Mistborn review

Disclaimer: I've only read the original trilogy and part of the first book of the second trilogy.

Mistborn is a series of fantasy novels by Brandon Sanderson that boasts some cool worldbuilding and probably the best and most creative magic system I've ever seen. The premise of the magic system is that cerain people can digest small bits of metal and then "burn" it for a magical effect depending on the metal. The books (the three that I've read) have a strong plot and are well-written, and the first book is even quite good, but I would ultimately not recommend the series. The main reason is the endless bullshit morals in the second and third books. Still, the first book might be a worthwhile read, and I wouldn't blame you if after reading it you refuse to take my word that the next two are bad. I'll list all of the bullshit morals I'm complaining about (the rets of this article is heavy spoilers).

Morals in stories

1. When Vin and Zane go into Cett's tower to kill him, they slaughter hundreds of guards who are just following orders and are probably being coerced into fighting for the wrong side, then, when they get to the one person in that building who is actually both evil and an active threat to innocent people, she not only doesn't kill him, but *lets him go*, and as expected he returns to being a tyrant. This was the moment where Vin completely lost my sympathies and never regained them.

2. When Elend murders Jastes. Make up your mind, Brandon Sanderson, is killing wrong or not? Even when I believed in axiological retribution, I didn't extend it to *repentant* sinners, which Mr. Sanderson apparently does (when he feels like it). (Elend has the bullshit line "I forgive you. But my kingdom cannot".) Besides, isn't there at least a chance that Jastes could still stop the koloss from attacking?

Axiological retribution

3. That Spook and the others don't just take down Quellion. The characters even discussed it and said they didn't think it would work because "we don't have Kelsier anymore", but given how completely empty that argument was in context, it was painfully obvious the real reason was that Sanderson's morals had changed, and he no longer believed in forcefully overthrowing oppressive and mass-murderous rulers. And much worse, the statement that the city somehow got lit on fire because they "pushed the city too hard" and the revolters were too angry. Seriously, Sanderson? Anger makes you set fire to random people's houses *when you have a specific target for your anger*? Garbage.

4. How Ruin (appearing as Kelsier) tries the I Will Give You Power If You Kill Him ploy on Spook. Aside from the fact that Quellion deserved to die, contrary to popular belief, power is something goodguys should seek, not avoid.

Power doesn't corrupt you

Actually there was another more minor case of this in the end of book two when Vin decides to give up the power at the Well of Ascension, but I didn't make that a point here because Sanderson gave that choice bad consequences so it didn't look like he was advocating it (although I'm sure he was).

5. That lord Yomen is portrayed to be a good person on the inside, just misguided. Nobody who believes in the Lord Ruler's system of enforced racial segregation and mass slavery can be a good person, period.

6. That the "goodguys" are themselves tyrants in the second two books.

Why you should be an anarchist

7. That those "goodguys" have a habit of putting previously defeated badguys in charge of parts of their empire: Janarle, Cett, etc. Especially jarring given Tindwyl's line "There are good men who make bad kings, but *there are no bad men who make good kings*". It baffles me, but I don't think Mistborn is the only place I've seen this.

8. The only real problem with book one: that they don't immediately tell Vin about Feruchemy and Kandra. The whole story is about trust for god's sake, and the excuse that "what if one of us gets captured" is bullshit.

Bad excuses for lying

This isn't exactly a *message* problem, more of a glory problem, but it was really disappointing that he had Vin kill Zane in the end of the second book. He should've ended up joining them. He wasn't evil (at least, not nearly as much as other characters who ended up joining them, see above) and didn't deserve to used by the plot as a villain.

Glorifying a character

I also just want to mention that Atium is logically impossible because you can't know someone's decision before they've made it. It's not as bad as full-fledged time travel, though.

Stay away from time travel


subscribe via RSS

Proxied content from gemini://yujiri.xyz/reviews/mistborn.gmi

Gemini request details:

Original URL
Status code
text/gemini; lang=en
Proxied by

Be advised that no attempt was made to verify the remote SSL certificate.

What is Gemini?