Sean's Reviews > The Hero of Ages

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
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Oct 26, 08

bookshelves: fantasy
Read in October, 2008

The last half of this book dragged terribly for me, and there were three or four false climaxes before the real climax happened, which I found annoying. The ending was extremely religious in a peculiarly Mormon way, which also irritated me. As it is, I am even more skeptical now of Sanderson's ability to credibly write the end of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.
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10/26/2008 page 342

Comments (showing 1-24 of 24) (24 new)

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Annie "The ending was extremely religious in a peculiarly Mormon way"

How exactly?

Sean This will be kinda spoileriffic--so be warned--but I'll just say that the idea that "every religion has some truth in it" plays an integral part in the climax. I guess "peculiarly Mormon" was an overstatement, but one of the tenets of Mormonism--or at least a common teaching among Mormon leaders--is that truth has been revealed in part to every culture, but that it is only found in its entirety in Mormonism.

I find theological intrusions into nonreligious works irritating, and I was disappointed that Sanderson allowed his religion to intrude in this book after managing to keep his personal views to himself for his earlier works.

message 3: by Janna (new) - added it

Janna Gifford Are there at least any good decapitations in the book? I loves me some good beheadings.

Sean There are any number of high-quality violent scenes, many of which I do believe feature decapitations, impalements and dismemberments of the best kind*.

*I.e., the bloody kind.

Shan Sean wrote: of the tenets of Mormonism--or at least a common teaching among Mormon leaders--is that truth has been revealed in part to every culture, but that it is only found in its entirety in Mormonism."

I find it really interesting that you looked for LDS religion influences in the book. After all, that is the Author's religion and that's the value system he's most inclined to use. I see nothing wrong with that.

And I'm really amused that you found 'theological intrusions' in Mistborn trilogy. Last time I checked, it was ALL about overthrowing the old god (Lord Ruler) and finding a different way of keeping order in the world. I agree, the last book waxed theology left and right, but given the narrating character of the third book, I hardly find that surprising - after all, Sazed's specialty IS religions.

Sean We apparently had different reactions to the book. You also didn't understand my reaction. So... whatever.

Eric I'm with you, buddy. The religious stuff is always kind of oogy for me. And if it is in there, I like it better when it's not explained much. In this book they straight up lay it out for you. Here's the god(s), here's how it works, here's what they're thinking about, here they are doing something. It's kind of like, you can't really appreciate them as god-level beings if they can be limited and tracked like that. Plus with the outlines drawn for you, the scope necessarily shrinks because your mind isn't left to fill in with an entire universe.

I too worry about him finishing Jordan's WoT. His writing is nowhere near as mature as Jordan's, not that he doesn't have potential to be better than he is now. Hopefully between all the notes and outlines Jordan left behind, the corpus of WoT material to emulate, and Jordan's wife (I think?) doing the editing, he can turn out something that's closer to Jordan's writing than his own. Crossing my fingers.

Ruth Hinckley As a Mormon, most of his treatments of religious topics bother me. Just for the record.

Shawn As someone who believes in nothing, I found myself wanting this to be a reality. A fallible god who was once mortal. It interests me greatly.

James I wouldn't worry yourself over WoT too much. The ending has already been penned by Robert Jordan prior to his death. Sanderson is just filling in the blanks between RJ's notes and building up to that pre-written ending. So far he's done a fantastic job. And I think the ending to Mistborn was handled pretty well; in all honesty it's just a more direct approach to what alot of fantasy writers have already done: A divine opposition of good and evil.

James M. Madsen, M.D. Although Mormonism holds that truth can exist in every religion, it also holds that it is the only route to exaltation and Godhood. I found several Mormon themes in the trilogy, but I didn't think that the ending was particularly Mormon in outlook.

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Dan Birchett They say write what you know, so why not write what he knows? Especially for his first finished trilogy. I think you would be hard pressed to find an author that doesn't bleed his beliefs into his work on one level or another. That doesn't make it a bad story. IMHO

Meaghan Like pretty much everyone else here, the ending bothered me. It has heavy overtones of present-day religion--- and not the fantasy-novel theocracy kind. No, HoA placed great focus on Sazed's search and desire to convert to the one true religion.... it stopped feeling like a fantasy author skillfully manipulating a genred story and instead felt like... I don't know. Just not the same novel I started reading. Which is disappointing considering how briliant the first and second books were.

message 14: by Ian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ian (first person omniscient) I enjoyed the conclusion to the Mistborn as a whole, I just didn't enjoy Sazed's character arc and found it constantly yanking me out of the story. I agree with what Meaghan wrote. What could have been a complex and moral atheist character instead becomes the newly faithful through a sort of wish fulfillment and just to top it off becomes 'god' of what felt like an evangelical religion 'of the Book'.

