Monday, October 07, 2013

Hero of Ages

Hero of Ages is the final book in the Mistborn triology. This is probably the first series of "big-thick-fantasy" that I have actually enjoyed. I may try checking out Robert Jordan's fantasy series (since Brandon Sanderson finished it after his death.)

This book completes the typical trilogy arc. In the first book, the heroes complete a major victory over the bad guys. Everything is nicely wrapped up, but a few threads are left to allow the possibility of additional stories. The second book knows it is in the middle. In it the heroes often do the most struggling and growing as characters as the bad guys start to gain ground. Finally, in the third book everything really gets running, with a major battle and large scale triumph of good over evil.

In Hero of Ages, the Elend and Vin Venture are the rulers of the central dominance. They both now have "mistborn" powers and have taken over much of the former empire of the Lord Ruler. However, the ash is falling heavily from the sky and bad things seem to be happening, with even the mist killing people. They are trying to locate the store of the precious metal "atium" that the Lord Ruler had left behind as well as other clues to uses of metals that can be used.

In the quest, they discover that their revolution against the Lord Ruler has had its problems. One area has simply flipped the tables with the previous slaves now oppressing the previous nobles. Other areas long for the good-old days when they were slaves and had reliable jobs and food.

They also discover a lot more about the Lord Ruler. He actually had very noble intentions. He had modeled the different classes of people after those that had existed before. He had set up many different hiding areas with food caches to help support the people in case there was a time of crisis. The ash that covers the land was actually set up to benefit people and shield the planet from the hot rays of the sun. (This was, alas, caused by an attempt to perfect the orbit of the planet.) He froze technological innovation. However, it turns out he was helping to protect the world from an even greater force, that of Ruin.

Ruin had battled with Preservation for control of the world. Ruin can control others, especially when they are pierced with metal. However, he cannot read metal. Preservation had given of himself to create man. By taking of the power of preservation, the Lord Ruler was able to help fend off Ruin. However, he was eventually freed, in part through the aid of Vin. The mists present are actually the forces of preservation. The harm they cause is in fact, the mists way of granting the mistborn powers to people.

Vin ends up taking the power of the mists (only after her ear-ring is removed by the sacrifice of Marsh, who goes against the will of Ruin) Elend and his soldiers find the huge cache of atium - and burn it all in order to launch one final battle against Ruin's armies. It is subterfuge at its greatest, because the atium is in fact part of Ruin's power, and in burning it the weaken Ruin so that he can be defeated. Both Elend and Vin die in the process.

During all this time, Sazed has been suffering self-doubt and becoming agnostic. He is part of the "Keepers" who store knowledge about everything. (The Lord Ruler himself had been of his group.) His focus was on the various religions of the world. Previously he claimed to believe all the religions of the world. However, after the woman that he loved died, he found faults with nearly every one. People had gradually helped him to overcome these doubts. However, it was only during the final battle that he realized that Vin was not the "Hero of Ages" from prophecy. As he overcomes his doubts about religion, he realizes that he is in fact the Hero of Ages. He takes the power and with it and his knowledge is able to recast the world in its proper form, eliminating the ash and restoring plant life.

The pacing is quick with plenty of action. The magic works well and the story has multiple levels of twists. (Both the Lord Ruler and "Ruin" had been outflanking each other on numerous different levels.) While Ruin is a strong "evil" power in the story, the remaining human an semi-human characters are all balanced with both good and evil sides. They mythology is also well developed without being overbearing. If only all fantasy could be this well done.

No comments:

Post a Comment