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on December 27, 2011
I have to admit, the story began in an interesting and suspenseful fashion and I was hooked. But as the story wore on I began to feel like Sanderson was less interested in his world and more interested in getting published as quickly as possible.

I couldn't finish the last book, so poorly was it beginning to pan out. I feel like toward the end, the author suffered from a dearth of imagination - especially concerning the main antagonist. It feels like he just got lazy.

I'm being general so as to avoid spoilers, but I would buy these one at a time, to see how you like them, rather than all at once.
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on December 6, 2012
I was hoping this to be one of those very entertaining sci-fi epics that I love to sink into. It has some wonderful twists, notable characters, and interesting science. It's the writing that drove me crazy. Whenever there is dialogue between two people, he writes that someone is nodding. Isn't it redundant...obvious. In this case it's constant. Everyone is nodding which made me begin to nod out.
I don't believe it was intentional and I can't believe it escaped an editor, but he rhymes in his prose. It's not alliteration, it's rhyming. I am a fledgling writer myself but these two writing devices(?), or style flaws,distracted me from a well constructed world with interesting characters, and protocol. I also hated that it ended up being about "God". Why create an alternate escapist universe and bring such controversial reality as into it as a philosophical wrap up? I felt like the author shortchanged me on the conclusion, while prosletizing. Despite these shortcomings, I enjoyed the series. I will skip this author in the future. He's either too commercial as a writer or needs a better editor. Try Rothfuss or the Shifter series instead.
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on June 1, 2015
This is one of the best series I have ever read. I have not read or even heard of Brandon Sanderson up until I bought this series. I am now a huge fan and do not know why I have not heard of him before. His writing style is unlike any other authors. He gets the story across perfectly and he doesn't leave any questions unanswered. Also I could imagine myself in the world he was writing about throughout the entire series. He gave plenty of details including the small ones that allows you to imagine it perfectly. Also I like how he made the characters actually have meaning and he gave them all a personality and gave enough info about them so that you could come to love them and hate others. The plot of this series was also very interesting and I found it hard to put down. To be honest I lost so many hours of sleep due to reading this series since it was nearly impossible to resist reading it. It was definitely worth those lost hours of sleep though. There was not a dull moment that I can think of and there was so much action and fighting. Something new was always grabbing my attention and the story was constantly getting new things added to it. There is a little bit of romance and it taught valuable life lessons as well. The system of magic was unlike any other book I have read since it involved metal instead of a wand or something. Overall this series is one of my favorites and is hard to put down. Brandon Sanderson is a one of a kind author and his books are unlike any others.
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on January 12, 2012
A lot of times the journey in epic fantasy is better than the destination. That is to say that a lot of times the endings to Epic Fantasy hardly ever lives up to the promise of the rest of the series. This isn't true with this series. The author Brandon Sanderson has stated in interviews that he had written the ruff drafts of all three books before they were published. You can tell this whole series feels very together and focused.

I love how the author plays with typical fantasy beats but never giving into tired storytelling cliches. The world building and characters are what make this series so special. What most reviewers have already mentioned and I agree with is the magic system or should we say systems are all great. Sanderson treats magic like it is science. So unlike Rand or Luke who can just use magic to get out of every situation Vin and comany have strict rules that the magic can allow them to do.

Read this book and every other book by Sanderson. He is writing the best fantasy books being published right now.

P.S. read the Way of Kings after you are done!
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on January 20, 2015
Overall I thought this was a fantastic trilogy, although like most books it did have some negative points. I'll summarize the pros and cons below:

- Outstanding world building and overall story background. The story starts out as the classic "oppressed slaves rebelling against the evil dark lord" tale but as the series goes on more and more layers are peeled away to reveal an extremely complex plot and morally ambiguous characters.
- Very engaging plot with a lot of surprises and cliffhangers throughout. This was more of a page-turner for me than most fantasy books because I was always finding myself surprised and learning more and more about the characters and plot through each chapter. The chapters are fairly short and there is almost always good plot movement in each chapter (which is not the case for even many very good fantasy books - e.g. "A Feast for Crows").
- The heroes and villains are very believable, but don't descend into complete moral relativism. There is no omnipotent white wizard Gandalf or Dark Lord Sauron here; even the evil "Lord Ruler" shows some moral complexity by the end of the series. On the other hand, the book doesn't descend into the complete moral fog of GRRM's books. The "good" characters will sometimes choose to do bad things, but they acknowledge the "badness" of their choices instead of succumbing to the "might is right" approach that seems to cloud a lot of modern, edgier fantasy and sci-fi. Sanderson and Daniel Abraham are two of the only modern fantasy authors that have got this balance right, IMHO.
- Gritty but not overly graphic. There is plenty of violence and death throughout this series along with a decent amount of romance, but neither dives into the (IMHO) overly graphic descriptions of GRRM or Joe Abercrombie. Obviously the question of "how graphic is too graphic" is a very subjective question but I always found that the intensely graphic descriptions of sex and violence in ASOIAF or The First Law to be gratuitous and rarely necessary to advance the storyline.

