Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mistborn Trilogy Review Part One - The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension

That intermission went rather longer than expected - but I'm back again. There's a lot going on at the moment, including packing up to move house. I'll probably have to store a lot of things for some time so the crafty focus from the first few posts might well be lessened , but I'll do my best. For now, book reviews.

I'm currently reading Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series, this brief review will cover the first two books The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension. I've kept spoilers to a minimum, but if you are particularly concerned about these things, consider this a warning.

I read The Final Empire over a month ago. I was seriously impressed - my more recent ventures into fantasy reading have been fun, but it's been a while since I've found a series that I've really got involved in. This first book set a blistering pace - every now and then I'd go back to check a detail of a previous event and be amazed to find it was only two or three pages back. This book kept me reading far later into the night than I should have because I just had to read one more chapter, then one more, and one more again until common sense prevailed. I particularly loved that this book, despite being the first in a trilogy, is able to stand on its own as a complete story - the drive to continue reading the series had more to do with a thirst for more than being hurried onward by a cliffhanger.

When I finished The Final Empire I was desperate to get started on The Well of Ascension, but a changeover in library systems (see the lovely new catalogue here) caused a bit of a delay. With the new system up and running I was able to order a copy from far further afield than the older system allowed, and got reading.

The Well of Ascension, unfortunately, just didn't impress me as well as its predecessor. It was still an enjoyable read, and the change from rebelling against an evil emperor to running a government really wasn't the issue. The fantastic pace of The Final Empire was lost to a great deal of internal musing from several characters. There was also far too much recap of the first book's events. I find this disconcerting in a trilogy - it feels like the author does not trust the audience to remember what happened in the first book. In a series which encourages the reader to jump in anywhere constant recap is one thing - though Terry Pratchett's Discworld books manage with very little of it - but in this book it was totally unnecessary. The book could have got to the point with far fewer words. Once the story did get moving it was very enjoyable. I did not dislike the book, but think that it could have been a lot better if it had got right some of the things the first book did.

I have started the third book Hero of Ages, and the opening is promising. One character's developments have me feeling a little unsure - these started at the conclusion of the previous book and feel a little convenient and deus ex machina, however there are interesting things going on and the pace has improved dramatically. The first book is being cast in a new light and revelations are coming thick and fast. I have hopes for this one yet. I will have more to say when I've finished reading.

Now, off to bed to get on with the reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment