Naithin's Reviews > The Hero of Ages

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
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Nov 20, 2010

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bookshelves: apocalypse, fantasy
Read from February 27 to March 09, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

This is going to sound like a very negative review. I have a lot to discuss that I didn't like about not only this book, but the series in general. I don't have nearly so much to say about what I did like; but I urge you to bear in mind the rating I gave this book as you read. For all the failings this book (and series) have, it is still a very enjoyable read.

For instance, I mentioned it briefly in my 'updates' while reading this book, but Sanderson really did appear to learn from the troubles starting the second book (Well of Ascension) as this one got things moving in a much better way. It also didn't seem to insist on hand-holding the readers for half the book like the second did. This was much appreciated.

Some of the twists and turns in the story were magnificently executed.

In certain fight scenes, Sanderson once again manages to work his magic in order to have you really see the fight in your mind. Nothing quite rose to the level of Kelsier's fight with the Inquisitor in the first book in my opinion, but one or two parts came close. And Kelsier's Inquisitor fight was a fairly hefty bar to reach, in this regard.

For all that, the characterisation in this series is very weak. You're given the barest scent of each characters personality. The lightest touch of their quirks. I didn't notice this quite so much during the first book, but certainly by the third I realised that these characters existed to further the story and nothing more. They were plot devices, ends to the story's means. Vin's love for Elend and vice versa was hard to buy into or care about. Cett and Breeze left me feeling as if so much more could have been done with them. I think perhaps Sazed and Spook were the only two who started to approach a sense of self.

The others seemed to represent ideas of a character, while not actually being a character.

This, more than anything else, is what stops this book from being a 5 for me and threatens reduction to a three. Characters are what drive a story for me. I have to want to care.

I didn't here; and yet somehow, for the most part, the story drew me along regardless.

If I had read the Mistborn trilogy before any of Sanderson's other work, I think I would've been... Well, not hesitant to read more per se, but at least in no hurry to go out and buy everything he's ever done, either. Because I read The Way of Kings first -- first book in bloody ages to get man-tears in my eyes! -- I know that Sanderson has grown a lot as an author since he set down Mistborn, and I'm eager to continue with him.

TWoK shows growth in other directions for Sanderson as well. Books often have themes. That's not a problem. I get that Sanderson is himself religious and thus these values to some extent are going to show through. Also not a problem. It becomes a problem when the book becomes a heavy-handed-all-pretence-of-subtlety-abandoned 'Hurrah Faith!' preaching session.

I love Sazed as a character; I do. But Sanderson very nearly ruined him for me with his constant 'struggle' and then subsequent 'rediscovery' of faith. It might be hard to understand what I mean if you haven't read it yourself, because this sounds like nitpicking I realise. I don't mind characters having a crisis of faith; well done it can be incredibly moving. Sazed's, however, was not well done. Rather than handled with a light touch and tact, a baseball bat is applied to your face instead.

In the end though; I did like the books. I would recommend them to be read; but wouldn't put them up on any kind of pedestal. These are early Sanderson works and I can tell he's matured in his craft a lot since these were written; which makes me incredibly curious how Elantris and Warbreaker -- earlier works still -- turned out, as I've yet to read those. I am made equally curious as to how much further Sanderson yet has to grow, and makes me even more impatient for future volumes of the Stormlight Archives (of which TWoK was the first).

Can has nao? :)
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Reading Progress

02/27/2011 page 185
25.0% "I mentioned it in my review of Well of Ascension; but it bears mentioning again. This book leads in from the end of book 2 in a much, much, better manner. Much <3"
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Hannah I'm looking forward to reading Way of Kings, especially after reading that interview on Amazon the other day, if Mistborn were quick writes and Way of Kings is basically his baby - that must be a bloody excellent read!

Still, I'm very near the end of Well of Ascension now, maybe 80 pages left, and I'm still think about giving it a 3 star rating, which compared with how much I adored The Final Empire is a pretty large drop. I really, really hope Hero of Ages is better than book 2, I don't want the end of the series to be such a let down when the first book blew me away so much.


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