Book Review: Brandon Sanderson’s The Hero of Ages

Posted September 7, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Brandon Sanderson’s The Hero of Ages

The Hero of Ages


Brandon Sanderson

fantasy in Hardcover edition that was published by Tor Books on October 14, 2008 and has 572 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, Towers of Midnight, A Memory of Light, Dangerous Women, Games Creatures Play, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning

Third in the Mistborn fantasy trilogy. It is the end of this age in this world. It’s story does continue, years, if not centuries, later with Alloy of Law.

In 2009, The Hero of Ages was nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award.

My Take

Oh, brother! This was excellent!! Tension, drama, a wide range of characters and duplicity ranging from evil to good. Questions about one’s own purpose. There is such depth to the characters, the actions, and interactions. Growth and understanding. Sanderson sets up individual conflicts for differing groups of characters. It explores culture and examines individual characters, tactics, actions — the selfish and the compassionate.

Sanderson brings everything to a head. All that we have learned in the previous books and then he ties it up more thoroughly than you can imagine. Including the origin of several of the less-human species — yuck!

Ick, we learn how an Inquisitor is made. Oh, god. It’s both disgusting and depressing how Marsh vacillates between the man he wants to be and what he is forced to be. The truth of the mist attacks. How the Mistborn came into being. It’s twists within spins within yet more twists. An alteration between horror or “oh my”.

Slowswift makes a good point about belief. That even if the Lord Ruler is dead, people still believe just as the skaa and others believe in the dead Survivor. Sazed’s realization about his study of religions is mind blowing.

Sanderson has created an awful and amazing world. One I kept trying to reconcile to our own. I did wonder about other lands on the other side of this particular globe.

The Story

It’s a final battle of entities. Of man desiring to do good, but not having the knowledge for it. Condemning a world of people. Hungry people.

Elend and Vin are desperately searching, cajoling, and battling in one form or another to find the answers. To learn why the Lord Ruler set out these clues and created these caches.

Somewhere in all this, there must be a way to save their people.

The Characters
Empress Vin Venture is one of the Mistborn able to manipulate all the metals. The Heir of the Survivor. The Hero of Ages. Considered a saint in the Church of the Survivor. And considered the Mother by TenSoon. Now, her half-brother Reen is back.

High Emperor, Lord Elend Venture has gone beyond being the simple son and heir of House Venture. He has become harder, more understanding of why the Lord Ruler acted as he did. He is now Emperor and a token member of the Church. General Demoux is a firm believer in the Survivor. Ham is a Thug and will handle security as well as train their army

The City of Urteau
Spook has matured in his tin allomancy, but he’s burning it too much, too often. Then the struggle during his arrest leaves him vulnerable. Durn leads the beggars in Urteau and is Spook’s guide in the city.

Quellion, the Citizen, is against the Mistborn but believes in the Survivor. He rules with a heavier and heavier hand in Urtreau, casting anyone of noble blood into the flames. A city Elend needs for its cache. Beldre is the Citizen’s sister with whom Spook has fallen in love.

Captain Goradel provides Sazed and Breeze with protection as they enter Urteau to join Spook. Their discovery sheds light on a catastrophe that happened years earlier. Breeze Ladarian is a Smoother; he manipulates the emotions of others. Allrianne is a princess with emotional allomancy and practically married to Breeze.

The City of Luthadel is in the Central Dominance
Penrod is the king there now and going mad.

The City of Fadrex in the Western Dominance
Slowswift sells information and believes the former obligator, Aradan Yomen, is a fine king. Better than his friend, Cett, the former crippled king of this land. Unfortunately, Yomen is also delusional. Telden Hastings is one of Elend’s old friends.

Sazed is a Terrisman, a Keeper, bred to work as a Steward, but whose sole purpose in life is to remember and pass the knowledge on to the next generation. Each Keeper tends to specialize in an area and Sazed’s specialty was religions. One in which he has lost faith with Tindwyl’s death. His new role in this world is Chief Ambassador of the New Empire, coaxing alliances out of the many petty kings who have sprung up. Amongst his people, he is called Master Keeper.

Kwaan is a long-dead Terrisman who has left metal notes behind, warning them. Metal because once etched, text cannot be changed.

The Kandra
Tensoon is a kandra, Third Generation, and was under Contract to Lord Straff. He has betrayed his people’s secret and is willing to accept punishment. Kandra are sentient mistwraith who can replicate anything dead when they absorb their bodies. The Contract is their Bible and the Lord Ruler their Father. VarSell, a Fifth Generation, uses a True Body of quartz. KanPaar is leader of the Seconds and administrator in the Homeland and has his own plans for the future of the kandra. MeLaan believes in TenSoon, urges him to fight against their myopic leaders. Haddek is the leader of the First Generation.

Koloss are easily whipped into a frenzy and can be controlled by a single mind. Human is a more aware koloss and provides the clue as to who and what they are. An explanation of why there are no koloss children.

Ruin is destruction, intelligent decay while Preservation holds intact. Allomancy is a thing of Preservation.

In the old world, Obligators and Inquisitors utilized the Misting talents and maintained order for the Lord Ruler. Obligators witnessed contracts and events, and enforced the Lord Ruler’s law while the Inquisitors maintained order. They can be killed by simply pulling out their spikes. In this new world, they are practically unkillable.

Noorden is an Obligator who has crossed over to Elend’s side.

Misting is the ability to use one of the Gifts; being Mistborn indicates that you can manipulate them all.

The Lord Ruler was seen as God. Immortal. He had ruled the Final Empire for 1,000 years keeping the nobles in check by renting skaa to them as laborers and allowing the House wars to “thin the herd”. Rashek was a Terrisman and one of the men who guided the hero on his task and, ultimately, unable to accept him.

The Cover and Title

The cover is one heck of a ride with Vin crouched on a barbed metal spire over the city of Luthadel in her battle with the Inquisitors. I think the purple-hued ribbons flying from her waist are meant to represent her tattered Mistborn cloak. I have to say I hadn’t expected to see Vin doing battle in a purple0on-lilac striped floor-length skirt and cream-on-cream striped blouse. Nor did I expect Inquisitors without spikes! Guess they used ’em all up on the spire.

Oh boy, the title is prophetic and incredibly sad. Yes, the Hero of Ages appears, but not at all as I expected. I wanted to cry and yet it seemed so inevitable.