Erika's Reviews > The Hero of Ages

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
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Oct 23, 08

Recommended for: fantasy fans!!

Arrrghh. I shouldn't have slept on this. Now everything I wanted to say is stuck in dreamland. But trust me, this one, was AWESOME.

When I first saw Elantris and read the jacket snippet, I was a little excited. I didn't know fantasy novels were allowed to be original. And to think that Brandon Sanderson could write two interesting magic systems in both his debut novel and his Mistborn trilogy speaks volumes of his ability as an innovative creative mind.

I don't think I was as impressed with the first Mistborn book as I have been with the last two. Especially book three. I mean, with an opening introducing an urchin named Sev in his starring messenger-boy role, what isn't there to like?

Like Elantris, his Mistborn series is incredibly thought-out without reading pre-planned. It's easy to see the amount of effort and thought put into crafting the mysteries of the plot. Sanderson is a great plot-builder and I absolutely love the addition of maps as reference material. I'm sure I'm not the only person eagerly flipping back to the front of the book to glance at the map and see if any of the novel's mysteries will reveal themselves in the terrain of ink and paper, like they did in Elantris.

Is it just me, or does Sanderson not only poke fun at religion in general, but Roman Catholicism specifically? I mean, come on. A man who "survives" his earthly trials and "returns" to bring hope to his faithful followers, some of who knew him when he was "just a man"?

I don't want to jump to conclusions, but speaking of religion and authors, Orson Scott Card and Stephenie Meyer also found ways to worm religion and religious issues into their novels. The similarity? All three are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. You know, they're Mormon. I'm not Mormon, but from listening to the Mormon friends I have, religion is a pretty integral part of their lives. And, in most instances, isn't that was religion is supposed to do? But it's different than the other other religion I've had direct experience in: Roman Catholicism. For a while now, Catholics haven't been required to pay tithes and aren't required to attend church events other than a weekly Sunday mass. But the LDS religion is such a huge part of its member's lives, with so much time devoted directly to the church, that I'm really tickled and intrigued (although not surprised) that the religion even seeps into their writing. I think it's commendable. In some ways, the integration of religion into their novels is what I see as an exercise in faith--not the kind that tests your devotion and belief, but the kind of practical practice that reaffirms belief. It's just my opinion, but I think that's just really cool. I mean, in one sense, authors write what they know. And what better way to test your knowledge than to write about it metaphorically?

Anyway, I only mention this because the book is (and if you haven't read it, but plan to, you should stop reading now because I'm going to get all kinds of spoilery) about the creation of a god, or, if you read it directly God. I didn't see it coming at all. But it was awesome.

When I read the first book, I think I was so disappointed because I'd been comparing it, the introduction to a trilogy, to the completeness that was Elantris. I loved the mythology of Elantris and was so impressed with Sanderson's ability to create something with such an original, innovative feel to it. Now that I've finished the trilogy, I'm as impressed as I was after finishing Elantris. Sanderson really knows how to wrap up a series, answer all (well most) of the questions and throw out surprising revelations that completely make sense when you look back on the whole thing in hindsight. I mean, how did I miss Sazed?? I love Sazed!

I'm a little sad that Vin and Elend had to die (but now they are the "Adam and Eve" figures), but when Spook and Breeze walk out of their cavern and see all the other survivors (because now they are all survivors, like Kelsier) and the brand spanking new landscape (which I think mentions the word "earth" for the first time ever), it was amazing. It was so reminiscent of the essence of Tolkien--a new world for our characters, but the world we as readers are left with is in fact, in a way, very much our world.

I really wish I'd written this last night, at 3 when I finished the book because really it was so good. I'm a fangirl all over again! And boo on the people who looked at me like I was a weirdo when I tried to handsell them this. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT, TRUST ME!

I'm just irritated I don't know what the last two metals are. I must know!!
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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James SPOILERS!

To find out the last two metals, check out the forum at Brandon Sanderson's site, www.brandonsanderson.com, and follow the link to the forum. There is a Q&A thread right at the beginning that answers a whole lot of questions (Brandon's screen-name is EUOL, for Evil Undead OverLord), and incidentally leaves a whole lot of new questions that we didn't even know we had after reading the book. I'll just say that we haven't begun on the real world-building yet!

Also I would have to agree with you somewhat about religion. I honestly think that the real difference between Brandon Sanderson's work and many other fantasy or sci-fi authors is that Brandon is *comfortable* with religion. While he knows that it can and has been used for evil in the history of the world, he is much more aware than many essentially secular moderns of the fact that in most places and most times, religion has been an important and peaceful part of peoples lives, as much local "color" as anything else. Thus he displays protagonists with differing religious backgrounds who agree to disagree without coming to blows. Some are devout, some are not so devout. Some use religion as a form of imperialism, some perform human sacrifices, and others just quietly believe. The whole gamut is displayed much more honestly than in most modern fiction.

This is a huge breath of fresh air for those of us who are trying to simply live our lives and despise the distortion of history that claims religion as the cause of all conflict, with no redeeming qualities, and are scared of what this distortion of history will do to the modern world. Of course, I am Mormon myself, so I suppose I may be somewhat more comfortable with Brandon Sanderson's work than some others, even religious others.


Erika I'm familiar with the forums and heard he was answering questions there, but I didn't want to wade through pages and pages of questions just to find that out. He's making a poster with all 16 metals so I might just wait for that.

I don't think the religion in his novels are bad, I was just noticing a trend. :) I do believe that he's trying to present religion in a positive light--that's part of my point. The Mormon authors I've read tend to do that. The only thing I worried about was proselytizing through the novel about the Mormon religion (any novel), but when I read the books I notice that it's just a commentary on religion being in people's lives. With Mormons so involved in their religion, I thought it was neat that Brandon was writing about religion--something that's so prominent in his private life. I don't mean to be cynical, but it comes off a little bit as "you write what you know".


Shawn I know, including the wheel of time series. he probably should not do religion in his next book after wheel.


Erika Shawn wrote: "I know, including the wheel of time series. he probably should not do religion in his next book after wheel."

I had no idea he used religion as a subject matter in WoT. Very interesting! :) I suppose in Fantasy, that is to be expected or at the very least, not terribly surprising when it does happen.


Shawn I have to say though that I did like it in Mistborn. I like the way the good and evil gods were actually people most likely from another planet...probably from one of his other books like warbreaker which I still have yet to read.


Erika You'll have to forgive me—it's been a few years since I read this trilogy. I don't quite remember that happening, though. The other planet part, I mean.

I have heard that there's a connection between all of his books, something to do with a character I think. Whatever that is, I was never too clever to pick up on it, but other fans have.

Warbreaker was good. Very interesting concept. Gods again, if you like that sort of thing. :)


Shawn SPOILERS FOR ANY WHO HAVENT READ THIS BOOK YET.



oh i am speculating that the god-like forces that end up corpses(the body that falls after kelsier speaks with preservation for the last time and the red haired figure that falls when ruin dies, were clearly once just a mortals) are either from another planet or just from ages before these stories take place.


Erika Ah ok. That's certainly an interesting bit of speculation. :) Hard to comment more as I'm realizing there's some detail I just don't recall any longer!


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