The Hero of Ages: Letting the team down

The Final Empire grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and made me pay attention and I found it was my read of 2010 because it was the only book which made it incredibly difficult for me to put down. The Well of Ascension, while not as jaw-droppingly awesome as the first in the trilogy was still a brilliant and fantastic read. It’s maybe because of this expectation that I came to the conclusion of the Mistborn trilogy with far too much expectations. One of the gauges I use to test how much I’m enjoying a novel is the test whether I could put the book to one side to read something else. Unfortunately, this is a novel I’ve put down twice to read other novels. The first time was for Sanderson’s own The Way of Kings, which was almost as brilliant as The Final Empire and then again for Steven Erikson’s Deadhouse Gates. Of course, I also read other books after those two so it should demonstrate how much I was enjoying The Hero of Ages.

I haven’t finished it but find myself frustrated at several things in the novel. The pace seems to have slowed down to something which could almost be described as glacial. I’ve also found that somewhere between the end of Well and Hero, I stopped caring about Vin and Elend. I wanted to find more people to care about in the novel and so far the only other characters in the novel I find to be rather flat and lifeless. All of them have their jobs to do but I find that I have no empathy or sympathy for them. One of the main characters from the previous two books has been raised to the status of a main character in the novel but I find him too “wishy-washy” and he always seems to be flipping between wanting to carry on with what he was doing before Tindwyl’s death in Well and not wanting to because he feels some sort of guilt or hopelessness because of her death.

Another problem is that while the first two books centred around Luthadel, Hero takes the story out into the rest of the Central Dominance. I believe it was Sanderson’s attempt to show the threat Ruin poses as being bigger than a threat to only Luthadel. The feeling I get though as I read the novel is that I’m walking down the set of a town in a Western movie. All the buildings are there, but they’re only facades to simulate an actual town. I think what I’m trying to say is that it feels as though the world seems to be flat without any proper depth. I think the reason why it’s so shocking in the third book is that I didn’t feel the same way in the first two novels.

I will definitely finish The Hero of Ages but it’s more for being able to say I finished the trilogy rather than the pure enjoyment of the third book. Furthermore, I’m hesitant to say I’m looking forward to The Alloy of Law set in the same world which is due to come out later in the year but I’m confident Sanderson would have been able to inject a little more life in the stand-alone novel.

Rating 4/10