At last it is time to review the last novel in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy. The events of the last book have unleashed the being Ruin back on the land, where it begins to wreck havoc. With the deepness – a deadly form of mist- returned, humanity looks to be doomed. Their only hope is in the clues left behind by the Lord Ruler, who had anticipated Ruin’s return, and learning the true prophecies concerning the Hero of Ages.
The Hero of Ages is a stronger instalment than The Well of Ascension. Yet I still feel it is a weaker instalment than The Final Empire. This is for a number of reasons. My most notable issue first of all, is probably the character of Ruin. Ruin is the villain of the book, and also the villain of the series overall. While he he has a stronger presence than the antagonists of the previous book, he is weaker than the Lord Ruler. I feel this is because , Ruin, tends to act in a more subtle manner. His main contributing threat is taking control of existing factions. He doesn’t introduce anything new to the plot upon awakening, like a new army or something and despite commanding a large army he comes across as a very solitary character. Whenever the protagonists fight his minions I feel like they’re fighting him, rather than fighting his minions. As a consequence he commands a weaker presence than the Lord Ruler of the first book despite objectively being a much more threatening villain.
However the other characters in the book got a vast amount of development, in part due to the increase in different point of view segments. Spook, a former member of the crew from the first book, gets a lot more character development. Sazed’s character arc continues smoothly, with recent events challenging his faith even more than before. However the best character arc is that of TenSoon the Kandra who replaced Vin’s Kandra in one of my favourite twists in the previous book. His point of view segments develop his character to the point where it is very easy to forget Vin’s previous Kandra even existed since he quickly takes Vin’s side for real.
Like the last novel the final act contained some unusual twists which I enjoyed as a reader. The big twist is the identity of the Hero of Ages. Throughout the novel everyone in the story believes that Vin is the Hero of Ages, including Vin herself. However it eventually turns out that the prophecy refers to Sazed instead. This was a brilliant twist to me, and gave Sazed’s character arc increased importance in hindsight. I was a bit disappointed that both Elend and Vin had to die, since despite my misgivings over their bland characterisation I did want them to have some kind of happy ending. In fact I see them as so bland on re-reading for this reason. I think to myself “why should I care about them? They’re going to die anyway” and so on. I find it harder to emphasis with a character and their arc if they die, especially if they didn’t “deserve” their deaths so to speak. I only like main character deaths when the character is flawed enough that their death feels like an inevitable thing rather than a sudden twist done for shock value. To me Vin’s sacrifice was a twist done for the sake of a twist.
As a whole my opinions on The Hero of Ages are mixed. It is good, with many good twists but there also many things in it that I feel lessen its effectiveness. It is a more than adequate conclusion to the trilogy but I was left thinking that more could have been done with it. While I still enjoyed reading it for its magic, to be honest by this point I was so used to seeing it that the plot needed to take a stronger hold. This is something it tried to do, but I am not sure whether it succeeded. However at the same time it is still nowhere near as flawed as The Well of Ascension, which is a positive. It is a decent conclusion but nothing more.
IN A WORD: FLAWED