuuuuust loooooooooooooooooook. I can't handle it.
"At that moment, Elend realized something. Vin didn't need another person worshipping her. She didn't need another faithful believer like Demoux, especially not in Elend. He didn't need to be a good member of the Church of the Survivor. He needed to be a good husband."
"Vin frowned. "Do I recognize that title?"
"It was the book that I was reading that night on the Venture balcony," Elend said. "The time we first met."
"Why, Elend! That's almost romantic - in a twisted 'I'm going to make my wife want to kill me' sort of way."
AND ELEND WITH THE BOOK WHILE DANCING WITH VIN. THEY ARE THE CUTEST AND MY HEART IS IN PIECES.
Breeze, Spook, and Sazed.
Have I mentioned that Breeze is my favorite thing AND an absolute genius.
"Breeze smiled, raising his cup of wine. "My ear man, you have, of course, found me out. However, instead of congratulating yourself for noticing my touch, perhaps you should ask yourself why I manipulated you into saying what you just did."
He's also such a kindhearted guy, no matter what he tries to make himself.
"Ha!" Breeze said with uncharacteristic tears in his eyes. "He is waking!"
SAZED MAKING ME CRYYYY
"For now, I only wish to make a simple acknowledgement of the woman who held the power just before me. Of all of us who touched it, I feel she was the most worthy."
AND SAYING VIN AND ELEND NEED A REST BUT THAT THEY'RE HAPPY. I AM DEAD.
Then with Spook and the book!
"I have made you Mistborn, and healed the damage you did to your body by flaring tin so much. I hope you don't mind. It was Kelsier's request, actually. Consider it a parting gift from him."
This book wrecked me, guys. But in the most beautiful way possible.