Mistborn Read Along, Week Five

After five weeks, the group read of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn is coming to a close.  Hosted by Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings, this week’s final set of questions covers the last portion of the book.

Since the last section was so full of revelations, plot twists and turns and other such jaw-droppers, Carl decided it would be torture to make everyone wait a week to discuss the final pages of the novel.  So, this week’s installment hits the web early.

Just a reminder that if you haven’t read the book and would like to read it without SPOILERS, stop reading now.  There are major SPOILERS ahead!

Here are this week’s questions…

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?

Leave it to Kelsier to plan for everything, including his own death.  And for his death to serve as a catalyst to finally bring everyone together and finish the plan.   It reminded me a bit of a major plot point from The Avengers (the new Marvel movie) where a certain character dies, but that serves as a rallying cry to the team to get them all on the same page and focused on the real threat facing them.

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?

Well, with Kelsier gone, it had to focus on Vin, didn’t it?   To go all English literature person here, I did enjoy the arc Vin took as a character in the book. Watching her grow from where we met her in the first few pages to the one who takes out the Lord Ruler (all with a little help from her friends, but that’s to be expected) was nicely done.  As for her fate, I wasn’t too worried about it since it would seem a bit cruel to kill off both Vin and Kelsier…plus you want to have at least one familiar face or two around when the sequel starts.  That said, I do wonder what the impact of killing someone will be on Vin.   I’m hoping Sanderson delves into that with the next book.

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?

Looking back on it, I feel like I should have realized it sooner given the way that Sanderson deftly drops in all the clues.  But I didn’t put two and two together to come up with the right answer until Sanderson dropped the revelation on us.   It make me curious to go back and re-read the book at some point to pick up the clues Sanderson was leaving that I missed the first time around.

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?

While Elend did come over and help when it was important, part of me wonders if the motivation wasn’t quite as pure and noble as we’d like to believe.  Could it have been a way to continue or further his relationship with Vin?

I believe that while Elund has an intellectual grasp on what it means to embrace the rebellion and to rebel, he hasn’t necessarily thought through the day-to-day realities of what he’s done and how his life can and will change.  I hope that the next book examines that and doesn’t just have him fully coming over to the skaa side without looking at the consequences of that decision. (I don’t think this will happen because Sanderson has shown that things don’t happen without consequences in his novels.  Again, back to the use of magic in the books–there is a cost to it.  Similar situation here)

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?

When it comes to fantasy, I know what I like.   I know many will take it as blasphemy, but I don’t really care two figs about reading The Lord of the Rings and while I admire what Tolkien did in helping create the genre, I don’t necessarily think he’s the be-all, end-all of fantasy.   (Honestly, the books make better movies because we can digitally render every leaf on every tree along the way and move on).   For a long time, I felt like I was missing something when it came to fantasy because I didn’t love Tolkien and I’d tried to work my way through various Terry Brooks novels with little success.  (Honestly, I find the Shanara series derivative and the Magic Kingdom novels are the same story told over and over again (someone loses access to the kingdom and must regain it)).

In recent years, I’ve delved into a bit more fantasy–the urban side of things with Charles De Lint and the Dresden Files novels.   I’ve also dipped my toe into other fantasy writers and found that the genre is a lot wider than just Tolkien pastiches.  And I’ve found I enjoy the genre a bit more, but I enjoy my specific section of it.  I love George R.R. Martin and last year I decided to give Sanderson a chance on his stand-alone novel Warbreaker.  Loved it and wanted to read more…hence, my interest in Mistborn.

I’ll admit that I enjoyed Mistborn a great deal and am looking forward to more.  As I’ve repeatedly said, one thing I enjoy most about Sanderson is that while there is magic to his universe, there are rules to it.  It’s not a deux ex machina to get everyone out of trouble and it doesn’t become so powerful that it easily solves any problem (it smashes, it dashes, it mashes! And easily cleans up in your dishwasher!)   What I didn’t expect as much was how well crafted the characters in the story are.  Sanderson clearly understands the archetypes of fantasy and he’s willing to use them to help us make assumptions about characters. But he’s also willing to turn those archetypes and assumptions on their ears during the story.

Good stuff and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy and more by Sanderson.

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6 Comments

Filed under Mistborn Read-Along, Read Along

6 responses to “Mistborn Read Along, Week Five

  1. Sanderson treats magic like a part of nature that’s subject to physical laws. I like that. It obeys certain rules and processes in such a way that reminds me more of sci-fi than most fantasy.

  2. I completely agree with you about Vin’s character development over time. She was always my favorite, and the character that fascinated me the most.

    This was a reread for me, and YES there are a LOT of hints dropped about all of these things, from Kelsier’s secret plans to how the kandra work. There are even hints all over the place for later volumes in the series. Sanderson does an amazing job tying it all together!

    I am not very familiar with fantasy at all, especially high fantasy. I’ve never even read Tolkien, and really don’t have much interest in doing so. But I’m glad I took a chance with these, because they are fantastic. I hope to read Warbreaker soon.

  3. Although I love LoTR with all my heart, I can understand how you aren’t a fan of Tolkien: he can be over-wordy and obsessed with detail, so his books can be a slog at times, though I can recommend The Silmarillion on CD if you have insomnia! 😀

    As Brooks’ Shanara series is a blatant LoTR rip-off, it is hardly surprising that you didn’t get on with him either. I found him way to derivative to read more than 2 or 3 of his books. I love the Dresden Files: have you tried Butcher’s Calderon series? They are supposedly YA, but are an excellent read with a very unusual magical system in place and the central character cannot use magic at all, which is a nice twist.

  4. Interested in your expressed concerns about Elend perhaps not having as pure intent as we are perhaps lead to believe.

    I’m not sure I agree with it, because it is a pretty extreme length to go to. He didn’t know that the Skaa wouldn’t try to kill him outright rather than taking him to Dockson. He didn’t know that he would survive an armed incursion into Kedrik Shaw, either.

    However, as a counter I can see that he is very naive, and I wondered myself if he simply hadn’t thought through the consequences of going to ‘Valette’ during the procession.

    I’ve also noted that perhaps his interest is more intellectual than anything else. Perhaps he is just interested in taking the opportunity to ‘study’ this intriguing Skaa who fooled the nobility.

    Now though, I think not. At least where we ended in Mistborn, he seemed to be trying to do the right thing by everyone… albeit with his trademark naivety.

  5. Hindsight is so lovely isn’t it! I didn’t see virtually any of the big reveals coming. I wasn’t sure if I was just a raging dunce because looking back there was certainly a trail of breadcrumbs. Perhaps I was just too taken with the read. I really don’t know why I was so in the dark. About the only thing I wasn’t worried about was Vin – a bit like you, I just thought I couldn’t see him killing off both of them. It’s going to be interesting to see how this develops in the next book. Clearly we’ve got a lot to learn about the mists and the other repercussions now that the mine has been destroyed.
    Lynn 😀

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