Monday, May 7, 2012

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson: Part 5

The Read Along is being hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings. 

You can follow the links to everyone else’s answers here.

We finished the book.

1.  So, what do you think of Kelsier's plan now? Or his 'plan within a plan'?  How do you feel the late introduction of the kandra and how it fit into Kelsier's plan?

Oh, Kel, you tricksy so and so! Just when we thought everything was going to fall apart, you show us what areal genius you were. Of course, without Vin working out how to neutralize the Lord Ruler it might still have been a wasted, although glorious, effort. I cannot see how the skaa could have dealt with him and the Inquisitors. Still, everything worked out fine in the end, so I will stop worrying about what might have happened. The kandra are very intriguing, and I hope we learn more about them in the later books. The idea of them eating someone to take on their image is really gross, but would make them invaluable spies. It will be interesting to learn how they differ from the mindless mistwraiths. I can understand why Kel kept this part of his plan so secret. He needed his other followers to have a genuine reaction to his death and not to be complacent about the earlier parts of the plan. I also like that the plan shows how valuable Sazed’s knowledge is: only a god can replace a god.

2.  The final section of the book was very Vin-centric.  How do you feel about the choices she made and did you have any worries/fears about what might happen to her before everything was resolved?

I guess I was not alone in shouting “Vin, you idiot, don’t attack the Lord Ruler on your own!” This seemed very risky, but then the desertion of the human troops gave me some hope that she wouldn’t be beaten into a bloody pulp. She needs to find out what that metal was that burnt out all her reserves so quickly, then she can avoid it in future. I did not expect Sazed to come to her rescue, although the description of his use of feruchemy was amazing: I would love to see that in the cinema. It was all very exciting and thrilling, but I did think she was a bit slow on the uptake about the bracers: if they are woven into his skin they must be important, so get them off him ASAP!

3.  After all that we find out that the Lord Ruler wasn't the prophesied one after all.  Surprised? Had you figured it out?  What thoughts do you have about the big reveal, including how it tied into Sazed's people?

I am so proud that I worked that out, although I still had doubts until she conjured the image of the packman. I was a little surprised that he did not seem to be overtly Terris in body shape: I seem to remember that when Sazed was introduced Vin said that all Terrismen had a particularly long shape. Although this difference could have been due to the thousand years of the breeding program, making it easier to identify the remaining Terrismen. Of course, one has to ask why the Lord Ruler kept the journal: typical evil genius stupidity, I guess. I wonder if we will ever find out how Vin has Terris blood? I would also like to know why the Lord Ruler killed the Hero.

4.  There was some back and forth about Elend throughout the story and we finally got to see him take a greater stand.  Any predictions about what might happen in book two with Elend taking on leadership duties?

I sincerely hope that he can hold on to his idealistic view of the world and create a better society for everyone. However, I think he might find that he will need to be a little more flexible if he wants to keep the peace. The people are not used to having freedom and so I expect to see moves to replace the Lord Ruler: I predict that Lord Venture will be a major problem. Hopefully, Elend will delegate successfully and show everyone a better way to live together.

Oh, and I assume he and Vin will have their happy ending, especially after he got all flustered about her running around in her undies! :D

5.  Lastly, provide a little wrap up of your experience with the book.  What do you think Sanderson's strengths are?  How does this book stack up against other fantasies you've read?

I can completely understand why Mr Sanderson was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. Although this book does not have the massively epic scope of Mr Jordan’s series, I think that that is a strength rather than a weakness. I remember trying to read The Wheel of Time books as they were being published, but every time I started a new one I would have to go back and re-read the previous ones to remind myself of all the various plot strands. After doing this three or four times I gave up and prepared to wait for them all to be published before reading the whole series through. Fortunately, Mr Sanderson restricts his view somewhat and keeps us following a single group of characters and one story line, thank goodness! I expect that the scope of our view will be broader for the next book, as we will be investigating the Deepness and the Well of Ascension as well as following the social changes now that the Lord Ruler is gone.

I think my favorite aspect of this book is that we have not one but two unique systems of magic revealed, although the two are interconnected. These feel very real and have a practical, physical aspect that I like. They are not all about saying a few words and pointing, but have real dangers and consequences that can be exploited. For example, I loved how Vin could blind the Inquisitors by throwing metal powder at them. It makes a nice change for magic to not be all powerful and the solution to everything, but a tool that requires skill and intelligence, plus a good dose of bravery to use effectively. In this way it reminds me both of Jordan’s magic system, but also of the Earth Magic used by Rachel Morgan in Kim Harrison’s Hollows Series.

Finally, I would like to thank Carl for being a wonderful host and everyone else for making this Read Along such fun: I hope to see you all for the rest of the Trilogy! :)


  1. That scene where Elend keeps asking her to put clothes on had me cracking up so hard. She's just happy he's there, and he's all squicked about her underwear. :D Love it!!!

    I really liked that there was a certain limited scope here too. Having just finished The Way of Kings, I can say that was definitely far more epic and far more difficult to really get into. Took me forever to figure out who was who, and even now that I"m done, I'm sure I'd need four more reads before I could really understand it all. I liked it, but I loved Mistborn far more!

  2. i know what you mean: with the Robert Jordan books I started keeping notes just so I could everyone straight in my head! :D

  3.  I read WoT 1-11 right through, I started while 1-10 was out, 11 was available before I got to the end. But then I had a maassssiiive break before picking up Sanderson's first (12).

    I briefly contemplated reading back through, but the mere thought of facing books 5ish-9ish again left me all aquiver, so I decided not to and bulled my way through until it ticked enough memory strings that I considered myself more or less 'up to date' again.

    Worked fairly well in my opinion. :P I still haven't read 13 yet, I want to wait for 14 to be available, but 12 was done so exceptionally well (written better than even TWoK I think) that I keep wanting to pick it up between every other book I read!

  4. I do plan to read them: perhaps I will make that my Challenge for next year . . . assuming that I finish my Challenge to read all the Song of Ice and Fire books this year! :D

  5. I agree with you- it was amazing to see Sazed's Feruchemy in practice. Pretty incredible.
    Like you, I think the magic systems feel real and practical. It lent well to the action scenes, although, sometimes I had a hard time imagining how they were able to maneuver so well.

  6. I barely made it through book 8 - Path of Daggers - and am trying to work up the motivation to complete books 9-13 before 14 is released. Does not seem I will make it...kind of burned out on the series.

  7. I loved this book, I didn't manage to see a single thing coming - but i really applaud Sanderson for that and I can't wait for us all to get back together to discuss the next!
    Well done to you for seeing that whole LR/journal thing - didn't see it coming - even though it was raised last week I was still oblivious to the clues!
    Kel was certainly tricksy - and tragic!  I still wish that he could have come up with a better plan but like you say there's no point in worrying about things that you can't change.  For one moment I really did think that he'd been brought back to life (but then found it was a Kandra).  It's probably as well.  Rather than have some strange explanation of how he returned to the land of the living.  I must admit I wasn't overly fond of the fact that the Kandra had to consume his body.  Again, no point in dwelling!!!!
    Lynn :D

  8. I loved the dynamic aspect of the fight sequences: all that jumping about would look amazing on the big screen! :)

  9. I like the fact that we could speculate without feeling like it was obvious what was coming next. I really do appreciate an author that makes me think about what is happening, and it works well with the Read Along structure.

    I agree about Kel: he reminds me a little of Paul Maud'ib in the Dune books in that he has to sacrifice himself knowingly in order to change the world. Very sad and tragic. :(


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