Oh, and I did not know that Mr. Sanderson was Mormon until coming here to post my rating and read some of the reviews just to see if I was the only one who was bothered by that side of the third book. I was guessing he was a protestant christian of some denomination or other so I wasn't to far off. I would have enjoyed the whole thing more if it didn't feel like he was trying so hard to stress things like the importance of faith, finding the 'true' religion, etc.

message 15: by Beau (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beau Scott *spoiler warning*
As an Atheist (raised mormon actually...), I found it interesting and refreshing that Sazed extracted the sciences from the mythologies when fixing the world. Throughout the entire book he struggles with the inconsistencies, logical fallacies, and baseless faith in each of the religions he analyzes -- things I've personally struggled with. I'm actually fairly convinced that Sanderson is a closet atheist -- given the religious struggles and anti-religious themes in this series and in the Way of Kings.

Isaiah Tarrant The extent of the religious themes has actually stopped me from wanting to read his other works despite having been enraptured by the first two books, and most of the third. For me the ending really ruined the whole experience and in reading the blurbs for his other books all I'm seeing is god god god. Disappointed.

Cathy I agree with Isaiah all the way and what the original poster said. I was personally really enthralled with the first two books and sped through them. I was even on board with the change in how the reader was to view The Lord Ruler in the third book, but oh boy did the last 20 pages just absolutely kill it for me. Felt like I got slapped in the face with modern day religion and so, specifically mormonism. I normally like a nice neat ending where things get explained but all of a sudden there's a whole afterlife element involved and an entire modern day creationism aspect I hadn't seen coming, and not like "plot twist" didn't see coming, but like "this is from left field, what is going on" didn't see coming. I think that if the author wants to imbue books with his own religious beliefs that's fine, but where it starts to feel like a deviation from the rest of the tone of the trilogy is where I get frustrated. It's such a shame because the first two books were amazing and the author clearly thought out the big points of the plot before writing. This makes me not want to read the rest of his books, which I had planned in doing up until 30 min ago.

Vanessa Totally late to the party - Christine, everything you said, is exactly how I feel! I agree with Sean's review and few others here too. I was totally on board with his novel until the last part. The wheels came off the wagon for me is when Sazed realigned the planet? What? Ugh.

Voraxi You all are jaded by your own beliefs, or lack thereof. Sazed represented a very common struggle between logic and faith. In the end he became the "God" figure while he also had his logic intact. He had the knowledge and wisdom from last religions. Their beliefs were that of their own making but they all had separate fascinations. I believe Anderson's religious beliefs had very little to do with this trilogy.
That being said. I find this trilogy contained more of his own internal struggle. He tried to bring light to the fact that all religions hold small truths. Never once were those truths forced. That and the truths were very logic based. I.e. The astronomers allowing him to realign the world. The religions based on beauty gave him the knowledge to return what was once supposed to be. The book never dictated that there was a specific God. Even though Sazed claimed to be God in his tome left for Spook. But he knew they'd need something to have faith in. He also believes there is a greater force beyond his benevolent self.

PS I'm am atheist.

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Sean "Jaded"? Excuse me? Kindly confine yourself to describing your own experience and do not presume to tell me about mine.

Reggie Aguiar YES!!! I though I was being too grumpy with how annoying I though the Religious Pushing in this book really was. The book would have deserved a much higher rating if Sanderson hadn't been so blatant with it.

Oliver Annie OMG. The MAIN COUPLE of the story died and a fucking CLOWN coming out of no where got that power. I WISH THEY HAD a CHILD so he or she could have inherited the power. OKKK. After the ending I make a promise to myself that I will never READ BOOK 4. Vin gone then there is nothing left for me to read.

message 23: by G (new) - rated it 4 stars

G The exploration of religion in these books was part of what drew me to them. It's the exploration and delving into the creation and perpetuation of a new religion that is fascinating especially alongside Saze's counterpoint with his search for truth in the religions of the past. Earth at the moment has a collection of well established religions and I personally have not experienced the genesis of a new religion. What must that be like, to be so inspired by someone or to have had someone die to advance your cause in such a way that you deify them? And, most Interestingly, what happens after that? How does the story change? Who interprets it differently and why? How are sects created and why do they break off? How are those involved in the genesis affected by it? I've never even thought about that or read a book, let alone an epic fantasy trilogy, that has explored these questions in any way. It is easy to feel like religion is being pushed upon you,perhaps you feel that way because it is part of the major premise of the books, it is foundational to almost every plot line and religion touches every character whether they wanted it to or not! Perhaps instead of feeling so put-out or disappointed, we should revel in the questions these books beg us to ask about religion in our own world.

Michael Man, I'm sorry that you felt the second half of the book was slow. If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. From the moment I started it, I didn't put it down. There were a couple nights I stayed up LATE. They were great books and I felt they were expertly written.

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