- The magic system is so flexible and powerful that it lends a dose of "deus ex machina" to the series. I prefer magic in fantasy books to be a bit mysterious a la GRRM. With Sanderson's allomancy and other metal-based magic systems, there always seems to be some new ability or quirk in the magic system that can get characters out of seemingly impossible situations.
- Sanderson is a bit repetitious in describing characters' inner struggles. There are a few characters that have POV chapters throughout most of the series and by the middle of the third book I found myself getting sick of listening to those characters whining about their place in the world and who they thought they needed to be. It didn't detract enough from the plot to cost a star, but I think the inner monologues and continuous explaining of backgrounds and abilities could have been toned down a bit.

- Overall this is a solid, well-written fantasy series. It's very gritty and realistic with a lot of moral ambiguity, but it isn't as dark or graphic as GRRM or Joe Abercrombie books. I'd say that it's quite similar in tone to Daniel Abraham's works such as "Long Price" and "The Dagger and the Coin." If you're into modern fantasy I'd recommend to give these books a try.
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on June 6, 2014
I read all three books and they kept me more or less interested through the entire series. Brandon Sanderson is a very good writer, and his biggest strength is world-making and overall plot design. The flow of the story and the way things ended up fitting together was masterfully planned out. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the different powers and abilities used in this world.

However, in my opinion the books have two major flaws. The first is that they sometimes get wrapped up in their own philosophical importance. The constant inward struggle of ideas and personal tribulations of the main characters often get repetitive and tiring. The second, and biggest flaw is that Sanderson is simply awful at portraying convincing romantic relationships. The two main characters are supposed to be madly in love with each other, to the point where they would die for one another. But their supposedly deep romantic relationship consists only of the two characters repeatedly stating how fond they are of each other, while at the same time displaying almost no physical or emotional attachment. Honestly I think Sanderson did one of the worst jobs of portraying relationships of any author I've read recently.

Despite the flaws, I think these books will be enjoyable for most fantasy buffs, but be prepared to get frustrated occasionally.
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on December 26, 2014
I don't see what all the talk is about with this Mistborn series. I thought that the magic system was far too simplistic, the central romance was childish (but that admittedly comes with the fantasy genre), and the political conflict was far too simple.

I will admit that the characters were likeable and interesting. That made it palatable. I got half way through the entire series really hoping but what was happening for others would start happening for me but I ended up very disappointed and felt like I had wasted my time. What's all Sanderson worship about? I don't get it.
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on May 13, 2013
For once we have an author of fantasy who describes the technical underpinnings of magic in considerable detail. The main downside to this is that many of the action scenes are cluttered with a technical blow by blow of what the characters are doing, which becomes tedious by the time the reader arrives in the latter segments of the tale. I also did not like the author's habit of interrupting the present tense descriptions of activities with long segues that detail the past of characters.
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on December 30, 2015
I'm not gonna write a long review so I'll cover the basics.
I'm a big fan of Sanderson after reading the Stormlight archives books. Those books blew me away with their complexity and powerful story.
I'm also a big fan of the Dresden files by Jim Butcher. Butcher doesn't have nearly as much finesse as Sanderson, but Jim's books have a lot of entertainment value, and that's why I read. My last series to give you an idea of what type of reader I am, is Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller series. Those had a great mix of complexity, good writing, and entertainment value.
Now onto Mistborn. First of all, I'm not even done. I'm actually about a third of the way though the first book and I'm not very impressed. The world he built is dark and miserable and it doesn't make me wanna spend any time there. The characters are cliched and overused. The magic system is well thought out and well used, but it's kind of cheesy and less believable than other magic systems. Burning different types of metals in your stomach for various powers? Just kind of too weird for me. Harry Dresden using will power and focci alone was more acceptable for some reason. I will absolutely revise my review upon finishing the book. And yes, I bought all 3 and will absolutely get my money's worth of reading time, but I'm not as happy with them as I'd hoped. That's all for now.
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on August 29, 2014
I did not enjoy my first 200 pages of Mistborn, and I say that because I became a "believer" in Sanderson's trilogy once I got deeper into the books. The characterization in Mistborn starts off very 1-dimensionally but does improve. The dialog was also very simplistic but gets better in Book 2 and Book 3. Also, the plot comes off as too convenient on several occasions (I'll give a specific example below).

So, why would I rate this 4 stars? That's pretty good, right? Well, that's because this is a GOOD book series. I ended up liking it quite a bit once I was able to lay aside some of my complaints and enjoy the books for what they are. Let's first expound on the flaws and then we can shift over to what made the books worth it in the end.

The first thing I noticed is how cookie-cutter many aspects of Mistborn are. Oh! Don't misunderstand. The story and lore and magic are utterly unique. What I mean is that the characters each fit into their own convenient tropes and rarely do these characters grow beyond those boundaries. If you've read fantasy before, you'll recognize each and every one of the characters in Mistborn in some form or another. The dialog is also another offender. The back-and-forth banter is very much the sort of dialog you would read in a comic book, up to and including good ol' standby knee-slappers like "oh look! The plucky crew leader just made fun of the grumpy character by calling him grumpy. Ha ha!" I mean, the dialog is never poorly-written from a grammatical standpoint, nor is it so bad that you have to put down the book, but it sometimes it gets close.

I also mentioned the necessary leaps in the plot that Sanderson uses quite often. While this is not the only example, it occurs very early in the first book so this is a bit of a spoiler but it's a great example of what I mean:

Kelsier has a huge plan in the works. So, he wants to steal some metal called "atium" which gives special powers to the Allomancers who use it. He is headed out into the night to steal some atium and has a conversation with his buddy that goes something like this:
"I really need some atium"
"You do? Man, that's pretty rare stuff and it's really well guarded"
"Hmm, well who is SO well guarded that you wouldn't think to rob them?"
"Oh, that would be House Venture. They're SO well guarded. No one would dare try to rob them"
"Well then that's settled. I'll rob House Venture because NO ONE would expect it"
"Cool. By the way, I heard rumors that House Venture has a hidden safe in the third floor, two rooms in"
"I bet that's where the atium is"

I mean, I'm paraphrasing a bit, but that's basically how that scene goes and it's rather silly. That isn't the only time it happens, either.

Now, on the flip side, the magic in this book is really well done. Certain people have a hereditary ability to use Allomancy. Pure metals and alloys are "burned" in order to perform magical feats like pushing and pulling metal, heightening senses, and gaining super strength. Not only is this a nice, clean break from most "traditional" fantasy magic systems, Sanderson keeps everything incredibly realistic and consistent. The magic in these books is one of the best parts. For example, "Pushing" on a piece of metal only works if you weigh more than it. In order words. "pushing" against a steel door will only make you slide back unless you're braced against something, or "pulling" yourself toward a lighter piece of metal will just fling it toward you.

This consistency also plays a huge role in how the battles play out, and oh boy, the action in these books is phenomenal. Sanderson is very creative, writing acrobatic scenes that bring about vivid mental images while also being fast-paced and exciting. He's really at his best when he's describing a high-flying chase scene or a battle on the rooftops or 8-vs-1 combat in the streets at night.

The plot proceeds at a much faster pace than I would have expected, and I mean that in a good way. The first book sets the stage very well as far as who is good and who is bad, but the series rapidly expands beyond that in book 2 and book 3. By the final chapter of Hero of Ages (book 3) it felt odd to look back and see how expansive the world became.

We live in an age where we have some pretty darn good fantasy - even if taken from a literary standpoint. The Mistborn Trilogy feels like the absolute cream-of-the-crop from an older generation of fantasy, back when it didn't feel cliche to have Orcs and Dark Lords be the bad guys. But times have changed. That doesn't make Mistborn bad. Not at all. It just makes it a bit less enjoyable compared to what else is out there (heck, compared to other stuff that Sanderson has written, even). Still, the good aspects of Mistborn are REALLY good in my opinion (world-building, action, magic) and they more than outweigh the weaker aspects of the series (dialog, characterization, plot holes)
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